Comings and goings at NamibRand
Issue 4 (May 2009) Giraffe and zebra at NamibRand Nature Reserve....

 

IN Three giraffes have been trucked into the NamibRand to increase the genetic diversity of the reserve’s small herd, writes Danica Shaw. The long-necked travellers spent the night in the truck and, once the sun rose, were very curious about their new home. NamibRand staff prepared a temporary holding boma near a waterpoint, into which the giraffe were released early in the morning. The new giraffe were all two to three years old and initially reluctant to leave the safety of their transport truck. But, at dusk, they calmly left the boma for the wild. The following morning, staff herded the youngsters towards the other reserve giraffes and the two groups bonded rapidly. Within three months of their arrival last year both new females had calved. Giraffe were reintroduced to the NamibRand in 2003.

 

OUT In order to reduce grazing pressure on the delicate arid environment, staff at NamibRand Nature Reserve had to capture and relocate nearly fifty Burchell’s zebra. A capture boma was constructed in such a way that the walls were hidden by shrubs and natural cover, allowing the zebras to be herded into the funnel shaped enclosure by helicopter. At the end of the boma the animals were then moved up a ramp and immediately loaded onto the waiting trucks. Once on the trucks, the zebras were tranquilised to calm them for the journey to their new home. Care was taken to keep family groups of zebras together both during the capture and on the trucks, so that their social framework would stay intact once offloaded at their new homes. The animals were sold and transported to four different game farms throughout Namibia. Around 200 Burchell’s zebra now remain on the reserve. 

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