Back from the brink (part one)
A little while ago I promised to post something about two miracle stories of conservation. This is the first and it is about the Bonetbok (Damaliscus dorcas) a colourful antelope endemic to the Western Cape in South Africa.
These beautiful but conspicuous antelope were hunted almost to extinction by the early settlers and in 1837 the Van der Byl family, recognising the imminent demise of the species, set aside a portion of their farm for the protection of the last 17 remaining Bontebok. The numbers grew and in 1931 the Bontebok National Park was proclaimed in order to protect the species. Only 87 animals were translocated to the new National Park and with protection their numbers have rebounded such that today there are approximately 3,000 animals. These have been distributed throughout their original range and over the past months I have been fortunate to see them many times in many different places (including The Bontebok National Park).
I especially enjoy this photo of a sizeable herd with babies.
It is worth pausing to realise that the small family captured in this photograph represents 47% of what was the entire world population in 1837 and today their survival seems secure.