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March 8, 2011

Makalali Private Game Reserve

Humane Society International

  • Culling is an unnacceptable practice. Peter Malsbury/iStockphoto

The Makalali Private Game Reserve was established in 1994 in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, near the world-famous Kruger National Park. It consists of several privately owned properties, where the owners have joined forces and their land to form a reserve of 26,000 hectares. Makalali is home to elephants, lions, cheetahs, and rhinos, as well as many other African animals, both large and small.

Since 2000, the Makalali Private Game Reserve has allowed researchers working with Humane Society International to successfully control elephant reproduction on their land using immunocontraception. Studies on Makalali’s elephants have proven that immunocontraception is a safe, reliable, reversible, and effective means of fertility control causing no behavioral anomalies.

Humane Society International hopes that the Makalali program will serve as an example to other private reserve managers as well as managers of government reserves and parks. As we learn more about elephants—their intelligence and dynamic family structure—culling becomes a less acceptable practice. Immunocontraception provides an easily accessible, humane alternative, and may prove to be even more successful for long-term population management.

For more information and access to research, please visit http://www.makalaliresearch.co.za/