Marloth Park culling is ‘inevitable’

Boma in background and warthog family in front and grazing in dire straits. Pic: Lowvelder

Boma in background and warthog family in front and grazing in dire straits. Pic: Lowvelder

It is inevitable that animals will have to be culled in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga. This is after several attempts to have the game captured in the bomas, failed earlier this week.

A brave attempt was launched to guide the animals towards the bomas with helicopters. However, most of the impala would not budge, Lowvelder reported.

The Nkomazi Veterinary Services advised that the animals in the park are the most diseased in the Onderberg with bovine tuberculosis (TB) and that any farmer interested in taking them will have to be well informed of the risk.

The municipal state veterinarian, Dr Johann Kotze, said Mozambique was not interested in accepting any of the animals since the neighbouring country is TB-free.

“Wildlife Vets will need permits for any relocation of game. We will use the Morrisdale Game Abattoir to process the culled game. Everything will be screened, but when meat is cut off from the bone, it can be transported outside of the red-line area.”

The initial objective was to capture and remove 20 giraffes, 30 kudus, 25 zebras, 25 wildebeests and 550 impalas. A total of 150 warthogs have been earmarked for culling and some were killed in late May.

Many more are still to be relocated. Warthog is difficult to capture in a boma. According to Kotze, they are the worst carriers of TB.

Spokesperson for Nkomazi Local Municipality, Velly Makwakwa, confirmed culling would consequently continue and that the bomas did not prove useful any longer. They would be taken down.

According to his information, Wildlife Vets was finished with the mass capture of game. “I have spoken to the Marloth Park Property Owners Association (MPPOA) to inform it that we will have to finish the process by culling. I promised Tony Hayman, a member of the MPPOA committee, that there would be no problems and that we would shoot either early in the day or late in the afternoon.”

Makwakwa added that the municipality would do its best to get the approval of the residents before shooting commenced. “The animals are so tame. Residents have built up a relationship with the game and like to feed them by hand. They think of the animals as their pets, so they will be devastated. But that is the only way out. There is no grazing left in Marloth Park.”

Some of the residents said the culling of the game would be very upsetting. One of them, Hennie Coetzee, said even the use of the helicopters earlier this week had been traumatic and didn’t achieve anything.

“I think the impala are territorial. They will literally stand and look at the bomas and won’t take an exploring walk there. They are so tame.”

“I’m sure that the municipal rangers will not decide to pick up their guns unless there is no other way out. Shooting in this town is really a problem. I for one, already had a shot fired through my house,” Coetzee added.

– Caxton News Service


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