Supplementary feed and mineral blocks
This is Prince. He is a stunning example of a fully-grown Sable (Hippotragus niger) and our pride and joy when seen with his adoring herd of females. Prince is feeding on a mineral feeding supplement to ensure that he and his females stay in top condition right through the year.
The question on everyone’s lips will be: “why supplement the sables’ food with a mineral lick when Kaingo is a non-invasive conservation orientated area?”
To answer this question, we must delve into history a bit. A few hundred years ago, right about the time that a plucky Englishman named Major Sir William Cornwallis Harris described the first Sable to Natural science, sable was found in large parts of Southern Africa.
Naturally they were very nomadic and would never settle in one area for long. This allowed their preferred habitat to recover from their feeding, and helped broaden their diet and mineral uptake.
Fast forward a few hundred years and a few million people later, and the living space for these animals shrink worryingly. In fact, so much so that we have the last few thousand-remaining sables on fenced reserves throughout Southern Africa.
This creates its own unique set of problems. Whereas the sable could historically move from one area to the next to avoid damage to their feeding grounds and subsequently diversity in their mineral uptake, this is no longer possible. The fences that protect them have a detrimental effect on their natural wanderlust.
Enter the mineral block. This block, which is pretty much designed to be as attractive to the sable as a slab of dark chocolate to a chocoholic, contains a cocktail of essential vitamins and minerals to keep their condition in tip top shape. Everything from phosphorous to potassium, iron to zinc, selenium (for a shiny coat) and calcium is mixed into this block. There is even a healthy dose of Vitamin A mixed in!
Another key ingredient in this block is salt. This prevents one animal from eating the whole block by themselves by making them thirsty. This is also why we put mineral blocks close to waterpoints.
Competition around the mineral blocks can be fierce, as every animal vies for a bite and a lick. Where these delicacies are concerned, there is no etiquette to speak of.
Keeping Prince and his herd safe and happy is our labour of love. And you do get your loved one a little chocolate every now and then, don’t you?