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ADDO

INTRODUCTION

The Addo Elephant National Park is situated in the Eastern Cape Province 72km by road from Port Elizabeth. Proclaimed in 1931 to save the last survivors of the once numerous Eastern Cape elephants the park consists of 12 126ha of gently undulating Valley Bushveld dominated mostly by the Spekboom, Portulacaria afra, which covers approximately 80% of the park area. 

THE ANIMALS

The only large mammals to survive the onslaught of man were the elephant, buffalo, bush pig, bushbuck, kudu, gray Duiker, Cape Grysbok, Ant-bear, caracaland black-backed jackal. These animals took refuge in the Addo bush land in the case of the buffalo were forced to make considerable changes in their habits. Buffalo became nocturnal and browsed to a large extent - a contrast to buffalo in other areas where they are diurnal grazers. The Addo buffalo rarely forms herds as elsewhere in Africa but generally live in small family groups led by an adult cow. The Addo buffalo are the only Cape buffalo to have survived into the 20th century in the Cape Province. The elephants of Addo are however the main draw card for visitors to the park. They are gregarious, living in family groups led by a matriarch or lead cow. Elephant bull have their own social system with a dominant bull who does most of the mating. Addo elephant bulls carry small tusks, and most cows are tusk less - thought to be the result of selective shooting in the nineteenth century. Calves are born after a gestation period of 22 months, and weigh about 120 kg at birth.