Eland monitors working to habituate the young eland in their boma.
WildArk:How will this research help?
Petro: It is a new prospect having large herbivores back in the Cape because until now, people relied on fires to combat bush encroachment. We are not saying do away with fires, but we want to provide reserve managers with an alternative bush management tool and show them the additional benefits of this tool.
WildArk: Will you breed the eland?
Petro: Not at this stage. They are a management tool, and five eland is a manageable group size. They need to return to the boma every night for safety reasons as the fence line gets stolen almost daily in specific areas and we are worried about poaching as it’s a high crime area. Also, the Strandveld is fragmented due to urbanization, so it’s not feasible to reintroduce the species naturally. Instead, we will use these few animals and mimic their natural migration route, moving them to different reserves using a trailer.