Photo Credit: Mitch Reardon, Samara Karoo Reserve

Rewilding is happening now all over the world, both on land and at sea, bringing back key species and restoring entire ecosystems at all scales. We are part of a growing, global and hopeful movement.

As an Alliance that brings together many rewilders from around the world, that is also in constant growth, we think that it is important to share their success stories, visions and ambitions. In this article, we introduce you to three rewilding organisations from our network so that you can hear each week about some of the rewilding that is transforming hope into action.

We warmly welcome three new Alliance Partners: Samara Karoo Reserve, Instituto Fauna Brasil and Junglo.

Cheetah family in South Africa Credit Samara Karoo Reserve

Photo Credit: Samara Karoo Reserve

Rewilding empty plains to a thriving biodiversity hotspot

Partner Organisation: Samara Karoo Reserve

Location: South Africa 

The Great Karoo was once emblematic of a vibrant wilderness, a region that witnessed the migratory movements of millions of springbok, pursued by cheetahs and black-maned Cape lions, desert-adapted rhinos, leopards and the now-extinct quagga. Over the past several hundred years, a combination of fences, firearms and farming had stripped this semi-arid region of much of its biodiversity. This all changed in 1997, when the founders of Samara Karoo Reserve, Sarah and Mark Tompkins, felt compelled to restore the magnificence of the region that could now only be described as long-lost fairy tales.

Today, the award-winning Samara Karoo reserve is one of South Africa’s most diverse safari destinations, sprawling over 67,000 acres. Herds of springbok, black wildebeest, zebra and eland now roam the Plains of Camdeboo. Samara pioneered the reintroductions of lion, black rhinoceros, elephant and cheetah to the landscape, following an absence of more than 130 years. In fact, Samara comprises five of the nine vegetation biomes in South Africa, providing vital habitat to over 60 mammal species including the charismatic Big Five, desert- adapted specialists like black-footed cats and endangered species like the Cape mountain zebra, as well as 225 bird species.

This revival has established a thriving eco-tourism economy, with the reserve employing 100 people in green jobs. The land is beginning to show an astounding recovery from the impacts of generations of agricultural management and Samara’s valleys, plains and mountains are breathing back to life.

Despite these conservation successes 27 years in, Samara Karoo Reserve believes its journey has just begun. Their ambitious vision is to expand the conservation estate to a 3-million-acre footprint in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, working with like-minded parties to create South Africa’s 3rd largest protected area for the benefit of people and the planet.

Brown Howler monkey in Brasil Credit daniel de granville

Photo Credit: Daniel de Granville, Instituto Fauna Brasil

Restoring the largest coastal island covered by Atlantic Forest

Partner Organisation: Instituto Fauna Brasil

Location: Santa Catarina, Brazil

Brazil has an incredibly diverse landscape, including vast plains, the Amazon rainforest, expansive wetlands, and towering mountain ranges, making it home to the greatest concentration of wildlife in South America. Santa Catarina is a state located in southern Brazil, covered by the Atlantic Forest biome.

Since 2010, the projects and professionals that are now part of the Instituto Fauna Brasil have been pioneers in the successful reintroduction and rewilding of some of the iconic species of the area, working together to return these beautiful creatures to their ecosystems to perform their unique and crucial roles. Among their rewilding successes is the reintroduction of the vinaceous-breasted parrot, a species known for its beauty, to Araucária National Park, acting as key members of the Parrot Release Network and IUCN Translocation for Conservation group.

Santa Catarina Island, nestled into the southern coastline of Brazil, is the largest coastal island covered by Atlantic Forest. After seeing the impacts of destructive and extractive practices taking place around Santa Catarina Island, they decided it was time to take action and started the reintroduction of the brown howler monkeys to the region, which have been locally extinct for around 260 years, returning their namesake noisy howls to the forests. Additionally, they are working to bring back three locally extinct small cat species in the future: Leopardus guttulus, Leopardus wiedii, and Herpailurus yagouaroundi.

Additionally, initiatives with rural and urban communities, efforts to encourage income generation linked to reintroduction projects, and a comprehensive digital environmental education campaign have been ongoing since the inception of the projects.

Instituto Fauna Brasil is forging a novel path to rewild their corner of Brazil, a path that will hopefully soon be followed by others inspired by their work.

Planting native forest credit: junglo

Photo Credit: Junglo

Climate action made accessible to everyone

Partner Organisation: Junglo

Location: Bali, Indonesia 

When picturing Bali, the image that comes to mind is a lush and vibrant green landscape. Like many of us, Mo (the founder of Junglo) did not realise that this green was not necessarily representative of wild nature, but instead a principally agricultural landscape. Mo, a teacher at a school in Bali focused on sustainability, was shocked to discover that there is very little native forest remaining at low altitudes and set out to make solutions available, especially since his students asked how to help. Thus, Junglo’s mission was born: to bring back the lost ecosystems of Indonesia and beyond.

Using the Miyawaki Method (MM) to plant native forest in towns, homes or businesses, Junglo makes climate action accessible to everyone, everywhere. MM attempts to study reference ecosystems that are as pristine as possible, that in Bali are interestingly found surrounding temples where space is made and protected for wild nature. Drawing inspiration and knowledge from these, steps towards restoring previously damaged or degraded ecosystems can be made.

MM is like a map; it uncovers the relationships of how trees grow together, dominant species, species’ preferences such as canopy or understory layer etc. They use this reference ecosystem to create a panorama of what used to exist and apply this template to how gardens and agricultural lands could be restored. They procure seedlings from native trees to grow from seed, or use nurseries that specialise in growing native trees. Depending on land size, projects will contain anywhere between 20 – 60 different native species to ensure a rich biodiversity. In Japan, where MM has been around for much longer, this approach boasts an 80-90% survival rate in its first 10 years and a 60% survival rate over 50+ years.

Junglo started in Mo’s own back garden, and soon he encouraged the involvement of his friends. Their client base has continued to grow, and Junglo has been able to contract local villagers to carry out the work, thereby boosting the local economy. Junglo has planted 25,000 trees, creating over 20 forests, almost totalling a hectare of land. To date, Junglo has similarly observed a 90% survival rate since its establishment 3 years ago. They have also observed that planting 3 – 5 trees in 1 square metre forces the trees to grow upward faster than if trees grow on their own. Those are some pretty promising figures!

The story of Mo and Junglo’s creation is yet another success story of individual agency in bringing back wild nature, the power of community and the cumulative effect of positive action!

We hope that you enjoyed getting to know a handful of our Alliance Partners. More to come! 

See their websites here:

Samara Karoo Reserve 

Instituto Fauna Brasil 


Are you a rewilding organisation and would like to join us?