Before lions were released, I stayed in the park for 13 nights during December 2008/January 2009. I was told by honorary rangers doing duty in the park at that time that the release of cheetahs were kept back because of ill-considered hunting (rather harvesting) of springbok. Springbok were shot in great numbers to bring the population down as the park could not carry the high numbers untill the electric fencing was completed. No balance was kept between males/females during the harvesting process. This led to a total imbalance between rams and ewes. More ewes were hunted. The increase in jackal and caracal numbers had a further negative effect on population growth as the young lambs were preferential prey. This led to SANParks "importing" great numbers of ewes at very high cost. Up till now numbers of springbok has still not increased to acceptable levels to introduce cheetah.
I am "selling" this at the same price I got it from more than one honorary ranger. True?? I have no reason not to believe the HR's.
Stoffel, if I am you, i will rather comment on official Media releases from SANParks regarding the springbok issue, before using my own opinions and "facts" from Honorary Rangers (Voluteers) and state that as facts on this forum..
Your comment on the preferred species of prey for cheetah is also wrong. Cheetah is like any other cat species very opportunistic and will take any prey within a certain sie limit. In Kgalagadi the cheetahs prefered prey species is steenbok, while in Mountain Zebra NP they preferred to prey on mountain reedbuck for a long time before switching over to other species. Your comment that the springbok population in Karoo NP has still not increased to acceptable levels is also your own opinion
.Did you count the springbok yourself and made the deduction, because the latest info from Karoo Management is that they are waiting to conduct the annual aerial surveyfirst, to get estimates on herbivore numbers, before making any decision on the introduction of cheetah. Please refrain from "selling" incorrect or half true statements on this forum.
It will be great to hear the true facts about the release of cheetahs and the present springbok situation (if you have them). Did I really state the information as facts. I asked the question: True???
And regarding the springbok population to increase to acceptable levels was again emphasized by a ranger in the park when I stayed there in January this year. It was said in so many words that if the sprinbok population seems to be on a level where management wants it, only then the release of cheetahs will take place.
It is quite true what Friedrich van Horsten says above: The problem is that NO regular update/info is forthcoming from Sanparks, so we have to listen to second best info!
And I can only accentuate what Kite also said above: Probably not as polite a tone as we like on these forums.