Hilton’s burrowing porcupines will be moved to Midmar

2011-09-02 00:00

THE clash between porcupines and humans in urban areas has motivated The Winterskloof Conservancy to find a way for the two to co-exist.

Roughly four of the prickly animals have taken shelter in the Hilton area by burrowing under the road — bringing them in direct contact with residents. Fearing the collapse of the road, the municipality has cordoned off the area as a short term solution and is working on an alternative porcupine friendly plan.

Judy Bell of the conservancy said they are keeping the exact location of the animals secret to protect them.

“The reason we have kept the exact location where they are a secret is to protect them from people who may want to harm them. Although the road has been cordoned off there is still a danger of the road collapsing. We would rather keep the porcupines and then find a way to rebuild the road.

“Relocating them out of the area does not work as they may find a way to make it back, or others then move in. If we do move them we will need to build a new home and transfer the soil from the spot they are currently living in so the new place will have the same smell and they will then make the move.” said Bell.

According to the evaluations made by retired road engineer, Howard Richardson, the housing solution for the porcupines include using fibre boards to create underground cut-off walls.

The procedure involves digging a narrow trench alongside the road. And then dropping in a 300mm wide fibre board so that there is about 50mm cover between the top of board, the daylight and backfill. However, these depths might increase because porcupines are known to be deep burrowers.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokeswoman, Maureen Zimu said they welcome the conservancy’s ideas, but they have to look at long term solutions.

“We will relocate the porcupines to Midmar dam while ensuring that they don’t come back to this area. “Building a wall is not safe as it might collapse and hurt the animals due to population expansion. We also do not have a budget in place for keeping the porcupines there,’’ explained Zimu.

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