A rescued duiker that was impaled on a palisade fence in Fourways, Johannesburg, on Thursday morning did not survive the ordeal.
According to Dr Karin Lourens, resident veterinarian at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (JWVH), the animal died during the course of Friday night.
The female duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia) was rescued and treated on the scene at the Norscot Koppies and Kingfisher Nature Reserve by a private emergency response group on Thursday morning.
Jurgen Kotze, chief operating officer of Emer-G-Med, told News24 a community member alerted its units at around 7am to the animal in distress.
“She was in a lot of pain so we activated our critical care retrieval team because they carry a different set of medication. They were assisted by the JWVH [that] arranged for the hospitalisation as well as guidance,” Kotze said.
“The duiker was given some intravenous therapy and some medication to relax her and relieve pain. Emer-G-Med was also assisted by Dr Katja Koeppel, Elaine Reeve and Caleb Rowberry of the Montecasino Bird Gardens.”
Lourens told News24 it appeared that the duiker was stuck there for much of Wednesday night.
“The fact that she was stuck for that long could present some problems, and once she was found, a large crowd of people gathered which added to the stress she experienced. Antelopes are prone to what is called capture myopathy.”
This, according to Lourens, eventually caused the animal’s death. Capturing and restraining an injured or ill animal is extremely stressful and can cause permanent damage and even death, she said.
“Capture myopathy is a condition with marked morbidity and mortality that occur predominantly in wild animals mostly as a result of inflicted stress and physical exertion that would typically occur with prolonged or short intense pursuit, capture, restraint or transportation of wild animals,” the JWVH wrote.
“The condition carries a grave prognosis, and despite intensive extended and largely non-specific supportive treatment, the success rate is poor.
“Unfortunately the duiker passed away, despite everyone’s efforts. This devastating news was shared with Dr Koeppel, and we appreciate the effort that she, her team, the paramedics and the Montecasino bird garden team did in order to save this poor duiker.”
Kotze said the prevalence of wild animals in distress has increased during the Covid-19 lockdown owing to animals venturing into areas usually occupied by people.