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Pamuzinda and Chengeta Safari Lodges are delighted to welcome two sets of New Arrivals.

~ Zambezi Cruise and Safaris

We are delighted here, at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge, to have recently been able to acquire a group of fifteen horses. The group contains a Stallion, geldings, fillies, mares and 5 foals.

This particular group of  horses are used to a bush background and should be well suited to the conditions we can offer here. They have settled in remarkably well and, with the inclusion of the 5 foals, should adapt to our work regimes, management and “conditions of equine employment!!”

Some of them are destined as additions to our riding stable. We already offer horse riding as an optional activity at both Pamuzinda and Chengeta Safari Parks. The increased number of mounts means that we will be able to offer two or three rides simultaneously and reduce the work loads of our existing horses.

Apart from the obvious advantages of horse power in this age of diesel shortages, the Game Viewing Experience from horseback is far different from that in a Game Drive Vehicle. Wildlife doesn’t seem to recognize you as a human when on horseback. Rather you are written off as part of the horse and, unless you behave in an intrusive or threatening manner, you will be accepted as just another non-aggressive lifeform. You can get much closer to the Wildlife than in a vehicle. Furthermore they behave more naturally, as they don’t feel under observation or need to keep one eye on a potential escape route.

Further to our Anti Poaching Blog last week, Zambezi Cruise and Safaris also intends to include some of them in our ever expanding arsenal of protection for our Wildlife. As an addition to our dog teams and foot patrols, they should strengthen our “on the ground” preventive measures. They should also allow us to mount “rapid response units” without creating the advance warning noise occasioned by a racing Land Rover engine.

We hope to continue to extend our “herd” in the future as they are far more “environmentally friendly” than a fleet of “gas guzzling 4 wheel drives”. They will also allow us to access and monitor the park, or parts of it, that, during the rains, are not suitable for vehicular access.

The above three images of foals with their mothers shows that our “Apprenticeship Scheme” is well subscribed and has a rosy future!

Second new arrival.

The second of Zambezi Cruise and Safaris new arrivals, housed at Pamuzinda Safari Park, is a breeding group of Blesbok – Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi. Our small herd comprises an adult ram, 8 adult ewes and a young male not yet in colour. Its common name derives from the Afrikaans word for “blaze” and relates to the white Blaze and Face colouring of the adults.

Origins 

Whilst not strictly endemic to Zimbabwe it exists in an area of South Africa that is expanding Northwards gradually, albeit mainly on Farms and Private Property. Once one of the most numerous Antelope species of the African grasslands it was shot almost to extinction by early settlers and pioneers for its meat and skins. It has been protected since the late 19th century in the wild and numbers have stabilized. It is listed as of “Least concern”.

Unfortunately, in a way, it has proven to be fairly prolific in captivity and, in some areas, is being farmed for meat. The most recent estimate states that 97% of the current population exists outside Parks, Reserves and other protected areas. It has apparently become one of the top 3 hunted species in South Africa in unprotected areas and on Game Farms. It has become a firm favourite with meat and biltong hunters and, along with many other species there must be a question mark attached to its future. Should disaster set in South of the border our group here will become part of the belt and braces strategy for the survival of the species and an integral part of the extended gene pool.

Much of our reserve, here at Pamuzinda Safari Park, is suitable for the species. It prefers sparsely wooded grassland, of which we have plenty, and thrives on new growth in recently burnt areas. We operate a rotational burning programme both here at Pamuzinda as well as at Chengeta, so such areas are permanently available.  We are keeping them in our IPZ, or Intensive Protection Zone, where we can monitor and manage them satisfactorily. We have established contact with other breeders and arranged exchanges so that our herd does not become inbred. Our IPZ will be mainly used for housing rarer species in conditions where they can be managed as well as protected. It will give our overseas visitors an opportunity to see a number of African Species that they are not normally likely to encounter in the wild in the Zambezi Valley.

Our group, on arrival, was treated for parasites during the unloading process and released into a holding Boma to recover from the journey. They all survived with no apparent signs of stress once released and were seen to be grazing almost immediately. The Ram was seen to be mating the following morning, so no ill effects from the transfer. They were held in the Boma for several days to make absolutely certain of their recovery and then released into the IPZ.

Our group, on arrival, was treated for parasites during the unloading process and released into a holding Boma to recover from the journey. They all survived with no apparent signs of stress once released and were seen to be grazing almost immediately. The Ram was seen to be mating the following morning, so no ill effects from the transfer. They were held in the Boma for several days to make absolutely certain of their recovery and then released into the IPZ.

by

Brian Pettit

Zambezi Cruise and Safaris

www.zambezicruisesafaris.com

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