Thursday, 28 February 2013

Nyala at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

Image from The White Elephant Experience

Although nyala can be found in game reserves throughout South Africa today due to translocation, the eastern part of South Africa’s riverside thickets and dense bush areas, such as those found at Plettenberg BayGame Reserve, are their natural habitat.

Nyala like to stay close to a water source and the females are usually much smaller than the males. While males have large spiralling horns with white chevroned faces, females have short horns and the males are grey while females are a reddish brown colour. Their coats are marked with attractive vertical stripes and nyala also usually carry spots on their flanks. 

Image from Jay Christopherson
Nyala graze on leaves, fruit and flowers and it is this varied diet that has successfully secured their survival for the foreseeable future. Although nyala breed throughout the year, the mating season peaks during autumn and spring. Calves are born after a gestation period of 220 days. Twins frequently occur in nyala herds although single calves are the norm.

Interesting fact:
Young nyala rams look like females. This camouflages young males and also protects them from dominant bulls that can often be aggressive. This allows young males to grow up peacefully with the protection of the herd.

Image from The Animal Files

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Guest Review

It’s always so wonderful to hear back from guests who take the time to tell us how they enjoyed their stay with us.  Here is an email we received on 18 Feb 2013:

“Hi there

I would just like to say what a wonderful time we had visiting your reserve last week. I find it hard to believe, as I sit here in cold England, that last week I was beautifully warm and enjoying a fabulous morning seeing your incredible African wildlife!  
Photo Source: Plett Game Reserve
We are both thrilled to bits with our photos.  We learned such a lot from our very informative guide and the fact we were not rushed at all but were given ample time to enjoy observing the animals was a huge bonus.

Thank you also for your very quick replies to my enquiry emails before we initially left the UK, it made deciding when to come and what to do so much easier.

We really hope that one day we might be able to return

Thank you again

kind regards

Philippa Bishop. “

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Even Wildebeest Do It

Tying the knot. Image from AmO.
When writing the lyrics to his song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love” in 1928, Cole Porter knew as well as we here at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve know today that “birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it”. Just like humans many wild animals seem to have tender, affectionate moments with one another. While Valentine’s Day is usually a celebration of human love, we are celebrating animal love affairs this year. If you have any doubts that animals can love too, these pictures will have you “oohing” in belief very soon.

A tender moment. Image from Wallcoo.
First Dance. Image from Kawaii Talk
A kiss on the cheek. Image from Amazing Creatures
Blissful. Image from Kawaii Talk.

Companions. Image from Bluebirdflats

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Drawing The Line Against Rhino Poaching

image source

The number of rhinos poached in South Africa sky-rocketed last year and with 57 cases of rhino poaching already reported this year, 2013 should be a year in which we all take an active stance against the slaughter of these majestic animals. The white rhinos at the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve are always popular with guests and like many others we hope that we will be able to enjoy the company of these animals for a long time to come.

The large number of cars adorned with red rhino horns and the popularity of shopping bags that carry messages against rhino poaching suggests that many people are already sympathetic to the plight of rhinos. Yet there is always more that can be done. The anti-rhino poaching organisation OSCAP (Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching) suggests these additional ways through which rhino poaching awareness can be created:

  • Participate in Rhino Fridays by wearing your ‘Save The Rhino’ type T-shirt and then talking to folk about it
  • Share and forward any emails or newspaper articles that you come across with everyone you know. The more people that are talking about it, the more people are doing something about it the more chances there are that the powers that be will do more than they are  to save our rhino.
  • Whenever you or your family and friends participate in sporting events ie fun runs/walks, cycling events, triathlons etc, call yourselves ‘Team Rhino’, wear rhino T-shirts have a rhino mascot!
  • Get your class or school to make Friday’s Rhino Fridays and get all your class mates to send a postcard to President Zuma.
  • Encourage your school and or social group, art group whatever to start project like making a life sized rhino out of papier-mâché /wire, etc. Possibly in conjunction with a prominent business or your local radio station or newspaper. Have the rhino on display outside your school or at the front of a highly visible shopping cente (with their permission).
  • Write about it, talk about it, share about it.
These are some of the things that we can do from the South African side, however, the sad reality remains that as long as there is a demand for rhino horn products, primarily in China, there will be poachers who are willing to keep up the supply. While stronger legal action against rhino poachers is needed in South Africa, it is also necessary that we put pressure on our government to engage seriously with the Chinese government around the need to create educational materials and to take other measures to dispel the myth that rhino horn is a remedy for a range of physical ailments. After all, history shows us that working together is crucial to overcoming great obstacles such as this one.
image source
Read more about the rhino poaching issue on the OSCAP website.