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Due to rampant illegal dog hunting which is decimating the antelope population, and a host of other conservation issues pertinent to the area, the Lions River HO group has identified a need to form a reaction unit. The unit supports Kim Gillings, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife District Conservation Officer) with conservation law enforcement in the region. Dogs hunts are decimating such sensitive species as the Oribi, and require focused attention and the ability to respond swiftly to threats as they occur.
In order to become an effective unit, extensive training was given to volunteers, who are now fully operational and legally permitted to carry out law enforcement and culling operations in the district at the request of the DCO.
The unit is on 24/7 call and has conducted many successful operations since its inception in MONTH of YEAR. For details on these operations, please see the article published in The Witness on 14 March, 2011.
Should you require assistance with any conservation-related issues, please contact Kim on 0845777066 or Janine on 0828720146.




ANOTHER ORIBI HUNTED IN THE MIDLANDS AREA…
… WHILE OTHER SUSPECTS ARE CONVICTED AND SENTENCED 

A weekend patrol by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Ezemvelo Honorary Officers paid
off when three suspects, along with their seven hunting dogs, were apprehended in
their taxi near the town of Mpophomeni exit travelling towards Boston.
 
The taxi, which had been originally spotted on Sunday morning with the hunting
dogs, was eventually tracked down at 10.30 that morning, where it was subsequently
searched. 
 
Suspects were then escorted to Mpophomeni Police Station were they were charged
in accordance with the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) regulation for
prohibited hunting methods and possession of an endangered species.
 
Along with the hunting dogs, a dead female Oribi was found in the taxi. The dogs
were confiscated by the uMngeni SPCA, the Oribi carcass confiscated while the taxi
was impounded.
 
It is alleged that the taxi occupants did not have permits to hunt and in any event,
would not have been permitted to hunt Oribi as it is listed as an endangered species. 
 
uKhahlamba Honorary Officer Media Liaison Janine Smith said it was “depressing” to
see the alarming rate of illegal hunting with dogs.
 
“This is not an isolated case as there is another case pending in Impendle Magistrate
Court where an Oribi was confiscated from hunters.” 
 
Smith added that in another hunting case at Rietvlei, eight suspects pleaded guilty to
illegally hunting with dogs. Three of them were sentenced to R10 000.00 each whilst
the other five each received a R3 000.00 fine. The three vehicles were forfeited to the
State.
 
“This sentence is a great stride forward and it is hoped that this will eventually serve
as a deterrent from hunting illegally in protected areas,” said Smith.
 
Smith said hunters should be reminded of the TOPS regulations that state:
 
Oribi, Tsessebe, black rhino, Cape Mountain Zebra and African wild dog are
“non huntable” 
 
Hunting is described as:
    Intentionally killing by any means, method or device;
    Capturing by any means, method or device, with the intent to kill;
    Search for, lie in wait for, pursue, shoot at, tranquilise or immobilise
with the intent to kill;
    Lure by any means, method or device with the intent to kill. 
Hunting with dogs is listed as a prohibited hunting method.
 
In the event that the suspects are found guilty of hunting an endangered species
(listed in the TOPS regulation) they could be fined a maximum of R10 million or 25
years jail sentence.
 
 
 
MNM/ Media Release No. 17 Another Oribi Hunted 20 July 2011
 
For further information contact Media Desk on 033/845 1850; e-mail
maureen@kznwildlife.com  




In the early hours of Sunday 06 March a local Rietvlei farmer received information from his farm guard that he suspected that three vehicles parked on private property adjacent to the main Rietvlei/Karkloof road could be a group of people illegally hunting game with dogs.  Other local farmers as well as the Rietvlei SAPS and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife were contacted to render assistance.
Mondi sent their security company to assist as well.  The hunters had gone into the plantation with their dogs and the drivers of the three vehicles were in hiding.  Constables BP Ngubane and NMS Maphanga, despite being given instruction by the Rietvlei Officer in Command to leave one of the lady farmers to guard the vehicles and proceed to a polling registration venue, remained with the vehicles to ensure that they did not drive off.  
In the meantime someone had called the Pietermaritzburg POP unit who arrived in two vehicles with police dogs.  A local Ezemvelo Honorary Officer spotted one of the vehicle drivers walking along the road and alerted the dog squad unit who persuaded the person to talk to the two other hidden drivers to surrender themselves or all the vehicles would be impounded.  This tactic worked and the three drivers gave themselves up.  
The hunters and their dogs could be heard in the plantation but would not surrender.  After many hours the suspects and their dogs came out onto the road.  There were 13 men with 21 African greyhound like hunting dogs, the breed known as  Africanus .  
The hunters and their dogs were loaded into the three vehicles and were told to drive directly to the Rietvlei Police Station.  The first bakkie was escorted by Coin Security and the two Rietvlei constables and arrived safely at the police station with 9 hunters and 15 dogs.  Unfortunately the second bakkie and the Taxi were left to the POP unit to take to the police station.  These two vehicles never arrived and were mislaid en route.  
The dogs and their handlers alighted from the vehicle at the police station and the dogs were immediately given water and sprayed down with a hose because they had been without water for many hours.  15 dogs of all colours and sizes milled around the station whilst the necessary statements were taken and paperwork completed.
Jabulani Mshengu of the Howick SPCA was asked to come out and inspect the dogs to ensure that they were healthy and were not suffering from any diseases, infections or injuries.    4 of the 15 dogs were found to be in bad health and were taken to the Howick SPCA, where they are currently being given treatment and being spayed and neutered.  Another abandoned dog spent the night with an Honorary Officer before being taken to the SPCA where she is also being kept until such time as the court has given its ruling on the fate of these dogs.
Whilst waiting in anticipation (but without much hope) for the other two vehicles to arrive the suspects gave information about the hunt.  This was not the normal kind of hunt where a jackpot for the first antelope brought down was up for stakes, but was, in fact, a challenge from the Rietvlei local hunters to the Durban hunters to show their dog hunting skills.  Although some of the dogs had blood on their paws a carcass could not be located.  It was also ascertained that the Taxi combi driver was the organiser.   
The matter of the suspectssuspect’s vehicles not arriving at the Police Station after being escorted by POP members is under investigation and if it is found that the members neglected their directive, the necessary disciplinary action will be taken against the POP members.
The suspects appeared in the Greytown court on Monday 07 March and were released on warning and will reappear in court on 17 March 2011.
Farmers in the area are warned to look out for the following vehicles
White Nissan  bakkies with white canopies with registration no’s . NU 48786 and NC2192 and a Shongweni Taxi Association HiAce NU 43083.
Please report sightings of these vehicles to your nearest OIC or Honorary Officer unit.
Once again the Howick SPCA is commended for their willingness to come out to these illegal hunts and impound dogs that are in ill health or badly injured.  In most cases the magistrate does not hand down sentence that the owners are liable  forliable for the medication, kennelling or spaying/neutering.  The costs are borne by the Howick SPCA.  The only assistance they receive is dog food provided by the Lions River Honorary Officer Unit.
Ezemvelo spokesperson, Jeff Gaisford said Ezemvelo remains deeply concerned about the ongoing level of this type of illegal hunting, and is working closely with the police and farming communities to contain it.  “We encourage landowners to report any suspicious activities of this nature to their local Ezemvelo District Conservation Officer, honorary officers or the police.  The fact that two vehicles that were implicated in this particular incident managed to escape the net is a great disappointment”
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan confirmed the incident and said six people were arrested for the illegal hunting.
We will endeavour to gain information regarding the outcome of this case which will be published on this website.


In the late afternoon of 29 November Lions River Honorary Officers were requested to assist Kim Gillings, the Ezemvelo Officer in Charge, to apprehend suspected illegal dog hunters.  A farmer reported seeing people with dogs on a neighbouring farm on the Boston road.  Kim and a member of the Lions River reaction unit responded and after a long chase apprehended four youths with ten hunting dogs.  They had hidden into a culvert on the side of the road.  The suspects and dogs were taken to the police station where it was established that the boys ranged between the age of 12 and 16.  A knife and wire (which is used to tie the prey’s legs together) were found in their possession.  They denied that they were hunting antelope, saying that they were looking for lost cattle.  In their statement to the police they claimed that they had taken the dogs without permission, and that two of the dogs belonged to the Induna in the Gwagwa district. 

Jabulani from the Howick SPCA responded immediately and and took the dogs to the SPCA kennels.  On closer inspection it was noticed that one of the larger bitches had a vaginal protrusion.  The condition was diagnosed as severe and neglected TVT and she had to be euthanized.  The remaining nine dogs are at the SPCA and food will be provided by Lions River Honorary Officers until the dogs are released to the owners.

This horrendous method of hunting antelope and other smaller prey is becoming increasingly prevalent and the public need to become proactive in halting this scourge.  Please contact either Kim on 084 577 7066 or Janine on 082 872 0146 if you are suspicious of people with packs of dogs . 

Hunting with dogs without the required permits, is a punishable offence.  The rules for hunting with dogs is available on www.lionsriverho.co.za    Have a look and see what the law says about this.

To the Howick SPCA we say “Jabulani you are a star!!! No matter what time of the day or night I phone you for assistance you answer your phone with a smile and react immediately.  It is really appreciated.  Dudu, thank you for coming on board and taking these poor animals into your shelter.  Together we can make some headway against this cruelty.


Three of the nine dogs being kennelled at the SPCA


One of the dogs enjoying the luxury of a bed and blanket at the SPCA kennels