Mission: Game Count for the Anysberg Nature Reserve
Date: 11 September 2009
Requesting organisation: Marius Brand of the Anysberg Nature Reserve
Location: Robertson, Western Cape
Pilot: Jannie Matthyssen
Marius Brand of the Anysberg Nature Reserve, near Robertson in the Western Cape, requested our assistance with an aerial game count of the bigger animals on the reserve. Jannie Matthyssen volunteered to fly this mission in September, and the report from Marius appears below.
Our first game count in ten years
by passenger Marius Brand
“An aerial game count was executed on Anysberg National Reserve on Friday 11 September 2009. The exercise was arranged with the support of The Bateleurs who provided us with an aeroplane and a pilot free of charge. In the last 10 years no proper game count had taken place on the reserve and no prior figures were available. The aim of this count was to determine the numbers of all big game animals to be found on the reserve.
Our pilot was Jannie Matthyssen from Cape Town and he arrived at Robertson airport in a four seater Cessna 182, at 09h00. The weather was fine in the morning with a few clouds and almost no wind. There were three counters on the flights: Leon Roodt (Kruisrivier), Kobus Lubbe (The Nature College) and myself, Marius Brand (CapeNature). We left Robertson at 09h30 and flew straight to Anysberg Nature Reserve where we decided to do the Vrede valley first, because the wind usually picks up in the afternoon.
Between the two flights we counted a total of 159 gemsbok, 42 red hartebeest, 338 ostrich, 51 springbok, 52 eland, 2 steenbok, 4 common duiker, and 3 black-backed jackal. The number of animals counted gives us a good idea of what is happening on the ground and also of the areas in which our game is concentrated. According to the Anysberg management plan, aerial game counts must take place every three years.
We definitely have too many ostrich and some of these birds need to be removed by next year’s game capture season. The gemsbok and red hartebeest in the Vrede Valley also need to be captured and removed from the area. Another vehicle count will be conducted in the Valley to count all new born calves that were not spotted from the aircraft. These and the rest of the game count numbers will be discussed with CapeNature’s Wildlife Manager and the Regional Ecologist as soon as possible.”