Mtunzini: Wandering zebras’ freedom on the line after crash

2012-11-30 00:00

THE Zululand coastal village of Mtunzini, which was considering “adopting” seven zebras, may not get their wish if Ezemvelo has its way.

Two zebras died this week, one being hit by a car. The zebras, introduced into the nearby Umlalazi Nature Reserve over a decade ago, have been wandering around the eco-village for at least four years as the herd outgrew the park.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife told The Witness in October the zebras were kicked out of the park, possibly by young stallions, and were seeking refuge.

On Tuesday night, one zebra was killed by a car on Hely Hutchinson Street and the other, suffering a fractured leg, was put down by a local vet.

Claude Lango, a local conservationist and owner of Nature’s Way Backpackers, where two of the zebras have taken up residence, said they were concerned Ezemvelo might put down the rest of the zebras in the village. He said the only way to avoid it was by running a campaign and giving the community the opportunity to vote on the zebras’ future.

“We’ve already started collecting signatures and so far this is going well.

“A campaign whereby public opinion is sought has been launched by concerned residents in an effort to save the zebra,” said Lango.

“The zebra cannot be removed from the village.

“They add value to the sense of place and the local tourism market.”

All residents have been urged by the Mtunzini Residents’ Association (MRA) to go to the local Spar tomorrow and on Sunday to make a submission on whether the zebras should be destroyed or fenced off in an area adjacent to the nature reserve, the latter at the villagers’ expense.

However, it is unclear on whether this action will deter Ezemvelo from removing the zebras, which are not endemic to the area.

MRA chairperson Wendy Forse said the sudden death of the two zebras is unfortunate.

“People are upset because these zebras have become part of the village. Residents should drive slowly,” said Forse.

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