October 31st, 2018 PRETORIA, South Africa - The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) handed over a new Ford Ranger to the Endangered Wildlife Trust to support its Threatened Amphibian Programme’s Pickergill’s Reed Frog Recovery Project, which focuses on conservation of the Pickergill’s Reed Frog. The handover forms part of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) commitment to the conservation and preservation of the environment in Southern Africa.
Established in 2012, the project is based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and focuses on the Pickersgill’s Reed Frog as a priority species for conservation action. This tiny species may be only 2.5cm long, but it is an umbrella species for many other wetland-dependent species and has a massive impact on the local communities living in the vicinity of wetlands where this frog occurs. Only two of the sites at which the species occurs are currently protected, while the rest are at risk of habitat loss and degradation.
œWhen we started the project, the species was Critically Endangered and known only from a handful of wetland sites through coastal KwaZulu-Natal, says Jeanne Tarrant, Project Manager, EWT. œThrough our work and the discovery of additional localities, the species is now known from 25 sites, and has been down-listed to Endangered. The aim of our project is to implement on-the-ground species-specific conservation work, develop and implement science-driven management and monitoring plan for the species, secure its threatened habitat, improve climate resilience and promote positive social change through education, employment and citizen science.
How Ford Will Support the Project
The new Ford Ranger will help a staff of six travel to project sites across rural areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, covering several hundred kilometres per week. This includes overseeing the implementation of wetland restoration through the employment of local community members as well as habitat protection efforts.
œThe work requires us to carry out both field work and education outreach in off-road environments as well as stakeholder engagements and meetings across a wide variety of settings, says Tarrant.
The locally-built Ford Ranger will be used to enable the project to go further and make a real impact – particularly in the remote locations often associated with conservation and environmental projects.
Ford Wildlife Foundation Dedication to Conservation
For the past 30 years, FMCSA has been actively involved in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, FMCSA has invested almost R40 million to support more than 170 conservation projects.
The Ford Wildlife Foundation is unique as it does not provide a cash donation to the conservation projects it supports, instead Ford’s partner organisations are equipped with Ford Rangers. The vehicles provided are used to help project operations, such as transporting field equipment, helping vets reach sick or poached animals, or translocating the animals themselves. The vehicles operating in all Ford Wildlife Foundation projects are monitored and serviced by Ford’s extensive dealer network to ensure they operate at peak efficiency.