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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:11 am 
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The introduction of cheetah into Karoo National Park is still on the cards. However, as we hope you can understand, any new introductions should be planned and carried out according to planning regimes and depend on the availability of resources.

A population - in this case, springbok, cannot recover in a short space of time of one to two years. Their numbers need to be monitored over a length of time to ensure that should cheetah be introduced, it won't put a possible additional strain on their numbers.

Please bear with us.

Fayroush Ludick
Communications Manager - Frontier Region


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:16 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Hi FrontierPR

The feedback given is much appreciated, I do have a couple of questions though.

Since the "Jackal removal" and the introduction of Springbok, have there been a count or estimate of the numbers? Are there any signs of numbers increasing?

I am a regular visitor to Karoo National Park and always watch the Sightings Thread but for some reason it is just not as active as some of the other smaller parks for example Augrabies and Mountain Zebra. Will this change in the future?


Do appreciate the time taken to answer everyone's questions.
Pedre


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Hi Fayroush,

Thank you so much for taking the time to give us some feed back, much appreciated! :gflower:

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You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough - Mae West


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:24 pm
Posts: 474
Location: Somerset West
Hi Fayroush,

Thanks for the answer!

It still does not say very much -- in essence it is the same answer we have been receiving since the first news reports of the fence going up in time for the World Cup in 2010 -- every year we ask the same question, and evey year there is this same neutral answer without actually giving figures...

How about giving us the stats: Springbuck in 2010 = 500; 2011= 520; 2012 =600; 2013 =400 or whatever. Then we could understand your concern.

To put it another way -- you are happy to have 10+ lions in the park (surely they catch a springbuck or two even though it is not their main prey item), but not even 1 cheetah, that would eat far less than a lion... doesn't make sense to me.

Still, thanks for bothering to answer!

God bless,

Friedrich von Horsten

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``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kleinmond, Western Cape
I also appreciate the fact that somebody gave us some sort of answer - however, quite a frustrating answer as our questions are not really addressed.

1. What is the reason for the springbok population not being able to increase to satisfactory levels? Is it true that the high population of black-backed jackal is playing a major role?

2. Did park management (or SANParks management) play a role in unscientific culling of springbok a few years ago - leading to a "imbalance" in the male/female ratio? And because of this, SANParks had to buy in a considerable number of ewes to try and rectify the imbalance? This was told to me by Honorary Rangers.

3. Can we hear the truth - the absolute truth and nothing but the truth? If not - why not?

I love the park. I spend 3 - 4 weeks per year in the park (26 nights so far for 2013). I am not criticising with my questions. But I get the impression that some facts are withheld.

I am also curious to know why the buffalo was removed from the park when lions were released. Lions were released in Addo and Mountain Zebra without removing the buffalo. But when lion were released in Karoo, the buffalo first had to be removed.

The park had black wildebeest in the early years. They were also removed. Why?

I hope we (as the visitors and lovers of this park) can get the true answers.

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Chris Boucher


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:05 am 
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These are the answers to the questions above from our Regional Ecologist, Angela Gaylard:

1. What is the reason for the springbok population not being able to increase to satisfactory levels?
Springbok are known to suffer from capture myopathy, and many did not survive the reintroduction in 2010. Because SANParks spent over R2 million reintroducing the springbok in 2010, we need to be sure that their numbers have stabilised before introducing cheetah. Even if lion are to catch a few springbok, that would not affect the population. However, sprinbok are one of the cheetah's favourite species and it would be irresponsible to introduce cheetah before we are sure that the springbok can sustain the expected rates of predation that cheetah will bring. Census results over the past three years has seen their numbers at between 1 600 and 1 900. We'd like to see this number stabilise at around 2 000 before considering bringing in cheetah.

2. Is it true that the high population of black-backed jackal is playing a major role?
High populations of jackal did not cause the initial decline, but once the population had reached a low level, springbok were unable to balance the birth rate with the mortality rate, including that from jackal.

3. Did park management (or SANParks management) play a role in unscientific culling of springbok a few years ago - leading to an "imbalance" in the male/female ratio? And because of this, SANParks had to buy in a considerable number of ewes to try and rectify the imbalance? This was told to me by Honorary Rangers.
Park mananagement in 2004 undertook an aggressive cull of springbok, based on the stocking rate model that was commonly used at the time. However, because the park was expanded shortly after this, the springbok dispersed, herd sizes became smaller, reducing their ability to defend themselves against predators (at that time only jackal and caracal) and mainly, their ability to breed was reduced. This reduced breeding opportunity caused the further decline of this population. However, there was never a skewed sex ratio. A scientific paper describing all of this is currently in review.

4. I am also curious to know why the buffalso was removed from the park when lion were released. Lions were released in Addo and Mountain Zebra without removing the buffalo. But when lion were released in Karoo, the buffalo first had to be removed.
There was only a very small population of buffalo in the park at the time that the lion were released, and a conscious decision was made not to try to maintain this population in Karoo anymore. Therefore, instead of leaving them there to potentially become prey for lions, they were removed to be sold to raise funds at the Kirkwood Wilflife Festival auction for the Park Development Fund.

5. The park had black wildebeest in the early years. They were also removed. Why?

Angela could not provide an answer to this question, as this happened before herr time in the organisation.

I trust this answers all the unanswered questions raised.

Fayroush Ludick
Regional Communications Manager


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:37 pm 
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Thank you Fayroush for a very detailed reply........... :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Fayroush and Angela,

Thank you so much for this comprehensive answer. It makes sense.

Am glad the springbok are getting closer to 2000 level. Wonder what the true carrying capacity of Karoo is for springbok, if there is enough grazing for much more than that...

As for the buffalo, a small population like that would not stand much chance against Nossob and Bitterbal...

Thanks and God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

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``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:25 am
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Location: Groenkloof
Stoffel wrote:
I wish a spokesperson for the Karoo National Park, or Frontier Parks, or SANParks can inform us about the latest status regarding the planned release of cheetahs in the park. Can a moderator maybe "press on somebody's button" to give us an answer?

This has been coming on for a number of years now. The park fence has originally been electrified for the release of cheetahs. In the meantime lions and brown hyenas have been released. The speculation about the sustainability of the springbok population (foreseen to be the main prey for cheetahs in the park) has been raised on this forum before. But we never receive a clear and unadulterated reply.

I have once shared what I heard from one of the park's honorary rangers. Another forumite nearly stoned me (with words) and a spokesperson for the Frontier Parks (at that stage) said that it was not the full truth.

Thus - what is the situation regarding the planned release of cheetahs? And if the springbok population plays a role in this decision - what is the reason that their numbers apparently struggle to increase to desired levels?


Hi Stoffel

I have sent an email to FrontierPR and they will post here. Please allow me to apologise for the delayed response from our side. :gflower:

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Lesego Nko
Web forum and Online Stakeholder Relations
Lesego.nko@sanparks.org
Tel: (012) 426 5202


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:28 am 
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Hi Lesego

The item was responded to last week.

Regards,
Fay


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:38 pm 
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I am ashamed of myself that I never thanked the relevant persons for the detailed response to my questions. I really appreciated it.

It will be good to hear a qualified response on my question regarding black wildebeest.

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Chris Boucher


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