Reserve’s future in the balance

The injured reedbuck at the veterinary practice.

“ Will Kloofendal Nature Reserve become another one of the few natural parks remaining in Johannesburg to be ruined by mismanagement and neglect?”

This is the question asked by a very concerned Karin Spottiswoode, one of the committee members of the Friends of Kloofendal (FroK), after the recent attack on and killing of a reedbuck.

“I was leading an alien invasive hacking session with the Protea Ridge Club on 15 July, when we received a call from Stuart Baker. He told us he had just witnessed a mother reedbuck and her baby being chased by three dogs in the parking lot. In its panic, the little reedbuck crashed into the fence, hurting itself badly. The mother buck got away,” Karin said.

(WEB) The open gate at the reserve manager’s residence.

The security guard who was on duty, Nomhlangana Ncube, was able to place herself between the dogs and the buck, and managed to chase the dogs away.

When Karin arrived at the scene, it did not look good. “The buck’s hind legs were limp and blood was streaming out of its nose. I put my tracksuit top over its head, and that seemed to calm it down,” she said.

(WEB) Stuart Baker and two of the veterinary staff attending to the buck. Photos: Supplied

The Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) manager for Kloofendal, who lives on the property, was informed of the incident, and when he arrived at the scene, he suggested the buck should be taken to the Johannesburg Zoo, for a veterinarian to treat it.

“I felt that the buck was in too much pain to endure the long drive, and we could not be sure if a vet would be available. We decided to take her to a Florida veterinarian, where we were told that the buck would probably not have survived the drive to the zoo,” Karin said.

Nomhlangana Ncube, the Kloofendal security guard who bravely fought off the dogs. Photos: Supplied

The buck was immediately seen to and treated by Dr Muller, who injected it with a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory. He said that, although the medication would work soon, they could not be sure that the buck would survive. “We made the little buck as comfortable as possible and hoped that it would survive the night. Sadly, she had to be euthanised the next day, as she had sustained severe neck injuries, resulting in an inability to stand and walk. This has happened on two previous occasions as well,” Karin said sadly.

Upon further investigation, it was found that there were holes in the fence around the reserve’s parking area where the buck got through, making them an easy target. “The dogs from the nearby houses follow the buck through these holes, and proceed to chase and attack – sometimes even killing them,” an angry Karin said.

Dr Muller sharing the sad news that the buck would have to be euthanised.

According to Karin, the holes in the fencing around the Reserve have been reported to the JCPZ, which is responsible for the managing of Kloofendal, on numerous occasions by various residents, but the complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.

“Although holes have been repaired in the past, new, bigger ones have been cut into the fence for poaching, squatting, or so many other reasons. These holes make Kloofendal Reserve, with its indigenous inhabitants and visitors, very vulnerable. We have marked the holes with hazard tape so they can be repaired as soon as possible,” said Karin.

She concluded by saying, “Even though JCPZ is responsible for the boundary fencing, as a temporary measure, it would be much appreciated if the community could assist in locating and maybe help with repairing them. Any volunteers who would like to assist with this, can contact FroK on 079 693 5608.”

(WEB) A hole in the fence that is big enough for an adult to go through easily.

She added that they had a number of other concerns which had also been brought to the attention of JCPZ, but, to date, no reaction had been received.

JCPZ was contacted for comment on this matter, but was informed that the spokesperson, Jenny Moodley, was on sick leave, and until she returned to work, nobody else could assist.

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