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Illegal snares on the urban edge of southern peninsula on the increase, SPCA says

A wire snare has been set in the pathway to catch wild animals. The SPCA says there has been a spike in snare reports. Picture: Supplied

A wire snare has been set in the pathway to catch wild animals. The SPCA says there has been a spike in snare reports. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 24, 2022

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Cape Town - The Cape of Good Hope SPCA says it has seen an increase in the illegal snaring that is threatening animal life in the urban areas of the southern peninsula.

The organisation says its wildlife department responds to at least two call-outs a month to retrieve animals caught in active snares found across the Constantia Valley, Fish Hoek, and down to, and including inside Cape Point Nature Reserve.

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SPCA spokesperson Jaco Pieterse said the type of snares found included self-locking, noose-type snares made either from binding wire, bicycle brake cable, construction string, or plastic packaging rope.

Pieterse said a poacher typically would set many snares in an area and often won’t recall all the trap sites, resulting in the discovery of severely decomposed animals.

“The misconception is that snares are being set by the hungry and the homeless who need to eat, but it is important to note that animals are being trapped not only for food. A lot of times snares are set to trap animals for their pelts in the case of smaller mammals like spotted genet cats and water mongoose,” he said.

A wire snare has been set in the pathway to catch wild animals. The SPCA says there has been a spike in snare reports. Picture: Supplied

He said increasingly, animals were snared and trapped to supply the “muti” trade.

Beauty Without Cruelty chairperson Toni Brockhoven said snaring was indiscriminate, incredibly cruel, and can cause a long and horrific death, causing a trapped animal to be predated with no way to defend themselves or escape.

“So-called soft traps are legal, and have a flat, not toothed grip unlike a gin-trap but it doesn't stop breaking bones or losing circulation in a limb, or starving to death because there is no escape. Animals have been known to chew a limb off to escape, especially if they have young. All traps are reprehensible and despicable.

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“Unfortunately, they are legal in South Africa. Snares, however, are not. Hunting with snares is specified as a prohibited hunting method in terms of the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 19 of 1974, specifically section 29 (d),” she said.

Brockhoven said farmers were the most users of traps, which she said was unacceptable.

“Traps are indiscriminate, which means that a child, domestic animal, or a non-target animal or bird, including threatened and endangered species, can all be caught in a trap. And that is a huge issue,” she said.

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Pieterse said there needed to be more awareness of the prevalence of snares in neighbourhoods, the damage to wildlife and substantial risk they pose to pets.

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Cape Argus

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