The Species on UmPhafa

Historically 35 mammalian species were thought to have potentially occupied the region of South Africa where UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve now stands. Sadly through over-hunting, habitat fragmentation and competition with livestock, many of these species had been excluded from the area.

Animal Releases

Since its conception the UmPhafa Project has released numerous species back to the area through translocation from other reserves, including giraffe, antelope species, zebras and ostrich.

In the years since their release, all animals have bred successfully and population sizes on our initial release site grew towards carrying capacity. In 2013, UmPhafa entered phase two of its wildlife management plan. This involved the translocation of groups of animals from the initial release site to create founder populations on the second property of UmPhafa, as well as the natural migration of other species across the reserve.

In 2015, UmPhafa acquired a new portion of land, our final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, which was previously separating off the first and second portions of the reserve. Since then, the reserve maintenance team have removed the fences separating the portions and the wildlife species have been moving between established areas. The animals are now able to go wherever they wish over the 6,000 hectare reserve; a day that has been a long time coming in the history of UmPhafa.

For information on which species can be found on the UmPhafa Reserve please click here.

For information on animal releases on UmPhafa Reserve please click here.


Number of species recorded:

Mammals: 50
Birds: 240
Reptiles: 26
Amphibians: 11
Arachnids: 21
Invertebrates: 161
Trees, Grasses & Plants: 443


Future Releases:

More species are included within UmPhafa’s collection plan for future release onto the land as selected in accordance with the specific habitat type. These species include buffalo and grey rhebok. Although leopard and spotted hyena have already freely migrated onto UmPhafa, there are also hopes to establish cheetah on the site in order that a natural balance between predator and prey species can be maintained.  

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