What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Vermin of a different kind.

Sadly the police in South Africa, like in many other countries, often have a bad reputation. There are just too many examples of the men in blue implicated in criminal acivity - from the highest level downwards. Nevertheless I have no doubt that the majority of the force is inherently honest and doing a vital job that none of us care to do.So I wasn't sure what to think when this picture showed up when I checked my cameras recently.
Now I need to explain that this is a very quiet spot alongside a stream that flows into the sea. Here I have often caught pics of  otter, porcupine and genet. I also need to explain, particularly to those of you that don't live along the coast of South Africa, that the illegal poaching of abalone (called perlemoen around here) is rife in these parts. Abalone is caught, processed and sent to the Far East where it has a reputation amongst the wealthy for its 'medicinal' properties. Because the abalone resource has largely been depleted, and is illegal to harvest, prices are high and so 'organised crime' is heavily involved. Illegal harvesting usually usually works as follows:
Divers come ashore at night with their haul and stash it somewhere, usually under water, for later collection. When all looks quiet the 'stash' will be retrieved, often by someone else.
So I wasn't happy to see the next image...

Its not clear from this image but the green bag undoubtedly contained abalone.
So, had it been hidden in the stream for collection by a corrupt cop? That was my initial thought but I had to wonder why my camera was left untouched. It may have been difficult to spot after dark but during the early evening it was very conspicuous.
However the next image confirms, I think, what happened.

This image was recorded a few hours after dark. The person in question was clearly looking for something. I think he had been sent for the 'stash' but the cops, probably acting on a tip-off, got there first.
So well done done to the police. I wish I'd aimed the cameras a bit higher as I might have recorded more detail of the poacher.These guys need to be caught since they are undoubtedly our worst vermin!

Sadly, there is just one thought I can't get out of my mind: what happened to the bag of abalone?

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