Prior to 1984, giraffes had been locally extinct for more than a hundred years after having been hunted out. These magnificent creatures were much missed and it was one man's dream to re-introduce the species so that the reserve would again benefit from their grace and beauty. So who was this visionary? The late Ted Steyn is the man of this story - a committed and tenacious conservationist and a dedicated husband, father and grandfather who had a great sense of fun.
Ted (pictured above) was born in Johannesburg in 1927, qualifying as an accountant which was followed by a career in business, but always with an interest in conservation. In 1969 the fulfilment of a long-held ambition to become involved in conservation became a reality with the purchase of a game farm in the Tuli Block. He later played a prominent role in the foundation of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve (Notugre), after drawing up a constitution with like-minded landowners in the reserve in the late 1960's.
He was chairman of Notugre at the time of the giraffe relocation in 1984 and together with Dr Andrew McKenzie, the wildlife researcher and veterinarian of the reserve, they embarked on a project that has left a lasting legacy.
Unbelievably - from a big fat total of zero - in the most recent game count (in 2017), 690 giraffes were recorded. Look out for the next episode of this story which explains the planning that went into this astonishing reversal of giraffe population numbers.
Extracts from 'Memories of the Founding of a Major Private Game Reserve' by Ted Steyn