Soon after its inception in 2008, the Kenton Rotary Club established a snare eradication project. Once every six weeks, two conservation rangers from a local conservancy go through the Joan Muirhead Nature Reserve and other areas of natural bush around town to remove snares. Every time, they find on average two or three snares, mainly around building sites, according to Rotary’s Kevin Bates, who runs the project.
Another independent wildlife protection effort was added in June 2014, after hunting dogs were heard at midnight on the large plots to the south and west of Hi Tec. With the help of a Hi Tec guard, and the subsequent placement of one of Rotary’s traps, the hunting in that area stopped. Then, through a temporary coalition of several organisations such as KOSRA, Ndlambe’s nature conservation department, representatives from the DEDEAT, the SPCA and Estuary Care, the Wildlife Protection Hotline run through Hi Tec’s control room 24/7 was added. Signs went up all over town. In December 2016 three signs in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English were positioned at the entrance to Kenton to make sure all who enter Kenton know the laws regarding wildlife protection. The production of the signs was paid by KOSRA; the wording was provided by Ndlambe; the signs were put up by Wildlife Watch.
Finally, in 2017, in an effort to stop poaching that takes place in the middle of the night, Wildlife Watch started random, but regular, night drives once or twice a night around the reserve and other areas of natural bush. The Kenton Police often assist with these night drives.
There is little doubt that wildlife losses in Kenton conform to the WWF’s Living Planet Index that on average 52% of the world’s mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians were lost between 1970 and 2010.
Reports of sightings are sent to Wildlife Watch via its own What’s App line, Kenton365 and by word-of-mouth. Rotary receives reports from its conservancy guards every six weeks. In addition, Wildlife Watch has a trail camera positioned in an area of natural bush.
Based on these unofficial and anecdotal sources, Wildlife Watch can report:
AS LONG AS DOGS ARE KEPT UNDER CONTROL, small antelope such as blue duiker and grysbok seem to survive in small pockets in close proximity to residences where they find water, and cannot be poached without difficulty. The situation within the reserve is unknown.
A family of Bushbuck, including a baby and a lone Kudu, that were spotted and photographed in December 2018, appear to come and go. Kevin Bates believes the ram and the Kudu swim across the river mouths. Wildlife Watch saw one Bushbuck ewe in the reserve in March 2019.
Small fauna such as tortoises, tree hyraxes, porcupines, mongooses and birds such as Francolin and guinea fowl are constantly poached. Some of these populations appear to have died out in Kenton, and some this year alone. Without mongooses, Kenton can expect an increase in the snake population.
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