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Africa Geographic Travel

Yesterday, it was with great joy and a few tears, that a male porcupine was returned home to Silvermine Nature Reserve after nearly two months of rehabilitation. The porcupine, unofficially nicknamed “PP” due to his habit to pee on anyone and everyone was rescued near the SANParks Silvermine offices off Ou Kaapse Weg when an SPCA inspector found him with severely burned feet as a result of the recent Cape fire.

porcupine release cape
© Janine Mare

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA took in five porcupines after the fire. Unfortunately three of them succumbed to their injuries but PP and one other porcupine, also with injured feet, are now on the road to recovery. PP has spent the last two months at the SPCA’s Wildlife Short Term Care Facility in Grassy Park where he’s been receiving daily treatment.

porcupine feet burnt
One of the porcupine’s back feet, healed after sustaining severe burn wounds. © Cape of Good Hope SPCA
porcupine feet
One of PP’s front feet, also healed after sustaining severe burn wounds. © Cape of Good Hope SPCA

Megan Reid, the Wildlife Unit Supervisor at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, said that both porcupines were showing good signs of recovery and that PP in particular was ready to go as he had a healthy appetite and was developing a rather feisty personality. The other surviving porcupine was only brought in three weeks after the fire had been extinguished and still has a little way to go before release back into the wild.

porcupine rescue
© Janine Mare
porcupine release cape spca
© Janine Mare

Paddy Gordon, Table Mountain National Park Manager, commented on the return of the wildlife as well as the new growth that is starting to appear. He spoke of rodents, snakes and tortoises that had all come out of their hiding holes to discover their changed home; even as he spoke a fish eagle called nearby. Alien vegetation meant that the fire was difficult to control in parts and Paddy explained that the SANParks alien clearing plan is currently being reevaluated after the fire. SANParks is also working tirelessly to rebuild the public footpaths and clear dead trees that are making walking and cycling in the area dangerous, hence the current closer of the Silvermine and Tokai areas to the public.

The release team. From left: Gareth Patterson (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Inspector), Paddy Gordon (Table Mountain National Park Manager), Megan Reid (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Unit Supervisor), Jaclyn Smith (Table Mountain National Park Section Ranger) and Shaun Giles (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Unit Inspector).
The release team. From left: Gareth Patterson (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Inspector), Paddy Gordon (Table Mountain National Park Manager), Megan Reid (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Unit Supervisor), Jaclyn Smith (Table Mountain National Park Section Ranger) and Shaun Giles (Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Unit Inspector).

Thus far the Cape of Good Hope SPCA has successfully released a number of fire victims including two angulate tortoises, two parrot beak tortoises, a couple of Cape cobras, a puff adder and a boomslang.

tortoises
Parrot-beaked tortoises at the SPCA © Cape of Good Hope SPCA
snake-release-rescue
A boomslang being released back into the wild © Cape of Good Hope SPCA
snake-release
A Cape cobra in a fire-affected area © Cape of Good Hope SPCA
tortoise
An angulate tortoise after the Cape fire © Cape of Good Hope SPCA

The release of this porcupine is a step on that road to recovery, and it was with a sense of trepidation that PP stepped out of his transport cage. The SANParks and SPCA teams had chosen an area of his former home which had not been affected by fire for release. Here he would find plenty of food and shelter.

porcupine cape
© Janine Mare
porcupine release
© Cape of Good Hope SPCA

On release, PP tentatively inched into the long grass, veering off the path into the shelter of a nearby bush. A few minutes later and PP the porcupine was gone, his new adventures just beginning.

porcupine
© Cape of Good Hope SPCA

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