The Welgevonden Game Reserve is a game reserve featuring many common and rare species, located in South Aftica's Limpopo province. This beautiful reserve features mountains, streams and plains. There is also rock art made by the ancient tribes of the area. It is part of the Waterberg Biosphere, which is part of the larger Waterburg District, a collection of game reserves, a national park and other tourist attractions.
Welgevonden, which means well-found in Dutch, was first formed in 1993 as a preservation effort. Visitors can stay in one of several lodges available on the reserve itself. Accommodations are luxurious, and include fine dining inside or out. Guided safari tours are also very popular. There is no malaria at the Welgevonden Game Reserve.
Many species of animals and birds can be found at the Welgevonden Game Reserve. Some that can be seen include leopards, Brown hyenas, elephants, giraffes, and blue cranes. There are many conservation efforts focusing on specific species on the game reserve.
From 2008 to 2011, several researches from the University of Pretoria studied various aspects of the ecology of leopards on the Welgevonden Game Reserve compared to leopards elsewhere in the Waterberg Biosphere. The research included the diet, home range, and information on the leopards themselves. Important prey for the Welgevonden leopards include the impala, bush pig, and warthog. Farmers in the area are a threat to the leopard population, since they shoot leopards who kill their livestock. In December 2010, the Endangered Wildlife Trust started a program to place dogs as guardians of these livestock, with good results.
The elephant population requires careful control so it does not overwhelm the other species or the available food supply. Sometimes elephants are relocated outside of the reserve. In 2005, a contraceptive program was instituted. This involves giving the female elephants an injection via darts once a year. Four male elephants were given vasectomies in 2006 in an experimental attempt to slow population growth, making it the first reserve where a successful elephant vasectomy was performed.
Lions also require control, so as not to endanger prey populations. A contraceptive program for lions at the Welgevonden Game Reserve did not work well, so other options have been implemented. Allowing an increase in the number of males has made for a competitive environment between prides. This controls the population because when a new male takes over a pride he kills the cubs. To prevent inbreeding, new males are occasionally added to the Welgevonden population.