More than 100 wildlife were saved by the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve team during the recent Overstrand fire. These included tortoises, chameleons, skinks, lizards and snakes.
More than 100 wildlife were saved by the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve team during the recent Overstrand fire. These included tortoises, chameleons, skinks, lizards and snakes.

Kogelberg Reserve rescue team lauded

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jan 14, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve team has been hailed for saving more than 100 animals during the recent devastating Overstrand fire.

Seventy tortoises, 16 chameleons, 50 skinks, lizards and snakes were removed out of harm’s way by the reserve, South Africa’s oldest biosphere.

The reserve has urged members of the public who find dead animals to contact reserve authorities.

“We're devastated about the damage that the runaway fire has caused.

“If (people) walk in or close to burnt areas, please safely help us log the wildlife we've lost in this fire.

“Make a note of the area or route that you are walking and the animals that you spot along the way that did not make it,” they said.

The cause of the blaze, which started on Saturday, is being probed.

A number of areas, including Karwyderskraal, Arabella, Rooisand, Highlands and Heuningkloof were affected, and one structure was damaged.

More than 200 firefighters battled the wildfire that raged for four days and destroyed more than 5 300 hectares of vegetation.

Overstrand mayor Annelie Rabie said that by Tuesday the fire had been contained, although firefighters had to respond to flare-ups on Wednesday.

“The wetland area above Kleinmond Golf Course and Heuningkloof continued to smoulder due to a thick layer of organic material that has accumulated over the years in the wetland. A team will be assigned to this sector and they will continue with mop-up operations. Ground crews from CapeNature will remain on the perimeter in the Perdeberg area to mop up and patrol the line,” said Rabie.

MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell said an estimate of the total damages and costs accrued during the operation would be done.

“We were extremely fortunate this time that no human life was lost, which is always the number one priority during these operations.”

To report any dead animal contact CapeNature by visiting capenature.co.za/contact-us

Cape Times

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