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Friday Oct 19, 2012

Joburg residents, City Parks lock horns over herd of blesbok in suburb

Hands off our bokke! This is the warning by City Parks to anyone attempting to remove a herd of blesbok roaming opposite Montecasino in Fourways.

The sight of wild antelope at the Norscot Manor nature reserve, in the middle of the bustling northern suburb, often takes many by surprise.

But now a row has erupted over the animals between City Parks and residents of the suburbs surrounding the reserve over who has the right to decide the fate of 14 blesbok.

Residents want eight of the animals relocated to another reserve, claiming that the 17-hectare parkland is too small for the herd, and that this has resulted in five deaths in recent years.

With four of the females pregnant and due to give birth in November or December, there will be even more overcrowding and discomfort for the animals, they claim.

A private game park in the Cradle of Humankind has offered to relocate the buck, at no cost to the council.

No way, says City Parks spokeswoman Jenny Moodley. They could not relocate the buck to a private reserve because they belong to the council. If they were relocated, she said, they should go to a council park such as Kloof-enDal.

"There are legal processes and procedures to follow in either moving or selling them. We have to obtain quotes and do paperwork to move them," she said.

The Norscot Koppies and Nature Reserve management committee, and local ward councillor Susan Mottram, are furious.

Committee member Mary Borkett said: "We have been asking City Parks for two years to assist us with [translocating] eight of them.

"They keep on promising to do so, and then never do. They said they need permits, then they said they had them. There is always a different excuse and we are now getting desperate.

"We will even buy them from the city at R650 each. There are people who would pay this money immediately to save them."

The Star

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