Oct 4, 2010

Deadlock Battles

What would you do if everything you depended on was threatened by a single element? An element which you had the power to remove? Would you not take any steps necessary to defend that which allows you to survive?

For many people in this country, livestock is a life-giving source. They rely on this livestock for food and nutrition, income and status. Most of these people will do anything in their power to protect their livelihood.  Wouldn’t you?

Often the threat comes in the form of a four-legged predator, hungry or looking for an easy meal. Sadly these wild “beasts” hunting grounds are being restricted like a net being drawn closed. These creatures are now being forced from the lands that they once used to roam and hunt upon freely by humans’ insatiable need to expand, conquer and devour.

Our mission is to educate people such as this that there is another effective solution and that we can help them in their plight whilst saving an animal’s life. Let me tell you about two such stories...

Ostrich Killer:  After losing a staggering 36 ostrich to a leopard, a farmer, in extreme frustration, set a cage trap in order to lure in the ruthless hunter. However, the animal that stalked in to claim the bait was a different ‘bothersome’ predator – a brown hyena. The farmer solved that problem himself by shooting the hyena as to him this was the only solution. He then reset the trap cage in the hopes of catching the leopard. On inspection the farmer realised that he had indeed caught a leopard but it was not the one that he had been hoping for. It was a young cub! “Aaahha”, he thought! ”This will do the trick!”  And so he decided to leave the cub in the cage in hopes of attracting the mother back to catch her in another trap he had set..  Brian heard about this 4 days later and immediately rushed over to see what was going on. The cub was still in the cage and was in a terrible state! Brian explained to the farmer in earnest that he would help him catch the problem leopard if only he would allow him to take the baby leopard away and try and save its life. The farmer agreed and Brian set traps in waiting.

We did not have to wait long for the farmer to call letting us know that there was something in one of our traps, it was another cub! (The brother to the female that we had previously rescue)  He was brought back to the rehab centre and the trap was reset once more. Finally! Not long after, we managed to capture the large female (the mother) that had been killing so many of the farmer’s animals to feed her growing family. She was brought back to the rehab and now we are looking for space to relocate her to. She would no longer accept her cubs and being only about 6-7 months of age we will need to keep them here until they are old enough and capable to fend for themselves in the wild world.

Cattle Slayer: Our second story takes place on a farm over 150km from the rehab. A local, black farmer by the name of Paul had had enough after 8 of his calves had been killed by resident Brown Hyenas. These cattle are his livelihood and his only source of income with which he can support his family.

Paul set up his own cage traps in order to catch the guilty culprits. Tempted by the smell of easy food, the Brown Hyena was lured in. One could reasonably understand if Paul took matters into his own hands but he did not and having heard about the Rehab and what Brian does, he contacted us to “Take this thing away from here!” Sensing the man’s frustration, Brian set off immediately. A very large female hyena pacing the trap cage is the sight that greeted him on arrival. Sadly the female had been heavily pregnant and had given birth to 4 cubs in the cage. As a result of stress and agitation she killed them and ate 2 of them. Brian could see that she was not in a good way, with a badly injured side and pouring blood from the uterus. On arrival at the rehab she was rushed to the clinic where we could examine and treat her. She was then placed on a course of heavy anti-biotics. That very next afternoon, Paul rang Brian. He had caught a second Brown Hyena and told Brian that he had better come and fetch it soon. Once again a round trip of over 300Kms was made in order to bring the Brown Hyena safely back to the rehab.

The officials feel that once these animals are released they will go straight back to their ways of killing livestock such as the ostrich that the leopard was taking to feed her cubs. We would like to prove that this will not happen if we release them far enough away!

After both such incidents our quarantine is full and we hope to release the animals in suitable places where their presence will be cherished rather than despised. We will keep you posted!

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