The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is hoping to get landowners around the country to focus their attention on South Africa's most threatened small antelope, the oribi. Between September 1 and 15, landowners who know or suspect there are oribi on their properties are requested to count them and sent the results in to the EWT.
The Oribi Working Group conducted a similar survey in 2003, discovering that most oribi were found on private land (1873 animals, compared to 600 in Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal's protected areas), although almost half the farms in the survey had five or less oribi. The oribi had become extinct on 10 of the 220 farms that took part in the survey.
This year, they wish to extend the survey into the Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape regions. Once all the data is collected, the EWT will have a better idea of where the important populations are and where conservation efforts should be focused. Oribi live in grassland areas, and are threatened by loss of grassland habitat, snaring, illegal hunting with dogs and illegal sport hunting. For more information or survey forms, contact the EWT on 011 486 1102.