“Maremani Nature Reserve has an array of attributes with the potential of uplifting it to one of the foremost large private nature reserves in South Africa. Its spectacular scenery, the relatively low impact on its natural resources and its particularly rich biodiversity can all contribute towards turning it into an area of considerable conservation and commercial interest. It does, however, also carry a burden of neglect from past poor land-use practices that need to be rectified.”
– Quote from the report Towards the rehabilitation and management of the Maremani Nature Reserve.
To gauge the effect of management (rehabilitation) strategies on the vegetation a long-term monitoring project has been launched. This project has been running for a number of years and is being undertaken by Dr van Rooyen. This project entails annual surveys and evaluation of the vegetation. Approximately 70 sites throughout the reserve have also been selected for fixed-point photography as part of the vegetation monitoring program.
An investigation was launched into the species, and the numbers of animals that were still on the reserve. This was followed by an investigation of which species once occurred in the area and could, therefore, be earmarked for reintroduction. Upon thorough studies of the viability of the area, numerous large herbivores have been re-introduced, for example the black and white rhino, elephant, roan antelope, sable antelope and the special Central and South African Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. After the reintroduction, aerial censuses have been undertaken of all the large herbivores occurring in the reserve. From these censuses it has been possible to monitor the population trends of the various species and to plot their distributions.
The reserve is believed to be large enough to accommodate the local and seasonal movements of most of the large herbivores. Due to the Malala Drift Road, however, there are exceptions. These include those species that undertake seasonal migrations on a regular basis, e.g. elephant and eland, those that move over large areas within extended home ranges, e.g. buffalo, and those that move over relatively long distances to exploit locally favourable situations, e.g. giraffe and zebra.
With the single exception of lion, and possibly cheetah which are very rare, the MNR has good populations of all the other large predators (leopard, wild dog, spotted and brown hyaena, side-striped and black-backed jackal).
Controlled hunting is allowed on the Maremani Nature Reserve. Hunting quotas are based on the results of the aerial census and are aimed at sustainable utilization. The highest ethical standards are also maintained to ensure a fair hunt. Hunting opportunities also serve to create more jobs for locals.