Joint effort rescues goats stuck in spilt tar next to N3 highway

2008-03-26 00:00

FOUR goats trapped in hot, wet tar on the N3 highway were rescued yesterday by SPCA officials.

The goats, which usually graze in a field right next to the highway on the way to Durban, were spotted by two cyclists at around lunchtime.

“We heard them making a noise and decided to see what was happening. I was shocked to see the goats stuck in so much tar,” said cyclist Lauren Flint.

The cyclists did not have cellphones, so they signalled for help on the highway. Within minutes, traffic officials, the SPCA and workers in the area stopped to help.

Workers in the field said the tar that the goats got stuck in was the result of an accident that happened some time ago when a truck carrying a load of tar collided with a vehicle, spilling the tar on to the field. It was never removed and it melts and hardens on a daily basis, they said.

Officials had a tough time pulling the goats out of the tar, which was beginning to harden as the temperature dropped. The first goat rescued had got stuck head first in the tar.

It was touch and go as he lay in the field struggling to breathe.

Three members of the SPCA, with help from bystanders, used a shovel, bare hands and a lot of muscle to pull the next two out alive.

The last goat with only its head sticking out of the tar required a little more assistance to free itself.

“This is disgusting. It should be illegal to dump tar like this,” Senior Inspector of the SPCA Daniel Stewart said.

Chemical company Drizit Environmental arrived on the scene. With the help of Lemsolv (biodegradable solvent containing citrus oil) and a couple of strong arms pulling and tugging, the goat was finally free.

The owner of the goats, Bernard Mokolta, said he did not know that there was tar at the grazing spot and so did not check up on them regularly.

Stewart said he is optimistic that they will be able to keep the goats alive and get them healthy again at the SPCA before returning them to their owner.

He praised everyone who helped get the goats out. “It was brilliant, everyone jumped in together …”

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