Wardens and Rangers are a special breed and I’ve always had a measured admiration for their lifestyle choice.
Game Reserves are situated in remote areas for a reason – to deliver the ultimate wild life experience.
Game Reserves are devoid of everyday routine and undoubtedly it holds a measure of exhilaration when you’re not quite sure what the day might bring. Will you spot a leopard kill, will it be a full blown Lion King experience of seeing hundreds of animal species foraging together in the cirlce of life?
Being a game warden and/or manager of these areas means being stationed out in the middle of nowhere. While many of us appreciate the vast amounts of nothingness and absolute peace in short bursts – this vocation belongs in the list that requires a special calling, no doubt.
Take yesterday for example, where Joe and his team had planned everything that needed to be done for the day, when unexpectedly he was thrown a curved ball! He received notification that a pack of approximately 20-22 wild dog were on the Phalaborwa/Mica tarred road. It would appear that this pack have come from the Kruger Park. They had already broken into the farm opposite the Grietjie turnoff and had killed 2 wildebeeste belonging to a hunter who has prized sable and eland, and obviously due to his vocation, the owner was not happy having the dogs on his farm.
Working like clockwork the decision was taken by Joe and Balule in an attempt to get the dogs into Balule. With Balule giving the go-ahead to bring in a helicopter to try and force the dogs to enter a property in the Balule, where a gate had been opened nearby, things looked promising. Ian and some of our staff had stopped all traffic coming from both sides, with the queue of vehicles being about a kilometer long on each side of where the helicopter was manoeuvering above the dogs. Being in contact with everyone involved, including the warden of Grietjie and his team, the attempt looked as though it was going to work, but as the dogs were heading towards the open gate, one broke away under the helicopter and the whole pack followed suite, back into the property where they had killed earlier on in the day. By now it was getting late and new decisions needed to be made and it was decided that an enclosure needed to be erected in a corner of the property and that a vet would lace two impala carcasses with tranquilizers. However the vet was not able to come out as he had to attend to something else at that time, but would be able to come out this morning.
Ian Owtram, from Antares in Grietjie, offered to have his students assist in erecting the enclosure in the early hours of this morning, which certainly helped with man power!
At the time of writing this, I”ve not had any update on how the operation is going down but will give any updates as soon as I hear.
Once again, the dedication of these conservationists is exceptional, and we can only applaud them in their dedication to protecting another fast declining species, our wild dog!
Until next time, take care