Bursary and Volunteer Work
Leopard Tortoise Monitoring Project
We are running a project to monitor individual Leopard Tortoises on the conservancy. Although they are easily identifiable by their unique mouth and their outer shell, very little is actually known about their home range and their movements. The recent drought has meant that although the tortoises are breeding well, very few young successfully leave the nest. Guests may well have the opportunity to help us with the monitoring project and we hope that it will allow us eventually to see how far and where they are travelling and understand more about this fascinating species.
Nyala Breeding Project
Although not a species historically occurring in the Karoo there is presently a slow migration taking place into the area from the north-east. Nyala populations have been severely depleted across Southern Africa and we are keen to play a part in their recovery. Nyala typically flourish in riverine thickets, but as a first step we are developing a core breeding herd in a smaller camp that we can continuously monitor and manage. Once the population is able to withstand the threat of predators we will release them into the conservancy where they will be able to roam freely with other game.
Gemsbuck Breeding Project
We have a large breeding herd of gemsbuck, a species of large antelope well suited to the arid landscape of the Karoo. This was our first breeding programme, and the herd continues to do well in the conservancy’s mixed terrain.
Birds in Reserves and Bird Atlasing Project
This project is run as a national “citizen science” project by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) based at the University of Cape Town and encourages as many participants as possible to participate in order to maximise its knowledge, and therefore its ultimate success. The aim is to collect data on the existence and movements of birds across South Africa, gathering information from participants who are able to submit lists of the bird species they’ve observed in certain areas. We are excited to be taking part in this project and encourage our guests to record and cross-check their sightings on the conservancy with us so that we can compile an ever more accurate picture of our bird populations here in the Karoo.
Our herd consists primarily of Nguni cattle. We have always had a fascination of this breed. The early Zulu people used the unique and distinctive markings and horn shapes to classify and recognise their cattle and they can be seen in early San paintings too. We have also introduced Ankole cattle, a direct relative of the Nguni breed, found in large numbers further north in the continent and rare in Southern Africa. We are very selective with our breeding animals and strive to maintain and consistently improve all the characteristics that have allowed these animals to thrive in harsh conditions. These small framed cattle utilise every area of the conservancy, breed and calve easily, are drought and disease resistant and their iconic long horns assist in keeping them cool in a tough environment.