Volume 30 Click here if you cannot view HTML February 2010
News from our CEO

Hello EWT supporters

What is the Price for our Heritage?

For years now, South Africans have been building up excitement in anticipation of the almighty ‘2010’. That magical number that brings not only a lot of football, but for many people, the promise of jobs, wealth, infrastructural development, reduced crime and above all, a platform on which to showcase our country in all its magnificence for the entire world to see. This, we hope, will ensure that the World Cup will have long-lasting benefits for South Africa as a result of the world noticing that we are in fact a safe, secure, magnificent country that appeals to everyone, from entrepreneurs and investors to the most sought after visitor of them all: the Tourist!

So how sad that it is also be the year that sees foreign mining operators not only targeting the last vestiges of our wild, rugged coastline for its titanium, but now one of the most precious of all: the World Heritage Site and Transfrontier Conservation Area bordering the Mapungubwe National Park. An area defined by its sense of ancientness, with the biggest and oldest baobabs in the country, and archaeological digs that are only now starting to reveal the secrets of long gone civilisations, this region covers the confluence of the Sashi and Limpopo Rivers, and defies the political boundaries of the three countries at their confluence, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, by merging them into one continuous spectacular expanse of Mopani and wilderness that spreads to the curvature of the earth. It is astounding to even consider overturning a rock in an area of such cultural, environmental and historical importance, never mind establishing a strip of open cast and underground coal mines, a coal-fired power station and the associated infrastructure that includes railways, roads and hundreds of buildings. The arguments for this ‘development’ are ludicrous and the arguments against powerful. Despite the logic however, we as humans should finally start understanding that some areas are simply not ours for the taking, and no amount of short-term wealth can justify destroying what belongs to the many and has for thousands of years before our current generation arrived. The inter-generational rights enshrined in our Constitution demand that future generations be considered in the greedy quest of current generations for financial wealth at all costs. We roll out platitudes about how we are custodians of this planet for our children and yet our actions confirm our determination to respect no boundaries, or other people, when immediate riches are at stake.

The EWT, and a host of other environmental and cultural organisations, will fight tirelessly to prevent the destruction of the Mapunbugwe and Vele region for the sake of adding more coal mines to the rapidly deteriorating face of our once beautiful country’s landscape. With most of Mpumalanga almost destroyed by the ravages of this filthy industry, one hopes that all South Africans will join this fight to learn from the mistakes of our past and ensure that 2010 is indeed a year that showcases this country, by showing the world that we are proud of our heritage and special landscapes and are willing to defend them. For their value to us all is far greater than the needs of a few greedy shareholders, and unless we start marketing coalmine tourism in June of this year, we should finally start investing in securing the goose that lays our golden eggs and still will in 100 years’ time, when coalmining will be a sad and embarrassing error of the generations gone by and who left nothing but irreversible destruction in their wake.

- Yolan Friedmann

Projects
Why wetlands matter

Many communities across Africa are directly dependent on wetlands for their survival, while wetlands provide indirect, but crucial services to many others. Yet despite this, these critical ecosystems are deteriorating and their capacity to provide goods and services is increasingly diminished as a result of human activities.

Click here to read more or contact Kerryn Morrison

NGOs respond to growth in South African wind energy sector

Wind energy is a very welcome addition to the South African energy mix, and is far ‘cleaner’ than coal-fired energy generation. However, this does not mean that it is without environmental impacts. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) are concerned about the impact that wind farms could have on birds in South Africa if developed without appropriate consideration of the possible impacts, and have joined efforts to address this proactively.

Click here to read more or contact Jon Smallie

South Africa's national bird in illegal trade

In the past two weeks alone, nine Blue Cranes Anthropoides paradiseus that were illegally removed from the Karoo, have been confiscated in four separate incidences. Sadly, this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, with many more having been taken illegally. The Blue Crane, South Africa’s National Bird, is a near endemic to the country and is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red Data List. Its charismatic stature, elaborate dances and the fact that it is easily recognisable are the very reasons that this crane is sought after for captivity.

Contact Kerryn Morrison

Illegal wildlife auction stopped

 

The EWT's Law & Policy Programme was recently alerted about possible irregularities concerning an advertised auction. The auction was to be held on the farm Mbabala Lodge in Lephalale on 13 February 2010. Our staff had good reason to believe that this auction was not being conducted legally and so followed up with the relevant Limpopo authorities. The head of the Modimolle permits office said that they had not received any permit applications to a) hold an auction; b) import and export animals or c) possess animals. They were also concerned about a number of the species being advertised, especially the Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) listed species, and that the group organising the auction was based in the Free State Province. It is illegal for a game farm owner from one province to hold an auction in a different province without the necessary permits. The auction was since cancelled and will be re-advertised as a catalogue auction in the Free State.

Contact Rynette Coetzee


For the most up-to-date project news please subscribe to our Programme specific newsletters:

African Crane Conservation Programme
Wildlife & Energy Programme
Birds of Prey Programme

Eco News
2010 - International Year of Biodiversity

The International Year of Biodiversity 2010 is a global campaign designed to encourage worldwide action to safeguard biodiversity. It is a celebration of life on Earth and of the value of biodiversity for our lives. It is an opportunity for every person to act; together we can ensure a sustainable future for all life.

Celebrate this important issue with us throughout 2010! Visit our website each month for the latest biodiversity news and information.

Mining threatens Mapungubwe World Heritage Site

Australian mining company Coal of Africa (CoAL) has been granted mining rights on the doorstep of the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA. Respected studies show that this development of the Vele Colliery will threaten the area’s wildlife, water quality, air quality and an exceptionally important archaeological World Heritage Site, with subsequent impacts on tourism. A number of environmental and community groups are preparing to fight this decision in court.

Click to read more.

 

Events
Largest Ford Parade

Where: Phakisa Freeway, Welkom
When: 27 February 2010
Dress: Casual
For participation information please visit www.largestfordparade.co.za

On Saturday 27 February 2010 history will be changed as all Ford manufactured vehicles (new and old) will descend on Phakisa Freeway circuit in Welkom to attempt to set a new Guiness world record for the Largest Ford Parade.A percentage of the proceeds will go towards supporting the work of the EWT - so register and join the fun in Welkom!

Click here to read more.

Out of Sight Out of Mind - a look at freshwater ecosystem conservation with Gordon O'Brien

Where: Country Club Johannesburg (WOODMEAD)
When: 9 March 2010
Time: 18h30 for 19h00
Cost: Talk only: R50.00. Talk and dinner: R150.00.
Dress: Smart Casual
Contact: 011 486-1102 or joannes@ewt.org.za.

In South Africa over 80% of the river ecosystems are considered to be threatened or unable to maintain a suitable state of health to support the biodiversity of these systems. There seems to be little hope for these ecosystems that are out of sight and out of mind. Join us to hear more about this dire situation and what needs to be done to change it.

RSVP: 8 March 2010.

Click here to read more.

Weekend Environmental Course - Cheetah meets Mantis

Where: Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve in the Breede River Valley
When: 19 - 21 March 2010
Cost: EWT members: R850.00. Non-members: R950.00
Dress: Bushwear
Contact: Barbara Miller barbaram@ewt.org.za or 082 890 2555

Join Johan van Eeden in the lovely Breede River Valley for a practical weekend learning more about nature, local wildlife, animal behaviour, the night sky and indigenous vegetation

RSVP: 12 March 2010.

Click here to read more.

The Galapagos Islands presented by Marilyn Dougal-Thomas

Where: Protea Hotel Sea Point
When: 12 April 2010
Time: 19h00 for 21h00
Cost: EWT members: R40.00. Non-members: R50.00
Dress: Casual
Contact: Barbara Miller barbaram@ewt.org.za or 082 890 2555

Marilyn Dougal-Thomas will enthrall you with her first-hand experience of the Galapagos Islands, the world's second largest Marine Reserve. The Islands were declared a whale and shark sanctuary in 1990 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

RSVP: 11 April 2010.

Click here to read more.

EWT Mammal Masters Golf Day

Where: Zwartkops Country Club, Old Pretoria/Old Johannesburg Road, Centurion
When: 22 April 2010
Time: 10h00 registration
Cost: Per four ball, hole sponsorship - R2 700.00
Dress: Official golf attire (soft spikes only) and smart casual for the prize-giving dinner.
Contact: Jo-Anne Schermeier events@ewt.org.za or (011) 486 1102.

Join the EWT for its inaugural golf day in Gauteng at the beautiful Zwartkops Country Club. Swing in support of conservation, throughout an unbeatable day with the EWT team. Proceeds from the day will support the EWT's work in conserving biodiversity in magnificant southern Africa.

RSVP: 31 March 2010.

Click here to read more.

Bike4Beasts Mountain Bike Challenge - Venetia

Where: Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve Northern Limpopo
When: 25 - 26 April 2010
Time: 14h00
Cost: R210.00
Dress: Cycle and Safety Gear
Contact: Wendy Collinson wendy@lycaon.co.za.

B4B Venetia is in its fourth year and still growing! Join us on this thrilling 65 km mountain bike challenge through the De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve. It's tough, it's wild and it will be an unforgettable experience.

Click here to read more.

Eco Facts
All about biodiversity

  • What is biodiversity? It is the network of life. Every living organism, the variation among and within species, the variation in the genetic make-up of species and all the processes that support these species are collectively known as biodiversity.
  • Why does biodiversity matter? Our lives depend on it. Loss of biodiversity will have drastic impacts for livelihoods, human health, economies and our way of life
  • What is the status of the Earth’s biodiversity?It is declining rapidly. Experts estimate that at least 34 000 plant and 5 200 animal species face extinction today and this will increase dramatically if current trends continue.
  • What is the status of South Africa’s biodiversity?Comparatively good. However it is declining.
  • What can you do to protect biodiversity?
    • Learn about biodiversity and teach others what you’ve learnt.
    • When shopping, always choose products that use less packaging.
    • Buy locally produced products as much as possible.
    • Grow your own fruit and vegetables.
    • Question retailers about their products and ask them to stock environmentally responsible products.
    • Buy only what you need.
    • Replace alien plants with indigenous ones.
    • Use fewer pesticides and other chemicals, or switch to natural alternatives.
    • Reduce, reuse and recycle.
    • Calculate and reduce your carbon footprint (visit www.cap.org.za).
    • Use the power of your vote to protect biodiversity.
    • Support biodiversity conservation initiatives such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Wishlist

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

  • Gardening and irrigation tools to keep the lawns, garden and plant nursery at the EWT Head Office maintained
  • A Drivable Lawn Mower to help maintain the grounds of our head office
  • A GPS download cable for Garmin Etrex
  • Digital video camera to capture work in the field
  • A computer (Core Duo 2.0Ghz / 1 GB / 160GB / DVD-RW / XPPRO)
  • Generators- small and large to be used at HO and in the field
  • Materials for building of car ports

Click here to read more.

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

Benefits
The Trouble with Trees - 3 day in-the-field course.

Hospitality Afrika presents three days at Itaga Game Lodge, Mabalingwe (Bela Bela) - designed for people who love the bush and want to learn more about it.

Promotion Price for SA Citizens : R6 900.00 including postage and packaging

Click here to read more.

Wildlife & Wine Weekend

Hospitality Afrika and African Resource bring you the best of bush, bottle and babble wrapped up in one scintillating weekend. Enjoy a three night weekend at the luxurious Savanna Game Lodge and uncover the mysteries of wildlife while showcasing the best of our South African Wines.

Promotion Price for SA Citizens : R28 500.00 including postage and packaging

Click here to read more.
Crane trio

South Africa's three crane species are good indicators of the health of our environment. You can now 'adopt' this trio of cranes cuddly toys to help support the work that the EWT does in conserving the ecosystems in which they live, to ensure they have a future.

Promotional Price : R250.00 (Incl. Vat)

Click here to read more.
Riverine Rabbit toy pair

The Riverine Rabbit is one of Southern Africa’s most endangered mammals. In fact, the latest edition of South Africa’s Red Data book lists the species as Critically Endangered, with an estimate of less than 250 adult rabbits left in the wild!

You can now ‘adopt’ a large Riverine Rabbit cuddly toy to help support the work that the EWT does in conserving the ecosystem they live in and tracking of the Riverine Rabbits to ensure they have a future.

Promotional Price : R217.00 (Incl. Vat)

Click here to read more.

Supporter News
One person’s junk is another person’s income

Did you know that according to current statistics, only 5% of empty printer and fax cartridges are being recycled? This means that 95% of these items are simply discarded and end up in landfill sites. As well as taking up room in our already-limited landfill sites, it can take up to 1.5 litres of oil to produce a new toner cartridge from scratch. Clearly, this is bad news for the environment!

However, help is at hand. ProjectPlus will collect your company’s empty cartridges for recycling. This corporate initiative provides a valuable and sustainable income for the EWT. Thank you to all who have come on board to assist us in this way. We have recently signed a five year Memorandum of Understanding with ProjectPlus and are excited by the way companies are increasingly embracing recycling projects.

ProjectPlus can be contacted on:

Gauteng: 011-849-5402/ 011-425-1208 (info@helpus2help.com)
Western Cape: 011-849-5402/ 079-608-9453
KwaZulu-Natal: 083 952 1709 / 079-608-9453/ 011-849-5402

Latest Supporters

LATEST SUPPORTERS: • Assore Chairman’s Trust • Brydens Projects • Cranefield College • Estate Late Dr MAH Bayles • Jika Africa • PPC • Leadership Personnel • Project Plus • RS Components • Welgevonden • Xstrata
SUPPORTERS IN KIND: • RS Components • Country Club Johannesburg • FNB • Mineral Water Man • City Lodge • SANBI • Random House Struik • Africa Geographic • Protea Hotel • Mantis Eco Adventures • Virgo Storage and Logistics • Haute Espoire

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

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