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Illegals / Refugees walking in the park

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Baobab Boy
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Illegals / Refugees walking in the park

Unread postby Baobab Boy » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:06 pm

On a recent trip to the park (15 - 16 June 2008) my brother came across a youngster lying in the grass near the road in the Letaba area.
The youngster was dehydrated with only a sip of water left inside a 2 litre plastic bottle. He was showing signs of illness and claimed that due to his illness his family had left him to fall behind !!
He was taken to the Letaba camp and handed over to the authorities.
This is now the second time we have picked up these pedestrians (Punda Maria 2007)
Has any one had a similar experience recently?

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:40 am

I have seen Mozambicans begging for a lift between Letaba and Olifants. I reported the sighting @ Olifants camp and field rangers were sent out to locate them.

It happens quite often, yes.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 am

But with the risk of being hi-jacked we decided to report them @ the nearest camp.

There is a very sad story about a girl losing her whole family and companion group to lions in Kruger.
As well as a sole survivor of group of 4 after the rest of his group was taken from a tree one by one.

You really have to have a tough life across the border to consider making your way through Kruger.

I will go research my stats again tonight.
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Unread postby Pjw » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:46 pm

I would like to point out that this is not a new problem. As far back as 1982 I reported illegals on the h1-3 near Tshokwane. There lives must be very difficult in their home countriea to risk that walk
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Unread postby bert » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:24 pm

If you were out there, with little water and food, regardless of the legal issues and other political problems, won't you want a lift as well. :whistle:
I would.

But always do report at camp or at a ranger station.

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Unread postby Stark » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:47 pm

We have a very similar problem here along the Mexican-AZ border.
(With the desert being the killer mostly, vs wildlife)
There is a significant effort to educate people from very tropical areas in Mexico that the AZ desert is vast, hostile and desolate.
One problem is that many illegal immigrants think cities like Phoenix or Tucson are nearby and can be walked to.
Perhaps people don't realize the risks and hardships they will face by walking across KNP?

I think this thread belongs on the board, even though it borders on the political.
The advice given to report walkers at the nearest park so they can get help is very valuable, and many people may not know to do.
Last edited by Stark on Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Jumbo » Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:55 am

Bennievis wrote:One wonders why they don't walk a few miles south before crossing the border into RSA, instead of taking short cut through Kruger.


Many actually do go south, and still cross the border illegally....busses and taxis stop about 5 km before the border (inside Moz)....the occupants jump out and run towards the mountains where they the cross illegally. The empty bus/taxi (with a trailer full of suitcases :roll: ) then crosses the border and waits for the people at the garage just inside SA.

Just for the record....I have seen the same happen when people return to Moz....they do not necessarily cross this way to stay in SA

There are various reasons why these people do this; I believe most have to do with them getting a passport.

To get a passport you need your birth documentation....many people don’t have this, especially in the rural areas where these people, who cross Kruger, come from.
I have been trying to help my gardener in his efforts to get a passport for the past 2 years (first had to get birth documentation for him)....it is not an easy task, especially if you are not prepared to pay an “extra” fee ....which can easily be R300 – R500

If you do have the correct documentation and you live in the rural areas, you still need a few bucks to travel up and down to the nearest administrative centre to apply for, and collect your passport....and this centre can be a few 100km away.

You need money to get photos and you have to pay for your passport.....something most people in rural Moz don’t have.

Apart from this, if you are below a certain age (I think it is 30) your name automatically gets added to the army’s drafting list when you apply for a passport...appears most people are not very keen to be drafted by the army.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:08 am

Ok, I have my information again after a blitz study last night.

Starks, during my research I saw the correlation mentioned between the Mexican Border with USA and the Kruger border with SA.

Since 1960, Mozambicans began to escape the Portuguese regime in Mozambique.

I can draw out this post but will for now just briefly sum it up.

In the following 45 years up until 2005 there was estimated with the aid of SA Army reports, KNP ranger reports, SA government deportation reports and UN refugee reports that 1,335,000 people have crossed Kruger from Mozambique into South Africa.

What is now a major concern and probably also the reason why a mod had made my previous post on this disappear a year or two ago is the following:

SA Army and Kruger Rangers stated that for every 1 illegal immigrant they apprehended, 3 others would escape.
Thus of the 1,335,000 people, 333,750 trespassers were arrested.

The study said that Kruger lions can then assume to have taken 1% of that number of people crossing through Kruger.
That is a total of 13,335 people, divided by 45 years leaves a number of 296,67 people per year, which almost relates to a person per day being killed and eaten by a lion in Kruger.

Dr. Wilhelm Gertenbach, the head of Kruger Vet Services believed back then that the number might have been too high.

The head of Mpumulanga conservation back then believed that the number was too conservative.

Albeit, let's say that Kruger lions took 10 times less that estimated number then a number of 1,335 people were taken by lions as they attempted to cross the border.

Scipio, I am sure that there are more than 1 case of people being taken from trees.
The incident I have mentioned yesterday happened in 1997 near the Punda turn off from Pafuri, if I recall correctly.
A man was taken by the fire and 3 others from a nearby tree as a lioness went up after them.
1 man survived to tell the tale.

A previous Punda pride of lions were shot out as they were caught red-handed along the power lines laying up and waiting for people to pass.

The study did proof that this man-eating practice had gone down in numbers since 1997 though.
Last edited by wildtuinman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby ndloti » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:28 am

The lions of the central district (seems most infiltrations took place in central areas as they apparently use the lights of Phalaborwa mine as a homing beacon) apparently became very partiall to human flesh , so much that field staff avoided camping out in the wilderness .
I have experienced very bold lions on foot in Tshokwane area , in most on foot sightings I have experienced they run away , but these ones were reportedly known for their boldness having lost fear of humans .
I have encountered human skulls on 2 occasions in wilderness trail areas .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Unread postby Bennievis » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:57 pm

Jumbo, very interesting situation in Moz regarding army drafting and passports. I did not know that. Thank you for the info :D
WTM & ndloti, very interesting indeed. :shock:

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Unread postby Stark » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:58 pm

Wow, very interesting information and discussion on this topic.
Nice job WTMand Jumbo on fleshing out the topic.

Jumbo, I can see the whole taxi situation occurring!
In AZ and many southern US states, we have border patrol checkpoints many km's away from the Mexican border setup to catch "Coyotes", aka human smugglers.
Its a common sight to see vans pulled over by border patrol that had 10-20 people inside.
The passport problem hits close to home as well...you wouldn't believe how difficult it was to get Liberian passports for my Liberian-born children!
Extra fees, inconvenience, and hassle seem to be built into the system!

WTM, wow.
All the more reason that I won't be getting out of my car or do anything to get a "Shame" picture taken of me while visiting!!!
I read somewhere, and I can't remember if it dealt with KNP, that cross-border walkers would bang pots to make noise and scare away lions.
Didn't work, as soon lions associated the pot-banging with a dinner bell for an easy meal. :cry:
I wish I could recall the source...I'll have to do some digging.

Being a desk-jockey, I've encountered illegal immigrants on foot only a few times, though my wife (a home health nurse who travels all day long) has seen them on multiple occasions.
She follows the same advice as presented on here...don't pick up hitch-hikers, and call the authorities to render aid.
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Unread postby ndloti » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:54 am

Amongst the trails rangers this was an often discussed topic at the time .
This was Metsi Metsi in early 1990's .
I was at the rear of the trail group and had fallen a few metres behind to remove a twig from my sock .
I stood on a rock and looked up to see at least four lions crouching and watching me from alongside the path less than 20 metres away.
In all my trailing experience I have known lion to usually flee long before one gets within around 100 metres or so .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:35 am

Yip, Metsi-metsi being one of the areas I have read about.

Is this also where the skulls were found?

Closest I've ever been to lion on foot was 50m. And the lion cubs(about 8 of them) were blissfully unaware of our presence.
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Unread postby Ingala » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:46 pm

I'm aware that Lions were labelled as the main man-eating culprits of refugees fleeing across the border, but I have also heard fairly convincing details that numerous deaths were not Lion related but rather Hyena :shock: . This information was verbally provided to me by an ex SANPark employee in 2001 then working for the Illovo sugar group.
Having witnessed how Hyena can continuously "hover" then without provocation or warning attempt an attack, I wouldn't put it past these beasts!

My visit to Kruger in May 2007 yielded 4 refugees 25Km from Mopani camp.
Not sure who got the biggest fright...
Concerns of our safety was priority so the refugees were reported to SANParks to follow-up.

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Unread postby cathyb » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:53 pm

Also a lot of people walking through from Zim. at the moment.
In June we were the first car on the dirt road up to Klopperfontein Dam and saw 2 sets of footprints along the dirt road.
Also saw footprints along Olifants River just by the trail camp a couple of years ago.


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