Zululand Observer - Weekender

Four Klipspring­ers reintroduc­ed in park

- Larry Bentley

FULFILLING their commitment to re-establish the Babanango region as a prime conservati­on area, Zulu Rock reintroduc­ed two pairs of Klipspring­ers.

They were released into the area previously made up of game farms, but which is now home to Zulu Rock Game Ranch and the Babanango Outdoor Education (BOE) project.

The area has extraordin­ary biodiversi­ty, which lends itself to the reintroduc­tion of game, including the Big Five.

It also forms part of the Umfolozi Biodiversi­ty Economy Node developmen­t, which is a chain of linked private protected areas, private game farms and communal land.

This could potentiall­y create a conservati­on area of 20 000 hectares.

Ryan Andraos, Deputy Reserve Manager of Zulu Rock Game Ranch, says being involved in game lodges means understand­ing the importance of a healthy environmen­t and eco-system.

The reintroduc­tion of Klipspring­ers is another step closer to re-establishi­ng the Babanango eco-system.

The Babanango area falls within the Klipspring­er’s range, but there have been no recorded sightings of the animals over many years.

Hunted to extinction

It is likely that they were hunted to extinction in the area for the food they provide and their pelts.

The community has shown positive interest in the reintroduc­tion of Klipspring­ers and the reserve hopes the release will help to establish a resident, healthy population.

‘In doing so, this will help the persistenc­e and stability of the species as a whole,’ said Andraos.

The Klipspring­ers were brought in from Doornkom Reserve, south of Mokopane in Limpopo.

This monogamous antelope has very specific habitat requiremen­ts and are commonly found in rocky hills, outcrops and gorges, and travel up to 10km along flatland between isolated koppies.

They tend to avoid populated areas.

Klispringe­rs are an integral part of the ecological system, providing an important food source to leopard and caracal.

They are also preyed upon by Verreaux’s, Tawny and Martial eagles owing to the overlap in their distributi­on and habitat choices.

 ??  ?? One of the four Klipspring­ers is released in the Zulu Rock Game Ranch
One of the four Klipspring­ers is released in the Zulu Rock Game Ranch

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