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


The great news
is that our anti-poaching efforts have been sustained and we have not recently had any poaching incidences.

 Recently, however, one of our neighbouring Reserves was targeted and their electric fence was cut and goods were stolen. This brought to mind the ongoing challenge that we face to ensure the safety of our wild! We have now decided to install satellite surveillance over our Reserve. However, we would only be able to do this with your support.

The risk of poaching continues to be a constant concern and every night we are anxious about the safety of our wild. Especially on our mind are our darling zebra, Stripy, Tammy, and Milkyway our new zebra stallion. They keep watch over the young female wildebeest, Flower Patch, that they “adopted” when her mother was snared.

There are also other wildebeest, Franky the young bull and the territorial bull Ragnar who together with the zebra, come up to our homestead each evening. After visiting us they love to visit our guests at Leopard Walk Lodge.

However, all our wild animal species are precious and your support helps protect them! But we must do even more to completely ensure their safety!

  • Please assist us to cover the cost of obtaining satellite surveillance so that we would be able to further ensure the safety of our precious wild animals.  

Thank you for caring and being champions of our Reserve and all its animals and biodiversity.

 

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Stripy cares for orphaned Flower Patch
Stripy cares for orphaned Flower Patch

Dear friends,

The protection of our wild is possible only due to the support we receiveThank you! Your ongoing support is critically important, please support our 2022 efforts!  Every sector of our biodiversity has to be consistantly protected.

The following is some of the areas of support needed:

  • Camera Traps to alert us of poachers in the high-risk areas
  • Wages for our game guards and night watchmen
  • Uniforms  (2 sets each of overalls, Jacket, boots, hats,  night torches 
  • Radio
  • Watches to track the game guards patrol
  • Upgrade of security fencing
  • A drone to enable observation of the reserve from above.

The past two years have been tremendously challenging. Poaching began to increase due to Covid and we urgently appealed for your support to prevent the horrific impact that poaching causes.

Especially stressful has been that many of our wild are so well known to us: Our Zebra, Stripy, Tammy and our new darling Milky Way come to meet us each evening at our home. Following them are 3 wildebeest: Ragnar the territorial bull, his calf Flower Patch. Flower Patch was orphaned when her mother was snared so she is watched by the zebra in particular Stripy who seems to see her as one of her own young!  Frank a young bull grazes separately as he is not yet ready to seriously challenge Ragnar!  

Many other wild are part of the wonderful biodiversity that we protect in our Sanctuary:  More than 30 species of mammal, over 350 species of birds, more than 126 species of amphibians, 170 species of trees. Hundreds of butterfly species and so much more. Everything is susceptible to being poached. Our biggest fear however is that an animal will be caught in a snare and die a horrifically painful death!

To keep our wildlife safe we have trusted wildlife guards who do daily patrols, we set up cam cameras in the bush, that alert us to any suspicious activity, and also do daily vehicle patrols. Checking for footprints, deciphering the cam information, and encouraging the watchmen to achieve 100% surveillance as well as keep a lookout for any suspicious leads outside of the property boundaries is all in a day's work!

We protect more than 30 various species of Red Data and Protected mammals. The red data mammal species are listed as being under threat of extinction should they not be protected:

In many ways, amphibians and frogs, in particular, are important indicators of the health of our environment and thus human health is intertwined with the health of frogs!   We are responsible for more than 126 various species of frogs that we protect in and around our Sanctuary.

There are also over 170 important tree species   (with the risk of being debarked or damaged should they be targeted for illegal traditional medicinal collection)  

It is only with the tremendous support you have all given us that we have been encouraged to continue protecting our very special haven for the wild. Please continue to help employ our wildlife guards and to protect our vulnerable wild! 

Thank you once again.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and compassionate 2022. 

 

FOR INTEREST FURTHER READING:
Red data mammal species, that are resident or move through our Sanctuary include: 

 Aardvark – Orycteropus afer – Least Concern 

African wild dog –  Lycaon pictus  –  Endangered

Brown Hyaena – Hyaena brunnea – Near Threatened

Pangolin –   Manis temminckii – Critically Endangered 

Red duiker – Cephalophus natalensis – Near Threatened

Serval – Leptailurus – Near Threatened 

South African Hedgehog – Atelerix frontalis – Near Threatened 

Spotted hyaena – Crocuta Crocuta – Near Threatened 

Suni antelope – Neotragus moschatus – Vulnerable  

4 toed elephant shrew – Petrodromus Tetradactylus – Near Threatened

Tonga red squirrel – Paraxerus palliates – Near Threatened 

and more.

Protected mammal species include: 

Bat species  26

Brown hyena – Hyaena brunnea

Cat species 5: Leopard, caracal, serval, Africa wild cat, genet

Grey duiker – Sylvicapra grimmia

Honey badger – Mellivora capensis

Impala – Aepyceros melampus

Moles  (ID in process)

Mongoose species -3: Banded mongoose, water mongoose, white-tailed mongoose.

Nyala – Tragelaphus angasii

Pangolin – Tragelaphus angasii

Reedbuck – edunca arundinum

Rodents (ID in process)

Scrub hare   (Lepus saxatilis) mallam

South African porcupine Hystrix africaeaustralis

Spotted hyena – Crocuta crocuta

Wildebeest – Connochaetes taurinus

Woodland Dormouse  – Graphiurus murinus

Zebra- Equus quaggaSouth African porcupine   

South African porcupine   Hystrix africaeaustralis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower Patch orphaned when mother was snared
Flower Patch orphaned when mother was snared
Snares retrieved before they could do damage
Snares retrieved before they could do damage
Nyala female also susceptible to poaching
Nyala female also susceptible to poaching
Baby mongoose another species we protect.
Baby mongoose another species we protect.
European fly catcher, poached for feathers.
European fly catcher, poached for feathers.

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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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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
$1,394 raised of $5,000 goal
 
15 donations
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