Uproar as wandering cattle ‘poisoned’

FILE PICTURE: South African cattle farm. Image wikimedia commons.

Angry community members in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal yesterday threatened to burn down a farm after the deaths of about 27 heads of stray cattle, believed to be a result of poisoning.

One of the cattle owners alleged the herd was poisoned on purpose by the farmer, claiming he had laced the grass with pineapple insecticide intentionally because he did not want the animals on his land, Zululand Observer reported.

According to the owner, the animals wander in search of grazing and drinking water from the farmer’s dam because of the ongoing drought. The farmer also reportedly lost rare black impala worth more than R2 million. The Public Order Policing Unit and police from KwaMsane and Hluhluwe responded to defuse the situation.

A St Lucia resident said although nobody approved of animals suffering a cruel death, the incident highlighted the ongoing problem of herds wandering anywhere, including in residential areas and national roads, leading to many accidents, injuries and even deaths.

“The chiefs are given trust land exactly for the purpose of relief for cattle grazing,” he said.

State vets and forensics investigators attended to the scene to take samples of the ground, water and perform autopsies on the animals.

This after a total of 65 vultures and a single adult tawny eagle were found dead on a farm near the confluence of the Blyde and Olifants rivers in Limpopo, allegedly as a result of poisoning.

Among the 66 dead birds were 50 globally endangered African white-backed vultures, 14 hooded vultures, also globally endangered, as well as a Cape vulture that is globally endangered.

Andre Botha of the Endangered Wildlife Trust said every vulture species was categorised as endangered in the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s red list, and during the assessment of the scene, it became clear they had been poisoned.

Caxton News Service

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