Endangered Species Reintroduction

In August of 2009, Manyoni Private Game Reserve introduced a founder population of four cheetahs (two males and two females). While officially classified at Vulnerable by the IUCN there is a strong push amongst conservationist to increase the classification to Endangered. In South Africa there are only an estimated 1000 cheetah. Since the introduction in 2009 we have continued to manage the cheetah population and introduce new animals for genetic variation. With the birth of new cubs in the reserve recently, the population is now estimated to be at 25 individuals. The cheetah re-introduction has been a tremendous success and we are now in the position to contribute to the metapopulation by moving cheetah to new reserves.

The 1st of May 2015 marked an exciting and significant day for wild dog conservation in the KwaZulu-Natal region, as well as for the history of Manyoni Private Game Reserve, with the introduction of our first pack of African wild dogs. The MPGR is the 10th wild dog metapopulation site in South Africa. Classified as endangered, and with only 39 distinct sub-populations, there are estimated to be only 3000-5000 wild dogs left in the world. Our small pack’s numbers have fluctuated over last couple years but the pack has been strengthened with the recent birth and survival of three pups. Manyoni remains one of the few reserves in Kwa Zulu Natal where guests can view wild dogs.

In addition to endangered species, the reserve has supplemented the population of two different species under local population pressure in our area. In January 2005, eleven leopard tortoises were introduced into the reserve to supplement our population. Tortoises are often picked up along roads or in rural areas and kept as pets, and the project was implemented to return leopard tortoises that had been surrendered to a rehabilitation centre to their indigenous habitat. In August 2007, we introduced 50 Red-billed Oxpeckers. Arsenic, organochlorine and organophosphate cattle dips negatively impacted Oxpeckers as both Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers approached local extinction in the first half of the 20th century. The aim of the project was to introduce Red-billed Oxpeckers to supplement the existing small population within the reserve. The population has increased substantially since release and juvenile birds are being seen more regularly which is a good indicator that they are breeding successfully.