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Two male cheetahs have been released in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, introducing a new era of conservation for the region.
Sales and Marketing Manager for the game reserve, Seyms Brugger explained that the release of the two predators forms a small part of a much larger project that started in 2017. This initiative involves releasing endemic animals native to the area.
According to Brugger, Babanango has already released a wide selection of wildlife that were native to the region, including rhino, buffalo and wildebeest.
Additionally, Brugger pointed out that it should be noted, that the release of the cheetahs marks a historic moment for Northern KwaZulu-Natal, as it for the first time in over 200 years that these majestic cats once again roam freely in the hills and valleys of Babanango.
“With the introduction of the predators, we officially released the two cheetahs near Zulu Rock Lodge on 27 July 2022 and two days later, they killed their first adult wildebeest,” Brugger said.
He emphasised that the kill of the wildebeest came with a sense of relief. “This was the first time that they hunted without their mother, as both were still hunting together with her when they came from the Eastern Cape.”
Prior to the successful kill, Brugger pointed out that collars were put onto the two predators so that Babanango Game Reserve could monitor their movements and behaviour.
While the game reserve has predators such as hyenas on their property, the two cheetahs are the first apex predators. They will also not be the last. “We have two more cheetahs, females, on their way. We will also be releasing lions in the area.”
The game reserve has noted natural occurring leopards already.
Adding to this, Babanango Game Reserve will also be receiving and releasing elephants in the coming months.
According to Brugger, the lions, elephants and female cheetahs will hopefully arrive by September 2022.
“By the end of the year, we are aiming to have a fully-fledged Big 5 right here in Babanango Game Reserve,” declared Brugger.
With massive leaps and strides made in conservation in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, what are your thoughts on the above-mentioned?
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