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MZNP: Animals

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra

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Bushman
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Location: Port Elizabeth

MZNP: Animals

Unread postby Bushman » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:59 am

:roll: During my visit at the park last year, I was informed by one of the rangers that cheetah will be reintroduced to the park. I though that cheetah from the Kalahari would adapt well to the park, especially in the recently acquired extension of the park.

Please update me on this or other projects.

I feel that Mountain Zebra is under-rated as it has so much to offer. Publicity with regard to the Cheetah and/or other similar projects will go a long way in putting the park in the public eye. It really is a special place and should be among the top parks in terms of popularity.

:?: One more observation......: I have never seen bushbuck in the park, yet it is a common animal on the surrounding farm lands and should be endemic to the park.

Looking forward to a reply.....

Guy Castley
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Cheetah in Mountain Zebra

Unread postby Guy Castley » Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:17 am

Hi

Cheetah will be reintroduced to the park but the final scheduling of this has not yet been approved. It is likely that the cheetah will be sourced from the Kalahari but they could also be obtained from reputable captive breeders such as De Wildt or from Namibia. Gus Mills (SANParks carnivore specialist scientist in Skukuza), in a draft large carnivore species management plan for SANParks has highlighted that the mixing of genes from various populations in southern Africa is not a critical concern. The Kruger population is probably too small to act as a source at the moment as the dynamics within this population is poorly understood.

It is possible that a few cheetah could be introduced relatively soon (within the next two years) as there have been some critical land purchases recently (but these will only be incorporated at the end of 2006). It must be remembered however that the population will not be viable and will have to be managed as a larger metapopulation (smaller populations all forming part of a larger population). Only once the park as expanded significantly (in the order of 80 - 100 000 ha) could it potentially support a self sustaining cheetah population (we have estimated that in excess of around 30 cheetah could be supported should the park expand beyond 80 000 ha). The prey base that the park supports would certainly provide sufficient resources for cheetah.

The presence of bushbuck in the park is determined by the suitability of the habitat. There are few historical records of bushbuck in the Cradock district but as you have been pointed out the species has been seem in the surrounding farm lands. One of two options could explain this. Either these farmers have re-introduced bushbuck onto their lands or the species has shown a natural expansion of its existing range. This is not impossible given the range expansion shown by other species such as kudu.

Bushbuck were recorded from neighbouring districts historically and is is feasible that bushbuck may have moved into the riverine habitats of the MZNP periodically. Bushbuck have been recorded intermitently in the MZNP and more regularly over the past few years such that in 2004 SANParks took the decision to boost the low numbers by introducing additional animals. At this stage a further 10 animals have been introduced.

I hope this has answered the questions.

Guy Castley
Animal Ecologist
Arid Ecosystems Research Unit, SANParks

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Addo Elephant
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Unread postby Addo Elephant » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:51 pm

At present the plans are that cheetah will be introduced in th first few months of 2007. Predator-proof fencing around the park is currently being completed.
Megan Taplin
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Info on MZNP cheetah

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:48 am

After lenghty planning and waiting the cheetah finally arrived at MZNP. Two males were introduced, followed by two young females. The animals will be kept in enclosures for three to four months before their release into the veld. The females will be released first so as to allow them to settle first before the older and more experienced males are released. The cheetahs are doing great although the young females are still bit shy and not as approachable as the males.

The introduction of the cheetahs will not impact on hikers that want to do the three day walk. It will still be safe to do so. Cheetahs wont under normal circumstances attack people except when they are cornered or threatened. The rest camp and picnic areas will also remain unfenced and this will surely make the stay at Mountain Zebra NP more exciting. Imagine you wake up one morning with a cheetah walking around your chalet. :)

We are all proud of this great successfull event, and will keep you up to date with any news relating to our park and the cheetah.

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The introduction of cheetah will not affect hikers.

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:58 am

The introduction of cheetah will not affect hikers that want to explore the park on foot. Hiking on the different routes will still be allowed. As long as you stay on the designated routes of course.As j-ms correctly indicated, the trails are mainly in the southern section of the park and dont traverse through normal cheetah habitat. It is however not impossible to find the cheetah in mountainous areas as they will explore the entire park area to determine and patrol their range boundaries. We will also keep the rest camp unfenced untill other predators or scavengers are introduced.

When you encounter a cheetah, dont approach the animal and dont try to get closer to the animal.Keep an eye on it until you are out of the area. Stay together and keep children in close proximity of the adults. Do not run away as that may trigger the cheetah's instinct to chase and kill.

It is important to realize that a visit to MZNP is not like a visit to the park a few years ago. The introduction of buffalo, black rhino and now cheetah changed the whole dynamics in the park. Visitors should be alert at all times, as they may encounter any of these species anywhere in the park.

The first two cheetah will be released fromthe holding camps by the end of May 2007 and the other two by the end of June 2007.

I will keep you posted on the exact date of release.

Who will be the first to spot a free roaming cheetah in MZNP?

Mountain Zebra Guru
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Black rhino calf born in Mountain Zebra NP

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:34 am

A new black rhino calf was born in Mountain Zebra National Park. This is the second calf born in the park and everyone is delighted about the news. The first born calf died at the age of six months and the actual cause of death is unknown. We hope this calf will survive the critical one year period and will contribute to the park's breeding program when it is older.
The calf and cow will be monitored carefully for the next few months with minimum disturbance.

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Picture of calf?

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:53 pm

:( Unfortunately the calf did not avail itself to be photograhed. I tried by all means but the calf was sleeping next to mother in she shade behind some shrubs, so it was very difficult to get close enough for a picture. We shouldn't forget about the temper of a black rhino cow with a calf also. So taking pictures close to a sleeping rhino with a noisy digital camera is not a good idea. :)

We hope to post a picture of the calf very soon.

Mountain Zebra Guru
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Another black rhino calf for Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Tue May 22, 2007 9:11 am

It is with great excitement to announce that a second black rhino calf was born recently in the Mountain Zebra NP. Both of the calves are estimated to be between 3 and 4 months old. Their progress will be monitored. Lucky visitors already sighted the rhino cow with her calf on the Ubejane loop on several occasions.

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Unread postby dianne » Tue May 22, 2007 12:24 pm

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Unread postby dianne » Tue May 22, 2007 12:25 pm

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DuQues
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Unread postby DuQues » Tue May 29, 2007 4:37 pm

Cheetah Released in Mountain Zebra National Park - The newsrelease on the frontpage of the site, with great photos!
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

Mountain Zebra Guru
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Two healthy rhino calves at MZNP.

Unread postby Mountain Zebra Guru » Wed May 30, 2007 8:36 am

The recently born black rhino calves in Mountain Zebra National Park were observed with their mothers after the cold spell we experienced a week ago. They are all doing well, and their condition is excellent. They were joined by the the bull that farthered them as well as the other resident bull. This was an unusual sighting to see all six rhino together in one place. We were able to sex the two calves and are glad to announce that it they are two females. We will keep on monitoring the rhino and will keep you updated their progress.

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Cheetah's released ...

Unread postby Foxy » Wed May 30, 2007 8:49 pm

Article in the EP Herald 30 May 2007

Two cheetahs have been released in the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock, becoming the first free-ranging big predators in the area in more than a century.

The two 16-month-old females were acquired from Samara Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet three months ago and have been acclimatising in a boma since then. They were fed with carcasses through this period, but as wild-caught cats their hunting instincts would have remained as strong as ever, said Mountain Zebra section ranger Johan de Klerk.

Both animals are fitted with radio collars. De Klerk and his team will be monitoring them carefully to see how they progress in targeting the park‘s antelope.

The dream of expanding the park and restoring this balance started a decade ago with the sale of two paintings by famous British artist David Shepherd.

More than R1-million was raised and the funds were passed on to SANParks, which added them to further sponsorship from Vesta Medicines, Sasol, WildAid and the Barbara Delano Foundation.

SANParks matched the total and the net funds were used to buy nine farms, expanding the park to 28 412ha.

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Addo Elephant
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Unread postby Addo Elephant » Thu May 31, 2007 9:14 am

Those who are following this story will be pleased to know that the rangers tracked the two female cheetahs yesterday and found them together and "in hunting mode" which is a very good sign.

I was privileged enough to be at the release and it was fantastic to see the two cats walk out of the boma (after a lot of hesitation, of course) and into the wild!
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Last edited by Addo Elephant on Thu May 31, 2007 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Megan Taplin
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Arnold
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MZNP: Cheetahs

Unread postby Arnold » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:15 pm

In reply to an earlier question: No, unfortunately the bomas in which the cheetahs are kept for their time of adaptation cannot be viewed from the public accessible roads due to understandable reasons.

I had the privilege though to be allowed by park management as part of HR activities in the park to view the cheetahs while in the boma. Pics of the two males, still in the boma - named Batman and Robin - attached:

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Arnold vd Westhuizen
(HR-Secretary: MZNP Region)


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