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Media Release: New wildlife and roads for Colchester area of AENP

04 November 2009

Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) has introduced large wildlife species and opened up new tourist road loops in the Colchester area of the Park, south of the main game area.

Wildlife introductions culminated last week with the translocation of over 100 buffalo to this newly developed area of the Park. The buffalo, which are valuable in conservation terms due to their disease-free status, were moved from the Park’s main game area by Park rangers and the SANParks game capture unit.

The translocation of buffalo followed the release of 80 red hartebeest, 40 Burchell’s zebra and over 20 eland into the area. Some of the hartebeest were translocated from Mountain Zebra National Park, while the remainder of hartebeest, the zebra and eland were purchased through the World Bank project which is being implemented in the Park.

Seventeen kilometres of tourist roads leading off from the Park’s Southern Access Road, have just been opened in this Colchester area, giving visitors a richer wildlife viewing experience while exploring this newly developed area of the Park.

In a recent development, R11.7 million worth of funds has been secured through the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Expanded Public Works Programme for the construction an additional 20km of roads in the Park’s Colchester area. Construction on these new tourist roads will begin in January 2010.

The newly constructed roads have been named after significant characters in the Park’s history. The Vukani Loop is named after Stephen Harold Trollope, the Park’s first manager, who was known as “Vukani” (which means “get up” in Xhosa) by his rangers because of the way he called them to duty each morning. Harvey’s Loop is named after the Harvey family who provided a refuge to the last 16 remaining elephants on his farm before the proclamation of the Park. The Harvey’s farm was later incorporated into the Colchester area of the Park.

The Colchester area will see the return of elephants, lions and other wildlife when plans to take down fences between the Park’s main game area and Colchester area are put into action. This is likely to take place late in 2010.

The Colchester area of the Park is accessible from the Matyholweni Gate, just off the N2 near the town of Colchester, about 40km from Port Elizabeth, and includes the Matyholweni Rest Camp with its twelve chalets. Matyholweni gate has become a popular entrance to the Park for visitors from Port Elizabeth, who then drive through the Park to the main game area and exit via the main entrance gate.

Issued by: South African National Parks

Enquiries: Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra National Parks, tel: (042) 233-8609