Wildlife relocated to reduce population

Natural compacting in process.

Winter months are ideal for wildlife capture for the SANParks Veterinary Wildlife Services teams.

They made good use of this window of opportunity this year when they relocated 185 wildebeest and 73 red hartebeest from Mountain Zebra National Park to the Addo Elephant National Park this July.

Twenty of the blue wildebeest were transported to the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees to be sold.

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Park manager Megan Taplin says the number of animals to be removed from the park every year is determined through an annual aerial census.

This allows them to work out if some of the park’s herbivore populations are increasing too rapidly to be supported by the available vegetation, taking into account the numbers and concentrations of different species in various areas of the park.

The latest count in May 2013 recorded 968 wildebeest and 614 red hartebeest in the park in total.

Taplin says while they do take the park’s predators into account, the current lion and cheetah population have not made a significant impact on wildebeest and hartebeest numbers.

Veterinary Wildlife Services Kimberley branch operations manager, Rudi Williams, said the game capture was a great success and all the animals were safely transported to their new home in the Kuzuko and Darlington sections of Addo.

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