Reserve management - Internal parasite control

Our reserve manager, Jacque Fourie, calls them his “big brown cows”. We like to call them buffalo.

These bovids can be downright frightening at times, but just as quickly disarm you with their big brown eyes and sociable nature.

On Kaingo Game Reserve we have a herd of 48 buffalo. They are free roaming on the Welgevonden area of the game reserve.

Now here comes a problem: to make the ecological processes of renewal, full utilisation and the decomposition of plant material in all its forms possible, you need to include animals that would utilise a certain plant group or groups. Buffalo are bulk feeders. They take grass, mostly, and create a rich compost with it after digestion. In this way they spread grass seeds far and wide, and plant those grasses in its own fertile little spot. Giraffe feeds in the canopy of the trees, where they too are responsible, in part, of pollination of flowers and seed distribution of the trees they feed on.

Certain animals will host internal parasites that they may spread to other species by sneezing out the eggs or larva of the said parasites or they may spread through saliva or be passed in faecal matter.

Sometimes an animal will come into contact with internal parasites like Hookworm, Bunostomum phlebotomum, Brown Stomach worm, Ostertogia ostertogia and a host of other less than savoury characters. In a natural and unfenced environment animal species deal with this problem by flatly ignoring it, or moving into another area where the parasite will complete its lifecycle and then leave the host. On a fenced Game Reserve like Kaingo, our conservation team monitors the buffalo’s parasite count and step in when the parasite counts are deemed too high.

Jacque Fourie, our reserve manager, sent samples of our buffalo dung,’ fresh please’, to the local veterinarian for analysis. In this analysis it was confirmed that our buffalo can benefit from anti-parasitic treatment. Jacque then sourced an anti-parasitic powder that we mix with special game pellets. These commercially available pellets are pretty much like Swiss chocolate for buffalo. The powder is then mixed with the feed and presented to the buffalo in feeding bowls that is placed by the Guiding and Ranging teams.

The buffalo will then ingest the medicinal powder for a few days, always with the feed, and hopefully the parasites will be eradicated within a week!

In this way we ensure that the buffalo stays in top condition.

Bushveld greetings
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