Buffalo

MANDATE

Game management have a mandate to manage buffalo populations within and outside protected areas. Within our protected areas we perform captures and relocations in line with our MTPA scientific services data as to keep healthy numbers of these bulk grazers on the respective reserves.

There are very strict state veterinary requirements and restrictions affecting buffalo in South Africa. This dictates that buffalo with any of the four diseases tested for, must reside within the veterinary control zones dictated for the level of disease they have. These include TB, Brucellosis, Foot and Mouth, Corridor disease. Each have their own level of importance and dictate where such buffalo may live. For example, buffalo positive for these diseases may only stay within the “red zone” or “controlled zone “ in SA, restricted to the far East of the country.

Buffalo found outside protected areas are managed on a case by case basis. Buffalo break out and need to be recovered, other go AWOL and need to be destroyed. Its all about managing the wildlife under our control.

MASS CAPTURE

Each year Game Management have planned capture and relocations of buffalo. There are two methods to get a buffalo from the veld into a container. You can do a mass capture with a sail boma and a helicopter. You physically chase the buffalo with a helicopter into the kraal. The boma / kraal is built in a funnel shape, with a steel structure at its narrowest point joined to the mass crate of the transport truck. The theory is you chase the buffalo into the funnel, closing curtains behind the buffalo as the advance to the truck. They then all get the last push onto the truck. Sometimes however the put up a resistance and vehicles with push plates are used to persuade them to climb onto the truck.

Buffalo found outside protected areas are managed on a case by case basis. Buffalo break out and need to be recovered, other go AWOL and need to be destroyed. Its all about managing the wildlife under our control.

CHEMICAL CAPTURE

When the mass capture is not possible we revert to chemical capture. A process of darting each individual buffalo and loading it onto the truck with a hydraulic crane through the roof of the container. This is the preferred method, a lot less stressful on the animals and safer for the capture team. Each animal can also be micro chipped and ear tagged if necessary, treated, condition score given and injected with nutrient boosters. This capture method is also used to select very specific individuals for sale on a tender process as seen in Gallery pictures, when we caught 10 big buffalo bulls.

RESCUES

When buffalo break the border of the protected areas it’s our problem to get them back. Darting from the ground or from the air is effective to recover these animals. Most of the time these rogue animals are bulls which make the task a heavy one. We have a triangular hoist system that works with the winch of the land cruiser for the assistance in loading these beasts onto the back of the vehicle.

TESTING

Before any buffalo may be transported it has to go through the series of tests to determine its status. This will dictate to which parts of South Africa this animal may be translocated to. These tests are performed once the animals have already been caught and placed in a boma/ holding facility where they are darted and blood is taken.

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