Blue Duiker: Philantomba monticola
Kenton is, as we all know, a unique coastal resort. One of the main reasons for its singularity is the Joan Muirhead Nature Conservancy at its heart. The animals that live in its forests and in bits of scattered virgin bush around the town include blue duiker, grey duiker, one or two bush buck, two kinds of mongooses, and occasionally, tree hyraxes and genets. The blue duiker is threatened and classed as ‘vulnerable’ on the Red Data List. The protection of these creatures is important to the residents of Kenton too. At KOSRA’S AGM held in the Town Hall on 23 December 2013, a vast majority of members raised their hands to affirm their support for that protection.
Spurred on by the fact that duiker were being hunted on clear, moonlit nights in the middle of June 2014, a group of people from the Kenton Rotary club, KOSRA, Estuary Care, Hi Tec security, the SAPS, the SPCA and others got together to discuss a plan to protect Kenton’s wildlife. The first step taken was the establishment of a hotline, and the distribution of leaflets and posters to advertise it.
The hotline (046 648 1032) is provided by Hi Tec, which is committed to the wellbeing of Kenton and its residents. The initiative was supported further when KOSRA took it on as a project. Throughout all these developmental stages members of the Eastern Cape government’s department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAET) have played a supportive and active role.
If any member of the public has a reason to believe that Kenton’s wildlife is being threatened some help is now just a phone call away — at any time of the day or night. Hi Tec’s control room will send a security vehicle to investigate and if the guard decides the matter needs to be dealt with by the police, Ndlambe’s community protection, the SPCA or some other agency, the control room will phone follow-up volunteers.
There are plans to recruit, train and appoint ‘honorary conservators’ under the authority and guidance of the DEAET. Honorary conservators have limited powers of apprehension. Their role will be to assist in the protection of the nature reserve and the creatures that live in it.