<< backPublished: 2010-03-19

PYGMY HIPPOS released at Kedar


Two Pygmy Hippopotamuses made their home at Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa in the North West Province this Friday, 19th March 2010. The breeding pair, Stoffel and Matilda was relocated to Kedar with the assistance of Wild Life Service vet, Dr Ryan Jeffrey and sponsor, Hippo.co.za.

In preparation for the pair’s arrival, Reiner Derdekind, Eco Manager for the Recreation Africa Group of Companies, created an authentic environment designed to be as close to their natural habitat as possible. Stoffel and Matilda’s new five hectare home includes a natural dam, indigenous aquatic grass and a large expanse of land made up of bush, reeds and savannah grassland, ideal for night time grazing.

Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa is part of the Recreation Africa Group of Companies, who is committed to preserving Africa’s wildlife heritage. Whilst the Pygmy Hippopotamus is not indigenous to South Africa, Recreation Africa believes that continental conservation is vital. Native to only four isolated areas in West Africa, the ‘pygmies’ survival is dependent on zoos and private reserves. It is hoped that South African conservation efforts of this endangered species will help to prevent extinction, as was the fate of the Western African Black Rhinoceros in 2006.

Stoffel and Matilda are registered as a breeding pair with The Basel Zoo, Switzerland. The zoo holds the international studbook and coordinates the captive ‘pygmy’ population which freely breeds in zoos around the world. Between 1970 and 1991 the population of ‘pygmies’ born in captivity has more than doubled. In captivity the Pygmy Hippopotamus lives an average of 42 – 55 years, longer than the natural lifespan in the wild. Destruction of natural habitat and poaching are the species biggest threat. There is currently less than 3000 ‘pygmies’ left in the wild and the species is classed as vulnerable. The survival of the Pygmy Hippopotamus is therefore dependant on captive animals.

Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa is situated on Boekenhoutfontein, the historic farm of former president, Paul Kruger. Boekenhoutfontein boasts one of the few peat wetlands in the North West province and is an ideal ecotourism destination where guests of Kedar Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa can enjoy game drives, guided walks and fishing. Over the past twenty years, the owners of Kedar have purchased land on Boekenhoutfontein, culminating in the consolidation of 1000 acres, which has been game fenced and populated with a wide variety of game, including eland, blesbok, impala, bushbok, nyala, kudu, zebra, blue wildebeest and giraffe. Extensive environmental work has been carried out to restore the natural wetlands that attract prolific birdlife to the area. Stoffel and Matilda are a welcome addition to Kedar, and the pair has already settled well into their new home.

Kedar is situated one and a half hours from Johannesburg and fifteen minutes from Sun City and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve – home to the “Big Five”.

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