Eland roam Cape Flats again after more than 200 years

2015-12-18 16:43
Eland return to the Cape Flats after 200 years (City of Cape Town)

Eland return to the Cape Flats after 200 years (City of Cape Town)

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Cape Town – Five eland are roaming the Cape Flats for the first time in more than 200 years, as part of a pilot project to control overgrown shrubs.

The tame eland were released into the Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve on Friday, said Cape Town’s environmental mayoral committee member Johan van der Merwe.

The absence of these animals over the past few decades had led to an increase in shrubs, changing an open habitat into a closed dense thicket.

As a result, plant and animal species that had adapted to open habitats had shrunk, Van der Merwe said.

"As Cape Town has some of the highest concentrations of endangered plants on earth, the re-establishment of large herbivores in the remaining natural fragments is vital for the conservation of species and ecosystems." 

In a three-year project, the eland will roam freely during the day and return to a boma at night.

Researchers will be able to investigate their impact on the veld.

"Staff will accompany the eland to ensure their safety and to monitor what they feed on."

It was called The Gantouw Project, after a word derived from the Khoi that means "eland path". The work was being done in partnership with the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust.

Read more on:    cape town  |  conservation  |  animals

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