Culling in Marloth Park begins tomorrow…Will some of our favorite’s lives come to an end?…A birdie morning…

We had set Frank’s seeds on the table to keep the warthogs and bushbucks from coming onto the veranda to eat them. Suddenly four hornbills decided to dig in.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 10 warthogs – inc. Little, Tiny, Lonely Girl, Fred, and Ethel, Peter, Paul, Mary, and more
  • 11 bushbucks – inc. Chewy, Thick Neck/Bad Leg, Spikey, Big Spikey, and others
  • 4 kudus – inc. Bossy, Notches, and others
  • 5 hornbills – currently banging on the kitchen window
  • 2 wildebeest – inc. Broken Horn, Hal
  • 25 helmeted guinea-fowl
  • 2 Frank and The Misses
  • 4 gray lourie (“go-away” bird) – currently making her/his unique sounds

    First, there was one, then two, and it grew from there.

On a day-to-day basis, there’s a good amount of information about what’s transpiring in Marloth Park on Facebook. We both belong to several MP groups. Yesterday, in the group entitled Marloth Park Sighting Page, the following post was listed:

“CULL TO START THIS MONDAY:
Dear Property Owners, MPRA received an email from the Wildlifevets that they will be doing MASS CAPTURE of Impala and Kudu in Marloth Park from the 20th to the 25th of June (as they believe that these animals will be easiest to capture in high numbers) and that all other species can be caught in passive capture bomas thereafter (excluding Giraffe as they want to do a large scale reduction of Giraffe as well, but don’t have an abattoir that can handle a Giraffe carcass at this time). I phoned Cobus Raath this afternoon to make sure I read the email correctly, and he confirmed that they would be installing bomas in Marloth Park this Sunday (MPRA is not aware where these bomas will be erected in Marloth Park). They will then chase the animals into these bomas by helicopter on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The animals will then be moved from these bomas to Lionspruit and will be culled there. MPRA did send an email as to the risks of helicopter chase and capture, due to the alarming rate of development in Marloth Park, employees, tourists, and visitors and suggested that we rather use passive bomas to capture as from 1 May or soonest as we would have enough weeks to passively capture enough animals, and passive capture worked last year even though it was only implemented between Sept and Oct last year. Unfortunately, we received no feedback from the Wildlifevets or the “forum,” which includes MPPOA, HR, WILDLIFE FUND, MARLOTHI CONSERVANCY, and recently THE WILD & FREE REHABILITATION. MPRA, however, is shocked that neither the municipality nor any of the other organizations have given property owners, visitors, tourists, and employees enough warning as to the helicopter capture; and therefore IMPLORE you to warn fellow property owners, employees, rentals, tourists and your visitors on an URGENT basis, please.”
Then, there were three.
Of course, I was shocked and disappointed, but Tom was less so. He accepts the reality there are too many animals in Marloth Park at this time. The overabundance presents a feeding issue, not only during the sparse winter months like now but also during the more lush rainy season in the spring, summer, and fall.
My logical mind understands this harsh reality. But, my heart aches at the prospect of losing some of my favorites to this upcoming cull. Plus, I can’t grasp why they must be killed. Why not gather them up and take them into Lionspruit, where nature may or may not “take its course” or send them to other less abundant conservancy areas?
I wasn’t able to adjust the camera when, if I did, they’d fly off.
The answer to these questions can easily be argued by advocates of culling. They even may make a strong case. But, the prospect of killing many of these precious animals tears at my heartstrings, leaving me sad and bereft. What if Little and Tiny are in the culled group, along with the many kudus we’ve come to know and love. They will even be culling giraffes! That makes no sense to me.
Over the next three days, we’ll be hearing the helicopters overhead, gathering them up into the bomas. This will be tough to hear, knowing the fate of so many of the precious animals.
Little was in the photo.
Of course, I can’t help but worry about my two favorites, warthogs, Little and Tiny, who just spent the entire morning here. What if suddenly they are gone, caught up in the culling effort? We can only wait and see what transpires over the next three days and who will be back in our garden on Thursday morning. Then, of course, we will report back here.
We are still working on rebooking the canceled flight from Las Vegas to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger on July 24th. We should have it resolved in the next day or so. We aren’t particularly worried about this since there appear to be several other options that will work for us.
Bushbucks in the photo.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 20, 2020

I found this rose in a neighbor’s garden in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. Not wanting to disturb the neighbor’s garden, I shot this without moving the stem in front of what appears to be an almost perfect rose. For more photos, please click here.

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