Poachers’ hide atlocal conservancy

2016-11-04 10:35
Hilton local and World’s View Conservancy member Ros Grieve stands near the hide, suspected to be used for hunting bush pigs in the conservancy.

Hilton local and World’s View Conservancy member Ros Grieve stands near the hide, suspected to be used for hunting bush pigs in the conservancy. (Ian Carbutt)

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What appears to be a hide used for illegal hunting has been found in the World’s View Conservancy.

The hide, found nestled among the towering trees of the conservancy, is hidden down a precariously muddy path, in an area that is thought to be inhabited by many bush pigs.

World’s View Conservancy member Ros Grieve said she had only come across the hide after the organisation’s chairperson, Hugh Temple, had found it while patrolling the area.

She said although the top section of the hide looked old, the second platform had been built from newer wood and the nails pinning the planks to the tree trunk were not rusted.

Temple said he believes the structure was used for the illegal hunting of wildlife and not as a children’s fort. “We have had experience with these [hides] in the area of the conservancy,” he said.

“There is more than one built in the area. The last one we found had bait lying in front of it to lure bush pigs or other wildlife.”

Temple said the poachers either used rifles or bows for hunting.

“The population of the wildlife in the conservancy has been reduced significantly over the last five or so years.”

He said illegal hunting was a major issue that threatened all the wildlife living in the conservancy.

Winterskloof Conservancy chairperson Judy Bell said their conservancy faced the same problem.

She said the last hide found was dismantled, but the hunters’ “sense of entitlement” meant more would be erected.

Bell stressed the poaching of wildlife in conservancies was “very illegal” and people should consider the impact it could have on the environment if it continued.

However, conservancies are not the only institutions experiencing the onslaught of illegal hunting.

A statement by the Tala Collection Private Game Reserves said farmers, land owners, and wildlife sanctuaries in the Eston and Camperdown areas were in the midst of fighting “an uphill battle against organised illegal hunting parties”.

The statement warned that poachers usually enter properties at night and use “highly trained” packs of dogs to flush out wildlife, especially small to medium-sized antelope and warthog, which are the most popular targets. “Cases reported in the Upper Highway Area have seen zebra, wildebeest, ostrich and giraffe also fall victim to the illegal hunting parties.”

Tala Collection Private Game Reserve general manager Mike Nunan said in the statement that illegal hunting could not be allowed to continue. “The numbers of wildlife are being depleted. Some species like Oribi are being driven to the point of extinction,” he said.

“The hunting is organised by syndicates and it is alleged that there are prizes for the ‘best’ pack of dogs with gambling being an element of the ‘competition’ as well.”

Anyone who has any knowledge on illegal dog hunting can contact Nicholas Zungu at 078 555 9646. All information will be treated as confidential.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  poachers

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