from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE relocation of some elephants to the Babanango game reserve is a historic move for the resort and wildlife conservation in South Africa.
Some 16 elephants have recently been introduced onto the reserve, which already boasts the big five and is home to over 300 birds and 79 different species of butterflies.
“This plays a significant part in the reserve’s ambitious and successful re-wilding journey,” the reserve said welcoming the jumbos.
The first elephants to arrive were a small breeding herd of seven brought in from Manyoni Private Game Reserve in Maputaland, with their genetic lineage coming from Kruger National Park.
This was followed by two bulls from Tembe Elephant Park located in northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
The latest additions to the reserve were seven elephants from Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape.
This occasion signals their triumphant return to an area of Zululand, where the giant animals have been absent for more than 150 years.
The translocation of the elephants from three different reserves across South Africa was made possible through key partner collaborations with Conservation Outcomes, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Aspinall Foundation, Over & Above Africa, DCM Surfaces and South African National Parks.
Babanango, in the heart of KZN, is a showcase for one of the most ambitious rewilding projects in Southern Africa in recent years.
The reserve occupies a vast wilderness area of over 20 000 hectares that is steeped in Zulu history and layered upon geological features that date back to the beginning of time.
Mzikantu Matoti, the lodge manager, said they were uniquely positioned.
“We got a battlefield, Sandlwana rock drift, black river not too far away from us,” the manager said.
“We also have our big five reserves where guests can come through and explore the natural world.”
KZN, mostly populated by the Zulu speaking people, a majority in South Africa, has a lot to offer in culture.
“We have a rich history within the area, being the home of Zulus, being where King Shaka had his famous battle, and where we had the great battle of Sandlwana. It is one of the jewels in the African crown,” Matoti said.
– CAJ News