Issue 50: June - August 2013
 
  • Conservation in Uganda
  • Dugong Conservation
  • Moving Wild Dogs to safety
  • Madiba Day
  • Warts and All
  • Tourism and Biodiversity
  • Cold in the Karoo!
  • Champions of wildlife!
  • Wildlife mortality on our roads
  • Cheetah tracking
  In other EWT news
 

Celebrating 40 years of Conservation in Action!

For further contact us on info@ewt.org.za or speak to our Communications Manager, Nomonde Mxhalisa, on nomondem@ewt.org.za

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS !

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is celebrating 40 phenomenal years of Conservation in Action in Africa! Since we began, the EWT has been a leading conservation organisation working tirelessly to save African wildlife and to preserve the beauty and magic in the wild places of our country and continent. As part of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations we would like to invite you to send us pictures demonstrating the ways in which biodiversity impacts on your life, and how you in turn, impact on our environment. Imagine a world without the diversity of all living things on earth – or a world without any wild places left. We want you to send us pictures of yourself or your loved ones wading through rivers, kissing frogs, standing beneath waterfalls, admiring the shades of a butterfly’s wings, fetching water from the dam, fishing, digging your toes and fingers into rich, healthy soil...The sky really is the limit on images illustrating the way we interact with biodiversity – and not all of them need to be positive. There are many ways in which we impact negatively on the world around us and we look forward to the vast variety of submissions we are sure you’ll be sending our way!

The pictures will be featured on our website and social media platforms and, in November, the 40 most moving images – voted for by you – will be turned into a booklet. We will also be turning them into posters and they will be featured in a double page spread in the Environment Magazine.

Please send all images to Nomonde Mxhalisa at nomondem@ewt.org.za by the 1st of November 2013.


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NEWS FROM OUR CEO
 

New species and old tricks

Should the final question in the tense last moments of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” be: “what is an Olinguito”? You could be forgiven for not getting it right. Chances are however, that this would probably not happen given that the Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) has only just been described, making it the first new carnivore species to be recorded in the 21st century and the first carnivore species to be discovered on the American continents in 35 years.

The Olinguito shares a family with raccoons, kinkajous and olingos. Weighing just 2 pounds, it has large eyes, woolly orange-brown fur and is native to the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. The discovery of the Olinguito was accidental, the result of a team of scientists undertaking a close examination and DNA testing of more than 95% of the world's olingo specimens in museums, and the review of historic field data. The investigation revealed morphological differences between the Olinguito and the olingos, which prompted the team to locate living specimens of this new species using camcorders and field surveys.

The team found Olinguitos in an Andean cloud forest, discovering that the Olinguito is mostly nocturnal and has one baby at a time. They described its physical features and behaviour, and noted that the Olinguito's cloud forest Andean habitat is under heavy pressure from humans, with an estimated 42% of Olinguito habitat having already been lost to agriculture or development. If the forests of the world can still hide carnivores from us, imagine what other species are yet to be discovered in the oceans, wetlands, grasslands and deserts of the planet? How exciting to recognise that Human Beings do not know everything, that species are yet to be discovered, mysteries yet to be solved and secrets of Mother Nature yet to be explained. Long may this last I say!

On a vastly different note, it has become widely acknowledged now that amidst the increasing crisis of rhino poaching (and wildlife trade generally), that the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit of some folk has latched onto the incredible generosity of South Africans who care about their wildlife heritage and are willing to spend money on all sorts of trinkets, stickers, events and causes if they believe they are helping to save even just one rhino from a poacher’s bullet. The trouble is that sadly, many organisations and individuals are driven by motives that better serve their own ambitions and aspirations than that of the fate of the rhino. This is confusing to the public, upsetting to those at the coalface of this crisis and has obscured the landscape of bona fide conservation organisations that should be focussed on nothing else but implementing sound conservation practices.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is developing a system or process of trying to track the various organisations’ (new and old) projects and activities and to attempt to set minimum standards for rhino conservation projects. Given that it is easier to establish a non-profit company (NPC) these days than paying your TV licence, there is a long way to go before the public can rest assured that every NPC or NPO out there is really operating in the public best interest. That having been said, there a number of new, community driven conservation groups that are doing wonderful work and it is not just the “big and hairy” that can claim to be making an impact. This makes it all the more difficult to differentiate the good from the “maybe not so good”, when handing over your hard earned Rands. The EWT’s best recommendation is to support those organisations who are registered NPC’s but are ALSO registered with SARS as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO); who are annually audited; who produce an annual / integrated report; that have solid references or endorsements from established, credible partners / entities; are accountable for all their funds, and transparent with how they are spent; that have a publicly available strategy; and who have a proven track record of delivering on promises. We encourage you to give generously to conservation; the sector desperately needs the support. We just encourage that you apply circumspection and caution to make sure it makes the greatest impact possible, and not fall prey to these old, but sadly recurring tricksters.

Yolan Friedmann
EWT CEO

 
PROJECT NEWS
 

Outputs of a recently completed project provide a basis for adaptive conservation management in Uganda
By Osiman Mabhachi, Community Projects Coordinator for the EWT’S African Crane Conservation Programme

The Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum has declined alarmingly over the past four decades and is now classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red Data List. This wetland-dependent species is mainly threatened by habitat loss and removal of eggs and chicks from the wild. Uganda supports the second largest population of the species and is therefore one of the focal countries of ongoing crane conservation projects. Since the early 2000s, the International Crane Foundation (ICF) / Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Partnership has been working in collaboration with Nature Uganda in the quest to halt the decline of the crane population in the East African country.... READ MORE

 

Making Waves for Dugong Conservation
By Karen Allen, Dugong Emergency Protection Project Executant

The EWT commemorated World Ocean's day on 8 June in partnership with I AM WATER. The event celebrated our Blue Planet with a group of passionate freedivers (some more skilled than others!) who took the plunge and demonstrated their support for one of the world's most endangered marine mammals - the Dugong. Led by South Africa's freediving champ - Hanli Prinsloo, the team set off from Ocean Worx Dive Centre in Umkomaas with the hopes of diving as deep as possible, on one breath - all in aid of generating funds for our Dugong Emergency Protection Project. After 3 hours in the water, the team collectively managed to dive to 469 meters and raised over R18 000 for the Dugong Emergency Protection Project...READ MORE

Closer to home, Dugongs will be celebrated through a Mozambican Kite-surfing Event. The Vilanculos Downwind takes place on 20 – 22 September, and a percentage of the event entry will be donated to our Protection Project. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch a glimpse of Bazaruto’s rare Dugongs, and explore the paradise they inhabit. For more information, visit: http://www.vilanculosdownwind.com

 

Moving Wild Dogs to safety
By Kelly Marnewick, Manager of the EWT’s Carnivore Conservations Programme

A group of three African Wild Dogs had been moving around the Thabazimbi area of Limpopo for over a year. The EWT managed to convince the farmers to keep the Wild Dogs there explaining that the animals move over huge distances and that a pack of three would not be killing a great deal of prey. However, in July, we received a call from Dr Louis Greef, a vet in the area, who said that a landowner had called him and said that if the dogs were not removed from the farm he would kill them. ...READ MORE

 

Lending a helping hand on Madiba Day

On Mandela Day the EWT staff gave 67 minutes of their time to the Look Forward Creativity Centre in South Hills. This Centre is a place of safety for many children who are orphaned, neglected, abused and abandoned. Housed in a warm, but run down house that had been donated by a kindly philanthropist, we assisted the Centre by renovating and cleaning the building. A team of 22 boarded the sponsored Nissan Prima and other EWT vehicles and demonstrated a real spirit of community by painting the walls and making and fitting wooden cupboards throughout the house. The staff at the Centre sent the EWT this heartwarming message after our time volunteering: “We are grateful to each and every individual member of your organization who donated their time and effort. You made our day extra special with your caring hands.”

Thank you to Nissan South Africa for providing the transport to the Centre.

 

Warts and All
By Jeanne Tarrant, Programme Manager of the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme

Frogs are slippery in more ways than one. Frogs are creatures of the in-between, making use of both the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. So too, is their place in human culture and folklore, with some societies revering them and others being reviled by them. Their biphasic life-cycle has long been of fascination to children, philosophers and scientists alike, and although well known by most people, is still not fully understood. Amphibians are the largest animals to undergo such dramatic metamorphosis, transforming from an entirely aquatic to a terrestrial existence in the process....READ MORE

We are currently conducting a survey of the South African publics’ attitudes to frogs to better understand these beliefs and develop educational and awareness campaigns accordingly. Please complete the online survey here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SnUxjC31vsdudy4fxZTcwgqCBRDtqxAHPYQ5C39fhZw/viewform

 

Tourism and Biodiversity
By Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme

South Africa stands proud as one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries in the world. Some 18,000 vascular plants species occur within its boundaries, of which 80 percent occur nowhere else. In addition, South Africa is the 24th richest country in the world and the 5th richest in Africa in terms of number of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species, which occur only in this country...READ MORE

 

Cold in the Karoo!
By Andrew Pearson, EIA Co-ordinator for the EWT’s Wildlife and Energy Programme

I recently spent a few very chilly winter days in an isolated but beautiful part of the Karoo, roughly midway between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland. I was setting up a pre-construction monitoring programme to monitor avifauna over four seasons on a proposed wind farm site. The site is very large and the proposal is to develop it in phases of roughly 50-70 Wind Turbines per phase.

The monitoring set up involved finding suitable Vanatge Points from which a pair of observers would site for three hours at a time, on four different occasions at seven different Vantage Points in a two week period spent on site. This would then be repeated seasonally four times in year. Even this amount of survey effort may not enable the team to cover all proposed turbine positions, and therefore a combination of innovative Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and in depth data analysis will be used to extrapolate findings across the site, and ultimately to advise the final project layout, thus reducing the likelihood of bird collisions with the turbines. We at the EWT conduct our work at wind farms in accordance with the minimum best practices detailed in the BirdLife South Africa/Endangered Wildlife Trust best practice guidelines for avian monitoring and impact mitigation at proposed wind energy development sites in southern Africa. Cold wind and bumpy roads aside, the time on site was a success and, although not many priority bird species were seen during the set up, there were visitors of the Canine kind in the form of Windy, a Jack Russell who followed our vehicle and joined us for a ride!

 

Bringing an end to wildlife mortality on our roads
By Wendy Collinson, Project Executant of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme’s Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project

South Africa has a legal and moral responsibility to conserve its biodiversity, especially species which are of conservation concern. Mitigation measures have been prompted mainly by the human-safety issue posed by animal-vehicle-collisions rather than the effects on wildlife. A variety of mitigation measures have been proposed globally to reduce the impact of roads on wildlife. However, none are actively practiced in South Africa and many successful global mitigation measures are taxon specific. Many mitigation monitoring studies have examined before and after figures for roadkill rates, but little data are available that examine wildlife crossing structures and their use as an effective mitigation strategy for preventing roadkill...READ MORE

 

Cheetah tracking in the savannah
By Nomonde Mxhalisa, the EWT’s Communications Manager

Conservation in the 21st Century is, as most things are today, a battle often fought in offices, via meetings, reports, telephones and computers. At the EWT we pride ourselves on having experienced field staff working with species and dealing with issues at the coalface but these individuals would not be able to do the necessary and crucial work that they do without the support of those of us who sit behind a desk and wage our war on extinction in a slightly less ‘wild and free’ manner.

And so the opportunity to track and observe an actual, wild Cheetah at the Monate Game Lodge in the Molemolle district in Limpopo was the stuff of fantasy to many of the core staff based at the EWT’s head office and I was blessed enough to accompany our Carnivore Conservation team and several of the EWT’s office staff to spend an entire day beneath deep blue skies observing one of nature’s most miraculous carnivores at rest and at play.

The Monate Game Lodge runs, in partnership with the EWT, a Cheetah rewilding programme. The aim of the programme is to reintroduce young and orphaned Cheetahs to the wild, while monitoring them and ensuring their wellbeing while they learn how to hunt and provide for themselves.

We were tracking Sasha, a 4 year old Cheetah that was caught in a trap cage as a cub by a farmer in the Thabazimbi district. The very young cub spent some time at the Potgietersrus Zoo until he was old enough to be relocated to Monate for rewilding. This project means that Cheetahs like Sasha can remain in the wild and not end up in captivity. The team at Monate demonstrated how they keep tabs on the young Cheetah using a telemetry collar to track him twice per day. We were taken to the boma where he was kept and fed when he first arrived at Monate and then, using the telemetry, tracked him to a location within the Reserve. Once we were certain of his location the game trucks were parked a ways off and we marched through the crackling shafts of bush and scrub to see where he had hidden himself. We found him, in all his wasp-waisted glory, lying in the shade of some acacia trees. He rumbled crankily at us when we arrived and then snootily turned his bottom towards us and continued his nap. I cautiously tiptoed closer, determined to gain an up close shot of the feline but Sasha wasn’t having it. He unleashed a few more fairly terrifying irate Cheetah sounds and we treated to a more respectful distance. Once our observations were done we went on a leisurely game drive through the reserve spotting Crocodile, Giraffe, Hippopotamus and Warthogs – to name only a few - and were treated to a delightful lunch by the extremely warm staff of Monate Game Lodge.

Many thanks to the Carnivore Conservation Programme for arranging a day in the wild and to the Monate Game Lodge for their epic hospitality and an unforgettable day in close proximity to the real purpose of the work of the EWT.

 
 
EVENTS
 

Modderfontein Golf Day
When: Thursday 29th August 2013
Where: Modderfontein Golf Club, Modderfontein, Johannesburg
For more information on this event, please contact Melissa Chewins on 011 608 2033 or melissa@modderfonteingolfclub.co.za. All proceeds raised at this event will go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Birds of Prey – Presenter Andre Botha
When: Tuesday, 3rd September 2013 at 19h00
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R130 per person
Contact:Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or debbiet@ewt.org.za for more information

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Morning Talk – Topic : Courageous Canines Presented By Kelly Marnewick
When: 5th September 2013
Where: The Johannesburg Zoo, Jan Smuts Road Entrance, Old Elephant House
Time : 10am to 12noon
Entrance fee: R50, includes Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and Zoo Entrance fee
Joel Thosago on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 joelt@ewt.org.za

Dinokeng Open Day
When:Saturday, 14th September 2013
Where: Tussen-i-Bome which is close to the Dinokeng Game Reserve from 10h00 onwards
Celebrating 40 years, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) invites you and your family to join us for an open day on “Conservation in Action”. This one-day programme includes many presentations from nine of the EWT’s programmes. Please RSVP by: 30th August to Isabelle Tillett 084 224-1978 or clintw@vodamail.co.za.

My Rhino
When: 28th September to 6th October 2013
Where: Hyde Park Shopping Centre, Hyde Park Corner, Sandton

Life size porcelain rhinos will be painted and auctioned in order to raise funds for the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Rhino project. Viewing of the painting of these Rhinos can be done at the shopping centre for the two week period before the auction. For more information contact Nicola King on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or nicolak@ewt.org.za.

Red List of Mammals for South Africa– Presenter Matthew Child
When: Tuesday, 1st October 2013 at 19h00
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R130 per person
Contact:Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or debbiet@ewt.org.za for more information

 
E-SHOP

Please visit our website www.ewtshop.co.za and take a look at the beautiful products we have in our shop at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town

SUPPORTER NEWS
 

Securing our baby rhinos
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to APM Terminal Southern Africa for their donation of a container to house our injured, orphan baby rhinos safely while they are receiving care and recovering from the trauma of poaching. APM Terminals’s trucking division, Roadwing, has also donated the costs of transporting the container to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty for this project.

Supporting carnivore conservation
Massive thanks to Richard Bosman and GCCL2 for their continued support of our Wild Dog project. Richard is a huge fan of Wild Dogs and has continued over the years to support us in every way possible.

Thanks too to Zombie Run South Africa, the Crafters Market and SANParks Honoury Rangers for their donations to the Wild Dog Project. We are also excited to announce Investec Property’s renewal of their sponsorship for the Kruger National Park Wild Dog Project.

Tekkie Tax
The 2013 Tekkie Tax campaign has come to an end and will re-launch in May 2014. Tekkie Tax is in the process of reconciling the income and we are looking forward to finding out how much your loyal support has helped us to raise. Please refer to the Tekkie Tax website www.tekkietax.co.za for updates.

Relate
The EWT and Relate have completed the development of the EWT species range of collector’s beaded bracelets. These will be delivered to Tigers Eye outlets in Kruger National Park, and other retail outlets, in the coming months. You will also soon be able to buy your bracelets online at www.relate.org.za.

Protea Hotel Kruger Gate
We have embarked on an exciting initiative in partnership with Protea Hotel Kruger Gate. Protea Hotel Kruger Gate will be donating 1% of turnover earned from the sale of bed nights to the EWT’s Rhino Project. Enjoy a night’s stay with the hotel and do your part to end Rhino poaching. For further information contact Samantha Bartlett on sam@irvinebartlett.co.za

We would like to take this opportunity of welcoming our newest supporters to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and to thank them for their support
Fourways Halfway Toyota
Arrow Bulk Logistics
Den Braven Sealants

We would like to thank the following donors for their continued support
Distell
Inyosi Coal
Xstrata Coal
Bridgestone
Platinum Life

Head Office: Endangered Wildlife Trust, Private Bag X11, Modderfontein, Gauteng, 1645 (T) +27 11 3723600 (F) +27 11 6084682, www.ewt.org.za

Update your details: contact ewtalk@ewt.org.za / Join the EWT family: sign up for an EWT membership click here.
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