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Are animals ONLY in the parks?

Calgary, Canada
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Are animals ONLY in the parks?

So, here in Canada, we have large areas of land designated as national parks, and the parks are often great places to see wild animals.

However, driving down any highway, there is always the potential to see moose, deer, bears, etc. The parks aren't typically fenced off, and animals go wherever they feel like.

So is it possible to see an elephant or giraffe in any general area, or are they all just in the game reserves? Obviously, nobody will be able to say "Oh yeah, there's always a rhino at mile marker 22 on Hwy X!" or otherwise guarantee any sightings.

I was just curious if the random sightings I am used to are a NA thing, or if I should keep my eyes open all over SA.

Howick, South Africa
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1. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

The short answer is that you'll only see wild animals in nature reserves / game parks.

However, many farmers keep wildebeest, zebra, ostrich and other small bok (deer) on their farms - a couple even have rhino. BUT, these are very few and far between and aren't kept for the general public to enter the farms to view.

So, no, you won't come across an elephant or giraffe wandering along the road; they're all fenced in the parks and reserves; but you might glimpse some unusual animals in farms as you drive past.

In the coastal areas around Durban and Cape Town and just outside some reserves you'll also sometimes come across vervet monkeys and baboons running around generally making a nuisance of themseves. It's also possible (but quite unlikely) to come across a snake, most of which you should avoid getting too close and personal with!

There are sometimes reports of leopards living in remote, mountainous areas taking livestock from neighbouring farms but it would be highly unlikely that you'd ever encounter one of those.

But, for the "big 5" you'll only see them behind some sort of fence.

Edited: 09 November 2010, 19:58
South Africa
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2. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

In the majority of South Africa, you will not see animals along the roads. There are certain areas where you may find animals along the road, mostly in more remote regions or areas where privately owned game farms are common. Certain antelope like kudu easily clear fences and may be spotted far away from national parks. Baboons and monkeys are also common in many areas. But by and large the majority of wild animals are only found in the national parks, on game farms and privately owned game reserves. And all our national parks and game reserves are fenced. South Africa is a highly developed country with first world infrastructure, and very few areas of wild, remote wilderness that is not fenced in as a proclaimed game reserve or national park. Not so in our neighbouring countries. In Botswana, for example, most game reserve boundaries are not marked by a fence, and it is more common here to find animals along the roads, even outside of the parks.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

Thank-you.

It goes without saying that you don't want to get up close and personal with any wild animal. I was refering to seeing bears from the safety and distance of a car, not going up to them and scratching behind their ears. :-)

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

Wild-wings, we were posting at the same time.

We are probably going to drive through Swaziland. Is this one of the neighbouring countries without fences around their reserves?

Cary, North Carolina
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5. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

The short answer to your questions is, many areas are overpopulated with people, with the accompanying habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, over utilization etc. That is why you find large and wide ranging species only in protected areas and few animals in between. You will see animals on game ranches though. In comparison Canada is a large country with a relatively small population. In general, where you see wildlife like bears are in areas with large tracts of habitat and few people.

Port Elizabeth
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6. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

The Big 5, apart from leopards, are only in the reserves and on game farms. Leopards are hard to fence. Hyena, Hippo, Giraffe and Crocodiles are mostly only in reserves as well.

Certain big antelope, mainly Kudu, jump fences and move around. (Addo Elephant National Park gains about 1000 Kudu during hunting season. They leave again afterwards.) Certain small antelope like Steenbok and Grysbok find gaps in fences and move around. Thick antelope like Blesbok hang around like sheep.

Small animals and bigger burrowing animals like Warthog, Porcupine, Jackal, various Mongoose, Meerkats, Ground Squirrels move around. Wild Dogs move great distances.

Baboons and Monkeys cant be fenced.

Within a 5km radius of my house (which is 10km from Port Elizabeth airport and 12kms from Port Elizabeths 2nd biggest shopping mall), I have seen Grey Mongoose, Yellow Mongoose, Cape Grysbok, Vervet Monkey and Porcupine. My neighbour has seen Genet and my step-son has seen Bush Pig. Others have seen Buskbuck. Tracks of Caracal have also been spotted. I have also seen Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Bryde (or was it Minke, hard to tell from shore) Whales, Killer Whale (Spray only), Cape Fur Seal and Dolphin (not sure on species, Common most likely).

South Africa
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7. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

Hi amberm, Swaziland's reserves are fenced, but some of the public roads do travel through national parks or game reserves, so you may see some game along the way. It's a tiny country. Like lamlee said about PE, in some areas you will see more animals than others. I live in George (Garden Route) and here on the outskirts of town we have the odd sightings of bushbuck, bushpig, porcupine, baboons, monkeys and very rarely leopards (although I have personally never seen a leopard here).

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

The answer (as I think most people will agree) to the posters original question is No - animals are not only in the parks. There are many, many species of wild animals that occur outside the parks (and private protected areas). Generally, however, the big, dangerous animals do not occur outside protected areas.

So I have seen the following outside parks: duiker, grysbok, oribi, eland, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, caracal, jackal, porcupine, bush pig, warthog, reed buck, rhebok, rock python, ostrich, crocodile, blesbuck, vervet monkeys and baboons. Many of the smaller mammals, reptiles and of course birds have wide ranges beyond protected areas. Generally, however, you do not get much wildlife near towns or rural villages - hunting with dogs and trapping with snares is common near poorer communities

Greater Sydney...
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9. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

G'day amberm,

A bit different to the Icefields Parkway then, eh. :) Big horn sheep, elk, black bear ...........

BTW, we are sending our 40 yo daughter back to Calgary this weekend after her holiday here. We are sick of her and you are welcome to have her back.

Amsterdam, The...
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10. Re: Are animals ONLY in the parks?

You might see hippo' s wandering through the streets of St Lucia. They come out of the water in the evening. You also can see crocodiles here. When I jogged in the dunes of St lucia I also run into warthogs, Antilope's Zebra's, and almost stepped on a Wildebeest (which was pretty scary).

On the other hand you will see so much more animals in the SA parks than you will see in Canada. (nothing negative about Canada, just an observation)