SANParks scientists and civil society research groups have reiterated the call for residents to desist from feeding the wildlife that they believe has been affected by the recent fires. This comes after volunteer groups had dropped vegetables and seeds for animals to eat in the National Park and surrounds.
This week, authorities detailed reasons for discouraging the feeding of animals in burnt areas. Park Manager of the Garden Route National Park, Paddy Gordon, says:
Park Manager of the Garden Route National Park, Paddy Gordon, says:
- ‘The fire scar thus far illustrates an elongated line which suggests animals could have moved to either side of the fire.
- Feeding wild animals may lead to an increase in animal conflict with each other. Once all the feeding programs and volunteers withdraw relief effort, animals will keep coming to usual spots to collect food which could lead to a conflict with other wild animals, domestic pets and also with humans.
- Feeding also habituates animals to humans
- Spreading fodder over burnt areas might also lead animals to eat both fodder and any new growth of plants or shoots. This might delay the growth of plants in those areas.
- As feeding animals can also have an influence on breeding patterns in some animal species, should the feeding suddenly stop, animals will also be severely affected.’
Gordon says SANParks staff are part of the ‘ground-truthing exercise’ with other stakeholders to determine further assessment post the fire. Once this is completed, certain areas will be identified for rehabilitation but other areas will regrow.
Residents who spot injured animals as a result of the recent fires can contact the Knysna Animal Welfare Society (044 384 1603) or an emergency after hours number: 073 461 9825.