Porcupine succumbs to snare injury

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12 MAY 2022 – It has been only three months since the Cape of Good Hope SPCA raised awareness around the increase in use of snares indiscriminately ensnaring wildlife.  A juvenile female baboon was rescued and cut free from a wire snare earlier this year.

A farm manager noticed the Porcupine in distress while driving down a dirt road in the Sir Lowry’s Village area early morning. He stopped to get a closer look and realised the Porcupine was caught in a wire snare. He immediately called the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

The Wildlife Department was dispatched and on arrival it was immediately clear that the animal was snared around the waist. The porcupine had lost a lot of her quills in the initial struggle to get free. She even managed to snap the tree stem which the wire snare was tied to. Getting her free required very careful handling to avoid being speared by quills.  Once cut free, the Porcupine was transported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA hospital in Grassy Park for treatment.

Serious Injury

Although Porcupines are ordinarily extremely resilient, seriously injured porcupines are very difficult to treat due to the tricky nature of navigating their quills. 

At the Cape of Good Hope SPCA hospital, our veterinarians sedated the injured animal to remove the snare wire. Unfortunately, the extent of the wounds caused by the snare became cruelly evident. The injured Porcupine incurred massive tissue damage caused by the “eye” of the snare, which cut deeply into the shoulder while she struggled to get free. The veterinarian confirmed the extensive tissue, ligament and bone damage caused by the snare.  The injuries were too severe and In the interest of not causing more suffering, she was humanely euthanised.

Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Supervisor, Jon Friedman, says “Snares do not only capture target species but also non-targeted species. A simple wire snare is capable of catching a wide range of wildlife species”.

“Porcupines are known as the engineers of their ecosystem; they regulate various plant species through their digging whilst foraging for food, targeting certain plant species and thus have a role to play in maintaining biodiversity within their home range” Friedman explains.

Appeal to report and disarm snares

Cape of Good Hope SPCA is appealing to members of the public to dismantle wire snares it if it is safe to do so and to remove the material from the area. Alternatively, take a photo of the snare as it is found with the location pin.  Report it to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, local environmental law enforcement or the national park manager.

It is important to note, there are seldom just one snare set in an area, chances are good that there will be more in the same vicinity. Every snare removed is an animal saved. 

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