State-owned power utility Eskom has rebuilt and moved some of its infrastructure in the Marloth Park nature conservancy, following the electrocution of four giraffe, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) reports.
The EWT says it received a report of a giraffe electrocution in the nature conservancy, which lies on the southern end of the Kruger National Park, in June last year.
EWT Wildlife and Energy Programme project coordinator Constant Hoogstad says the trust conducted an investigation within five days of the incident.
“The demand for electricity within Marloth Park has grown significantly over the years and, to meet this demand, Eskom installed a number of additional transformers on the property that were not at the appropriate height to accommodate the resident giraffe.
“This increased the likelihood of possible negative interactions and was responsible for the four giraffe electrocuted since June 2011,” the trust states.
The EWT advised Eskom that, owing to the number of electrical transformers in Marloth Park requiring mitigation, a site visit involving all stakeholders should be conducted with urgency.
Site visits and meetings with Marloth Park landowners and Eskom representatives were conducted in July and December 2011, as well as in February, this year.
“Eskom heeded the advice offered by all concerned stakeholders and, on March 25, virtually rebuilt both electricity lines running through Marloth Park. “An army of 250 men did the work quickly and efficiently with minimum impact on the environ- ment within which they were working. They installed new transformers where necessary and lifted those that were too low and a threat to wandering giraffe.
“A total of 106 transformers were moved to the correct height and intermediate poles have been replaced to increase the midspan ground clearance where necessary,” says Hoogstad.