Thank you for caring for our wildlife

2015-09-17 06:00

WHAT started out as a sentimental holiday at Lubanzi, Eastern Cape, for a Cape couple, Danielle (Dan) West and Terence Destadler, turned into an epic adventure involving a sub-adult Lanner Falcon, whom they affectionately named Rah. On 26 August their ninth day at Lubanzi, Terence went fishing off the rocks.

A few local children were seen throwing something tied to a rope into the sea, reeling it in and throwing it back into the sea again.

To Terenceand#039;s shock, he realised it was a bird. He packed up his fishing gear, told the children that it wasnand#039;t acceptable, took his T-shirt off and grabbed the drenched bird.

He asked them how they got the bird and they explained that they had and#034;snaredand#034; him by putting a live lizard on fishing line, tied it to a tree and waited for an animal to fall for the bait. They asked him for money, which he refused and rushed back to the Backpackers where they were staying.

Dan and Terence placed him in a cardboard box to recuperate and after about five hours, tried to release him.

They took him to a hill to give him a better chance of flying off, but he just crash-landed. They contacted Raptor Rescue in Camperdown, which in turn contacted us, Cragand#039;s View Wild Care Centre in Port Edward, wanting to know the distance Umtata was from us, which is about 335kms.

On Thursday, 27 August, they brought him to Port Edward where we were waiting to rush him to our vet.

Dr Sylvi Weiss of Margate Veterinary Hospital treated his wound and gave him an antibiotic injection. Rah came back to Cragand#039;s View where he was hospitalised in the clinic for observation. John Stark, our chief rehabilitater­, needed to assess if Rah could eat on his own, as our plan of action was to provide food, let him recuperate from his ordeal and attempt to release him on 31 August.

However, Rah would not eat on his own and only ate when John fed him early Friday morning, which meant he trusted us and realised we were trying to help him.

He was fed highly nutritious food as he was very thin. Rah was moved to a larger outside cage because we didnand#039;t want him to injure the tips of his wings and tail feathers, which is paramount for flight.

Dan and Terence had, since bringing Rah to us Thursday 27 August, booked into a Bandamp;B in neigbouring Munster, and visited Rah at the centre regularly.

When they came to visit on Sunday 30 August, we had already decided that Rah needed intense rehabilitation and had to be transferred to Raptor Rescue in Camperdown as it has the infrastructure to rehabilitate raptors.

Terence and Dan offered to take Rah to Camperdown, which is roughly 200kms from Port Edward and left on Monday 31 August with our precious cargo and delivered him safely later that day. Rah was assessed and found to have lost flight feathers.

Tammy Caine from Raptor Rescue said his rehabilitation would entail being placed in a flight pen, being fed up to encourage moulting and then sent to a falconer for hunting and flight training.

Rah is doing well, but it will be some time before he is released. Tammy and the team at Raptor Rescue, as well as the falconers from KZN Falconry Club, are dedicated professionals, who believe their success is a raptor flying freely in the sky. The fact that Terence and Dan did not hesitate to deviate 975kms off their travel plans to rescue a little Lanner Falcon is admirable, to say the least.

Cragand#039;s View Wild Care Centre thanks them for their compassion towards our wildlife, which people take for granted and very few would even consider doing this.

Terence and Dan, you are our heroes­ and we at Cragand#039;s View Wild Care Centre are priviledged to have met the two of you.

Cragand#039;s View Wild Care Centre

Port Edward

A few local children were seen throwing something tied to a rope into the sea, reeling it in and throwing it back into the sea again.

To Terenceand#039;s shock, he realised it was a bird

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