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Media Release - 23 August 2004

Interest groups meet to discuss rare antelopes in KNP

Commercial game farmers, hunters, private game reserve officials and state conservation officials met to discuss the problems associated in conserving the Kruger National Park ’s rare Roan Antelope in Shingwedzi Camp in the Kruger National Park last week.

The two-day conference included presentations by various experts in their fields from both the public and private sector. Presentations were made by KNP scientists Dr Rina Grant, Dr Stefanie Freitag-Ronaldson, as well as game breeding experts and academics.

KNP’s Roan Antelope population has always been small, but had increased about 500 during the water provision era, which saw artificial water points installed at various locations in the Park. The population, however, dropped to below 70 and it is now believed that the introduction of artificial water points was one of the main reasons why numbers of this rare species dwindled.

At present, the KNP is tackling the problem in two ways, firstly by slowly decommissioning artificial waterpoints and, secondly, by creating breeding camps where these animals can flourish without threat from predators.

“Our problem that we hope to solve with these meetings is how to re-introduce these animals successfully into the wild without fear of predator attack,” Dr Grant said.

KNP has two breeding camps, one of them situated in the Vlakteplaas region near Shingwedzi and the other in the Mooiplaas region near Mopani. There is a third breeding camp – used for the breeding of Tsessebe – situated near Pretoriuskop.

Apart from the Roan antelopes in the breeding camps at Vlakteplaas and Mooiplaas, there are two distinct herds of these antelope species that run wild in the KNP, members of the largest herd can often be seen on the tar road between Punda Maria and Shingwedzi. Roan Antelope are listed as Conservation Dependent on the IUCN Red data list.

Visitors to the KNP can view two of these camps if they drive on either the Madlabantu Adventure Trail (enquire at Pretoriuskop) or the Northern Plains Adventure Trail (enquire at Shingwedzi or Punda Maria).

KNP Section Ranger Karien Loubser explains to a group of academics, researchers, commercial farmers and conservationists about the Vlakteplaas Roan Breeding Camp in the Far North Region of the KNP last week.

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Issued by:
Raymond Travers
Media Relations Practitioner
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4116
Cell: 082 908 2677

William Mabasa
HOD: Public Relations and Communications
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4363
Cell: 082 807 3919