Don’t feed wild­li­fe, says SANParks

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Nuus | News -

SANParks s­cien­tis­ts and ci­vil so­cie­ty re­se­arch groups ha­ve cau­ti­o­ned a­gainst fee­ding wild a­ni­mals. This co­mes af­ter vo­lun­teer groups had drop­ped ve­ge­ta­bles and seeds for a­ni­mals to eat in the na­ti­o­nal park and sur­rounds. This week, aut­ho­ri­ties de­tailed re­a­sons for dis­coura­ging the fee­ding of a­ni­mals in burnt a­re­as.

Ac­cor­ding to Gar­den Rou­te Na­ti­o­nal Park ma­na­ger Pad­dy Gor­don, the fi­re scar thus far il­lus­tra­tes an e­lon­ga­ted li­ne, which sug­ge­sts a­ni­mals could ha­ve mo­ved to either si­de of the fi­re.

“Fee­ding wild a­ni­mals may le­ad to an in­cre­a­se in a­ni­mal con­flict with one a­not­her. On­ce all the fee­ding pro­gram­mes and vo­lun­teers wit­h­draw re­lief ef­fort, a­ni­mals will keep co­ming to u­su­al spots to col­lect food, which could le­ad to a con­flict with ot­her wild a­ni­mals, do­mes­tic pets and al­so with hu­mans,” Gor­don said.

Furt­her points he high­lig­h­ted we­re as fol­lows: Fee­ding ha­bi­tu­a­tes a­ni­mals to hu­mans. S­pre­a­ding fod­der o­ver burnt a­re­as mig­ht le­ad a­ni­mals to eat both fod­der and any new gro­wth of plants or shoots. This mig­ht de­lay the gro­wth of plants in tho­se a­re­as.

As fee­ding a­ni­mals can al­so ha­ve an in­flu­en­ce on bree­ding pat­terns in so­me a­ni­mal spe­cies, should the fee­ding sud­den­ly stop, a­ni­mals will be se­ver­e­ly af­fected.

Gor­don said SANParks s­taff are part of the “ground-tru­thing exe­r­ci­se” with ot­her sta­ke­hol­ders to de­ter­mi­ne furt­her as­ses­sment af­ter the fi­re. On­ce this is com­ple­ted, cer­tain a­re­as will be i­den­ti­fied for re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on but ot­her a­re­as will re­grow.

* Re­si­dents who spot in­ju­red a­ni­mals as a re­sult of the re­cent fi­res can con­tact the Knys­na A­ni­mal Wel­fa­re So­cie­ty on 044384-1603 du­ring of­fi­ce hours or, in ca­se of an e­mer­gen­cy af­ter hours, p­ho­ne 073-4619825.

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