Summer is here!

wildlife

Toto and his son, Hunter, the nature conservancy guards who remove snares from Kenton’s remaining wildlife habitat


Some Good

bokkie
Figure 1 Bushbuck ewe
Bokkies

The good news is that Brian Pachonick, who coordinates the Rotary Project to clear snares, reports that Kenton bokkie residents continue to survive – but only just. On their six-weekly rounds with Brian, Toto and Hunter report seeing grysbokkies, the odd blou bokkie and the spoor of bushbuck. In addition, local residents have reported sightings of all three kinds of bokkies from time to time since our last report in December 2014.

guinea Gunea Fowl

But guinea fowl do appear to thrive, thanks also to the snare-eradication team who sometimes find traps for the fowl, which they confiscate.

hornbill Hornbills

At the end of winter, a little party of hornbill visitors returned to Kenton for their summer sojourn. They have been frequenting their usual restaurants and are not shy about begging for tid bits. “Free Me” animal rescue in Johannesburg says they love mashed boiled egg, meal worms, chopped chicken breast and paw paw. Fatty food such as cheese is bad for them because they don’t get enough calcium and they pick up too much weight for their fragile bones to carry.


Some Bad

dog Lost and stray dogs

By far the largest number of calls to the hotline relate to lost dogs. Most of the dogs are harmless, homeless dogs without collars and no means of identification.
The owners often reclaim them, either because those who find the dogs keep them safely at home until the owners can be found; or because Hi Tec still has them before they are taken to the SPCA.

This year, since the last report, two dogs were taken to the SPCA. Both were adopted but the one proved ‘ungovernable’ and had to be returned to the SPCA. Sadly, we do not know what happened after that.

We continue to ask owners to keep their dogs on leads and safely inside their gardens. At the very least, please provide your dog with a means of identification: a collar or a micro-chip.
bird Sea birds

There have been several calls about stranded sea birds, often juveniles. Hi Tec refers these calls to Lana Cummings who is a SANREC volunteer (083 267 5198). She and her assistant, Verona Veltman (083 654 9976), report that these birds very seldom survive. Sea birds are often stranded because they have broken wings and are too weak to recover. Ndlambe’s Nature Conservation officer, Willem Nel (082 388 4600), advises that often the least cruel course of action is to move the bird into a safe, quiet and protected area, and let nature take its course.

seal A seal pup

In January, a lady phoned Hi Tec to report that a seal pup was stranded on the beach at Kariega Mouth. The matter was handed over to Ndlambe’s Nature Conservation officer here in Kenton, William Bode. Unfortunately, William has left Kenton so we no longer have a nature conservation officer.

Lana says that penguins are protected by law. They’re on the Red Data list so she has to take them to SANREC in Port Elizabeth.
snake Snakes

Earlier in the year, a very anxious resident phoned Hi Tec for help. She had seen a snake at her kitchen door. Alan Jardine, who knows how to deal with snakes, came to the rescue armed with a snake stick and a can of Doom. He sprayed the Doom, moved the furniture, searched the cupboards but the snake was no where to be found. Alan says that snakes are repelled by the smell of Doom. His advice: “don’t panic, the snake is more afraid of you than you are of it. Give it plenty of leeway and it will disappear without a trace. There’s no need to kill it.”


Some Horrid

tortoise A tortoise

A very anxious and distressed call was received from a resident of Bushman’s River. She had heard dogs barking viciously. She went to investigate and found some young boys pelting stones at a tortoise. When she approached the boys ran away. She chased the dogs. Unfortunately, the tortoise had been too badly injured by either the dogs or the boys and it died.

dog2 Hunting dogs

Two stray dogs between Boknes and Cannon Rocks were apparently hunting. A person who saw them phoned Hi Tec. Guards went out to investigate and a resident of Boknes phoned the police. The police were able to catch the one dog, which they took away. The dogs had already attacked a buck.

carracal
Figure 2. Rooikat, Felis caracal, often referred to as a lynx
Spoor scene in Dry Bones Valley in September 2015. As far as is known, the animal seems to have moved on.
A caracal?

Very recently, a resident phoned Brian to report that she had found a baby grysbok lying dead on the dunes near Middle Beach. It had been partly eaten. There were paw marks around the carcass. Brian has reason to believe the baby buck was killed by a caracal, sometimes, (according to Smithers’ Mammals of Southern Africa (1986)) incorrectly referred to as an African Lynx. He reported that during the last snare-eradication roundup Toto and Hunter had identified caracal paw prints around a puddle of water in Dry Bones Valley. Hi Tec had also received reports of the presence of this animal in recent weeks.

Brian set a trap but the predator did not return to the carcass. Around that time, Hi Tec had received a call from a resident in Coniston Road about a strange animal noise in the bush beside her home. Hi Tec went to investigate but the guards were not able to find anything. If a caracal has taken up residence, that poses a serious threat, not only to young antelope, but to birds, pets and other wild creatures.

Anyone wishing to help, or to report anything wild, or wonderful, may phone:
Glenda Webster on O82 664 8471 or Brian Pachonick on 083 450 7244

 

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