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Media Release: Animals Relocated to Establish a New National Park

20 July 2006

South African National Parks (SANParks) is currently involved in a massive operation to translocate animals from the old Vaalbos National Park near Barkley West in the Northern Cape, to a new national park that will be established on a recently acquired piece of land called Wintershoek, south west of Kimberley.

The establishment of the new park involves de-proclamation of Vaalbos National Park following a successful land claim made on a section of the current park by the Sidney on Vaal claimants. This will be followed by the proclamation of the new park and a name change process, and culminate in an official launch ceremony where the official naming and proclamation will be made.

The translocation includes 1 200 mostly wildlife endangered species, which will be relocated in three phases. Phase one which was completed in March saw 234 wildlife relocated to other national parks like Tankwa and Augrabies National Parks in the Northern Cape and Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape and Mapungubwe National Park in Limpopo, where similar species are already available.

Phase two which was scheduled specifically for the winter season for heat sensitive animals, started on 22 June and 346 animals have been moved; bringing the total number of translocated animals to 580. Animals relocated during both phases include 5 White Rhinos ; 11 Giraffe; 163 Red Hartebeest; 43 Blue Wildebeest; 39 Tsessebe; 85 Gemsbok; 36 Plains Zebra; 76 Springbok; 10 Eland and 141 Buffalos.

Says SANParks Chief Executive Dr David Mabunda: “SANParks supports the country’s land restitution process and I am very pleased to announce that all stakeholders worked tirelessly to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement in regards to the Vaalbos claim.”

“The acquired piece of land in Wintershoek has very little human intervention and disturbance. Late rains have also provided plenty of vegetation and this will assist in a quick rehabilitation of the animals.”

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