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Wildlands Donna Lay Talks Conservation in the Karkloof

We recently chatted to Donna Lay of the WildLands Conservation Trust and Conservation Manager at Dartmoor Farm, which is part of the Karkloof Nature Reserve. Donna and her team run an anti-poaching patrol unit as well as a herd of gorgeous Nguni cattle that is indigenous to South Africa.

Tell us about the history of the reserve

The history of the reserve began with SAPPI and the declaration of the Karkloof as a Nature Reserve. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Hancock family took the Plain B area and Wildlands came in after that and purchased Dartmore and incorporated it into the Reserve.

What interesting sighting have you encountered? 

There are a number of interesting sightings in and around the Karkloof. “Brown Hyena, a few sightings of Leopard over the years, one of the main reasons of the reserve – the Wattle Crane nesting, reedbuck and most importantly, the Oribi” says Donna.

Why is conservation in the Karkloof important?
Conservation is something that Donna is truly passionate about. “Conservation is of the utmost importance,” she says “The Karkloof Nature Reserve, especially the top open grassland area has a few plains, and is a force of the Imvebu River, which is a very important catchment area. We’ve got habitat surrounded by timber, the last habitat for the Oribi’s and the Plains for the Wattle Crane.”