It is believed that a Northern Cape Farmer from the Richmond District allegedly poisoned between 200 and 1000 blue cranes. The blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN’s list of threatened species.
According to reports, farm workers were instructed to dip corn in a poison called Temic, also known as Aldicarb, to deliberately poison the birds. The workers were then further instructed to collect the bird carcasses and bury them in porcupine and aardvark holes.
Dr Gerhard Verdoorn is currently investigating the alleged “massacre” of the birds, he is said to be conducting toxicology reports on some of the carcasses to try and establish what poison was used to poison the birds. Verdoorn has said that he did not want to believe that the allegations are true but that all the evidence thus far points to the fact that hundreds of blue cranes were deliberately poisoned. He has also said that the misuse of any form of Aldicarb is a serious crime under the Fertilises, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 36 of 1947.
“It is prohibited to use any insecticide for any other use than what is indicated on the label. On the label there is no indication for its use on birds and such action therefore makes it a criminal offence,” Verdoorn said. He further stated that the poisoning of any animal without a permit was in contravention of nature conservation laws in all provinces. He requested that any information that could assist in the investigation be relayed to him on 082 446 8946.