FREE-RANGE ROAN IN LAPALALA!
Since the last sighting of a roan antelope in Lapalala during the late 1990s, it has always been an objective to re-establish a free-ranging population of these impressive antelope (the second largest antelope in the world after the eland) on the reserve. This month, the big step was taken when eight bulls were released in the reserve, as well as a breeding herd of 19 individuals in the 1000 ha Mooimeisiesfontein buffalo enclosure. The re-introduction will help to further restore the natural biodiversity of the reserve, and promote conservation awareness for this threatened and declining antelope species.
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES & RAINFALL
FEBRUARY Rainfall = 67 mm Min temp = 16.4 °C Max temp = 27.4 °C
These wild mushrooms suddenly appeared near Founders after a few days of good rainfall. But don’t let their prettiness deceive you! The false parasol mushroom (Chlorophyllum molybdites) is a highly poisonous fungus and its similarity to the edible white parasol mushroom makes it one of the most commonly consumed poisonous mushroom species in the world.
Maintaining Lapalala’s boundary fence has always been a challenging task, due to its rocky and uneven terrain as well as its inaccessibility in many places. However, with the anticipated arrival of lions in 2019, it is crucially important that our entire fence line is predator-proof. This dedicated team, equipped with overnight camping gear, is currently assessing the entire 120 km fence line surrounding the reserve, upgrading and strengthening every potential weak point they find!
AUTOMATED SLIDING GATES FOR BREEDING CAMP TOUR
Our popular breeding camp tour has been upgraded with the addition of more automated sliding gates. While in the past it required manually opening and closing of all gates, guests can now enjoy a worry-free journey through our breeding facilities while observing some of the finest African species and their offspring, at the press of a button!
MOVING BUFFALO THROUGH THE PALALA
If a buffalo decides to cross a river during a capture operation, there is no choice but to follow him! In this case, our buffalo was a massive 1000 kg bull that, after being darted, decided to cross the Palala River just before going down. After the buffalo was carried onto a Land Cruiser by a team of 24 strong men, the next step was to agree on the best route back through the rocks and sandbanks of the river. Everybody held their breath while Hermann performed his “go and don’t hesitate” manoeuvre to the other side. This buffalo-laden Land Cruiser certainly proved its mettle!
We are progressing with our database of known individual leopards living in our reserve. For example, this beautiful female moves predominantly in the area between Modumela and Amphitheater, and her tracks can often be found on the road network surrounding Melora.
Perhaps the most recorded leopard during the surveys is this impressive dominant male at Mukwa site. It seems he has a very large territory, covering Mukwa, Founders, Kubu Dam and even Kolobe. He is easily distinguishable on the photos due to the L-and-dot shaped pattern behind his right shoulder.