NATIONAL NEWS - The desperate bleating of a goat fighting for its life was the sound that alerted Esidakeni residents that something was wrong on Thursday morning, 14 March.
When the Makobani family went outside to see what was going on, they were greeted with the sight of a massive Southern African Python with an eight-month-old goat in its coils. The savage serpent had already started to constrict and swallow the goat. The family quickly contacted local snake expert Fanie Cilliers.
Together with his son Sean (12), Fanie responded to the area, which he knows very well, as they have removed many Southern African Pythons from the vicinity.
On arrival, they found the massive snake in the goat pen. It was sluggish, as it had an entire goat in its stomach.
Sean jumped into action and with the help and guidance of his father, they managed to safely remove the snake from the area, to the relief of the Makobani family.
Fanie says this Southern African Python was the 208th he has removed in six years in the Ladysmith area, all of which have been relocated to nearby game reserves, especially Nambithi Private Game Reserve.
These releases are now the norm for game reserves, and numerous releases have been done in the presence of international tourists from Norway, Britain, Germany and Russia.
As for the tourists, releases like this are a spectacle not to be missed. Fanie adds that the more people he has involved in releases at game reserves, the more education he spreads not to kill these gentle giants.
Fanie does not charge any money for removing pythons from rural areas and does this purely for preservation so that future generations can also see snakes in the wild.
Fanie does all he can to protect the species, as they are being annihilated in rural areas by people who find snakes and do not call him for assistance, instead simply killing them.