06 Dec 2018 Jabulani’s Bana Grass Plantation
Our Jabulani bana grass plantation has been extremely advantageous for elephant bull Fishan during this time of his leg injury. Due to his fractured leg, Fishan is unable to walk far distances at the moment, and therefore unable to forage out in the reserve with the rest of the Jabulani elephants, so, naturally, we bring his food to him.
Part of his diet is freshly grown bana grass, also commonly referred to as “elephant grass”, which provides a good source of nutrition, including protein and fibre.
Every morning, one of our elephant carers takes a short drive to the plantation to cut down fresh bana grass leaves for Fishan, and in the afternoon, another carer will again cut down extra leaves for the rest of the herd to enjoy in the evening, upon their return. This has been especially appreciated by the herd during the dry season.
The team at HESC also visit each morning to get a fresh supply for some of the orphaned animals in their care, including Mopane, and orphaned elephant.
In the video below, elephant carer Kevin Mwanje, explains why he is cutting bana grass for Fishan.
The development of the plantation started in November 2016, and the project was overseen by our safari manager, Schalk Human, who did an incredible job with his team.
Bana grass is not grown from seeds, but rather from planting short pieces of cut stalk of an existing plant, much like sugarcane.
The first round of stock was bought from a neighbouring farm, from which we would then propagate further crops. But first the lands had to be prepared, fences had to be put up, and waterlines laid. A process that would take just over eight months.
We started off with 20 rows, which we then cut plants from, to keep growing the amount of rows. Today we have a total of 80 rows at 400metres length each. It took just over a year to reach full production.
Here are some images of the transformation of the land from the start, to the time of planting the bana grass.
By Mid July 2017, after much preparation of the land, the water pipes were laid.
Although it is recently at full production level, we can already see the benefits of having this plantation on site, which was fortunate timing with Fishan’s leg injury.
We are very grateful to Schalk and his team for the blood, sweat and tears that went into this project.