The founders of Modisa Wildlife Project are Mikkel Legarth from Denmark and Valentin Gruener from Germany. They met on a wildlife farm in Africa in 2009 as volunteers. They quickly moved up to management positions, fueled by their commitment to local wildlife. Their love and passion for African wildlife – especially big cats – made them fulfill their childhood dream of setting up a wildlife project with an emphasis on creating a bond between people and the wilderness. By cooperating with leading researchers in Botswana and with the University of Texas At Austin, Modisa Wildlife Project has the unique opportunity to create positive changes in local communities which in turn will create a better understanding of and a brighter future for wildlife and the big cats of Botswana.
Modisa was founded:
In Setswana, the local language of where we work in central Botswana, “Modisa” means guardian.
True to this name, we work to guard the wildlife of Botswana. Through local and international involvement and research contributions, the Modisa Wildlife Project promotes sustainability and enhanced biodiversity in the region, located just west of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Modisa also want to raise awareness across the globe on the necessity of sustaining the natural ecosystems that ensure a brighter future for the wildlife in Botswana.
In November 2011, Modisa Wildlife Project signed a contract with William De Graaff, owner of Grassland Safari Lodge. Modisa and Grassland have a mutual target of contributing to a better future for big cats and surrounding wildlife. Grassland started their conservation work by capturing lions and other big cats in conflict with farmers to spare them from certain death.
In collaboration with Dr. Kelley Crew-Meyer and Thoralf Meyer from the University of Texas At Austin, Modisa will start a research project aimed at establishing a long-term program to monitor the Kalahari ecosystem. Modisa is situated approximately 30 km West from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Research activities include game and bird counts, plant inventories and studies on interactions between biotic and non-biotic factors in the area (including the affects of fires and grazing, among other things).
Through this exciting research project Modisa will be contributing to local conservation and protection efforts. Modisa’s ultimate goal is to gain understanding of the local ecosystem to better develop management methods and tools that work towards the long-term survival of the Kalahari ecosystem both through our own efforts and cooperations with universities and other research institutes of the African wildlife.
In addition to the research programmes that we currently run and will run in the future, Modisa has created a unique volunteer program by allowing people from all over the world to get a firsthand, real life experience in the African bush. The volunteer program aims to educate people on Africa’s wildlife and the struggle to protect it from the smallest beetle to the elephant. Modisa offers many opportunities to learn about the local culture and nature, including guided hikes through the bush, tracking activities, game surveys, sleep-outs in the bush and much, much more. Some volunteers use their stay as part of their education in their home countries, some as a unique opportunity of a holiday that makes a difference. The programme is a well-balanced blend of safaris, lectures and real, day-to-day work onsite. By mixing these elements, Modisa offers the volunteers the unique opportunity to get a real, unfiltered experience of life outside of your normal, everyday routine while learning about real world problems rarely seen outside of the African Bush.
Modisa Wildlife Project runs on natural power, sustainable materials and products from local suppliers. In addition to this, the Danish architect Kim Utzon has donated architectural plans for Modisa, where green energy and buying local materials are prioritized.