Bisley Nature Reserve remains under attack from poachers and its Impala numbers have decreased from 150 to fewer than 20.
On Wednesday morning volunteers from Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve (FOBNR) found the carcass of an Impala that had died in a snare.
FOBNR are calling on residents of Pietermaritzburg to help clear snares in the area, saying it is under siege from poachers. In less than a week three animals have been found in snares. Last Thursday and on Sunday two Zebras survived after being saved by volunteers from snares.
FOBNR founder Peter West said it looks as if they are dealing with a fairly large group of poachers. “With the two caches of knives and live ammunition we found on Sunday, I’m convinced we are facing organised bush meat poachers.
“I believe that the snares are set and then a follow-up is conducted at night. The cache is located by the reflection off the buried bottle. The bullets are then used to finish off a still living snared animal and the knives are used to butcher it. There must be a fairly large group of poachers as there are between five and seven knives in each cache,” said West.
He said the latest killing of the Impala was a huge blow as there were not many left at the reserve. He emphasised that more awareness was needed. “... The herd once numbered in excess of 150 and is now less than 20,” he said. “We are looking at organised poaching here and the more public awareness and people using the reserve for hiking and mountain biking, the greater the deterrent.”
A snare-clearing operation will be carried out this Sunday from 9 am till noon.
“We are asking and reminding people to assist with the Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve snare clearing operation on Sunday,” said West. “Wear long pants and long sleeves and a hat. Bring pliers or side cutters for removing snares.”
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The meeting point will be the entrance opposite Alexandra Road Extension on Gladys Manzi (Murray) Road.
Meanwhile, Msunduzi is planning to formally proclaim the Bisley Valley and Ferncliffe conservation areas as nature reserves in terms of the National Environmental Management Act. It is hoped this will attract funding for the upkeep and development of these popular sites.