Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Filtering by Category: Nature Conservation

WORLD RHINO DAY

White Rhino / Lotus Head (p)

White Rhino / Lotus Head (p)

Friday 22 September 2011

Friday 22nd September is World Rhino Day. It's a signal of the sad world we live in, where man's greed has placed one of the most ancient creatures on earth in danger of extinction.

At the Summerhill Stallion Day just over two months ago, it was Hartford's privilege, together with its associates in the Land Of Legends (www.landoflegends.co.za), to bestow upon the greatest rhino conservationist of them all, Dr. Ian Player, an Ingwazi Award, in recognition not only of his tireless (and remarkably successful) efforts to save the rhino, but for what he's done in the upliftment of all our lives in this region, and elsewhere.

World Rhino Day is special for anyone who lives where we do, and has the slightest understanding of the value of balance in the ecological scheme of things.

LEOPARDS IN THE KZN MIDLANDS

Leopard / Philip Mackenzie (p)

Leopard / Philip Mackenzie (p)

YOU CAN'T CHANGE A LEOPARD'S SPOTS

There are people who pay independent fortunes to find leopards and their cubs in the wild reserves of Africa. At Summerhill, we’ve long preserved the fauna and flora around us in conjunction with our neighbours, and we are the proud possessors today of a rich legacy and a deep diversity in the animals and plant types that characterize our environment.

Among the predator creatures that frequent our territory are Caracal (Rooikat), several packs of Jackal, the occasional Cape Fox, and Serval. We’ve been known in the district to have the odd rare visit from a Leopard, and our horse breeding colleagues up the road at Camargue Stud once suffered a loss of several yearlings as a result of their taking flight when a male of the species passed through their paddock several years back.

We don’t recall any reports of sightings on Summerhill though, so imagine our surprise on Monday evening when our hotel manager, Paula Mackenzie, spotted a female leopard and her three cubs on the roadside at the junction dip between our two properties, The Springs and Summerhill. What a sight, and what a pleasure to know that she should feel comfortable raising a family in our neighbourhood. Leopards are strongly territorial animals, and operate within a well defined range. They have been known to pitch up at the strangest places, but seldom venture beyond the kloofs and forests that provide cover for them during the day. There’s little that will prey on their cubs at Summerhill, and it says something for our conservation practices here that this lady should feel free to roam as she has, to our eastern most boundary.

Something for visitors to look forward to at Hartford House, as she’s likely to be in the vicinity for some time, while the youngsters grow up.