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MAPESU ANIMAL COUNT GROWS IN NUMBERS

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The recent game count on Mapesu Private Game Reserve in September showed that we are heading in the right direction. Although aerial counts are effected by a large number of variables that mean they can never be completely accurate they serve as a valuable guide upon which to base management decision. By combining the data collected through the aerial count together with ongoing known-group counts, drive counts as well as camera trapping we can safely say that the following species occur in these numbers.

Zebra – In 2014 18 zebra were counted. In 2015 we introduced additional zebras onto the property. The 2016 count showed a minimum of 26 zebras on the reserve.

Waterbuck – In 2014 there were 12 waterbuck on the reserve. After introductions of additional numbers, we now estimate the total number of waterbuck on the reserve to be at least 50.

Blue Wildebeest – in 2014 there were 22 BWB on the reserve. The population has grown gradually to at least 28 in 2016.

Gemsbok have increased in number from 53 to 61 over the last 2 years.

196 impala were counted in 2014, 2 years later the population has more than doubled to at least 447 individuals.

In 2014 there were 15 eland on Mapesu, following a successful introduction in 2015 we now have at least 36 eland on the reserve.

The reserves kudu population is doing well growing from 154 individuals in 2014 to 184 in 2016. In 2015 we did capture and sell a few of the surplus kudu.

The reserves giraffe population has remained stable, dropping slightly from 13 to 12 individuals. Despite this a handful of cows appear to be pregnant and will soon drop their young. In 2017 we hope to increase the amount of giraffe on the reserve with additional purchases.

Additional species observed during the aerial count were duikers (45), steenbok (55), bushbuck (12) as well as plenty of warthogs. The two teams also saw African wild cat as well as a civet from the air. Through the various other counting systems we use we can also ascertain that the carnivores on the reserve are flourishing with observations of leopards with cubs in two distinct regions as well as a very active hyena den on the property.

It also brings me great joy to have introduced a herd of 7 elephants onto the reserve. As a keystone species these large pachyderms will help mold and shape the bush to the benefit of the other species on the reserve.

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