There’s every reason to marvel at the Bontebok - they’re not
exquisite, but also living proof that, with the right attitude, threatened extinction can be reversed to steady growth. Today's global Bontebok population is approximately 1950, but in the early
1800s there were only 17 left due to overhunting and extensive killing as pests.
Fortunately there were people like the Van der Byl, Van Breda and Albertyn families who, at the time, set aside portions of their properties in the Western Cape to form a temporary reserve for the Bontebok. And this is how we now have the incredible privilege of enjoying the beauty of this exquisite chocolate-brown antelope
it's white underbelly, a white stripe from the forehead to the tip of the nose, and a distinctive white patch around its tail.
The very first Bontebok National Park was proclaimed in
1931, and was originally situated in the Bredasdorp region. The Swellendam area, however, proved to be a more suitable habitat for the Bontebok and to give conservation its best shot, it was decided
to trans-locate the fragile herd and create the new conservation area that we know today. It turned out to be a good move to the extent that many re-introduced Bontebok populations to other protected areas originate from these herds. This is necessary as the Park can only support a maximum of 250 Bontebok and must trans-locate surplus animals to maintain balanced biodiversity conservation.
Today, Vergelegen is home to 30 splendid Bontebok (colourful buck) who share their protected territory with a herd of indigenous Nguni cattle. When conservationists, realised that the adjacent Helderberg Nature Reserve offered insufficient grazing to its growing Bontebok population, the first ‘Vergelegen’ Bontebok were relocated to Vergelegen Estate.
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