Roan antelope release

Welgevonden can add an additional species to the mammal list. Four roan bulls were released on the reserve during January.

Two of them have been fitted with radio collars so that they can be monitored and their movements recorded.

The introduction of the four bulls will be used as a test on how roan will adapt to the habitat on Welgevonden. Hence the reason why bulls only were introduced, cows are considerably more expensive than bulls.

With the enhancement of the plains areas, more game are attracted out of the mountains and onto the plains. Roan, not being a good competitor, might find suitable habitat in the taller-grass areas of the plateaus and hills.

The four bulls were captured on a property belonging to Marakele Parks (Pty) Ltd and transported by Mpatamacha.

The intention was to capture five bulls, but due to thick bush and very high temperatures, the capture of the last bull was aborted. The roan was darted from a helicopter, and once it was on the ground, a pipe was fitted over the horns to protect the people. The collar was also fitted before it was loaded with a stretcher onto a waiting land cruiser, and then transported to the truck.

At the truck they were each loaded into their own compartment before the drug was reversed with an anti-dote. The trip to the East Gate area of Welgevonden took about 90 minutes, and although it was feared that they won’t want to come out of the truck easily, the exact opposite was true.

As soon as the doors were opened they were out of the truck. Once on the ground, they stood for a couple of minutes, observing their new surroundings, before making their way into the bush and their new home.