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Warning to owners of small pets in Durban about Crowned Eagles hunting prey

Durban residents who own small pets have been warned regarding a few reports of Crowned Eagles mistaking the animals as prey.

Jason Arnold who specialises in reptiles and snake rescues is a resident in the Sunningdale area, north of Durban and he has heard about a number of reports where people have seen the Crowned Eagles swooping down and taking their pet.

Others have stated their small cats and dogs had mysteriously disappeared.

Despite reports that some pets have been injured by the eagles, Ben Hoffman of Raptor Rescue said that the eagles do not intend to hurt the animals but are foraging for food.

In one case the bird picked up a dog which it later realised was too heavy and when it dropped the dog, it fell from a height which broke it’s back and the owners had to have their pet euthanized.

IOL reported that the warning to residents is to be vigilant and if you are the owner of a small pet and reside in the greater Durban area, to rather keep your pet indoors during the day when the ‘attacks’ occur.

The eagles usually strike in wide open spaces as this allows them to swoop down, grab the prey and take off again.

They do not distinguish between a pet and wild prey and with urbanisation they are limited in food availability.

According to Dr Shane Macphearson from UKZN, domestic pets only make up about one percent of their diet, and these are usually chickens.

Their diet usually consists of dassies, small antelope and hadedas and they have been spotted nesting in Krantzkloof, Nkuto Gorge, Everton Gorge, Hillcrest, Giba Gorge as well as Stockville Road area.