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SOS Rhino : In the News : Enlarged Park a Bonus, Says Ramatlhodi

Enlarged Park a Bonus, Says Ramatlhodi

  BuaNews (Pretoria)
September 2, 2003

Dirk Nel

Limpopo Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi has described the launch of the enlarged Marakele National Park here as a bonus for tourism in the province.

Commenting on the consolidation initiative yesterday, Mr Ramatlhodi said the launch had completed a horseshoe of parks and nature reserves along the northwestern, northern and northeastern boundaries of the province.

The Premier officiated at a ceremony on Thursday, which heralded the birth of a 110 000 hectare conservancy, comprising Marakele, the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve and Marakele Park (Pty) Limited, a contractual national park, created by foreign funding.

In terms of signed agreements, all fences between the three reserves will be removed, to permit wildlife there to move freely in a wider area.

South African National Parks (SANParks) pointed out that the concept of establishing a national park in the Waterberg region was approved in 1980.

The embryo project, initially known as Kransberg National Park, was launched in 1988.

'Research into the history of the area showed that its traditional name, Marakele, meaning ' the place of herding', was in general use as early as 1872,' SANParks CEO Mavuso Msimang explained this week.

During the past few years, several ecologically valuable farms to the west of the park were acquired, and these significantly increased the size of the Marakele National Park.

Marakele plays an important role in the conservation of the Cape vulture, with up to 900 pairs recorded there, thus making it the largest colony in Africa.

Since 1990, SANParks has been conducting a concerted programme to reintroduce game into the park.

As a result elephant, white and black rhinoceros, buffalo, hyena, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe, eland and a variety of other mammal species are now firmly established.