OFFICE OF THE MANAGER: ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE CONSERVATION
After years of stormy relationships between the Nkomazi Local Municipality, MTPA and Marloth Park residents, the 19th March 2015 heralded a new era of cooperation in respect of the game management of Marloth Park.
A ground breaking meeting was held at the municipal building in Marloth Park, where the municipal officials, MTPA, MPPOAand others metto discuss the 2015 game removal.
The meeting was very positive and as part of the discussion the census results of 2012 and July 2014, and historical involvement w.r.t. game stocking were used. The recent mortalities of some species were noted. The 2014 census results formed the basis of the discussions and consensus was reached without any discussion by all members present which includs Nkomazi, MTPA, Honorary Rangers, Conservancy, Marloth Wildlife Fund, Care4 Marloth, MPPOA and StateVet. The absolute need for a drastic game reduction this year, not only to prevent huge loss of game by starvation but also to give the veldt in Marloth Park a chance to start to recover and rehabilitate was agreed.
The agreed 2014 totals per species were used to calculate the 2015 projected totals, following the same increment rates as used by the MTPA. The current stocking rate is 3.9ha/Animal Unit, the recommended stocking rate is 8ha/Au in a reasonable veldt conditions. Due to the lack of rain this season and the already disastrous state of Marloth Park’s veldt it as agreed to take the stocking rate down to 11ha/Au. These removals will reduce the stocking rate to an extent that some recovery of the graze and browse resources would be possible. Nkomazi and MTPA confirmed that moving animals to Lionspruit, would ultimately only move the problem, hence the decision not to move any animals to Lionspruit. In fact it was noted that although no removals from Lionspruit were considered this year, this could be a possibility next year.
Nkomazi is, by recommendation, considering the services of the Wildlife EVets, Dr Kobus Raath to carry out this game removal, and this was sanctioned by the MTPA, as well as all parties present. The NKLM will have discussions with the MTPA and Wildlife EVets to confirm the contractual and financial implications of this exercise as a matter of urgency. The method to be considered was explained by Mr Makwakwa and two options were considered: firstly shooting of the Impalas and warthogsin the residential area of Marloth Park, as has been done in the past or passive capture and removal of the animals to another location for either sale or culling, depending of the species and availability of buyers. It was noted that this should be performed within the restrictions of the Veterinary Controls which are in place due to Foot and Mouth.
Consensus was reached that if possible the passive capture and removal would be preferential due to the history of Marloth Park and the emotions that culling between the houses causes. The ideal being that all animals to be removed would be capture and taken out of Marloth Park. This would not guarantee that no shooting would take place, as this would still have to happen if numbers were not reached at the end of the game capture process. The Chief State Veterinarian Officer Johan Kotze, who was also present at the meeting explained the legalities of the “Meat Safety Act “and ethical obligations in the game removal and the sale both of game meat , as well as the sale of live game. Mr Kotze also expressed his satisfaction at the route that was being taken this year with this process.
The game removal programme is planned to take place in April, and property owners and public are requested to cooperate with the relevant authorities involved and allow the capture to take place without interference to ensure as little stress to the animals as possible.
The fewer animals captured, increases the possibility of animals being shot in Marloth Park. The Nkomazi officials agreed that if animals were starving this should be reported to the Office of Mr. Makwakwa or the Rangers and permission would be granted to have these animals shot, rather that suffer this terrible death.
The Nkomazi Local Council, MTPA and all other parties look forward to working together towards rehabilitating the veldt in Marloth Park as per recommendations of Ralf Kalwa and practising good sound game management in the future years.
Manager: Enviro and Nature Conservation – Nkomazi Local Municipality