Digest of Rangers Diaries February 1941

Close up view of a Kudu.

An overview of Digest of Rangers Diaries February 1941

Kruger National Park

Section 1

Patrol duties were carried out by the ranger on the 3rd, 4t, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 25th and 28th.

The lorry with 20 staff went to Numbi on the 10th with locust poison as locusts are hatching there. The ranger accompanied them. The Numbi picket also reported small swarms of locusts near the Kruger Park boundary.

The matter was investigated.

Two umfaans were caught for catching a wildebeest in a snare. A zebra was also caught in a snare near the gate in the adjoining reserve.

Section 3

Patrol duties were carried out by the ranger on the 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th and 28th.

On the 25th the grass in the Gomondwan area was burnt and the grass near the camp was burnt on the 26th.

Section 4

A patrol was made to Saliji and Mlondozi between the 1st and 8th. No game were seen, but the grass is tall and green all over. Some of the old veldt near Sololwe was burnt.

Numerous small hatchings of hoppers are to be seen between Tshokwane and Salij, but none near human habitation. Sufficient time having now elapsed for the crocodile at Esweni picket to digest its gruesome prey, a snare was set to catch it, which was successful the first night. The beast was a big one (12'6"). There is a lot of zebra and wildebeest along the Makonkolwine road.

The ranger has a bad bout of fever.

Some more blasting was done on top of the mountain, thus completing the clearance of this road for its full length. The climb is one and 3/4 miles long. All of it needs more metaling, prior to grading.

On the 13th the gang was reduced to seven labourers so that the work will progress only slowly.

More grass was burnt along the Saliji road and Sololwe spruit, incidentally destroying all swarms of hoppers in that area.

Large numbers of hoppers are in the Mlondozi area, but these do not, as yet, threaten any crops. There are hundreds of storks in this section praying on hoppers and all but very large hatchings will be accounted for by the birds. Hawks, and even eagles feed on them in swarms, a phenomenon observed for the first time this year.

A young lion which was badly mauled and had taken up its position at the Mazite dam, was shot.

An old local trespasser gave the field rangers from Esweni a headache by the aimless manner in which he had walked across country from the PEA border. They followed his spoor. He was ultimately found late in the afternoon at the Mazite dam in an exhausted state and the lorry was sent to fetch him - this undoubtedly saving him from being killed and probably eaten by lions, for a troupe of 10 was seen at the spot the next morning!

His emaciated condition was mainly due to starvation. Mason Knoetze suffered from a fairly severe attack of fever.

Large herds of wildebeeste and zebra concentrated along the Manzentodo River from Tshokwane to Kumane. It has not been a very successful breeding season for these two species in this area. Sporadic birth are still taking place at the moment, but the number of calves are still small.

Section 5

Patrol duties were carried out by the ranger on the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 18th, 22nd, 3rd, 24th and 25th.

Grass was burnt on the 13th, 23rd, 24th and 25th. Four lions were killed on the 12th at Semane. Two of them were eaten by others during the night.

Section 6

Patrol duties were carried out by the ranger on the 3rd, 4th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 26th and 27th.

Grass was burnt on the 19th, 21st, 22nd and 24th.

Field rangers George, Solomon and Malunzane report having counted a herd of nine buffaloes on the Maradze spruit.

About 25 wild dogs were seen at Mafulene on the 9th. On the same date the causeway was also under water. Total rainfall for month 1.18". The warden arrived at the rest camp on the 27th on his way to Punda Maria.

Section 7

Patrol duties were carried out by the ranger on the 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 22nd and 25th.

Sections 8 and 9

Patrol duties were carried out on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 25th and 28th.

Eland were seen by the field rangers on the Mojolo side but very few calves. On his way to Pafuri Rest Camp the ranger saw very few game and in every case a very small percent of increase. On a patrol down the Shingwedsi river it was observed that the grass is dry due to excessive heat and no rain. Game few and scattered. Lions seem to have returned to this area.

A lorry of poachers have been active again outside the Park about seven miles from the boundary. Judging by the tracks one lorry and one light car or vanette were used.

Signs show that two tsessebe were killed. On the 10th it was gathered from field rangers and sgt Oosthuizen that buffalo have been drinking at the Punda Maria dam. It rained in patches but some areas are very dry. It has been noticed that the nyala are lambing and several does were seen with very small kids. A poacher was brought in to the field ranger Philip from Pukwane and sent off to Punda Maria. On the 14th the field rangers Fifteen and July reported that a lorry with Europeans and locals were camped in the veld outside the Park boundary. The ranger went to the site and found six males and two female Europeans, a lorry and a quantity of meat also a kuku dull skin and ears. The owner was asked for his gun, and the skin and ears were also taken. The number of the lorry was noted and the names taken of the male Europeans. The ranger went down with fever on the 19th was taken to the hospital on the 21st and returned on the 24th. Kruger National Park, 7th March, 1941 The Secretary National Parks Board Ranger Kirkman I have already advised the above officer of what took place at the recent board meeting in connection with his application to join the Defence Force. He has not, however, yet made any official application in writing and I gathered from him verbally that there had been some hitch in connection with the appointment which he had hoped to secure. I will advise you at once of any development in this matter. (sgt) J Stevenson-Hamilton Photos: Sasha Strauss



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