Nature is not the only detrimental impact on wildlife in this area, we report the following incidents because we believe it is important to be the voice for the wildlife. The stories are sad and make us angry too - but it is the reality of life in the bush. We share them so that others are aware of the great impact people have on wildlife, as well as the animals' struggle with the drought.
This sable bull took refuge in a dam on a neighbouring property very close to our boundary when he was chased by poachers and their dogs. They were throwing rocks at him when one of our scouts heard the dogs barking and alerted us. By the time we arrived, the bull was up to his neck in water and he was bleeding profusely from one eye. Rich managed to tranquillise him and pull him onto the bank, but it was too late, as he was already blind in both eyes and suffering from severe shock. A second sable bull was later found dead in the bushes close to the dam. Our scouts followed up and apprehended the poachers, who were then arrested and fined in the magistrates court.
This sort of thing is happening all over the country. Yesterday, I received a phone call from an African lady who has a farm in the Plumtree area (close to the Botswana border) and is influential in local government. A few days ago, poachers and dogs entered her farm and chased a kudu cow to the point of collapse, then tore her to pieces. She died on the lady's fence. The only positive result of this tragedy is that she is now lobbying for a restriction of the number of dogs allowed in each household. Many rural families have four or more of them, mostly used for hunting or left to find food for themselves.
Our scouts patrol the fence line every day in order to check for poaching and also to stop up the holes dug by warthog and bushpig. Very occasionally, though, a stray dog does manage to get in, and a couple of months ago, one such stray savaged our precious Mary bushbuck a few metres from the house. The vet came quickly, but she died under anaesthetic with her head in my arms. She was in her 23rd year.
Dogs are not the only threat to wildlife - wire snares and poison are also in widespread use, plus unethical trophy hunting and armed poachers who target the larger mammals, such as rhino and elephant.
Wildlife sanctuaries and conservancies like ourselves are engaged in a continuous battle to protect our animals – whether it be from man or from starvation.
We MUST win and with your help, we will!
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