In addition to bidding under formal tender processes, Natural Capital focuses on deal structuring and buying out distressed hunting companies to secure the underlying leases and create wilderness investment opportunities for high net worth individuals.
Employing a dynamic and adaptive acquisitions strategy – combined with intimate knowledge of Africa and its concessions – Natural Capital is the natural choice for serious ESG-conscious investors. Having lived, worked and/or explored most countries in Africa, Steve and Natural Capital are the primary point of call for serious conservation-minded investors looking to acquire concession areas that meet their personal criteria, while directly contributing to conservation outcomes by securing and safeguarding Africa’s wild places in perpetuity.
Steve’s post-graduate qualifications in environmental economics, wildlife management, and business administration, augmented by twenty years of experience in conservation and ecotourism projects throughout Africa, provided the perfect springboard for his next ambitious undertaking to create Natural Capital.
Conserve’s mission is to secure, protect and expand wild places across Africa by taking on direct responsibility for delivering an effective conservation management service to key concession areas and community conservancies outside of national parks.
The organisation’s work benefits both Africa’s people and her wilderness. True conservation goes hand-in-hand with investment into poverty alleviation in Africa. By re-establishing and adequately resourcing former hunting blocks within large conservation landscapes, these valuable natural landscapes – and the ecosystem services they support – can evolve into powerful economic hubs for sustainable development. In the process, conservation becomes an attractive and economically competitive form of land use that directly and tangibly benefits rural communities. Humanity and nature thrive as a consequence.
As a founding partner of Conserve, Steve focused on fundraising, building and resourcing the core and project teams for an ambitious new conservation organisation established to address the conservation crisis unfolding in abandoned, neglected and under-resourced hunting blocks in Africa: an enormous and frequently overlooked sector of the continent’s conservation estate.
As pristine parts of the world continue to shrink in the face of rapid population growth and human expansion, the Grumeti Fund – in conjunction with its Tanzanian partners – is actively involved in preserving 350,000 acres of previously neglected Serengeti wilderness within the Singita Grumeti Reserves concession area.
The Grumeti Fund works tirelessly to protect, manage, and monitor the iconic Grumeti and Ikorongo game reserves, along with the community owned Ikona wildlife management area, to effect demonstrable change and achieve sustainable results. Through active conservation management, collaboration with local communities, technological innovations, various force multipliers, and the deployment of well-trained boots on the ground, the near-barren plains of 20 years ago teem with wildlife once more.
to find out more about the Grumeti Fund
As Executive Director, Steve was responsible for effectively managing and allocating an annual USD 5 million budget to safeguard and sustainably manage the 350,000-acre Singita Grumeti Reserves concession area in the western corridor of the world-renowned Serengeti ecosystem.
His work as an Executive Board Member, along with his experience with 501(c)3 tax deductible giving, donor proposal development and grant reporting requirements, led to a major restructuring and streamlining of the Grumeti Fund that achieved significant efficiency gains and cost savings of USD 1.5 million annually, against a backdrop of extensive programmatic expansion.
During his five-year tenure leading the Grumeti Fund, external fundraising and third-party contributions increased by 4,500% to USD 3,240,958 in final full year in charge.
Steve not only led and motivated 160 full-time conservation staff and 60 dry season contract workers, but he also recruited and built one of the most diverse, experienced, and professional senior management teams in the conservation sector (comprising a PhD, three double Masters, and four Masters graduates).
He also delivered strategic guidance to various operational divisions – including conservation management, anti-poaching and law enforcement, community outreach, research and monitoring, and stakeholder engagement – and achieved a year-on-year reduction in illegal activities (i.e. poaching incidents and snares removed). As a result, the Grumeti Fund successfully undertook the largest ever black rhino reintroduction into Tanzania in 2019 and succeeded in having no elephants or rhinos poached on the concession during Steve’s tenure at the helm of Grumeti. Furthermore, the strong team dynamic he nurtured helped to quadruple the mammalian biomass residing within the protected area estate actively managed by the Grumeti Fund.
The Sisheke Conservation Project (SCP) in southwest Zambia’s Sisheke Chiefdom was initiated by Javelin Capital under a tripartite partnership between Javelin Zambia, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE), and the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF). This large-scale conservation and sustainable development project centred on the 1.5 million-hectare Sisheke Conservation Area, encompassing around 100km of Upper Zambezi River frontage and its surrounding wilderness and threatened wildlife. The Conservation Area had the added prestige of being located within the northern sector of the world’s largest and most ambitious Peace Park: the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).
Held in trust for the benefit of the local people and wildlife alike, ownership of the land remains with the Lozi people. By placing what is thought to be one of the largest remaining tracts of unprotected wilderness in Southern Africa into a Community Conservation Trust, the Project strived to ensure the re-establishment and long-term preservation of a critically important migration corridor between the Zambia’s Kafue ecosystem and the Chobe national park in Botswana.
Furthermore, by adopting a community trust structure, the project design ensured that the local population would receive, in perpetuity, the lion’s share of any carbon revenue and other tangible benefits emanating from sustainable development initiatives and revenue generating activities like carbon credits: a fundamental tenet for long-term success.
Steve was recruited by Javelin Capital to head up the long-term public-private partnership, working in conjunction with PPF and the BRE as the asset manager of this threatened wilderness.
Steve helped raise the necessary seed capital and conducted extensive site visits and ground truthing exercises (in conjunction with PPF), but it was always envisaged that carbon would be the main economic driver to generate sufficient funding for meaningful community development and upliftment initiatives. This was – and still is – a multi-year undertaking and a project that continues with PPF leading the carbon work to this day.