On the 5th May, UmPhafa, welcomed 80 blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) to the reserve.

The blesbok is a subspecies of the bontebok antelope endemic to South Africa, Eswatini and Namibia. The name ‘blesbok’ derives from the Dutch term for “blaze”, referring to its white forehead. Historically confined to the coastal plain of the Western Cape in South Africa, the blesbok has been introduced widely to privately owned game farms outside of their natural range. Blesbok are an important antelope species to have on UmPhafa due to their ecological value. By eating grasses, blesbok keep the grasslands trim, generating new growth. They also form a vital food source for larger predators.

The game capture and release process of our 80 blesbok was a success and all the volunteers on the reserve got to experience the release of the animals, as well as learn the value of introducing new genetics onto a reserve.

Intern Beth says “It was an amazing experience to witness the blesbok being released onto the reserve and I’m looking forward to watching them integrate into the UmPhafa ecosystem.”

As well as the release of the blesbok, we also welcomed the release of six Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) on the reserve.

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