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 Post subject: Mountain Zebra: Animals
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:17 am
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Location: Port Elizabeth
: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.....


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 Post subject: Cheetah in Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:09 am
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Location: SANParks, Port Elizabeth
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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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:17 am
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Guy, many thanx for the interesting and comprehensive reply.

Mountain Zebra is a special place and it is good to know that there are plans at hand to extend the park and to increase the bio diversity.

Please keep us informed on the work you are doing, not only in Mountain Zebra, but also in other parts of Southern Africa.

Bushman


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:48 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Gauties .
Its a very picturesque park , make sure you keep your eyes open after entering the gate for the black rhino , they are more in that area than on top of the mountain .
Great place to stop over at :D


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:51 pm 
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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.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:00 pm 
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Location: Bloemfontein, RSA
Thanks for the info. I am smiling already. any news on further expansion? Any other species that may be introduced?

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 Post subject: Mountain Zeba animals
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 2:27 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Pretoria, RSA
I think MountainZebra is one of South Africa's most beautiful places. The panormic views are unrivalled and breathtaking!
I have only visited the park once and I must admit that the animals are not exactly the main feature of the park, but nevertheless very special. I intend to visit the park again as soon as the opportunity presents itself again.
It is amazing to see the endangered Mountain Zebra in its natural environment. We also saw red hartebeest, eland and reedbuck! (Difficult to see in the other National Parks of SA)
The birdlife is also worth a mention- excellent opportunity to see some of the rare Karoo birds.
The reintroduction of cheetah should add an extra flavour to an already tasty park!


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zeba animals
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:39 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Wildman wrote:
I think MountainZebra is one of South Africa's most beautiful places. The panormic views are unrivalled and breathtaking!
I have only visited the park once and I must admit that the animals are not exactly the main feature of the park, but nevertheless very special. I intend to visit the park again as soon as the opportunity presents itself again.
It is amazing to see the endangered Mountain Zebra in its natural environment. We also saw red hartebeest, eland and reedbuck! (Difficult to see in the other National Parks of SA)
The birdlife is also worth a mention- excellent opportunity to see some of the rare Karoo birds.
The reintroduction of cheetah should add an extra flavour to an already tasty park!


Mountain Zebra Park used to be even better when you could walk out of the still unfenced camp and walk through fantastic East Cape Karoo type veld to a place where a huge rock dislodged and fell downthe mountain side (bigger than a house and it carved out a huge donga ) But then they introduced mild tempered disease free human habituated Buff and that was the end of my walkabouts...very sad but I suppose lots of people don't know how to react in the presence of this big bovine so they have to provide for the lowest common denominator and ban it for everyone which I accept but very sad at the same time.... great Park otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zeba animals
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:04 pm 
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Location: Schoenmakerskop (near Port Elizabeth)
Peter Betts wrote:
Mountain Zebra Park used to be even better when you could walk out of the still unfenced camp and walk through fantastic East Cape Karoo type veld to a place where a huge rock dislodged and fell downthe mountain side (bigger than a house and it carved out a huge donga )

You can still do 2 walks in the area of the main camp. The one takes you for a 4 kms up the hillside and back down again south of the camp (I think it is called the Black Eagle Walk) starting at the swimming pool and ending on the vlaktes below the cottages. The other is much shorter (and less strenuous) starting and ending at the swimming pool.


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 Post subject: MZNP cheetah
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:54 am 
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Location: Pretoria
This is a great milestone but MZNP also catered for those who wanted to experience the park on foot. This is now something of the past. :?:

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 Post subject: Re: MZNP cheetah
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:37 pm 
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Location: Schoenmakerskop (near Port Elizabeth)
Guava wrote:
This is a great milestone but MZNP also catered for those who wanted to experience the park on foot. This is now something of the past. :?:
For most of the park apart from the two short trails, this has been the case since they introduced Buffalo and Rhino a few years ago. The walking trails AFAIK are in the hills above the camp where the Buffalo & Rhino are unlikely to trouble you and the Cheatah will most likely restrict themsevles to the northern sections quite a few kays away.


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 Post subject: Info on MZNP cheetah
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:54 pm
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Location: Mountain Zebra NP
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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 Post subject: The introduction of cheetah will not affect hikers.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:54 pm
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Location: Mountain Zebra NP
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?


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 Post subject: Black rhino calf born in Mountain Zebra NP
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:54 pm
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Location: Mountain Zebra NP
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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 Post subject: Picture of calf?
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:54 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Mountain Zebra NP
:( 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.


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