South Africa Birds
Off-Road Safari - Inverdoorn, Western Cape, South Africa
December 18, 2011
A small gallery of a wonderful day's wildlife spotting in the Inverdoorn reserve north of Cape Town. A small group of us headed out early and were fortunate enough to see several of the larger game species.
Inverdoorn is a recognised Cheetah rehabilitation reserve and is first in the line of a phased reintroduction programme. The cats are gradually moved further and further out into larger parks until they are ready to hunt for themselves. Further to this the team there supports the fostering of "canned" lions who, due to their mis-treatment, will never return to the wild.
During the trip we took in sites of Impala, Springbok, Kudu & Oryx aswell as more conspicuous species like Cape Buffalo, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Hippo & White Rhino. The day also offered up some less iconic sightings such as Ghecko, European Bee Eaters, Goshawk (Unconfirmed) & Flamingo.
Unfortunately, due to camera limitations I was unable to capture images of some of the more spontaneous or distant animals on the trip. A noteable highlight were the Giraffe & (surprisingly) a European Bee Eater. We observed the Giraffe on foot for around a quarter of an hour taking care not to stray too far from the jeep for fear of Buffalo in the area. A memorable moment being no more than fourty metres from a fully grown bull Giraffe! Two youngsters (perhaps no older than 2 to 3 weeks we were informed) were new additions to the reserve and upon returning to the vehicle we followed them as they trotted playfully (and comically) through the feinbos with their mother.
The bee eater was a real surprise. I wasnt aware that this bird inhabited the area, and prior to my visit was ignorant to the species existence all together. It was a brief encounter but what I do remember was a flash or brilliant irridesence, travelling at low level and at speed. As the bird turned away from us, we got a great view of the bronze colouration on the underside of its wings. Equally fascinating (as with house martins & swallows) was seeing a migratory species common to europe on the otherside of the world (Not something I have consciously ovbserved before).
In addition to Cheetah rehabilitation the Inverdoorn reserve caters for the growing "canned" lion population. Whilst talking to one of the staff I learnt of the every growing (and illegal) practise of canned trophy hunting in the Cape. Due to the treatment and conditioning these animals recieve in their lifetime, they typically become extremely aggressive towards humans, and lose their ability to hunt naturally.
The staff at the centre informed me that the it may become legal once again in 2012. When asked why the law was being over turned, I was given the response,... "Because they can".
It is clearly an emotive subject, and sadly there is still demand for animal artefacts predominantly in the pseudo-medicinal markets in Asia.
The answer I got was dispondant, defiant and justified. Conservation in South Africa is suffering and will continue to do so whilst short term financial gain remains a key motivator. It will be interesting to see developments in this part of the world as we move into the 21st century teens.
"Canned hunting is the hunting of an animal that has been unfairly prevented from escaping the hunter, either due to physical or mental constraints (such as fencing or habituation to humans)." ~ Source CACH Website.
For more information on canned hunting, visit... www.cannedlion.org