350 years ago was the last time that jackals, caracals and other small predators were carefree in theWestern Cape. Nowadays, these so-called “vermin” have lost their former hunting grounds to agriculture and farmers in some provinces can legally hunt and kill them to protect their livestock. New draft legislation in the Western Cape is falling into place where permits to hunt jackals and caracal are issued to farmers and are valid for 6 months where they were previously valid for only 3 months. The draft legislation also specifies that more animals can be killed per farmer using various debatably taboo methods. Night hunting, shooting from a helicopters and the use of traps may be allowed to rid the farmlands of jackal and caracal. Dr Bool Smuts of the Landmark foundation, that opposes the new legislation, says there are more humane, ecologically sound methods of protecting livestock. We have a look at some of the consequences of using nonspecific traps in theCape. A soft trap… which is essentially a gin trap with a different name but equally lethal consequences. We speak toCapeNatureabout the 400 permits issued last year and what that means for the predator populations. These predators are responsible for millions of rands of stock losses each year and farmers have understandably had enough, but does the means justify the ends with one of the largest predator culls in recent history inSouth Africa?
SERIOUS STUFF WITH SNAKES
Snakes are part of South African life, some people have them as pets, some view them as pests when they slither onto the kitchen floor and there are those that actively go out and find the very deadliest of them to charm. Ramakhosi, Tello and Naidoo are some such men. They up-turn rocks and dig for snakes in the bushveld, but will also do you the service of removing an unwanted snake from your house. For years, these men have caught, charmed and kept snakes to the fascination of many others. Ramakhosi has learnt first-hand about the dangers of handling snakes and permit-related issues. Johan Marais, a leading South African Herpetologist, speaks to us about handling and caring for snakes. We see how these three men have learned about the ways of snakes and we learn why they participate in this dangerous pastime.
While snakes are great to see on VeldFokus, they can be very dangerous. In studio, we speak to Doctor Moeng, a trauma surgeon atMilparkHospitalwho has vast experience in dealing with snakes bite injuries. He speaks to us about treatment and about getting anti-venoms for venomous bites. He tells us some of the common misconceptions when it comes to snakebite first aid.
What if you arrive in the bush hoping to get that perfect shot of a leopard… and you can’t find him anywhere? Do you pack up and go home? No, not at all… This week Villiers gives us some ideas of what you can do when what you want to shoot, is not there. He helps us think out of the box, and find the less obvious but equally beautiful parts of the bushveld.
This week we have a look at some badly behaving bovids. We also meet a gemsbok with a strange horn, a buffalo having a swim amongst hippo and two of the largest antelope (eland) fighting it out for a female.