Environment & Natural Resources News South Africa

Game breeding centre situation critical

The situation at the Pretoria Zoo 6 000 hectare Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre in North West Province is critical, The New Age reports. Wild animals are dying, watering holes and dams are drying up, marauding jackals destroy newborn antelope and the abundance of bird life has gone with the demise of the wetlands.

Even the vultures that used to feed at the popular vultures' restaurant at the centre have flown to forage elsewhere.

At the once thriving breeding centre, the stench of death was thick in the air and the decaying carcasses of antelope, which died of thirst or starved to death, were seen strewn in the bush, on the edge of town. An ailing gemsbok desperately tried to limp away to safety in the open veld. With a broken horn, the gemsbok clearly had a large abscess on its front leg and without urgent treatment its survival was in jeopardy, said a conservationist.

"What used to be such a wonderful conservation and development project has become an embarrassment for conservation in South Africa," said Jorries Jordaan, chairman of the De la Rey branch of SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association and regional coordinator for the greater Molopo region. Scores of animals had starved to death in the past few months, Jordaan said. He described the situation at the centre as "critical". Describing the sad plight of the animals at the breeding centre, Jordaan said the local community, including hunters and farmers, had tried to help in a desperate bid to save the game farm since its gradual decay started 10 years ago, but their efforts were on numerous occasions stonewalled by officials at the Pretoria Zoo.

Read the full article on www.thenewage.co.za.

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