Volume 28 Click here if you cannot view HTML September 2009
ED's Note

It's spring and something in the air has the birds and the bees abuzz. So our focus for this edition turns to the creatures that at this time of the year so shamelessly celebrate new life right under our noses - the birds. More specifically, our birds of prey.

In 2004 the EWT's Birds of Prey Working Group was born out of a merger between the then Vulture Study and Raptor Conservation Groups. Andre Botha quietly took hold of this new Group and resolutely led it down a path of success, so that today it is one of our largest and most inspiring Working Groups.

Andre is a bird expert. Anybody spending the least bit of time with him quickly realises this and self-proclaimed birders soon find themselves remaining quiet to take guidance from Andre. He has an unshakeable passion for birds and is a conservationist down to his last fibre. As you read through this edition of EWTalk, look out for his name - it features several times, and if you ever have a chance to attend one of his talks, take a minute to speak to him and hear what conservation in action is all about. Until next time, Happy Birding to all our bird lovers!

- The Editor

News from our CEO

Hello EWT supporters

Excellent news hot off the press is that the Free State High Court, on the 28th September 2009, dismissed an application by South African Predator Breeders Association for leave to appeal a ruling made in July that effectively puts an end to the practice of “canned lion hunting”. The SAPBA took the Department of Environmental Affairs to court over their decision to ban the hunting of a captive bred lion in under 24 months post its release into a free-ranging environment. This ruling, and the subsequent decision declining them leave to appeal, effectively ensures that captive bred lions cannot be hunted as so-called ‘canned trophies'. The EWT is pleased with this decision which we see as a move in the right direction to ensure that ethical standards are introduced back into the consumptive utilisation of wildlife as a resource.

Less positive however, is the sudden increase in poaching of White and Black Rhino with at least 84 rhinos being poached in this country between January and September this year. Rhino remain secure as a species, but this worrying trend presents a major challenge to private and government conservationists alike, as the driving force behind this trend seems to have far greater resources and an insatiable market that may well spell disaster for this species in the next few years. Unfortunately this upward trend in the trade in threatened species is not limited to rhino and we are noticing similar trends in the trade in wild birds (and their products) and a number of other species. It seems that despite global threats to biodiversity such as climate change and habitat destruction, direct persecution of wildlife remains an ongoing threat to many species and presents a significant challenge for the EWT. To find out more about what the EWT is doing to address this trade, please visit our website.

The EWT cannot do this work alone and thanks its many partners and supporters for ongoing support during these tough times. In recent days, the Trust has received support from Barloworld, The Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, The International Rhino Foundation, Vodacom, the SA Mint, Distell and the Altron Group. Thank-you for your support in conserving South Africa’s threatened species.

- Yolan Friedmann

 
Projects
Help us Survey the Saddle-billed Stork

The EWT and SANParks are running a Saddle-billed Stork photographic survey in the Kruger National Park. The survey started on 1 September 2009 and will run for a full calendar year.

This survey forms part of a three year research project and will help the EWT better understand the species’ status within the context of biodiversity management. The last Saddlebilled Stork survey in 1993 suggested that there were less than 60 of these birds left in the Park.

Click here to read more or contact Marcelle van Hoven

National Vulture Awareness Day Goes International!

The EWT's Birds of Prey Working Group (EWT-BoPWG) started National Vulture Awareness Day in 2006, creating awareness of the plight of southern Africa’s vultures and highlighting the work being done to protect them. The local success created so much international interest that vulture conservationists worldwide have now established International Vulture Awareness Day, to be commemorated on the first Saturday of September every year. On 5 September this year the event was celebrated by 152 organisations worldwide.

Click here to read more or contact Andre Botha

Cheetah Conservation Gains Ground

In September Cheetah conservationists and reserve managers met to discuss the way forward for Cheetah management on small reserves.

In 2000 the National Cheetah Conservation Forum started a relocation programme for ‘problem’ Cheetah, relocating them from ranchland to fenced protected areas. Conservationists now need to ensure that this population remains viable in the long term. The next step is to put together a management plan for the Cheetah metapopulation.

Click here to read more or contact Harriet Davies-Mostert

How Birds See is Key to Avoiding Power Line Collision

The EWT's Wildlife Energy Interaction Group has, with the financial support of Eskom, undertaken a research project to better understand how birds see, in the hope that this will help them to prevent birds from flying into power lines. Preliminary findings show that bird families differ in their ability to see, and some species have far better peripheral than frontal vision. This has major implications for collision with power lines and the EWT will incorporate this knowledge into the design of power line marking devices as soon as possible through its strategic partnership with Eskom.

Click here to read more or contact Jon Smallie

Eco News
Department of Environmental Affairs Satisfied with Lion Ruling

South African lion breeders were told that they cannot appeal against legislation that requires the captive-bred cats to roam free for two years before being hunted, a period that farmers say makes their industry unviable. The decision, which reiterates a June ruling (reported in July edition of EWTalk), was made by the Free State High Court in the town of Bloemfontein. The Department said that this judgment strengthens the department’s resolve to responsible, regulated and sustainable hunting. The EWT welcomes this news.

Click here to read more.

SA Participates in Global Climate Change Talks

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica recently spent nine days in the USA, where she raised the profile of climate change adaptation for Africa. She emphasised the need for developmental space, hence the inability to take on legally binding mitigation targets beyond the actions outlined in the various announcements by developing countries.

The EWT is involved in climate change adaptation through a number of its projects, with the Riverine Rabbit Working Group's Riparian Habitat Rehabilitation Project being the first project officially listed under climate change adaptation. Click here to read the full article.

Events
Raptors and Raptor Conservation in South Africa - Talk by Andre Botha

Where: The Outdoor Warehouse, Shop 1 Willowbridge North Shopping Centre, C/O Old Oak Road and Carl Cronje Drive, Tyger Valley, Bellville
When: 12 October 2009
Time: 19h00 for 19h30
Cost: EWT members – R30.00, Non-members - R40.00. Price includes refreshments.
Dress: Smart casual
Contact: Barbara Miller on barbaram@ewt.org.za

Our resident raptor expert will introduce you to the wonderous, awe-inspiring world owls, eagles and vultures.

RSVP: 7 October 2009

Click here to read more.

Conversations with Max - Talk by Rynette Coetzee

Where: Country Club Johannesburg - 1 Napier Rd, Auckland Park
When: 13 October 2009
Time: 18h30 for 19h00
Cost: EWT/CCJ members: Talk & Dinner: R145.00, Talk only: R45.00, Non-members: Talk & Dinner: R150.00, Talk Only: R50.00.
Dress: Smart Casual
Contact: Jo-Anne Schermeier on jessicae@ewt.org.za or 011 486 1102.

2009 is the Year of the Gorilla, and in this light Rynette Coetzee will reflect on her years at Johannesburg Zoo and tell us more about the threats facing gorillas.

RSVP: 9 October 2009.

Click here to read more.

The EWT's Conservation Open Day

Where: The Endangered Wildlife Trust HO, Erlswold Way, Saxonwold
When: 23 October 2009
Time: 10:00 to 12:00
Cost: Free Entry
Dress: Casual
Contact: Jo-Anne Schermeier joannes@ewt.org.za or 011 486 1102

Spend time with our field staff and hear firsthand about the successes and challenges they have experienced in 2009 at our Conservation Open Day. Conservation Open Day features project displays and discussions from our various Working Groups, illustrating how the EWT addresses current conservation issues through on-the-ground action.

RSVP: 12 October 2009.

Click here to read more.

Going Batty - an EWTea talk by Anna-Maria Cosgrove

Where: The Endangered Wildlife Trust HO, Erlswold Way, Saxonwold
When: 29 October 2009
Time: 10:15am for 10:30 to 12:00
Cost: R20.00. Tea and snacks will be served.
Dress: Casual
Contact: Jo-Anne Schermeier joannes@ewt.org.za or 011 486 1102

Bats are one of the commercial symbols of the Halloween fever that in recent years has gripped our local retail world. During the month of October their images can be seen in abundance around the urban shopping centres. But how are the real bats faring on the Highveld?

RSVP: 26 October 2009.

Click here to read more.

In Search of the African Wild Dog - Book Launch

Where: SASOL Head Office, 1 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank
When: 20 October 2009
Time: 17:45 for 18:00
Cost: No entry fee
Dress: Smart Casual
Contact: Jaclyn Woods on jaclyn.woods@jonathanball.co.za or 011 406 2645

Pat and Roger de le Harpe and Sunbird Publishers invite you to join them for the launch of their book 'In search of the African Wild Dog'. This is a stunningly photographed and well-documented tribute to these rare and endangered animals. Sotheby's will be running an auction on Wild Dog items and proceeds will go to the EWT.

RSVP: 15 October 2009.

Click here to read more.

Eco Facts
Vulture Facts


Vulture Awareness - some facts:

  • Nine vulture species have been recorded in South Africa and only two are not currently Red Data Listed.
  • Vultures are resistant to anthrax and are valuable in combating this disease.
  • The Palmnut Vulture mainly feeds on the fruit of the Raffia Palm, although it does also eat carrion.
  • Old World Vultures (like we have in South Africa) have exceptional eyesight but a poor sense of smell, but New World Vultures have a good sense of smell.
  • There is evidence to suggest that traditional medicine use is at least partly responsible for the rapid decline of vulture populations in the subcontinent. When these species are poisoned, people who then eat parts of these vultures risk being poisoned themselves.

Wishlist

These are some of our latest wish list items. Any contributions will be most appreciated:

  • Vehicle fridge/freezer.
  • GPS: Garmin GPSMAP 76S.
  • Air conditioner with cooling and heating facilities to use to keep the office Server in running order.
  • Gardening and irrigation tools to keep the lawns, garden and plant nursery at the EWT Head Office maintained.

Click here to read more.

Please contact Leighanne Imbert on (011) 486 1102 or email wishlist@ewt.org.za to organise for deliveries, and collections where necessary.

Benefits
The EWT Cooler Bag

The Black or Red Cooler Bags are a must for outdoor visits and picnics and make useful First Aid kits for the car or on a hike.

Unit price:

  • Members : R57.50 (Incl. Vat)
  • Non-Members : R63.50 (Incl. Vat)
Click here to read more.
2010 Calendars

The 2010 Landscape Calendar 'Joy of Africa' and Portrait Calendar 'Wild Africa' is now available to purchase. It makes the ideal gift for overseas family and friends.

Unit price:

  • Members : R 195.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Non-Members : R215.00 (Incl. Vat)
Click here to read more.
Africa Geographic Subscription

Be inspired to play your own part in the environmental future of Africa by subscribing to this magazine.

Promotion Price for SA Citizens : R275.00 including postage and packaging

Normal Price:

  • Members : R275.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Non-Members : R385.00 (Incl. Vat)
Click here to read more.

Bushwise Bushveld Safari - set of 3 CDs

Join our young explorers as they set off on safari at Ngala Private Game Reserve to discover the secrets of the bush. The 13 Bushveld Safari episodes were commissioned by Granada International and ETV and are narrated by Michaela Strachan.

Promotion Price for SA Citizens : R152.00 including postage and packaging

Normal Price :

  • Members : R152.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Non-Members : R167.50 (Incl. Vat)

episodes 1-5
episodes 6-9
episodes 10-13
Supporter News
BIKE4BEASTS MTB Challenge Hits Ezemvelo!

On 13 September close to 60 mountain bikers took part in the first ever Diamond Route BIKE4BEASTS MTB Challenge on the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve near Bronkhorstspruit. This event is organised by Lycaon Logistics and aims to raise funds for the EWT, promote awareness of the region and stimulate eco-tourism. It is hoped that the Ezemvelo race will grow as much in popularity as its sister BIKE4BEASTS event held in April each year on the De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in northern Limpopo Province, and now in its third year.

Click here to read more or contact Wendy Collinson

Another Successful Great Green Golf Day

The EWT's fourth Great Green Golf Day was hosted at the Lost City Golf Club on 3 September in the heat beneath clear blue skies. Sixty players teed off on the magnificent course and with varying degrees of success, negotiated the challenging holes. The day’s enjoyment was captured by Mike Tippet who has been the event photographer since its inception. A big thank you to Nashua, Landrover, Your Med Shield, Momentum, Internet Solutions, IQ Business Group, Sun International, SATIB, Pikitup, Seremed and Timken for their support in taking four-balls.

Click here to read more or contact Jo-Anne Schermeier

Latest Supporters

DONATIONS IN KIND: Puma • Africa Geographic • SATIB • City Power • Rhode Island • Outdoor Warehouse • Mineral Water Man • SAB • Crabtree & Evelyn • Trappers Trading • 1Time Airline • Little Luxury • Mabula Lodge • Canopy Tours • Clarins Men • Titleist • Imazine • Golfers Club
GOLF DAY FOUR BALLS WERE TAKEN BY: Nashua • Landrover • Your Med Shield • Momentum • Internet Solutions • IQ Business Group • Sun International • SATIB • Pikitup • Seremed • Timken
SUPPORT RENEWED BY: Barloworld • Distell • Vodacom Foundation • The Altron Group • Anglo American Chairman’s Fund • Trans Africa Safaris • Mutual and Federal

Update your Details: If you have moved home or jobs, please remember to update your details with the EWT so you can continue to receive invitations to events and information on the work we do - click the link to update now - https://www.ewt.org.za/memberships_update.aspx

EWT Patrons:

























Find us on:
facebook
twitter