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City urges residents to help prevent poaching at nature reserves <p>​​​​The City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department is urging the public to be vigilant and report poachers or any suspicious activity to their nearest law enforcement or nature conservation office for investigation and further action.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></p><div>It is estimated that dozens of animals are poached from the City’s nature reserves each month. While the exact figure is unknown, the marked decrease or even absence of particular animals at some sites is evidence of the impact of this illegal activity.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>The main types of animal targeted and caught are small antelope, such as Cape grysbok, porcupine and Cape hare. However, any mammal, including caracal and mongoose, is vulnerable to non-selective hunting methods. While some of the poaching is for meat, many animals are also killed for their horns, hooves and organs. Porcupine quills are used extensively in the tourism industry. In Cape Town, however, the primary reason for much of the illegal hunting is for the practice of gambling. Dogs are used for illegal hunting and bets are placed on the various dogs involved in the hunt.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>Poachers can usually be identified when three to five people are walking with a pack of approximately 18 dogs near nature reserves. The setting of snares remains a problem in some area and detecting this activity is difficult. Snares are usually placed along game paths and in holes in fences.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>There are currently a few groups that hunt with large packs of dogs on the False Bay coastline between the Zandvlei Nature Reserve and the Macassar Dunes Conservation Area.</div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>This act of hunting is prohibited (illegal) in terms of the Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance and the National Environmental Management Act on Protected Areas and Nature Reserves.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>During this year, six arrests have been made. While this is encouraging, poaching remains a problem.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><br></div><div>‘Poaching of wild animals, especially grysbok and porcupine, is a challenge for the City. It is extremely difficult to police because many of our nature reserves are not fenced and there are numerous access points. Also, perpetrators are difficult to apprehend because they hunt at all times of day and during all weather conditions. Snares are often set and checked after hours.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>‘All of the species targeted during hunting are protected. Although they are not globally threatened with extinction, these species may become locally extinct if hunting continues. We have already noticed that there is almost no browsing occurring in the Macassar Dunes and Wolfgat Nature Reserve, which means that porcupine and small antelope numbers have been greatly reduced in this ecosystem.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>‘The City vehemently condemns illegal hunting because it depletes the already low animal numbers in our natural areas, and disrupts the sensitive ecological balance. In addition, the hunting methods are considered inhumane and result in a considerable loss of our natural heritage,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>Members of the public are urged to be on the lookout and to support the City by reporting any suspicious activity.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div>‘Residents need to work with the City so that together we can clamp down on illegal hunting to protect our animals and our environment for future generations. The City urges communities to report illegal hunting or suspicious activity to their nearest law enforcement or nature conservation office. A tip-off could lead to an arrest and any arrest of poachers will be a significant achievement for nature conservation,’ said Councillor Van der Merwe.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre;"> </span></div><div><br></div><div><br><strong>End</strong></div><div><br></div>2016-01-05T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#cef8f97e-66cf-4834-8637-e10e020fc90c;L0|#0cef8f97e-66cf-4834-8637-e10e020fc90c|natural heritage;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#6ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87;L0|#06ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87|nature reserve;GP0|#37969262-1103-4962-b0a8-7eb237051fa6;L0|#037969262-1103-4962-b0a8-7eb237051fa6|poaching1


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