Madikwe is the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa. The area was previously used for farming, but its poor soil and crop yield resulted in the government converting it into a national park. As a result, Operation Phoenix was launched in 1991, which became the world’s largest game translocation exercise. Over a period of six years, the land was restored to its former natural environment – and some 8,000 animals were moved to Madikwe. These included the Big Five and other endangered species such as wild dog, spotted hyena and cheetah, as well as elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and various antelope.