26 May 2005
On 20 May 2005, 20 tsessebe were offloaded in Mapungubwe National Park. A small group of eight Red Hartebeest was offloaded as well, soon to be followed by 30 more animals.
Tsessebe occurred naturally in the area in the past. These antelope also happen to be one of the fastest on earth, with speeds of up to 75km/ hr recorded.
Mapungubwe already has a rich diversity of large mammals, and the re-introduction of these species are steps towards re-establishing the faunal assemblages of the past. The Tsessebe and Red Hartebeest follow on the heels of the re-introduction of White Rhino during 2004, as well as the introduction of Black rhino from the Kruger National Park into the adjacent Venetia Reserve. More specie introductions are planned for the following years.
Most of the large mammal species already occur naturally in the park, including elephant, giraffe, eland and other common plains game, as well as most large predators such as leopard, brown and spotted hyena, cheetah, wild dog and the occasional lion.
The unique management of Mapungubwe National Park is personified by these re-introductions of species. The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (a world heritage site) has been shaped by our ancestors into a unique blend of cultural and biological aspects. The human impact of the past often guide the management decisions of today. In Mapungubwe the rangers do not only need to know about the birds and the bees, but knowledge on Stone Age and Iron Age aspects and sites play a very important role.
These animal re-introductions will eventually be for the good of the whole area, including the Transfrontier Conservation Area, not just for biodiversity purposes but in stimulating interest and better game viewing opportunities.
Park Manager: Mapungubwe National ParkBernard van Lente