The 2009 Environmental Impact Review for the Mooi-Mgeni Transfer System – Phase two (MMTS-2) recommended that an “Operation Noah” be implemented. The aim of Operation Noah is to help the animals that find difficulty in migrating from the dam basin, either from rising water levels or being trapped on islands that may be formed as the dam level increases. Such was the case on Monday, 13 January 2014, when a landowner notified the project team that two Reedbuck were trapped on an island in the dam. This island was approximately 250m from the shore.

Our rescue team, Ryan Phelan (Environmental Monitor (AECOM)) and James Liversage (Environmental Officer (WBHO)) went out to the island the next morning and herded the Reedbuck into the water and safely onto land.

The pair of Reedbuck was, however, not the only set of inhabitants on the little island. Co-inhabitants were two large porcupines.

Team Operation Noah returned to site to source traps and fresh vegetables and carefully laid the traps. The first evening was unsuccessful, but this did not deter our rescuers. On day two they had successfully trapped one porcupine and relocated him safely onto land.

The second porcupine remained hidden away in the burrow, but the team would not give up. They set out a new trap hoping to catch him by morning. Imagine their surprise upon returning to the island. The female Reedbuck had returned. There could have been only one thing she would return for - a baby!

The two intrepid rescuers gathered the baby Reedbuck up and piloted it to shore, with the mother Reedbuck swimming behind. Had it not been for one shy porcupine a family would have not been reunited! Some stories do have happy endings!