Mountain Zebra National Park - South Africa 
Bergkwagga Nasionale Park                            

   HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

In the early 1930's a very real threat of extinction loomed over the Cape Mountain Zebra. A few remaining in the Cradock District led to recommendations by the National Parks Board of Trustees for the proclamation of the Mountain Zebra National Park on July 1937.

Initially the park was small (1712 ha) and the Mountain Zebra population in it comprised only five stallions and one mare. This tiny population failed to increase, and by 1950 only two old stallions remained. Mr. H. J. Lombard, of the neighbouring farm Waterval, greatly improved the situation by giving the Park 11 zebras in exchange for blesbok.
Mountain Zebra N.P.
View to the Camp
The rate of the population increase nevertheless remained slow – by 1964 there were only 25 zebras in the Park. At this time a major breakthrough was achieved: several neighbouring farms were bought, bringing the park's size up to 6 536 ha. In particular, the Rooiplaat section was added, on which 30 zebras enjoyed protection by Mr. P.W. Michau, and later by his two sons. Michau protected the zebra while many farmers were shooting them for destroying their fences and competing with sheep for grazing. From then on numbers increased rapidly and steadily and in 1975 five animals were translocated to the De Hoop Nature Reserve (Southern Cape), the first Mountain Zebras to be re–established in regions where they occurred naturally in the past. Rooiplaat
The Rooiplaat
Since 1978 capture and translocation of Mountain Zebras to new habitats have been part of the routine management of the Mountain Zebra National Park. Between 200 and 230 zebras are maintained in the Park, and at a normal rate of increase this allows an average of about 20 animals to be translocated each year. In 1999 over 1 100 Mountain Zebras were re–established in recognised conservation areas and on private land. The very successful Kwagga Project allowed the SANP the opportunity to buy additional farms to increase the size of the park to the current 20 000 ha.
Text: Elfriede Sack, Mountain Zebra National Park

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