MISSION 28 of 2012

Name of Mission: Game Count for the Anysberg Nature Reserve
Date of Mission: 23rd November 2012
Aircraft used: Cessna 182
Pilot: Dennis Venter
Beneficiary: The Anysberg Nature Reserve 

Objective of the flight

To determine the numbers of all the plain species that occur on the Anysberg Nature Reserve.

Beneficiary’s report by Marius Brand

“An Aerial Game Count was executed on the Anysberg Nature Reserve on Friday 23 November 2012. The exercise was arranged with The Bateleurs who provided us with a pilot and his Cessna 182. The aim of the count was to determine the numbers of all the plain species that occur on the reserve. The last aerial count was conducted in September 2009.

The Bateleurs pilot, Dennis Venter, arrived (from Stellenbosch) at the Robertson airport at 08h45. The weather was fine in the morning with a few clouds and a 12 knot south westerly wind. The team included three counters and the pilot. The counters were Dr Lauren Waller (Regional Ecologist), Coral Birss (Scientific Services) and Marius Brand (Manager of the Anysberg Nature Reserve). We left Robertson at 09h00 and flew straight to Anysberg where it was decided to do the Vrede valley first, because the wind usually picks up in the afternoon.

The team for the Anysberg Game Count: From left to right: Lauren Waller, Coral Birss, Marius Brand and Bateleurs pilot, Dennis Venter, with his Cessna 182

Vegetation types covered during the flight included fynbos-renosterveld, renosterveld, apronveld, scholtsbosveld, river and floodplainveld, randteveld, kalkveld, gannaveld, gwarrieveld, and quartzveld.

In total the following animals were counted -:

Gemsbok – 159
Red Hartebeest – 43
Ostrich – 200
Springbok – 39
Eland – 36

The number of animals counted gave us a good idea of what is happening on the ground and where our game are concentrated. According to the Anysberg management plan, aerial game counts must take place every three years. The table below shows the numbers counted in 2009 numbers and the numbers counted in 2012.

Species 2009 2012
Gemsbok 159 159
Red Hartebeest 42 43
Ostrich 338 200
Springbok 51 39
Eland 52 36
Steenbok 2 0
Common duiker 4 0
Black-back jackal 3 0

 

No steenbok, common duiker and black-back jackals were spotted in 2012. Numbers of springbok were very low and it is possible that poaching is happening in the western area of the reserve. There are a lot of ostrich chicks on the reserve but they are very difficult to spot from the air. Eland also move in and out of the reserve and it is difficult to get an accurate number. The removal of all the ostriches and seventy gemsbok is scheduled to take place in May 2013.

The flight was a great success – we could not have counted the animals without assistance from Dennis Venter and The Bateleurs.”