New additions to wildlife at Rietvlei, Dinokeng reserves
Pretoria - Rietvlei Nature Reserve has added a new member to its dwindling rhino family.
The calf was first spotted with its mother, India, last Sunday, according to the MMC for Environmental and Agriculture Management, Dana Wannenburg.
It was estimated to be about four days old going into the Easter weekend.
“Its gender cannot yet be determined as conservation officials will not disturb mother and calf, giving them sufficient time to bond. The calf will only be named once its gender has been determined,” he said.
India was relocated to Rietvlei from the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011, and her first calf was born in Rietvlei in 2014.
The newborn will be the fourth calf she has added to the nature reserve’s rhino population.
Almost a year ago, rhino Pippa gave birth to baby girl Zola.
Rietvlei is one of the largest urban nature reserves in South Africa and has an abundance of wildlife.
“The facility also boasts buffaloes, rhinos, and cheetahs; now we’re working towards re-establishing our lion population,” said the MMC.
“We’re upgrading security at the lion enclosure before we reintroduce lions there. We will provide more details as the project progresses.”
Over the past couple of years, several organisations, working together with the City, have dehorned the entire rhino population of the reserve.
The project is part of an annual initiative to prevent poaching by keeping the rhinos’ horns as short as possible so that poachers would not kill them for these.
The task is carried out by the Elephant Rhino People organisation, together with the reserve and Bull Security.
The annual dehorning of the rhinos was yielding positive results: “By keeping the horns short, it deters poachers who know there is little to gain from killing these animals,” the reserve said.
Due to Covid-19, visitor numbers to the reserve remain limited, and members of the public are encouraged to book in advance.
Meanwhile, five new cheetah cubs discovered at Dinokeng Game Reserve are said to be doing exceptionally well.
The cheetah cubs, which belong to Welgevonden female cheetahs, were found on March 20. Collar data shows that the cubs were most probably born a few days before they were found.
This was the third litter of cheetah cubs in the reserve.
To reinforce its commitment to nature, the City participated in The City Nature Challenge.
The initiative by the California Academy of Science and the National Geographic Society uses the iNaturalist app to collect as much data as possible on local flora and fauna.
The information will be used by scientists to understand better and protect nature.
The City Nature Challenge is international, and many cities around the world take part to send in as many observations as possible of each city’s biodiversity – trees, plants, insects, wild animals, fungi, and birds.
It kicked off on April 30 and ends on May 3. Nature enthusiasts are encouraged to take photos of wildlife in their own gardens using the iNaturalist app and submit them.