Wildebeest get a helping hand in Greater Kruger
The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves adjoining Kruger National Park, had released 50 wildebeest to supplement their existing population of around 80 animals.
Reports compiled by the rangers on the numbers of species in the Balule Nature Reserve stated that a total of 6 wildebeest had been lost in 2010, mostly due to predation. They also stated that despite this decrease in numbers, the breeding potential is still intact. At the end of September 2010, there had been a total of 16 recorded wildebeest in the reserve. The report also illustrated that the number of female wildebeest far outnumber the males.
A few years ago, the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves adjoining Kruger National Park, had released 50 wildebeest to supplement their existing population of around 80 animals. According to reserve warden Colin Rowles, "The release is generally deemed to be an experiment".
Between 1999 and 2001, the wildebeest numbers in the 57,000ha reserve plummeted from 300 to 100, eventually stabilising at around 80 animals. Predation by lions is believed to be the main cause of the decline, with the lions choosing wildebeest as a preferred meal.
Now that the population has stabilised, the reserve hopes that by almost doubling the antelope's numbers, they will be able to breed fast enough to keep pace with the lions' appetites. The reserve's annual census revealed that even without the addition of the 50 extra animals, the wildebeest population had already naturally increased by about 15 animals.