Around 200 mountain zebras. In one night. At two adjacent water points in the valley in the Naukluft mountains on BüllsPort. This may thrill nature lovers, but sets expert’s antennae quivering. The mountain zebras come down into the valley because they no longer find enough pasture in the mountains…
“Yesterday, mountain zebras drank 10,000 liters of water at the Pavianposten in just one night,” reports Ernst Sauber from BüllsPort Lodge & Farm. Pavianposten is the name of the wind wheel pump that fills two water points – to the west and northeast of the gravel road that leads from BüllsPort along the Tsondab valley through the Naukluft mountains to Solitaire.
Dry twigs for survival
“There were probably around 200 animals, more than ever before,” says Sauber. “They no longer only come from the national park in the west, but recently also from the areas in the northeast.” A clear sign that there is no longer enough grass on the plateaus and slopes of the Naukluft mountains. The zebras eat dry twigs of the bushes in order to survive.
The problem is: In the valley of the Tsondab and on the plains east of the Naukluft, the animals hardly find any pasture either. In addition, BüllsPort has set aside these areas for sustainable farming. Without this income, there will be no means for conserving the mountain area.
Rain unfavorably distributed
In the last rainy season BüllsPort had a total of 164 mm rain, according to its raingauge next to the house. This is above the long-term average. However, the rain fell at too long intervals, so that the young grass withered. Furthermore, large parts of BüllsPort received far less rain.
Especially in the neighboring national park, the number of mountain zebras urgently needs to be reduced. It is estimated that around 4,000 animals live in the park area. Yet experts have set an upper limit of 2,000, based on the carrying capacity of the area.
Alarm in the Naukluft
BüllsPort’s nature conservation work is facing a major challenge. The migration of zebras endangers the biological balance in the 40 km² private nature reserve in the mountains. At the same time, there is a lack of funds for regulatory measures: the hospitality operation is suffering from the corona crisis, the farm from the lack of pasture.
Nature lovers at home and abroad can support the protection of the Naukluft mountains on BüllsPort – by participating in the “My Quiver Tree” initiative.
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