Vergelegen Wine Estate has some beautiful new residents. The popular wine farm has introduced a group of five elands to their land as part of the Gantouw Project to boost ecosystem diversity.

The elands are named Bernie, Little P and Uniqua, and two neutered bulls named Mike and Gibbs. They join the 150 to 200 Nguni cattle that already call the Estate home.

The animals form part of the newest leg of the Gantouw Project, pioneered by the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET). The conservation project began in 2015, first at the Rondevlei Section of the False Bay Nature Reserve then at Renosterveld.

This project aims to conserve the biodiversity of endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld by applying eland antelope to browse vegetation and so preventing bush encroachment.

“The Cape Flats Dune Strandveld is endangered and only found on the lowlands of Cape Town and nowhere else on earth. Historically many large mammal species, especially eland were an integral part of the ecosystem. About 200 years ago, eland and other large mammal species were exterminated from the Cape Flats, and more than half of the Strandveld has been lost. Urbanisation has left the remaining Strandveld fragmented, with less than 14 % being conserved today,” explains the Trust.

This project mimics the historic migration of elands, using them as a natural driver to boost ecosystem diversity.

The estate explains that they will monitor the progress and impact of the eland using drones and spectral imaging, as well as on-the-ground flora and fauna surveys.

Picture: Facebook / Vergelegen Wine Estate

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