Members of the environment committee at the Country Club Johannesburg (CCJ) have helped to successfully rehabilitate a female long-crested eagle after she was struck by a golf ball last year.
The female eagle, named Kate, and her mate Leo started nesting in a secluded grove of gum trees last year at the club. Not long after, their chick arrived and members of the club were excited to watch its progress.
A short while later, Kate was struck by a golf ball and her wing was broken. Fayne Connelly, a member of the environmental committee at the club said members of the committee acted quickly and contacted Margi Brocklehurst of Friends of Free Wildlife to make sure that Kate got the care she needed.
“Kate was rushed to the Bryanston Avian, Exotic and Small Animal Clinic. Four veterinary surgeons examined x-rays after which Kate underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation. The work by the surgeons was all pro bono,” said Connelly.
While Kate was being cared for, members of the club worried that Leo might abandon the chick. However, Leo took on full parental responsibility and the chick was soon out of the nest.
“Kate’s recovery was coming along exceptionally well. She was getting out in the garden at the vet every day and eating well. The splint on her wing was giving the bones time to knit.”
Two-and-half months after the operation and many a physiotherapy session, Kate was ready for the final phase of her rehabilitation which would take place at the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary outside Pietermaritzburg.
Kate’s progress was slow but steady and after five months, she was nearly ready for release. An enclosure was built at the club to allow Kate to settle down.
“Margi released Kate into the enclosure on Wednesday 20 June. Kate promptly performed all kinds of acrobatics, preened herself, stretched her wings and showed a good appetite. It had been a year since Leo and Kate had first arrived at CCJ, and more than seven months of surgery and rehabilitation for Kate, closely monitored by concerned CCJ members.”
Kate was fitted with an identification tag so that she could be identified in the future and members prepared to release her.
Connelly thanked the environment committee, as well as Dr Fanie Naude, a specialist orthopedic vet Dr Kenneth Joubert, specialist anaesthetic vet, Dr Jean Davidson, vet from the Bryanston Avian Clinic sanctuary, and Friends of Free Wildlife, which helped rehabilitate Kate.
If you’re lucky enough to spot Kate with the red tag on her leg, please contact Margi Brocklehurst on 082 561 3681 with the time, date and place of the sighting.
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