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False Bay Nature Reserve boasts a legendary hippo population, one of which is to be relocated<span><p>The hippos were lost to Cape Town approximately 300 years ago after being hunted to extinction, and as a result, we also lost an ecosystem engineer from the wetlands of the Fynbos Biome. This unfortunate situation was reversed through the great vision of dedicated conservation biologists when two males were re-introduced to the Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve in 1981.</p><p>They were joined by two females in 1983, and thus the initiative of restoring some of our natural heritage began.<br></p><p>These hippos have shaped the False Bay Nature Reserve since their re-introduction and we are proud to have them persist in this urban environment. The main reason for their introduction was to control the invasive Seashore Paspalum (<em>Paspalum vaginatum</em>) which was transforming the wetland habitats at Rondevlei. They were quick to oblige and this horrible invasive was quickly put in check.<br></p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img src="" class="responsive" alt="" style="width:453px;" /> </figure>​​</span><span><p><strong>Imminent relocation of young male</strong></p><p>'Naturally, hippo pods contain approximately 10 to 15 individuals and comprise of one dominant male and females with calves. As the male calves come of age, they would naturally disperse to find their own territory.</p><p>'Rondevlei's original dominant male is impressively still present which requires the need to relocate some of the older male offspring to protect them from the dominant male's effort to remove the threat they pose to his dominance in the pod. The City has successfully implemented relocation operations in the past. </p><p>'We are currently planning for another relocation to safeguard a young male – this is the very same male that trended on social media platforms when he escaped from Rondevlei in the early morning hours of Saturday, 13 April 2024, to evade the dominant male. Quick response from the City's Biodiversity Management Branch, Quemic security ranges and SAPS ensured that he was herded back into the reserve. </p><p>'Once captured, the animal will be transported to his new home in a special container designed for this purpose. The City will inform the public once the relocation operation has been concluded. The timeline is variable as the capture depends on the animal's movements and environmental factors,' said the City's Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Eddie Andrews.<br></p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img src="" class="responsive" alt="" style="width:642px;" /> </figure>​​</span><span><p><strong>Hippos are endemic to Africa</strong></p><p>They do not naturally occur anywhere else in the world. Their semi-aquatic nature can make them difficult to see during the day when they are in their wetland habitat. It is primarily at night when they venture out of the water to graze on grass in the surrounding areas.</p><p>These fascinating and impressive animals shape the ecosystems and benefit a suite of other species, including changing plant communities, distribution of nutrients, and physically changing the environment with their pathways and wallow depressions.</p><p>Hippos need relatively large foraging ranges as they consume 25 to 40 kg of plant material a day. The urban environment and smaller reserves constrain the natural habits of such large animals, thus, requiring careful management. These game management practices are for the benefit of the species as a whole and consists of pragmatically considered factual information, culminating in required actions to ensure the welfare of the population. </p><p>Globally, hippos are classified as Vulnerable to extinction and while South Africa's population is not classified as threatened, they face multiple threats including habitat loss, poaching, human-wildlife conflict, climate change, and unregulated trade. <br></p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img src="" class="responsive" alt="" style="width:1261px;" /> </figure>​​</span><p><strong>Rondevlei's hippos</strong></p><p>Given the ongoing threat to their wetland habitat and the highly threatened terrestrial Fynbos Biome habitats, the City has a significant responsibility to protect this special population of Hippopotamuses. Not only are they are an iconic species, they form a critical part of the ecosystem, are a wonderful attraction for visitors, and an integral part of the False Bay Nature Reserve's environmental education programme.</p><p>'This pod of hippopotamuses gives us a glimpse into the past, reminding us of the natural heritage of the Fynbos Biome and the magnificence of what Cape Town used to be prior to the development of the city. We proudly continue our vigilant care of these unique creatures, and I encourage Capetonians to come take a look at them at Rondevlei,' said Alderman Andrews.<br></p><p><strong>End</strong><br></p>2024-04-23T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#6ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87;L0|#06ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87|nature reserve;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#5747d259-af5f-4b41-9ecf-b8f1ba8b9284;L0|#05747d259-af5f-4b41-9ecf-b8f1ba8b9284|Rondevlei Nature Reserve presentation10

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