Other threats


The danger that dogs pose to wildlife in the Joan Muirhead Nature Reserve was amply demonstrated in May 2019.

Brian Pachonick forwarded this photo of a bushbuck ram forging his way across Kariega mouth in search of a mate to Wildlife Watch on 5 May 2019.

bushbuck ram

The dogs confronting the ram on the other side were an omen of what can and does sometimes happen.

bushbuck ram with dogs

(Photos sent to Brian Pachonick by Justin Lindsay of Ecotanks)

On 5 May a bushbuck ram, which may or may not have been this one, was attacked by two dogs in the reserve along Coniston Road. Brian described the dogs as a pair of beagles. He and Roger Carthew gave chase to try and catch the dogs, but to no avail. A Hi Tec vehicle and Wildlife Watch patrolled the streets around Westbourne Rd and surronding areas to find out what happened to the ram, also to no avail. To our knowledge he has not been seen again; nor have the dogs; and worst of all, not their owner either.

The owner has broken the law and in doing so has caused harm to our wildlife, albeit that we do not know whether the ram was harmed physically. Failure to keep dogs under control can be prosecuted as criminal offence; it can also lead to civil action. There is a civic suit that can be instituted against the owner of a domestic animal, such as an uncontrolled dog, that causes harm.

Woefully, over the weeks that followed Wildlife Watch spotted two more adult dogs with a juvenile coming from and running along the edge of the reserve at night. Both the adults, a knee-high tan crossbreed and a white fluffy dog with a black patch on its head, ran across the R72 and into Ekuphumleni. The consequences of dogs in the reserve can be dire. Brian Pachonick warned that this was probably a hunting pack.

On Friday morning, 5 July, Wildlife Watch went through a part of the reserve where blue duiker live in order to find traces of the dogs or their owner. Evidence of the previous night’s hunt was found: the tiny, torn-off hind leg of a blue duiker.

With the help of Rotarians Brian Pachonick and Roger Carthew, Wildlife Watch set a dog trap in the area to try and catch the dogs.  Over a period of weeks, three dogs were trapped, one by one. They were taken from the trap with the help of the Kenton Police, who handled the dogs with care. Each was taken to the SPCA. Brian’s view is that if each is adopted in a new home in a different area they will not hunt on their own.



Source of photos: African Conservation: photodestination.co.za

At the end of December 2018 a caller reported to the Wildlife Protection Hotline that a person was flying a drone over the rocks at Shelley Beach. The drone was disturbing the Oystercatchers which breed on the rocks. The caller reported that the Oystercatchers were “very distressed”.

The international conservation status of Oyster Catchers is “near threatened” (IUCN Red List).

In addition, they are listed as “protected” in Notice 1717 of 2007 drafted by The Minister of Environmental Affairs under the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998, Annexure D: Shorebirds Requiring Protection.

The Minister’s authority to draft regulations is granted by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004.

For more information about regulations regarding the use of drones, see the post under Laws and regulations.