2020 has been a wonderful year for the animal kingdom – especially in the Overberg.
While their human counterparts have faced a pandemic, lockdown and a struggling economy during the year, the animals of the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area have responded jubilantly to the phenomenal rainfall.
The result? A bevy of brand-new babies, who are thriving on the fast-growing vegetation.
The vlei is full – and that means our happy hippos have loads of places to hide. But we did manage to sneak this one drone photo (thanks to NWSMA Chair Dirk Human) of a tiny hippo calf (look closely in the picture after the video). You could even see the calf during a Wildlife Guided Tour – if the parents are in the mood to show it to the world.
The buffalo were released from the boma area, into the open NWSMA expanse at the end of last year. Although they had a brief stint back in the boma a few months ago, the additional 2,500 hectares that they can roam in has resulted in a happy outcome: 2 new buffalo calves have already been born in 2020, the progeny of the impressive Mooibul.
It’s wonderful watching eland moms care for their young. The young join the eland ‘crèche’, with a few of the moms on constant duty, watching every movement the calves make. This year they’ve been incredibly busy. The luscious green vegetation has certainly helped to bring about a host of eland babies, who now have plenty of milk available to them.
Of all the NWSMA’s game, the bontebok have probably benefited the most from the green conditions. Given that there were fewer than 20 bontebok individuals left in past centuries, every baby born boosts this conservation success story. And this year there is certainly much to celebrate, with very few of our ewes not lambing.
The Rau Quaggas:
Mayhem & Corona may sound like perfect descriptions of 2020. But they’re also the names of some of our baby Rau Quaggas born this year. We’ve had four baby Rau Quaggas (the other two are called Acute and Mercury). Their stallion dads are Freddy (one of the top Rau Quaggas in the Quagga Project) and Soetanys. And each of these youngsters looks a little more like the original Quagga.
The Blue Cranes:
Some Blue Cranes are already parents in 2020, with chicks that hatched in November. Others have nested and are now waiting for their chicks to hatch. The dry conditions of past years have really impacted heavily on crane chicks in the NWSMA (from our monitoring and anecdotal evidence). So we’re hoping 2020 will bring about a batch of baby Blue Cranes who manage to survive their vulnerable youth – until they can fly.
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