On Cawston approx. 60 waterbuck were introduced in the early 1990’s. These animals have never done particularly well the reasons for which are not completely clear.
It could be insufficient suitable riverine habitat, it could be the high tick load they experience or it could be competition with other grazers. Consequently only 1 or 2 males have been taken out every year.
However, this offtake has not resulted in a decline in the population. In fact a good reason for careful offtake of certain individuals in a herd for the betterment of the population as whole is demonstrated by a small herd of waterbuck that frequented the waterhole in front of our camp. We have many pictures of an old male (28’ horns) with his harem of 7 females.
In the four years before a hunter kindly removed him from the picture, we saw one calf born and survive. In the three years since the king was removed, the harem are not seen that often in front of the camp anymore, but we have noticed an exponential increase in the number of young waterbuck seen in the vicinity.
The picture shows the harem right now with a new king and two healthy looking calves. It may not appear to be many, but 30% calf survival rate is very good for a wild herd!