Msunduzi plans to maintain and secure Bisley reserve after animal deaths

2019-10-22 13:03
Bakkies were laden with snares and rubbish collected by volunteers in the Bisley Nature Reserve on Sunday. PHOTO: Gail Gayer

Bakkies were laden with snares and rubbish collected by volunteers in the Bisley Nature Reserve on Sunday. PHOTO: Gail Gayer

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The Msunduzi Municipality says it has plans to maintain and secure the Bisley Nature Reserve following the grisly discovery of the carcasses of 19 animals in the past week.

The wildlife is believed to have been killed by snares and starvation, and conditions at the reserve have created huge concern among residents, hundreds of whom joined in a clean-up of the reserve on Sunday.

Msunduzi’s spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said yesterday they were still waiting for autopsy results from a wildlife veterinarian on possible causes of death of the game. The municipality has previously stated the animals “died naturally and because of snares”.

Mafumbatha said the City was aware that the number of giraffe in the reserve exceeds the carrying capacity (of a reserve that size).

She said they would bring in capture teams to translocate excess giraffes and return other animals from outside the reserve back into the property.

On Sunday, the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve organised hundreds of people who volunteered to de-snare and clean the reserve. During the campaign, two squatter camps — consisting of mattresses, clothing, pots and food — were discovered on the premises. Many suspected that these camps belonged to poachers.

Mafumbatha said the City’s field rangers were training more people to increase the number of rangers, which will help tighten the security within the reserve.

She also said the municipality is working on a budget to re-fence the reserve.

“Supplementary feed has been ordered for game species. We are also having teams work on clearing alien plants and the bush encroachment within the reserve.”

Musa Mntambo, spokesperson for Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, said they had been in contact with Msunduzi before the discovery of the dead animals and again after the incident. “... Unfortunately the matters discussed are confidential and cannot be disclosed to the media,” said Mntambo.

Peter West, a member of the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve (FOBR), expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers who joined them at the reserve on Sunday.

“Mahatma Gandhi once said: ‘The greatness of a nation is judged by how its animals are treated’. Looking back at Sunday, we have the makings of a great nation.

“To all of you, whether you were there or just passed the message on, without you these animals could not be saved.

“Bisley Nature Reserve is a gem right in our city which will enable us to illustrate to our children what makes us uniquely African. Please keep up the momentum. We as Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve promise to put pressure on the municipality until it is properly managed. For the money donated for feed and the personal effort, we thank and salute you,” said West.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said that although police were called to the reserve on Sunday after reports that a suspected poacher pointed a hunting rifle at volunteers, no arrests had been made and no case was opened.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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