ENDANGERED SPECIES: Cape Vultures

South East District Council (SEDC) is concerned by the dwindling number of vultures in the area.

When officially opening the Full Council session this week, SEDC Chairman, Phenyo Segokgo, said the situation was a serious concern as vultures play a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem.

“I would like to inform you that the cape vulture colony residing at Manyelanong hill has declined from 90 pairs in 2015 to 79 pairs and 27 chicks. The last counting was done in August 2018.  Therefore this is a serious concern as vultures play a vital role in our everyday life in balancing the ecosystem. Let’s act together to protect our resource.”

Segokgo said that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks is faced with the challenge of controlling human wildlife conflict due to limited resources (manpower, equipment, transport).

“We also received a total of 47 human-wildlife incidences recorded between January 2015 and August 2019, causing damages to field crops, depriving farmers of their valuable livestock and property.  The most problematic species were kudu, baboon, leopard, caracal, hyena, jackals and monkeys.”

Segokgo said that from the incidences recorded, 27 calves were lost, 39 chickens, 94 goats, seven sheep, and four rabbits due to predation.

He said that a total of 16 wild animals (11 kudu, two baboons, two impalas and one monkey) were recorded as mortality killed in retaliation by farmers.

In other news, Segokgo said that over the past five years, the SEDC Recurrent Budget has not been enough to cater for the council’s amaintenance needs.

He said that the meagre budget allocation has resulted in a backlog of maintenance of council facilities.

“However, with the little budget over the years council has tried to fight this backlog but this has not eliminated the existing backlog that came as a result of the inadequate annual average allocations that the council ran on for several years.”

He decried that due to the backlog, council buildings have extremely dilapidated. “These include worn out educational facilities (teacher’s houses and primary schools) and worn out and out dated council staff houses.”

The Council Chairman noted that some houses are vacant because they are not habitable due to lack of funds for maintenance. “You will note that this impacts negatively not only on the income for the council, but also on the welfare of employees who end up renting private houses at much higher cost than council houses, resulting in lower take home income.”

Segokgo said that he hopes that with the proposed maintenance budget for the financial year 2020/2021 Capital Budget, council will be able to carry out maintenance works on most of its schools and houses which have not been maintained over the years due to the low budget allocation.

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