Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More on the AWC Project...

Our next stop in Africa was Sun City and Pilanesberg (as previously touched upon). While in Sun City, we saw a few feral (but friendly) cats at a restaurant we had lunch at. These cats were enjoying the day right along side the visitors, napping under chairs and rubbing against table legs. No one seemed to mind the cats’ presence (unlike the “usual” reaction to cats us Americans have…whether good or bad). Again, the vet school helped us get in contact with a woman who has established a TNR program for the ferals at Sun City. She explained that the HR team of the resort has put together a feral cat policy and has recently started working with a few professors and students from the Onderstepoort Veterinary school to TNR the cats. This is great news! With Sun City TNRing cats and us eventually operating a mobile clinic to patrol the boundary between Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Sun City, we will have a huge impact on the decline of not sterilized free-roaming domestic cats…thus decreasing the probability of hybridization with the AWC!

All parties involved have agreed Pilanesberg is the ideal place to setup a mobile vet clinic. While touring the game reserve, we were told stories of rangers frequently spotting AWCs. A day earlier than our arrival, a mother AWC and her babies were seen near one of the dams. We also learned that rangers used to shoot free-roaming domestic cats that wandered onto the reserve as the preferred method of controlling feral populations and preventing hybridization; (another reason to implement a TNR program). With Sun City already working with the Onderstepoort Veterinary school and the school interested in working with ACR, (plus we have a contact at Pilanesberg Game Reserve), this is the perfect opportunity to establish a mobile vet clinic, and the ideal place to help the AWC.

(Pictures provided by Sun City Resort -- TNR program in action)

(Additional Pictures of Pilanesberg Park)

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