As the final development outing for the interns who are about to graduate the programme, we took them to Elandsberg Nature Reserve near Wellington. This visit was a treat as the interns learnt about the various conservation projects taking place on the reserve and enjoyed a game drive.
It was fascinating to learn about and to see the breeding programmes taking place on the farm. One revolutionary project is aimed at re-breeding the extinct quagga, a zebra-like animal with no stripes on its rump and legs, and reintroducing it into reserves in its former habitat. Additionally, the breeding of disease-free buffalo began in 1999. As most of the buffalo in Southern Africa are infected with corridor disease and foot and mouth disease, ‘clean’ animals from the breeding programme are in great demand. The interns saw the reintroduced quagga on their game drive, as well as bontebok, Mountain zebra and eland.
The reserve is a critical conservation area for two rare fynbos vegetation types, Swartland Alluvium Fynbos and Swartland Alluvium Renosterveld – a highlight was spotting the endangered Watsonia dubia during the drive.
A big thank you to the staff of Elandsberg for showing us around and sharing your work with us!