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12 Aug 2019

Durban North crowned eagles are here to stay

SE-ANNE RALL Picture: Supplied

Durban – Pet owners are being urged to take stronger measures to protect their animals because the raptors are here to stay.

In recent weeks, Durban North residents have requested that the birds, more especially the crowned eagles, be relocated as they have been preying on smaller pets.
However, according to Tammy Caine, Raptor Specialist at FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, the birds cannot be relocated without a permit.

“The permit would have to be obtained from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and those will only be given in certain conditions,” she said.
Caine said if it can be proved that the raptor is a confirmed ‘stock killer’ then a permit may be issued to have it trapped and relocated, or if relocation is not possible and in a worst case scenario, the bird would have to be trapped and euthanised,” she said.

Caine said Ezemvelo is there for the protection of wildlife however, so they would need a very solid reason first to permit the removal of a wild animal out of it’s natural area.
“Pet protection remains the responsibility of pet owners, and rather than call for the removal of the raptor, pet owners should take stronger measures to protect their pets,” she said.

Tips to keep pets safe
• Do not leave small pets unattended during the day.
• Do build safe, enclosed areas such as catios or closed in courtyards and verandas where small pets can be safely enclosed during the day.
• Do spend time in the early morning and late evening and on weekends out in the yard/garden with your small pet.

Durban North councillor, Pete Graham said Crowned Eagles have lived in the Durban area for decades.
“Some of their nests date back to the 1960’s. It is us who have moved into their territories, not the other way around. This is all advice you can pass on that will help people, pets and raptors live peacefully together,” Graham said.

Last month, the Daily News reported that there had been confirmed incidents of the birds attacking small pets in the Glen Anil area.

“In one case, the bird only realised once it had grabbed the dog and started to fly that it was a bit heavy, so it dropped the dog. It was at such a height that when the dog fell to the ground, it broke its back and had to be euthanised,” the Daily News reported.

The Mercury