With the assistance of AgriSETA, livestock farmers in the Eastern Cape are provided with tools and instruction on how to safeguard their cattle, making them safer. Niel Viljoen, a veteran and expert in livestock protection, travels over the Eastern Cape instructing livestock farmers on how to keep their livestock safe from predators.
Livestock farmers must contend with wild animals that prey on the livestock in addition to livestock thieves. An eagle that was snatching lambs from their mothers for food tormented Mount Fletcher livestock farmers a few years ago. Viljoen was given the task of supplying 150 farmers in the Flagstaff and Mount Fletcher areas with the tools they needed to stop these livestock thieves.
Every year, jackals, caracals, and other wild animals attack livestock owned by farmers in the Eastern Cape. Farmers need information like this since it is estimated that a million of their livestock are killed by wild animals in the Eastern Cape. These three levels of training cover techniques for handling and rearing livestock, catching livestock, and protecting livestock from wild animals. Some of the issues that leave farmers’ livestock exposed to antelopes include a lack of camps and sturdy fences.
“One of the most important things we teach farmers is to make their sheep wear tags that identify where they are hurt,” Viljoen stated. One of the methods to protect the livestock that they were taught in the workshop is to shepherd the sheep throughout the day when they are on the meadows so that they do not become prey to the antelopes, as well as the farmers’ cooperation to maintain the livestock under their supervision.
“The farm’s safety and the protection of the cattle when they are in the kraal, because some farmers have their livestock stolen while in the kraal,” Viljoen explained. One of the numerous ways to protect livestock is by using strategies to locate lost livestock and by being aware of the sheep’s colours.
“One of the most significant tools for livestock farmers is livestock security through fence, especially during breeding season,” he stated.
Farmers were also trained to exercise constant vigilance in the areas where their livestock foraged. “Using traps to catch jackals and other wild animals is one way farmers protect their livestock,” said Viljoen. According to the report, Heshele, Tsolo, and Cacadu are anticipated to receive this training in March.
Despite daily losses of livestock to antelopes, this knowledge will aid livestock farmers in the Eastern Cape in becoming more resilient. In 2013, sheep farmers in the Cacadu villages launched a search operation to find a pack of jackals that had been preying on sheep in the meadows. As there is little information available on how to hunt antelopes, it is challenging to locate them while they continue to prey on livestock.