Spurred on by the dramatic rescue of Brandy, the pregnant leopard that was found snared on the mountain in September 2014, the SMS Programme was launched as an attempt to save the wildlife of the Magaliesberg Mountains. The Programme has three tiers and is a joint venture between the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), Northern Areas Region (NAR) and the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Nature Conservation (TUT).

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Brandy the day that she was released back in the Magaliesberg in October 2014. The scar is still clearly visible. // Photo Credit: Dr Elize Venter.

According to Dr Paul Bartels of WESSA & TUT, Brandy required urgent veterinary medical treatment. “She was airlifted to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital’s heli-pad, where Johannesburg Zoo veterinary personnel collected her. Fortunately she recovered well and was released back in the Magaliesberg in October 2014. Before her release she was fitted with a satellite collar and has since been recorded, by camera trap, with two healthy cubs”.

“It is thought that there may be a handful of individuals who have a bushmeat trade business in the area, for the purpose of providing meat to whomever at discounted prices,” continues Dr Bartels. “Brandy was a victim of one of these snares. A key focus of the SMS Programme is to remove snares, in so doing not only preserving leopard life but also saving other species, including brown hyena, lynx, kudu, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, warthog and jackals. We are looking forward to the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic where we hope to encourage participants to support the SMS programme”.

The three tiers of the SMS Programme:

  1. Rid the Magaliesberg of snares responsible for killing and maiming wildlife.
  2. Identifying the ‘bush-meat’ traders and addressing the issues from a community perspective.
  3. Promoting community involvement in sustainably utilising and conserving one of the most unique areas on the continent, the Magaliesberg mountain range.

Support the SMS Programme by:

  1. Volunteering to spend a morning hiking in the Magaliesberg to removed snares.
  2. Volunteering your time to do what you do best, in support of the programme.
  3. Organise events to raise awareness of the plight of the wildlife of the Magaliesberg.
  4. Raise funds to assist the team with carrying out its conservation work.
  5. Providing funds for the programme.

For more information on the SMS Programme visit www.wessanar.org.za or like the WESSA Northern Areas Region Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/WESSA-Northern-Areas-Region/789878191104134.