Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19

by Suni-Ridge Sand Forest Park, Environmental Rehabilitation Centre
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
Urgent - Prevent poaching crisis due to COVID-19
hyena entered with snare
hyena entered with snare

Dear Friends,

How grateful we are to have increased our monitoring with 2 more outdoor cam cameras, to prevent poaching of our precious wildlife during this difficult time. Thank you for helping us obtain these essential outdoor auto-capture cameras!

Due to your support, we have been able to acquire two new cam cameras. One is a Scout Guard Bolly Black Flash and the other one is a UO Vision Black Flash, a  more advanced cam that also sends signals to our cell phone of any action videoed during the day or night. Both of these cams operate by capturing night movements without having a flash that may warn off anyone walking past. We see many different species on the cams and it's always exciting to see leopard during their night prowls. 

The cam cameras helped us identify a hyena that entered our property from a surrounding area, that unfortunately had a snare around her neck. We were deeply distressed to see how she was suffering. We immediately notified our Regional Conservation body. Ezemvulu KZN Wildlife. They brought in a predator cage trap and baited it to hopefully capture her by luring her into the cage. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful. Subsequently, the cage was removed but the bait was left in place. Our new cams clearly showed the movement of hyenas that were trying to approach the bait through a hole that they had dug under the fence. A voice cry apparatus was then set up to hopefully attract the female that had a snare on her neck. To date unfortunately we continue trying to lure her, and updates will be submitted.

Preventing suffering caused by snares is extremely important for the humane management of the wild. Of course, it is important to prevent the animal from being snared before it happens. Therefore we also have night watchmen that patrol and keep poachers away. Any intrusion is reported immediately and thankfully we have had no incidences since the hyena.  These loyal animal lovers' well-being, wages, and jobs also help them to provide for a number of extended family members as well. This is greatly appreciated.

We would like to invite interested volunteers that may wish to assist with snare sweeps and the deciphering of the cam reports. In the meantime, we are managing this on a daily basis with my personal observations and checking program.

Without your support, we would not have the encouragement to continue doing our very best!

Heartfelt thanks once again!

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One of our beautiful nyala
One of our beautiful nyala

As always we report firstly, with a big thank you to all who have helped us protect our wildlife and the biodiversity of our Sanctuary.

Keeping our wild safe is always on our mind: I was pleased last night to see that one of our special wildebeest “Frankie” a lone bachelor who is particularly friendly, was resting safely close to our homestead. Then I relised that it was going to be an extremely dark night. Soon the stars were magnificently bright but as there was no moon this would discourage Poachers who prefer a bright full moon. I had been anxious because of recent events:

Last week, we had an uneasy 2 nights. It was full moon and we had a message from our neighbour telling us that poachers had set a line of snares and that one of his nyala had been killed. A bunch of about 30 wire snares were retrieved at the poacher's entry and exit point on his fence line. We were on high alert as It takes just one evening for a group of poachers to set snares that our wildlife could be caught in! We ensured that our anti-poaching patrols were diligent and we also helped by doing vehicle patrols around the reserve ourselves. The next morning, we made certain that a day guard patrolled to do a snare sweep check and also to make sure that there were no intruder footprints. Thankfully all was well.

We never relax our awareness. And this seems to be helping, together of course with your support.

Great news is that we received a disbursement on 2021.04.28 from GlobalGiving, with funds that you donated. We have decided to use this towards acquiring another outdoor monitoring camera to assist us with monitoring the security of our wildlife.

The monitoring cam cameras are movement sensitive and they capture any movement in the camera’s visual field, both during the day and at night. Sometimes the wild are interested and look right into the lens. They actually each have a personality, believe it or not, and often their antics make us smile. Mostly though we get feedback of peaceful movements of the animals and also of course snaps of the guards doing their most important patrol duties! We would like to set up as many cam cameras as possible.

So life in the bush is never without a dull moment. Each day that we manage to ensure that the biodiversity of our wild and all our precious animals remain safe, we are overjoyed and most grateful for the ongoing help that enables us to do our very best to protect this beautiful “Piece of Eden”

Heartfelt thanks once again.

Rare Suni-antelope photo on our night cam camera
Rare Suni-antelope photo on our night cam camera
Leopard tracks, mother and cub were seen recently
Leopard tracks, mother and cub were seen recently
Genet cat seen on our night cam camera
Genet cat seen on our night cam camera
Night patrol on camera
Night patrol on camera
Peaceful grazing tells of no poaching.
Peaceful grazing tells of no poaching.
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Milkyway safe and friendly
Milkyway safe and friendly

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to report that our anti-poaching efforts are working well. Thank you for your support that continues to help with this mammoth task. Our new zebra "Milkyway" is a docile and friendly animal and we extend heartfelt appreciation to all who have assisted us to ensure that he too is safe in his new home in our Sanctuary, together with the other zebra, wildebeest, nyala, impala and the many diverse and also rare species that we protect. 

Over the Festive Season, wildlife were at an even higher risk as youngsters often use dogs in a traditional sport to flush out animals for their hunt. These dogs are highly trained to not bark and lie low on command. It is only because we have nightguards that patrol the perimeter of our reserve as well as the internal areas, that we continue to prevent this type of poaching.

The other methods used by poachers include the placement of wire snares, an extremely cruel practice. We prevent this by doing snare checks every day, along wildlife paths and in the bush, we have to be totally sure that no infringement has happened through our fence. But the more obvious poaching is not the only concern. We also have to be sure that smaller wildlife species such as rare tortoises are protected. To help us monitor this all we use outdoor cam cameras that also show us exciting photos such as those of leopards and other animals that frequent our Sanctuary.

We are hoping to acquire more outdoor monitoring cameras and erect a new upgraded security fence during the forthcoming months. The work and financial support that we provide for the night guards is greatly appreciated by these persons who are all from our Local Community. Each worker supports up to 10 family and extended family members!

Thank you once again for your help to keep our Sanctuary a safe haven and refuge for wildlife while at the same time assisting families whose livelihoods are affected by the Covid 19  restrictions.

Wishing you health, safety, and every Blessing for the forthcoming year.

Rare Wildlife protected - tiny Hinge Back Tortoise
Rare Wildlife protected - tiny Hinge Back Tortoise
Porcupine, one of many diverse species protected
Porcupine, one of many diverse species protected
Leopard visiting, seen from security bush camera.
Leopard visiting, seen from security bush camera.
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Thank you for helping to prevent poaching. We pleased to announce that our anti-poaching project, with your support, has been successful lately.

No poaching has been experienced at our Sanctuary for some time now and this means that our efforts are proving worthwhile. Clearing fence lines, regular day and night patrols, cams to help surveillance, and careful monitoring have helped. Without your support, this would not be have been possible as the cost of our night guards and day patrols that ensure our wildlife’s safety have been, and continue to be ongoing challenges. The work that this provides for Rural persons is greatly appreciated by them as each worker financially assists up to 10 extended family members. 

We have also ensured that our wildlife has sufficient feed during the dry winter months. There has not been much rain but we provide supplemental feed for our much-loved zebra and wildebeest. This also enables us to check on them each evening (and sometimes during the day) when they come up to their feeding area from their grazing areas in the dryer grass plains. The other wildlife species at Suni-Ridge are all browsers or mixed feeders and they continue to find sustenance in the foliage of our forest vegetation. We do however also assist nature by lowering some branches, as elephant would do, of the forest trees to ensure that babies of the browsers are able to reach new shoots and leaves.

The safety of our wildlife remains an important priority at Suni-Ridge and we continue to compassionately care for all our species and also protect the vast biodiversity of our Wildlife Sanctuary.

Some super great news is that the new male zebra that we have been waiting for, that was delayed by Lockdown, is to be arriving at last, on Monday 21 September! 

Thank you to each and everyone that has so kindly supported our beautiful wildlife and the protection of the Biodiversity of Suni-Ridge. 

Links:

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News update on Suni-Ridge Sanctuary. 24 May 2020

Thank you all for your support! With Covid-19 and lockdown, we continue to work tirelessly to maintain and protect the biodiversity of our Sanctuary.

POACHING PREVENTION: Tragically we had a recent increase in poaching and over 85 snares were recovered after poachers entered our Sanctuary. They were disturbed by our night guard but unfortunately, some of our wildlife were snared. This was traumatic and terribly sad as 2 of our wildebeest were caught. We managed to release them but the female, that was a mother of a female calf, succumbed to stress. Eventually we had to euthanize her. The young calf is now cared for by the territorial bull, her father, and the zebra. This horrible event has placed us on high alert and we urgently need to increase our anti-poaching surveillance and prevention. We will be launching a fundraising outreach as we have to find support for this project.

RELOCATION OF ZEBRA: The good news is that we are, at long last, busy with arrangements to relocate a male zebra that needs to be moved. Suni-Ridge will provide an excellent home for him. The funds raised to bring in a mate for our female zebra is paying for the relocation costs. We will be sending photos!

EMERGENCY MEDICAL FUND: As nature cannot always be left to “take her course” in a Sanctuary, we have to prevent any animal from suffering unduly. We are pleased that our emergency treatment fund has helped us to treat an injured wildebeest bull that had massive swelling of his foot.

REMOVAL OF ALIEN INVASIVE VEGETATION: During this time of the year, follow up on the removal of alien plants is important. Our main concern is the Potato Creeper (solanum seaforthianum) that can crowd out indigenous trees and plants. Last year we removed it efficiently, but annual follow-up removal is always necessary, to prevent any regrowth from seeds. We are presently ensuring an effective follow up.

INDIGENOUS ORCHIDS A joy to light up our day has been the flowering of one of our indigenous orchids(cyrtorchus praetermissa ssp zuluensis) How beautiful to suddenly see this tiny orchid bloom.

Although the Covid-19 impact on our lives, has been stressful, we are Blessed to all be well. Day by day, we continue to work tirelessly with the protection of our rare and precious wildlife and their unique habitat in our Sanctuary.

Thank you all for your support.

We wish you all the best safety and health.

Janet Cuthbertson

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Organization Information

Suni-Ridge Sand Forest Park, Environmental Rehabilitation Centre

Location: Hluhluwe - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Suni_Ridge
Project Leader:
Janet cuthbertson
Hluhluwe, South Africa
$1,189 raised of $5,000 goal
 
12 donations
$3,811 to go
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