Dog walking on beaches can threaten bird life

Dog walkers who take their dogs into “no dogs “sections of beaches along the Garden Route National Park near George face fines of up to a thousand rands.

The reason for the tough line on dogs: disturbances to the nests of white fronted plovers which nest along the beaches, resulting in an alarming drop in plover numbers.

Dogs that are off their leashes enjoy chasing the birds or disturbing the nests, knocking the eggs out of them where they “cook” in the hot sun. Although almost half of the 17km stretch of beach is available to dog walkers, many insist on taking their dogs to the “no dogs” sections and even defacing or removing the warning signs.

The beaches have been divided into areas where no dogs are allowed; where dogs are allowed only on leashes, and areas where dogs may run freely. These areas are determined by the environmental fragility of each particular section.

A precedent was set for Wilderness beaches when driving on the beaches was banned 15 years ago. One result was that the numbers of black oystercatchers, which were dangerously low, recovered.

Source: SANParks Times, June 2017