Raging fire destroys wildlife in Cape Town.

Devastating wildfires have raged since Sunday in Cape Town’s southern peninsula razing over 4000 hectares of veld.  Thirteen homes have been destroyed and many people have been left traumatised and displaced as hundreds of homes in Noordhoek, Tokai, Hout Bay and Constantia have been evacuated.     Residents say that these fires are worse than the fires of 2000.  Along with this destruction are the deaths of many of the the wild creatures who lived alongside those suburbs on the mountains. The following link shows the footage of the huge swathes of land that have been damaged – http://www.news24.com/Live/SouthAfrica/News/WATCH-Amazing-drone-footage-shows-huge-Cape-fire-damage-20150303 Our hearts go out to the people affected by the fires and also to the displaced wild animals.  Organisations such as the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Unit, and  Four Paws are working together with SanParks Table Mountain National Park personnel in assessing the conditions. They have, however made a strong appeal to members of the public not to venture onto the mountainside in search of displaced animals. tortoise This poor tortoise attempted to hide behind a rock before being caught in the fire. (Image courtesy of @bramvermeul on Twitter) ~ Embedded image permalink Photo credit:  Anton Crone  @Antoncrone ” Tortoise frozen by the blaze at Silvermine.” Meanwhile any cash donations received will still contribute towards specialist medical supplies, fuel and other unforeseen costs, these can be made here: http://www.spca-ct.co.za/start.asp

Of great concern is the welfare of the baboon troops and how they have fared through the whole ordeal.  It’s distressing to learn of the deaths and injuries to the baboons of the Tokai troop. Reports released on Thursday by the Baboon Technical Team indicate that :- ” The BTT confirm the following situation in the Tokai Troop @ Thursday March 5 @ 17h00: * Three critically injured baboons euthanased. * Four dead baboons found as charred carcasses. * Seven injured baboons continue to be assessed. The BTT team, veterninarians and animal welfare professionals left the site in the Tokai Forest on account of poor visibility and smoky conditions at 17h30. The team will resume their work at 6am on Friday morning, March 6. We would like to thank the BTT members, baboon rangers, animal welfare professionals and veterinarians for their dedication and professionalism during this distressing time. ” While conservationists remind us that fire is necessary for the regeneration of the fynbos species, we’re conscious of the loss of the many small wild creatures who didn’t survive the burning inferno.

19 thoughts on “Raging fire destroys wildlife in Cape Town.

  1. I’ve been following this all week. It is a disaster. And so sad for all the mammals and reptiles that live in the environment. The temperature has been incredibly hot for Cape Town. Is this a regular occurrence now? I noticed how much hotter it was in Australia during my visit at the end of last year and wonder if the same thing is happening in the Cape.

    Thank goodness you have people there who are helping.

    1. Yes, the emergency crews and firefighters have been tremendous. The Met chaps refer to the high temperatures in summer 2000 when wildfires also struck. It does appear that the summers are getting hotter and the boffs refer to the effects of climate change. All those bad fires in Australia, California when the vegetation becomes tinderbox dry,

      1. Sometimes I am glad to live in the UK where we don’t have these extremes in the weather (well apart from last year’s horrendous floods, so I suppose none of us are immune).

  2. Such a sad, heart-breaking event. Physical loss, irreplaceable lives, it is hard to take in. Nature’s balance is often ill-won and it is a tough reckoning. Prayers for those who are left to rebuild.

    1. The galeforce winds have been a big factor and tinder dry summer vegetation. Next threat may be the winter rains washing the fragile topsoil away. Arson is being investigated now on the Scarborough side … Such are the ongoing challenges ….

  3. Liz-
    These are the stories that are so difficult to hear about… when the cycle of nature turns so harsh and devastating. I join all whose hearts are going out to the tragic plight of wildlife and human life. Wildfire fighters are so heroic and brave. As are the rescue teams.
    Best to all, and hoping the end is in sight.

    1. Thanks very much for your caring comments, Jane. I believe that the fires are now all out and the flare ups contained. The botanists remind us that the regenerative process will have a beneficial impact. Come eight months time they say it will be blooming when the bulbs flower. Whether the topsoil will survive the winter rains without washing away and causing mudslides is another matter. It’s tough to get one’s head around it all.

  4. Oh I didn’t know about that. We can try to comfort ourselves by thinking about the seeds that need fire to germinate, but at the same time, it’s difficult to not think about the loss of so many animals 😦

  5. A terrible story. When we hear of the wildfires — as on the Cape, and in California — I for one don’t always think of the wildfire, but of course it’s there and being menaced, often fatally.
    Thank you for an eye-opening post.

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