Alex rat war: Owls being decapitated by scared residents

2014-10-13 09:19

Owls released in Alexandra to fight a rat infestation are being decapitated because people are afraid of them.

“We receive ongoing complaints like that from many of the informal areas, but in Alexandra the owls are being supplied for that,” Owl Rescue director Brendan Murray said today.

“They kill the birds, they decapitate them, they take their eyes out. Last week, we had a case where school kids caught an owl and cut its legs off with a pair of scissors.”

A case of animal cruelty had been opened with the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Murray said it was trying to stop the city from releasing more owls in Alexandra.

“We have spoken to the city council about this. We are saying rather use the R2.5 million to employ people to catch the rats.

“You can employ 100 people to catch them with traps, just find another way. The owls are not viable at all.”

In September, the City of Johannesburg said it included barn owls in a R2.5 million plan to fight the rat infestation.

Mayoral committee member for health Nonceba Molwele said owl boxes had been placed at four schools in Alexandra, each containing four owls.

Another owl box was placed at the Marlboro Gardens Combined school.

Barn owls are the rodents’ natural predators.

Last month, Jonathan Haw from Eco Solutions said one owl could feed on many rats in a month. More than 83 000 owls had been released in various parts of Gauteng since 1998.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.