Zebras not a black or white choice for town

2012-10-10 00:00

WHILE not a simple black or white choice. Mtunzini residents may soon own at least four zebras that have been wandering around the eco-village — if Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and the Mtunzini Residents Association (MRA) can iron out the grey areas.

The zebras, which were initially introduced into the neighbouring Umlalazi Nature Reserve in Zululand over a decade ago, have since outgrown the park and have taken refuge in the up-market Zini River Estate and at Nature’s Way Backpackers. Now residents are being warned that the zebras may charge dogs being walked by residents.

An emergency meeting was called on Monday between various village stakeholders, where the ownership idea was tabled after the complaints were received.

EKZNW spokesperson Maureen Zimu said the four old zebras were probably kicked out of the park by young stallions and they sought shelter at river estate.

“It is hoped … the zebras will become town property. Of course, this all depends on whether villagers want to do so. There will need to be a consultation process before a licence can be issued,” said Zimu.

Steve Hermann from the MRA said the stakeholders are trying to come to an agreement on what to do with the zebras, which he said created an ambiance in the village.

As for their dog aversion, he said they gathered the mare was on heat “and the stallion therefore become a bit aggressive”.

One of the possibilities is that the male zebra may be gelded. Nearly a year ago about three zebra had to be relocated after they continuously damaged the Mtunzini Country Club golf course, leaving dents in the greens.

Claude Lango, a shareholder in Nature’s Way, where two zebras known as Jabula and Savanna — believed to be the troublesome ones — reside, said the zebras are great for tourism. “It would be a pity for us to lose them to relocation and after all, they are just zebras.

“In St Lucia, there are hippos wandering around, which are way more dangerous. The zebras add something unique to the village as they roam around grazing,” said Lango.

Over the weekend, the MRA sent out a notice stating they had “received numerous reports” of incidents with zebras and “specifically from people walking dogs”.

“As dogs tend to run to their owners for protection, it is only a matter of time before personal injury could occur. We recommend that you keep your dog on a leash the whole time when outside your property and to turn around as soon as you see zebras and walk away from them.

“Should the zebras be grazing around your property, please put your dogs inside and wait till they move off,” said the notice.

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