More snares in Bisley Reserve

Piles of rhino skulls at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.
Piles of rhino skulls at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.
Ian Carbutt

Pietermaritzburg’s Bisley Nature Reserve remains in a derelict state with ongoing incidents of snaring causing the death of game in the reserve.

Poaching in the area is back in the spotlight after members of the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve on patrol spotted a Zebra with a snare around its neck at the weekend.

The Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve managed to raise R3 000 to pay a specialist vet who yesterday darted and released the animal.

Fortunately the zebra, which was trailing a two-metre length piece of wire was not injured.

At the weekend, the carcass of a giraffe believed to have also been killed by a snare was found.

Speaking to The Witness on Monday, an ardent nature conservationist who asked not to be named, said in his view the municipality is still neglecting the reserve.

“The municipality still haven’t removed any animals. The reserve is overstocked on giraffe and they take most of the food and the small animals don’t get any.

“Even though there has been decent rain through the summer, the grass is still not nutritious enough (to support all the game).

“The grass has to be burned in sections every now and again so that the weeds can be killed off for the grass to grow back more nutritiously. That is not being done.”

Last October, 19 carcasses of animals killed by poachers’ snares were found at the reserve which is home to a variety of game including giraffe, wildebeest, zebras, impala and antelopes.

The conservationist said it was disappointing that the municipality was still failing the animals despite calls for the reserve to be maintained.

“They are not keeping to their end of the bargain. If they can’t take care of the reserve hand it over to someone who will,” he said.

The conservationist warned that the municipality must realise the community will not leave this matter alone and that there would be repercussions if the animals returned to the state they were previously in.

“This is our heritage; this is what Africa is about. They need to take care of our heritage better than this.”

Edith Dennison, chairperson for the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve interim steering committee confirmed on Monday that there has been an increase in incidents of snaring in Bisley. However, she said that they have been busy following protocol and have been in talks with various parties on steps going forward.

She said they had plans in place with Msunduzi and UKZN to ensure that the reserve is well maintained and that a management committee for the reserve is formed.

Meanwhile, Steve Myers, a member of the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve suffered a minor injury on Monday when he was gored by a wildebeest that he had managed to free from a snare during their patrol.

Myers told The Witness that he suffered a minor cut on his leg.

“I went to the pharmacy and they said the wound is not deep.”

He said the animal reacted because it was frightened.

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