Four sable have been reintroduced into the Mapungubwe National Park and will be closely monitored using GPS collars in a test exercise to see if the habitat is suitable and if the sable are sufficiently able to hold their own against predators before more animals are reintroduced.
The sable will be the subject of intense scrutiny, not just because they are the first sable to be released into an area where the species was once common, but because they are the offspring of animals that were bred in zoos in Europe. A non-profit organisation called Back to Africa has created a breeding stock of sable in Graspan in the Northern Cape, using animals taken from zoos in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Great Britain. The four sable released into Mapungubwe are the offspring of these animals.
Back to Africa director Dr Hamish Currie says that depending on the success of the pilot project, they hope to help develop a population of 50 sables in South Africa's newest transfrontier park. Back to Africa is devoted to relocating rare and endangered African species from international zoos back into the wilds of Africa.