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City of Cape Town and Cape Leopard Trust aim to curb snares

A snare is an anchored noose made from wire, rope, or cable that is used to capture an animal. Snares are a common method to catch wildlife for bushmeat in South Africa. In the Western Cape, across agricultural, fynbos and peri-urban landscapes, snares mostly target game species such as small antelope and porcupine.

 ‘This illegal hunting method is indiscriminate and cruel. Animals are usually trapped in a snare for an indefinite number of hours and they usually sustain massive tissue damage and they cannot simply be released without treatment. The pain the animal endures is unimaginable. We urge residents to refrain from using snares and to report them if found,’ said the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Eddie Andrews.

 Caught animals die from dehydration, starvation, and infected injuries where the snare cuts into the flesh. It is a slow, agonising death. Snares have significant negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function. Snares remove prey animals that leopards, caracals and other predators eat, and this may increase the likelihood that predators hunt domestic animals. Predators themselves also get caught in indiscriminate snares.

 ‘The importance of today’s [Friday] information session is to ensure that conservation staff are more aware about the prevalence of snares, are better equipped to identify snares, and know how to prevent and respond to snaring. I mean today, just as we commenced the patrol, we saw two snares made of scrap wires that resemble a noose in front of an electric fence. We encourage residents to please alert security or the City of Cape Town. I urge visitors while they are enjoying our nature reserves to also be on the look-out for snares,’ said Councillor Alex Lansdowne who helped initiate and participated in the information session.

 According to the Cape Leopard Trust, the use of snares is becoming more common across the Western Cape. During the information session the extent of the snaring crisis was emphasised when it was mentioned that a Cape Leopard Trust patrol officer found 671 snares during 209 patrols across 112 properties as part of a one-year snare-monitoring project in the Boland region of the Western Cape. Anecdotal reports of snares and animals caught in snares in the City of Cape Town also appear to be worryingly high.

 Members of the public who discover a live wild animal caught in a snare in the Western Cape can call the Snare Free hotline on 076 127 8485. It is advisable to keep a distance from the animal, and have the following information available for the hotline operator:

·       Where is the animal? (GPS coordinates/pin preferable)

·       What animal species has been caught (if known) and more situational information

·       Who you are and how you can be reached

 To learn more about snares and view additional statistics visit: www.snarefree.co.za

 

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