Red data species lose home in flames- 19 November 2013

BLUE HILLS – ‘HELPLESS’ is how the Greater Kyalami Conservancy’s Tyrone McKendry described how he felt while watching a pair of African Grass-

Owls flee from flames as a veld fire destroyed the land next to their nesting site.

African Grass-Owl (Tyto capensis) escaping the fire which destroyed it's nesting site. Photo by Tyrone Mckendry.

African Grass-Owl (Tyto capensis) escaping the fire which destroyed it’s nesting site. Photo by Tyrone Mckendry.

McKendry, who is the co-ordinator of the conservancy’s biodiversity projects, reflected, “As I think back to the moments when the fire was at its hottest and the owls were frantically flying from nest to nest in an attempt to hide from the blistering heat, I am saddened by the thought that if we do not change the current pattern of destruction and rampant development, I might never see another African grass owl in this area again, and what a tragic thought that is.

“Now that their eight-year nesting site is gone, I wonder where these owls will go?”

Chairperson of the Greater Kyalami Conservancy Kristin Kallesen said the land burnt was purchased by Alwina Brand to ensure it remains grass owl habitat and is not developed.
McKendry said there were still a few areas where there was a suitable habitat for the red data species but said these areas were also threatened by development which destroyed their natural habitats. Land close to the Brand’s property is earmarked for development. Domestic animals and careless motorists were further threats.

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