Raptor’s View has a strong focus on conservation. The wildlife and vegetation need to be monitored and decisions made to ensure that this fragile system remains sustainable. Once an area is fenced, the ecosystem needs expert management.
Raptor’s View achieves this through an integrated system of outsourced professionals and in-house reporting by our management team, the Home Owners Association sub-committees and advice from various other experts.
An ecological survey and report is carried out annually by a professional and presented to the board which guides the wildlife management decisions. The vegetation on the estate is surveyed to establish the composition of grasses, bushes and trees which would be available as food for our wildlife. These labour intensive surveys are conducted at various locations throughout the estate. Faecal samples are collected for each species which are then analysed to determine nutritional shortfalls and whether or not the animals are under feeding stress. Based on the overall availability of natural food sources, as well as a number of other factors such as rainfall, water and weather forecasts, scientific calculations determine how many animals of a particular species the estate can sustain. An aerial wildlife census is also conducted to determine wildlife numbers on the estate.
Raptor’s View Wildlife Estate falls within the foot and mouth control buffer zone. Foot and mouth disease is currently kept in check using different zones, between which restrictions are placed on animal movements. Foot and mouth is a highly contagious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals and spreads easily. Fortunately, wildlife within our estate has minimal exposure to this diseases compared to the Greater Kruger area. Wildlife in the infected zones cannot be moved outside of the area without quarantine. The policy of the estate is to interfere with the animals as little as possible, and there are a number of experienced wildlife vets in the area whose assistance we call upon when the wellbeing of animals is threatened.
The perimeter fence prevents wildlife from migrating to areas with better grazing during winter and times of severe draught. This has forced us to assist our wildlife with winter feeding.
During the dry seasons, animals’ body condition is closely monitored for their nutritional wellbeing before supplementary feeding is instituted. Feed is placed at identified sites, and these locations change every few months to avoid soil compaction, build-up of parasites and other by-products. This has assisted wildlife within the estate and has ensured that they remain well fed and healthy throughout the winter months. Normally giraffe and impala do not feed at the stations. Residents may not feed the animals as this is a estate management responsibility and against the rules.
Keeping wildlife numbers in check
Apart from the occasional leopard, passing hyena or wild dog, there are no large predators to control the plains game numbers. As a result, they increase out of proportion over time. Numerous factors determine how many and which species of animals should be removed from the estate, one of them being to maintain the ecological balance. We prefer to do this with live off-take wherever possible.
As with any enclosed area, inbreeding causes all kinds of undesirable and cruel implications such as susceptibility to disease and deformities. From time to time it is essential to bring new animals onto the estate from neighbouring farms, to ensure that a healthy genetic gene pool is maintained. These decisions are made by the Raptor’s View Eco sub-committee.
Based on the extensive knowledge and expertise from respected professionals, including our Eco sub-committee, management and veterinarians, a decision as to the off-take number per species is reached. Among the factors which drive this decision are the condition of veld, annual rainfall, and animal stress levels.
Outsourced game capture companies are used, and our wildlife is often relocated to nearby farms and estates. Ideally animals are removed early during the dry season before there is competition for food and loss of body condition.
Wildlife relocated include giraffe, impala, kudu, nyala, warthog and zebra.