The breeding of a Royal antelope

A famous story writer once said, “He who travels through the bush and sees two Sables mating under a Marula tree is truly blessed person”.

Herd of Sable Antelope on Selati Game Reserve (c) Cara Pring

Selati Private Game Reserve has been breeding Sable since 2007 and this breeding programme has sustained 85% of Selati’s expenses. Prior to 1993 Selati was dominated by cattle farmers and the land was dotted with artificial watering holes. One of the main objectives of this successful game farm is associated with the concept of life.

This refers to the maintenance of the natural resources and processes in a manner which sustains life.

Sable are truly specific and particular in their needs, they don’t like the company of other animals and require tall grass to hide their calves. Due to the placement of the artificial watering holes, the regular movement of grazers and browsers was halted. Over utilised lands led to the Sable calves being vulnerable without the protecting plains of tall grass. Predator numbers grew and antelope numbers plummeted.

Sable Antelope (c) Cara Pring

A giant ripple effect was set into motion because of these incorrect farming practices and so Selati has been trying to resolve this problem by closing off various artificial watering points and of course breeding with hundreds of Sable. Reserve management has already released close to 80 Sables back into the wild. Most of the breeding herds are kept in 500 hectare camps, where a dominant bull (whom fetches quite the price) looks after his harem of females. Most Sable are bought and sold nationwide and numbers are looking good with over 15000 Sable in both private and national parks combined.

The next time you see a Sable, praise the animal by ways of a cultural sound known as ululating and know that it is beast of perfect harmony, of strength and grace of light and dark.