Our Partners & Collaborators

Loskop Dam Nature Reserve

Howlett’s Wild Animal Park

The Aspinall Foundation

Wiki West of Mosquito Media

The First African Honey Badger to Ever be Rewilded

First-person perspective from our media expert Wiki West. 

Having the privilege of being the photographer capturing moments for WeWild Africa has been an incredibly unique experience. Today, the focus was on a special individual, Tembe, the first European-born honey badger set to be rewilded. “Tembe” translates to “hope”, and her journey resonates with this sentiment. Born in Howletts Animal Park, she represents one of the hundreds of animals that the organization have reintroduced to their natural habitats, and therefore, rewilded.

A specially designed transport crate was unloaded from the plane. Together with two lovely team members from the foundation, we would drive Tembe to Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, where she would be introduced to the wild expanses of South Africa.

On the drive, the backdrop was the soon-to-be rewilded Loskop, with its expansive landscapes, shimmering lake, and diverse flora and fauna that span over 23,000 hectares. Read more about the Loskop Rewilding and Expansion project here.

We arrived at the reserve just as dusk began to fall. Carefully, we transferred the crate to a boma, an acclimatization area designed for such purposes. Witnessing Tembe energetically emerge into the boma, exuding the typical fierceness of a badger, was truly captivating. It was my first time observing one from such close proximity. The sound of her growl was particularly striking to me.

That evening, our group set up camp in the bush, near the bomas. The natural soundscape enveloped us, with only the company of my colleagues for many kilometers, and countless stars overhead, we exchanged tales of wildlife adventures and encounters, enjoying the warmth of the fire.

The next morning we spent exploring the reserve, photographing the various habitats and wildlife. Once done, packing up my gear, ready to depart from the reserve and work on editing the footage to be able to broadcast Tembe’s remarkable journey to a global audience, I recognized that this was merely the onset. Her story would resonate with many, prompting questions about wildlife conservation and the roles of zoos.

While African honey badgers are not critically endangered and therefore do not necessitate captive breeding, their numbers in zoos have seen an alarming increase in the past few years. This trend is indicative of wild honey badgers being captured and put into captivity – an act WeWild Africa aims to counter.

With the technological advancements that allow us to virtually explore or physically reach these natural habitats, I wonder: should we still keep non-endangered animals in captivity in this modern era?

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