Annual aerial census and contraception

Welgevonden’s annual aerial census was completed towards the end of September.

Apart from the general game species, some interesting sightings during the census included blue cranes, leopard, a cheetah, porcupine and a lioness with young cubs.

Although the overall figures were similar to what was expected, there was an increase in especially the smaller antelope species which is encouraging.

 

The results of the census are given in the table below:

Species Numbers Species Numbers
Baboon troops 35 Hippo 2
Blesbok 3 Impala 695
Blue wildebeest 469 Kudu 183
Buffalo 8 Lion 20
Common reedbuck 120 Roan antelope 2
Eland 158 Springbuck 3
Elephant 120 Tsessebe 3
Gemsbok Warthog 220
Giraffe 30 Waterbuck 140
Hartebeest 130 Zebra 472

Note that the numbers for the smaller antelope species are not given as they are often difficult to see and their numbers would be an under representation of what occurs on the reserve. This includes duiker, steenbok, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and nyala. Therefore only the numbers for the larger animals are given. The white rhino numbers are also not given for security reasons.

The elephant contraception for this year was also done during the census. The drug (pZp) is an immuno-contraceptive that needs to be applied annually by means of a single dart fired from a dart gun out of the helicopter. As far as possible all adult cows that are within the breeding age are currently contracepted. Since August 2007 no new calves were born on the reserve.