South African National Parks is mulling plans to hire more livestock rangers on quadbikes to shepherd Zimbabwean cattle out of the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site. By TONY CARNIE.
SANParks' plan to hire livestock rangers to shepherd Zimbabwean cattle out of the Mapungubwe National Park follows mounting unease by wildlife tourists over continued incursions by communal cattle that enter the park by wading across the Limpopo River border line and through a neglected veterinary fence in search of scarce grazing.
Responding to complaints from tourists, SANParks communications head Janine Raftopoulos said two environmental monitors had been employed "to patrol and herd the cattle back to Zimbabwe as often as possible to prevent major impacts on biodiversity objectives and visitor experience".
She suggested that herds of between 50 and 250 cattle from Zimbabwe were present in the park at a given time, depending on the season, adding: "We are currently looking into the possibility of increasing the (quadbike cattle patrol) personnel in the new financial year."
Local tourists Ken Borland and Anthony Stidolph, who visited the park recently, said they were dismayed by the number of cattle they saw in the park and were unlikely to go back there...