This article first published April 11th 2013. The carrying capacity figures may be superseded by more recent surveys
Marloth Park falls in a low lying granite zone characterised by dense Acacia species.
The soils have more clay than any of the other granite landscapes, which is why this landscape has such dense Acacia stands. Marloth Park, from its early inception, has attracted many of us for our love of the lowveld and the wonderful animals. If there were no animals here, Marloth Park would not have the same appeal. However, Marloth Park is not just about the animals. It is also about the fauna and flora, the birds and all the small creatures from reptiles to mongoose, along with insects and butterflies, the list goes on! Then, of course, there are we humans and we also have a right to our small place in this wonderland. After all, if we had no desire to live or holiday here, this tract of land would probably be sugar cane and banana plantations. However, all creatures impact on this environment in some way and the impact from one group affects all other groups. Although it may appear to be a natural world, it is not. It is a fenced in world where animals cannot leave, where new gene pools cannot enter, where predators cannot play an important role and natural fires cannot be allowed to manage the veld. We (the property owners) have to play a role in managing our environment. We all have our perceptions as to what is happening around us. A property owner recently commented that there were not as many animals in Marloth Park as there used to be. The truth is that in recent years, Marloth Park has carried more animals than it has over much of its early history. This is why our grasses have been devastated and weeds, along with alien vegetation, are posing a real challenge. Marloth Park, along with much of the Lowveld, is experiencing the phenomenon of bush encroachment. This impacts on the grasses which generally require good sunlight to flourish. As more homes are built and more vegetation cleared, game numbers have to be reduced further. This is why it is essential that property owners understand that clearing the bush around their homes must be kept to an absolute minimum.
The role of managing game numbers rests with Mpumalanga Parks and Municipal conservation authorities, who appoint a contractor to remove, transfer or cull animals as determined by environmental studies. This is supported by thorough ground and aerial game counts. The Marloth Park Honorary Rangers have no jurisdiction over this process and act only on a support basis. When the seasons turn and the leaves start to fall we come once again to the new culling season. If planned, and managed correctly, this should be a smooth operation with minimal disturbance to property owners. It may be a difficult and emotional time for many of us but it is important that we understand the need for the process.
Current game holding capacity of Marloth Park [2012/2013 data]: Impala - 210, Warthog - 50, Wildebeest – 33, Kudu – 36, Zebra – 50, Giraffe - 23
Property owners who would like to have more information are always welcome to attend the monthly Honorary Rangers or MPPOA meetings where additional information is provided.