Quex Park Estates is committed to conservation and habitat creation. 55 species of bird have been spotted within Quex over the last few years and over 2000 trees and 3 miles of hedgerow have been planted in the last decade.
This has been done in conjunction with Trees for Thanet group, which works with school students undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
It is a scheme unique in its type. The Estate is involved with several environmental schemes and currently has a total of 150 acres in conservation management.
50 acres of these dedicated to wildlife strips planted with native grass species to encourage insects, small rodents and birdlife.
40 acres dedicated to low level grazing management adjacent to the River Stour to encourage native plant species and ground nesting birds and 63 acres of summer fallow to encourage all bird species.
Quex is also home to unique chalk caves which are home to three species of bat. The Estate works closely with the local Bat Preservation Society. Near to these caves, bee hives are also kept by local beekeepers and the honey is sold locally.
Twenty years ago Africa was in the midst of a poaching crisis. Black rhino were on the brink of extinction (just 2,000 remained) and the African elephant population was being slaughtered at a rate of 100,000 each year, just for their ivory. Drastic times required urgent action. Tusk was established in response to an urgent need to halt the decline in Africa’s natural heritage and find a way to combine the interests of people and wildlife alike.
Since its formation in 1990 Tusk has raised over £16 ($25) million for a wide range of projects across Africa which work not only to protect wildlife, particularly endangered species, but also to help alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside wildlife.
ANGOLA'S GIANT SABLE
The giant sable was only described in 1916, and it has since been praised as the most beautiful antelope in the world. In Angola, it is regarded as the national symbol, displayed in the logo of the national airline company and the national football team is called “ospalancas” (the sables). It is only known to occur in two areas (Luando Strict Reserve and Cangandala National Park) covering approximately 9,000 square kilometres in total. In the seventies, its population was estimated to be of 2,000 animals, but following the civil war that ravaged the country, the population crashed to such an extent that it was feared extinct.
In 2003, the Catholic University of Angola launched the Giant Sable Conservation Project to prove that the species had survived the civil war. The first attempts included long tracking expeditions on foot into Cangandala, where plenty of promising evidence was found, such as spoor and confirming reports from locals. However, no sightings were made. Several additional attempts to find surviving sable failed, and it was eventually camera traps that captured photographs of a sable herd in Cangandala National Park.
The project implemented the pioneering Shepherd Program, utilising a local ancient tradition to protect this animal. A team of 20 shepherds were hired, given basic training, uniforms and a monthly subsidy, to become the present day guardians of the giant sable. The team also assisted in the research and management of the species and became informal law enforcement agents.
Through monitoring of the herd, the project soon realised that the population was facing a crisis - hybridisation. A lack of sable bulls has meant that a lone roan antelope bull has interbred with the one remaining herd. The current giant sable population in Cangandala consists 14 pure sables of which 10 are females in breeding age, and seven hybrid individuals, all born in the past five years. This crisis seems to be the result of a population crash and lack of breeding males thought to be a result of intense poaching pressure in the area.
In order to tackle the hybridization crisis, the project, with support from Tusk Trust, is carrying out a tracking and breeding programme. Funding from Tusk has enabled the team to train in game immobilizing and capture operations. As part of this effort, pure sables have been translocated from Luando to enhance genetic diversity in the Cangalandala herd. The project continues to develop its controlled breeding programme and, despite complications and setbacks, several purebred sables have been produced. Thus, there is hope that the species will be re-established.