Mountain rangers braai tahr
A Cape Town hiker came across a tahr on Table Mountain, moments after it had been shot dead by rangers.
Steven Otter said there was blood on the path and the animal’s legs had been tied together.
He had been hiking up Platteklip Gorge last Thursday and was about two-thirds of the way up when he came across the rangers with the animal.
Otter said he’d seen the tahr about 30 times, sometimes standing on a ledge looking out over Cape Town.
“I asked them how they could shoot my friend and they said it had broken its leg.”
He said one of the rangers called him a few days later and said all the meat had been eaten.
In 2004, a concerted effort was made to wipe out the exotic Himalayan tahrs on the mountain, and scores were shot by sharpshooters, but a few escaped the bullets. Last year, a herd of six tahrs was photographed grazing near Platteklip Gorge.
Park spokesperson Merle Collins said older, sickly male tahrs were shot because there were no predators to get rid of them.
“Most of the time the carcass falls in an inaccessible area and is left there. In the event that a carcass is found in a public space with lots of hikers, the two acceptable methods of getting rid of the carcass are to either burn it or bury it.”
She said that rangers were not supposed to shoot the tahrs for their meat. Anyone doing so did not have permission.
Last year, Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon said that they would decide what to do with the remaining tahrs once their annual census of animals had been completed. But Collins said the census had not taken place yet so they did not know how many tahrs were left.
“The census is planned for this year, as soon as the game-catching helicopter from the Kruger National Park becomes available.”
Collins said the plan was to remove all the tahrs from the park.
“A few can reproduce and can become many in a short period.”
She said the tahrs prevented the re-introduction of the indigenous klipspringer and caused a lot of the damage to the natural vegetation. – Saturday Argus