Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Cry the Beloved Guineafowl

The Helmeted Guineafowl used to be very common here in what’s left of the open veld surrounding Johannesburg. These grasslands are now being overtaken by a large ever expanding urban jungle. By urban jungle I mean the concrete jungle that is expanding, but the urban forest is too expanding not too far behind the developers of the concrete boxes.

Although Johannesburg may not be the largest man made forest, it is the largest man made urban forest with over 6 million trees in Johannesburg and its suburbs. This wide expanse of trees have even started to change the micro-climate. I can feel it in my bones. Plus the bonus of many bird species never seen in the region before have now made Johannesburg home.

With the veld getting smaller in Johannesburg and the forest getting bigger, what happens to the animals of the veld? A few years back I saw a Blackbacked Jackal in the veld of what is now becoming Steyn City, insurance mogul Douw Steyn’s ultra-ego city which he named after himself and fit only for the stinking rich. Yes it is good to hear reports of the Galagos or bushbabies, and hornbills becoming more of an occurrence in the northern suburbs but what of the guineafowl?

What of the beloved guineafowl? I am starting to hear less and less the cry of guineafowls in the afternoons. Are they going to disappear much like what the summer highveld thunderstorms have done? Here at Bosasa there are still a large number of guineafowls, and walking up through the gardens I am pleased to see the little chicks running behind their mommies.

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