Prevention better than cure for egret problem

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to keeping residents safe from possible infectious diseases spread by egrets taking up residence en masse in trees.

Kouga Social Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the municipality had adopted a preventative approach to the recurring problem, as advised by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

“Cutting back trees in which egrets have already started breeding has led to controversy in the past due to concerns over the eggs and chicks,” he said. “The idea is, therefore, to chase away the birds from trees they have targeted before they start breeding.”

Last Thursday, the municipality trimmed back trees in Da Gama Road where egrets had started to gather in large numbers and buildnests. The operation was overseen by the local Environmental Affairs office and the SPCA.

“The birds had started building nests, but had not started breeding yet, therefore, there were no eggs or chicks,” Benson said.

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He said that, while the onus lay with property owners to address this problem should it occur on their property, residents are invited to contact the municipality’s Environmental Health section at 042 200 2200 for advice on how to go about removing the egrets.

“We would then draw in Environmental Affairs and the SPCA to oversee the process and to ensure that no endangered trees or wildlife will be negatively affected,” said Benson.

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