Blue duiker bucks na­ture with gar­den visit

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Zi­zonke May [email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

Is it a goat? No, it is a ju­ve­nile blue duiker.

Jonty Box­ongo, 23, ar­rived at his Zwide home on Tues­day af­ter­noon to find what ap­peared to be a baby goat in the gar­den.

He im­me­di­ately called his sis­ter to tell her about the strange crea­ture that was hud­dled in a cor­ner.

His sis­ter, Saman­tha Sil­wana, also 23, said her brother was fright­ened when he called her at work, ask­ing that she call a se­cu­rity com­pany for as­sis­tance with the an­i­mal.

“He tried to de­scribe it to me,” she said.

“I had no idea what an­i­mal it was but from his de­scrip­tion it sounded like a spring­bok.

“I then searched on­line for an­i­mal wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tions and called var­i­ous places.

“I even­tu­ally got through to the tourism de­part­ment, which gave me the num­ber for Arnold Slab­bert at Wild­line.

“We had also set off the alarm for [se­cu­rity com­pany] ADT to re­spond and as­sist my brother as he was in a se­ri­ous panic be­cause the an­i­mal was bleed­ing.”

Sil­wana said she was amazed that a wild an­i­mal could wan­der so far into an ur­ban area and she was very sad to not have seen it her­self.

“My brother was too scared to go close and take a proper pic­ture, but I searched the in­ter­net to find out more about what it could be,” she said.

Slab­bert, the founder and chair of Wild­line, said the buck was in fact a nine-month-old blue duiker, SA’s sec­ond-small­est indige­nous an­te­lope.

He said he was very sur­prised to find it un­harmed.

“In the mid­dle of Zwide is not the place you would ex­pect to find wildlife,” he said.

“There are so many dogs roam­ing around and peo­ple who like hunt­ing in that area.

“The buck was in per­fect con­di­tion.

“It had a few bruises from try­ing to squeeze through some­where, but no life-threat­en­ing in­juries or bro­ken bones.

“It shows how wildlife is ca­pa­ble of adapt­ing and liv­ing around hu­mans.

“To catch a blue duiker, which is a threat­ened species, in the mid­dle of a mas­sive town­ship like that – it’s al­most un­be­liev­able.”

Slab­bert said the buck could have come from any­where in the Per­se­ver­ance area along the Swartkops River.

“The im­por­tant thing about the blue duiker is that it is a species that falls un­der Tops [the Threat­ened or Pro­tected Species reg­u­la­tions].

“No­body may catch or move them with­out spe­cial per­mits and they may not be kept in cap­tiv­ity.”

He said that over the past few years there had been an in- crease in il­le­gal trad­ing of blue duiker, Cape grys­bok and steen­bok.

Af­ter the nec­es­sary checks with a vet, the buck was re­leased in the Sar­dinia Bay coastal bush.

GONE ROAM­ING: The young blue duiker found in Zwide

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