Rescue of Blue Duiker

By Corrina Lewis

While returning from a afternoon cruise along the Keurbooms River a rubber duck past us creating a massive wake in the no-wake zone of the river, at the time I thought nothing of this except that I had to position the boat into the wake which was larger than normal. It was as I was straightening up one of my guests noticed something floating in the water. He shouted out that there was a “water rat” trying to swim across. I just laughed at him and explained in all the years of being on the river, I am yet to see a water rat. So we decided to investigate what this could possibly be.

As we got closer I could see that it was a blue Duiker trying to swim across the river.
He must have been knocked off the river bank when the rubber duck created that huge wake a couple of minutes earlier. He must have fallen into the river and in fright started swimming away from the bank that he fell in from. Blue Duiker’s do not have great swimming skills and it started floundering in the middle of the river. We arrived on scene as the blue duiker took its last breath and went under water, I just managed to scooped it out of the water and put it onto one of our boats tables. I could see that it was no longer breathing so started CPR on the Duiker. After a couple of minutes it responded to my chest compression and regurgitated the water. I dried it off and wrapped it in a towel and gave it to Tony and Lynette a couple from Midrand who were on the cruise with us. They then calmed it down and kept it warm inside his jacket while we continued traveling. When we arrived at first beach we attempted to release the blue duiker back into the forest, but it was in shock and would not move off.

At this point I made a decision to take the blue Duiker back to the Jetty and to give Henk Nieuwoudt at Nature Conservation a call to aid us in what to do. He informed me that he will send one of his rangers down to meet me on the Jetty. Nature Conservations response time was incredibly fast and they were already waiting for me before my arrival on the Jetty. Malcolm (Ranger) from Nature Conservation took the Blue Duiker and rushed it off to Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre for recovery and release.

Two days later Myself, Eban Ranger from Nature Conservation and Tanja from Tenikwa took the blue duiker back up river to where the incident took place to release as close as we could to its territory in case it had young ones in the area or a mate that would be looking for it.

The release was done with no hiccups it took a few minutes for the Blue Duiker to emerge from it transport box and then scampered off into the thick under growth hopefully to find its family.