Home News Plan to bring more hippos back to the Karoo

Plan to bring more hippos back to the Karoo

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“Our goal is to restore the Seekoei River valley to its pristine, wild and natural state so that wildlife and humans can thrive together and prosper.”

File picture

CONSERVATIONIST, farmer and owner of the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy that is situated near Hanover and Colesberg, Piet Cronje Ferreira plans to increase the hippopotamus population on his farm.

The last hippos that populated the 300-kilometre Seekoei River in the Northern Cape were hunted to extinction in the 1700s.

Ferreira reintroduced hippos to his farm in 2006, where they were released onto the Karoo Gariep Conservancy, which includes the Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve and the Hanover Aardvark Nature Reserve.

He said that there was only one hippo left after dominant bulls fought and killed each other.

“I would like to introduce three hippos onto the farm, depending on the amount of funds raised. Ideally I would have liked to establish a new herd of three males and two females, although the cost of capturing and transport are quite exorbitant.

“Our goal is to restore the Seekoei River valley to its pristine, wild and natural state so that wildlife and humans can thrive together and prosper.”

Ferreira stated that the reserve featured the elusive ‘Shy Five Animals’ including the porcupine, black-footed cat, bat-eared fox, aardvark and aardwolf, as well as 225 bird species.

“We have had visitors from all over the world to witness these rare sightings on night drives and early morning safaris … There are no predators on the farm and no animals are hunted, as the focus is on conservation and preservation.

“The Northern Cape is an ideal destination, as it is malaria free and is vastly populated so we have managed to stay afloat during the national lockdown.”

He added that he was involved in a project to establish a safe house for the Khoisan.

“We also want to uplift the people of the Karoo and want people and animals to live in harmony. I am also involved in a number of conservation projects and anti-poaching programmes. It is important to protect wildlife and share the resources of the planet.”

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