Populating the Madikwe Game Reserve with wildlife took just over six years.
The ground-breaking initiative became one of the largest wildlife translocation projects in the world.
Known as Operation Phoenix in testament to giving the land and its recent inhabitants a new life, the task entailed capturing and transporting some 8 000 animals of 28 different species from reserves elsewhere in the country to the North West province.
From 1991 to 1997, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, spotted hyena, lion, giraffe, antelope and the endangered African wild dog were introduced to the Madikwe Game Reserve.
Today, the reserve boasts more than 60 mammal species including the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) and well over 300 resident and migrant bird species.