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What Is Welgevonden Game Reserve?

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  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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The Welgevonden Game Reserve is a game reserve featuring many common and rare species, located in South Aftica's Limpopo province. This beautiful reserve features mountains, streams and plains. There is also rock art made by the ancient tribes of the area. It is part of the Waterberg Biosphere, which is part of the larger Waterburg District, a collection of game reserves, a national park and other tourist attractions.

Welgevonden, which means well-found in Dutch, was first formed in 1993 as a preservation effort. Visitors can stay in one of several lodges available on the reserve itself. Accommodations are luxurious, and include fine dining inside or out. Guided safari tours are also very popular. There is no malaria at the Welgevonden Game Reserve.

Many species of animals and birds can be found at the Welgevonden Game Reserve. Some that can be seen include leopards, Brown hyenas, elephants, giraffes, and blue cranes. There are many conservation efforts focusing on specific species on the game reserve.

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From 2008 to 2011, several researches from the University of Pretoria studied various aspects of the ecology of leopards on the Welgevonden Game Reserve compared to leopards elsewhere in the Waterberg Biosphere. The research included the diet, home range, and information on the leopards themselves. Important prey for the Welgevonden leopards include the impala, bush pig, and warthog. Farmers in the area are a threat to the leopard population, since they shoot leopards who kill their livestock. In December 2010, the Endangered Wildlife Trust started a program to place dogs as guardians of these livestock, with good results.

The elephant population requires careful control so it does not overwhelm the other species or the available food supply. Sometimes elephants are relocated outside of the reserve. In 2005, a contraceptive program was instituted. This involves giving the female elephants an injection via darts once a year. Four male elephants were given vasectomies in 2006 in an experimental attempt to slow population growth, making it the first reserve where a successful elephant vasectomy was performed.

Lions also require control, so as not to endanger prey populations. A contraceptive program for lions at the Welgevonden Game Reserve did not work well, so other options have been implemented. Allowing an increase in the number of males has made for a competitive environment between prides. This controls the population because when a new male takes over a pride he kills the cubs. To prevent inbreeding, new males are occasionally added to the Welgevonden population.

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TreeMan
Post 4

I have a question as to what game reserve I should go to when I plan a trip to Africa.

I have heard stories about this particular game reserve and how they try and control their population of animals. I do not really think this is a bad thing, but I feel that it is not as natural as I would like my African experience to be, so I would like to visit a place where I can experience seeing the animals in their full natural habitat.

However, I have not ruled out this game reserve and have to ask if I am being a bit harsh in critiquing this place and am simply listening to one controversial issue too much?

matthewc23
Post 3

@stl156 - I understand exactly what you are saying and it definitely is something that is controversial and should be discussed. However, I have to say what they are doing is trying to preserve populations, by making sure they are not wiped out in the area by natural causes.

The fact that they are fencing in the animals to begin with is not natural in itself, in that they have taken steps to control the habitat of the animals. That being said this fenced in area means that the populations of some animals can be threatened, say like antelope, when they are not really a threatened species outside of the preserve.

This is why they take steps such as this and

to be realistic, I highly doubt that they had too many lions to begin with as they are very rare animals. I am betting with the population control they are simply keeping the number of lions at a few instead of several and not really hurting the population as a whole any.
stl156
Post 2

@JimmyT - I absolutely agree with you and I will take it to a further extreme by saying that I have no idea how they are getting away with what they are doing.

First off, these animals are not zoo animals that will spend the rest of their lives in captivity. Technically speaking, these animals are in captivity, but they are also in their natural habitat and practically undisturbed with their migrations and their normal course of life.

I find the fact that they are trying to sterilize animals disturbing when part of a game preserve is to preserve the natural habitat of the animals.

This is not a zoo. It is a place where they enclose the animals in a

large area that feels natural to them and allow people to look at them in their natural habitat. To try and play God and control populations of animals in such a setting sends not only a mixed message, but also is going against the very essence of what a game reserve is.
JimmyT
Post 1

I will have to say I find this particular game reserve to be quite innovative in their practices, but I have to question the ethics of what they are doing.

I know they are performing the contraceptive measures and vasectomies to help other species thrive, but they are doing so at the expense of making members of a species that is threatened and sought after regularly by poachers sterile.

I can understand that they are trying to save some populations of animals by controlling some, but one has to ask when a game reserve goes too far in their attempts to save certain animals and what ethics they sacrifice in order to do so.

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