Botswana's Khutse Game Reserve serves as the southern extension of the
Kalahari Game Reserve, and was established in 1971 on Bakwena tribal land, in an
attempt to conserve the pans of the central Kalahari. The reserve covers a total
area of 2,500 sq km, and like most national parks in Botswana, it is unfenced,
allowing the the natural movement of animals across the Kalahari.
The extensive mineralised pan system which exists within the Khutse Game Reserve provides an important habitat for an interesting and unique variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. This region of the Kalahari is characterized by rolling savannah and grasslands. The viewing of game in is dependant largely on the seasonal rains. After decent rainfall most of the wildlife existing in the Khutse Game Reserve can be seen frequenting the more than sixty mineral rich pans.
Unlike Botswana's more well known reserves, Khutse's wildlife is not as concentrated, however a large number of herbivores have adapted to the semi-arid conditions of the area, and flourish in the reserve. The presence of these herbivores which include such species as gemsbok, eland, kudu, springbok, wildebeest and giraffe, also attract a variety of predators. Predators existing in the Khutse Game Reserve include lion, leopard, cheetah, brown hyena, wild dog and black-backed jackals. Other species often sighted include bat-eared foxes, porcupine, caracal, squirrels, mongoose, aardvark and warthogs.
Due to the dry and unforgiving conditions, boreholes have been established at certain points within the reserve in order to encourage wildlife to stay within the area throughout the year. Khutse also provides keen bird watchers with an impressive total of more than 150 bird species, including white backed vultures, Kori bustards, ostriches and greater kestrels.
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