Issue 52: April - June 2014
  • JJ Booysen Primary School Visits the EWT Karoo Indigenous Plant Nursery
  • Discovering Easter (owl) eggs in the grass
    Using flagship species correctly: the importance of getting the message right!
  • Hiking the stunning Amathole trail
    Film Crew Double up in Loxton
  • MTN stopped construction because of breeding eagles
  • A Leaping Success
  • Roadkill Project in Tanzania - an exciting collaboration between Sokoine University of Agriculture and the EWT-WTP
  • Wildlife Trade and Legislation Training Course
  • Rhino poaching statistics
  • ACCP advanced off-road rider course with BMW
  • Blue cranes in the Modderfontein Reserve



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A WORD FROM OUR CEO

With an inordinately long spell of public holidays and the country’s 5th National and Provincial elections finally behind us, life in South Africa seems to be coming back to normal. Along with the relief that this brings most people, it also signals the swearing in of a new Government. What motivates voters to choose a political party has been the subject of months of debate and somewhere in the mix of criteria lies the consideration of the political manifestos and policies of the various parties, most of which were also the subject of intense debate and discussion. What was far less discussed, and in fact I heard mentioned on only one occasion, was the environmental or sustainability policies of the political parties, which leads one to wonder if this influenced the decision of even one voter in our developing democracy.

Environmental considerations are not luxuries. With parties rallying support from the public for their policies on land restitution, unemployment, youth subsidies, health care and education, it is disturbing that for most parties, the words “natural resources” are only mentioned in their manifestos when referring to the extractable kind that underpins our mining industry. In a country that relies heavily on its biodiversity for more livelihoods and jobs than any other resource; that is water scarce and increasingly running out of fresh water supplies; where millions rely directly on natural resources for medicines, energy and food provision; and where tourists coming to see our Big Five and wilderness areas contribute billions towards our GDP annually, environmental policies should feature strongly among those parties who claim to have a vision for our country that extends beyond just the next four years of their term in office.

They say that a country gets the government that it deserves. So what is in store for South Africa in terms of environmental policies? The Environmental Monitoring Group provided a great pre-election snapshot into the “green” policies of the various political parties, which tells us that the ANC lead government will plan to install solar water heaters in 1.3 million South African homes. The good news that this may mean for reducing our carbon footprint and contributions to climate change are however offset by their determination to intensify energy supply by means of coal and shale gas exploration (fracking). Their track record of having made commitments to transition to a low-carbon economy and their international commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the promotion of nuclear, solar, wind and hydro-electricity are however, countered by the construction of Medupe and Kusile (among the world’s largest coal-fired power-stations, located in water-scarce regions) and their commitment to fuel them with locally produced coal, thereby intensifying the already unsustainable, and often highly destructive, coal mining sector.

The Wild Coast, which has long been a hotly contested environmental hot potato due to its globally significant biodiversity and fragile ecosystems, is set to witness the rerouting of the N2 Wild Coast highway, currently planned for the ecologically sensitive ‘Green Fields’ route, as well as the development of the Mzimvubu Dam. The commitment to “building new dams” is worrying given that dams generally disturb natural water flows and are not a magical solution to water supply concerns. Instead, a stronger focus on water conservation, catchment management and the implementation of the ecological reserve in functioning river systems would be more effective and generally cost less. A positive move is the plan to “reverse pollution of water sources caused by acid mine drainage and other causes within a five year period”. One must also applaud the provision that “the state will allocate further financial and other resources to protect the public and environment against the contamination of water sources from industrial and commercial activities. Perpetrators, especially mining companies, will be held liable for their actions through the enforcement of the “polluter-pays” principle, which imposes a cost on those who damage or pollute the environment” and we hope that it is indeed enacted.

There is simply not enough room in this column to delve into the environmental polices of all the political parties but, as the official opposition party to the ANC it is notable that the DA has an entire chapter in their manifesto entitled “Your Environment”. This chapter acknowledges that the International Environmental Performance Index ranks South Africa 128th out of 132 countries, “based on our poor performance in air quality, water quality, waste management and the management of our fisheries” and is one of the only to mention the word “biodiversity”. It also covers issues such as land planning, agriculture, water security, carbon trading and diversifying the energy mix, albeit it is with scant detail or targets. The Economic Freedom Fighters do not mention climate change, environment or energy issues in their election manifesto.
South Africa has a multitude of pressing social and economic issues to address but it is worrying that the environmental concerns seem to be increasingly side-lined despite our country’s reliance on the environment for jobs, livelihoods, human health, food security and the GDP. It is evident that the delivery mechanism for almost all the promises made by political parties is, in fact, a healthy, functioning and sustainable environment. One cannot blame the political parties alone for the glaring omission of any decent environmental policies; we, the electorate should be demanding greater political will and commitment towards securing the Constitutional Right of all South Africans to a healthy environment. It is up to us to ensure that the Vision for our country extends beyond the limits of a single term manifesto and secures a future for the generations that follow. We don’t have to wait another five years though, and from the moment that our new government is sworn in, we must ensure that they take greater responsibility for our splendid and life giving natural heritage. Far from being an afterthought, this may in fact be their most important duty and our most important challenge.

THE EWT HAS NO POLITICAL AFFILIATION AND IS NOT ALIGNED, NOR AGAINST, ANY POLITICAL PARTIES.

Yolan Friedmann
EWT CEO

 
PROJECT NEWS

JJ Booysen Primary School Visits the EWT Karoo Indigenous Plant Nursery
By Janice Essex, Intern in the EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme

The first time that I got involved with the learners of JJ Booysen Primary School in Loxton was on very short notice from one of the school teachers, asking if they could visit the nursery in a few hours. Wow, were the children excited to be part of the programme planned at the nursery for them! I was touched by their enthusiasm. During the introduction we explained to them what work we do as a Programme in Loxton…READ MORE

 

Discovering Easter (owl) eggs in the grass
By Mattheuns Pretorius, Field Officer for the EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme’s Anglo African Grass-Owl Project

Hunting for carefully hidden candy eggs is common practice during the month of April, when millions across the globe celebrate Easter. Coincidentally this is also the time when the threatened African Grass-Owl Tyto capensis lays its own hidden treasures in the grass, as the peak breeding time for this species is between March and May. Grass-Owls lay between two and six rounded oval-shaped white eggs in a roofed nest chamber central to a series of tunnels pushed into thick grass. This behaviour is unusual as most species of owl nest off the ground and do not construct their own nests but rather use vacant cavities in trees or nest structures built by other birds…READ MORE

 

Using flagship species correctly: the importance of getting the message right!
By Samson Phakathi, Senior Field Officer of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme

The concept of preservation has always drawn a lot of criticism due to its narrow conservation ideology that places less emphasis on inclusivity. Given the rate of extinction, many environmentalists find themselves in a situation where they unintentionally become attached to addressing the threats to focal species, based on their vulnerability to extinction, to the detriment of other not yet threatened species. Sometimes the nature of conservation funding drives reactive approaches to species conservation as opposed to proactivity, which encourages a robust and participatory approach…READ MORE

 

Hiking the stunning Amathole trail
By Christine Coppinger, Field Officer of the EWT’s Source to Sea Programme

As part of the Amathole Freshwater Species Conservation Project I embarked on a quest for Amathole toads on the Amathole trail. I hiked sections of the trail to search for the species and for further potential sites that could be more thoroughly investigated on future visits. The Amathole trail is a six day hike with five basic but comfortable huts to stay in at the end of each day. Hikers must carry all their supplies for six days excluding mattresses which are available at the huts. Bookings and payments need to be made in advance in order to obtain a trail map and a permit. Despite the trail not being maintained as well as it could have been, the scenery was absolutely stunning. It is highly recommended for fit eco-tourists that are keen to get out into the great outdoors. A word of warning though when walking the trail in misty conditions - we ended up walking an extra 10km because we took a wrong turn when we were 2km from the end of the hike! We ended up near the end of the fifth day of the hike and had to be rescued. That was a good lesson to have a charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies.

 

Film Crew Double up in Loxton
By Bonnie Schumann, Senior Field Officer of the EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme

Loxton was inundated by two film crews for a week in March. The first crew was preoccupied with filming the third Deon Meyer movie – locals were in a buzz, but “top secret” was the modus operandi on this one. The second film crew from Lemur Productions practically rode in on a wave of mud after being rained out in Sutherland and slip-sliding all the way to Loxton on the Frazerburg road…READ MORE

 

MTN stopped construction because of breeding eagles
By Andre Botha, Manager of the EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme

The cellphone company, MTN, is upgrading some of their masts in the Northern cape. While working on the mast Grootgrasfontein near Britstown, the Verreaux’s Eagles started to build their nest for the new breeding season...READ MORE

 

A Leaping Success
By Dr. Jeanne Terrant, Manager of the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme

The 28th of February 2014 saw schools, volunteer groups and members of the public leaping into action to take part in a national awareness day for frogs: Leap Day for Frogs. The campaign captures an exciting feature of frogs – leaping – and falls on Leap Day, 29 February, (or the day before if it is not a leap year), as February figuratively leaps into March. The EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme spearheaded the idea and with the creative help of independent PR consultant Carmen Curtayne, PR Company ZenOne, and advertising agency Ireland Davenport, brought the concept to fruition. A bespoke logo was developed and a website was launched, as well as print and online adverts that asked South Africans to leap into action for our furless friends by becoming “Honorary Leaplings”. The aim of the day was to highlight the plight of amphibians, but also to celebrate the incredible diversity of these amazing creatures and having some frog-focused fun… READ MORE

 

Roadkill Project in Tanzania - an exciting collaboration between Sokoine University of Agriculture and the EWT-WTP
By Wendy Collinson, Project Executant of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme’s Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project

The EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme (EWT-WTP) is proud to introduce an exciting collaboration with a roadkill mitigation project in Tanzania. Leonard John Haule is a student of Wildlife Management at Sokoine University of Agriculture, which is in Morogoro Region in Tanzania, East Africa... READ MORE

 

Rhino poaching statistics
By Karen Trendler, EWT Rhino Response Project Coordinator

The rhino poaching statistics as at April 17 stand at 294 Rhino poached in 2014. These figures paint an alarming picture, but not included in those statistics and equally concerning are the orphaned calves and casualties – ‘the collateral damage' resulting from poaching incidents. As part of our commitment to providing emergency field response and a support network for orphaned rhino calves and casualties, the EWT Rhino Response Project is presenting a series of Rhino Response, Rescue and Rehabilitation Workshops. The workshops bring together a various role-players on provincial and national level building capacity and networks.

The workshops provide a broad introduction to all aspects of rhino response: from incident response, to rescue and emergency stabilisation, rearing, care and rehabilitation. Various workshops have already been presented and the February workshop was featured on 50\50. Additional places have been made available for the next workshop which is to be held on the 15th and 16th May at the EWT head offices accommodating the demands and necessities for development of local area response networks. The Rhino Response workshop will be repeated in September. Specialist workshops addressing specific groups, for example veterinary and para-veterinary and anti-poaching personnel are also planned.

We are constantly adapting the workshop contents in response events on the ground. Earlier workshops focused mainly on calve treatment but more recent workshops have, by necessity, focused on things like gun shots wounds, drug overdoses, crime scenes and security. It is great to see the impact of the workshops, with various local facilities and networks coming together, including a response networks and planned facilities in Hoedspruit, KZN, NC, OFS and NWP\Gauteng.

 
 

Wildlife Trade and Legislation Training Course
By Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme

The EWT’s training team, Rynette Coetzee and Adam Pires, recently took the Wildlife Trade and Legislation Training Course to Cape Town. The five day training course covering issues such as national and provincial environmental legislation, the Animal Diseases Act, Customs and Excise Act, Diplomatic and Immunities Issues, CITES, species identification, the investigation of wildlife crimes, writing statements and opening dockets, is aimed at government officials who are involved with the identification and investigation of wildlife related crimes…READ MORE

 
 

ACCP advanced off-road rider course with BMW
By Cobus Theron, Stewardship Facilitator of the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme

The ACCP will shortly sport two new sponsored BMW off-road motorbikes. These vehicles will be used to visit farmers enrolled in the stewardship programme in the Chrissiesmeer and Southern Drakensberg areas. Their fuel efficiency and off-road prowess will come in very handy - especially in the wet months when normal vehicles battle on some of the roads. Cobus Theron and Ursula Franke will be receiving the motorbikes on behalf of the EWT and ACCP. Much to Cobus and Ursula’s delight BMW invited them for an advanced off-road rider course at the Zwartkop Racing Track on the 10th of April. The aim of the course was to ensure that both staff members are adept at technical off-road driving. The day was tough but very enjoyable and highly recommended. We would like to thank the staff at the BMW training academy for their professional guidance and also BMW South Africa for providing the ACCP with these awesome machines. As always, the ACCP will be blazing the trail for wetlands, catchments and cranes - only now we can really do it in style!

 

Blue cranes in the Modderfontein Reserve
By Luke Strugnell, Urban Conservation and Modderfontein Reserve Manager

A pair of Blue Cranes has been happily residing in the Modderfontein Reserve this year. They have been spotted on numerous occasions and eventually we managed to get a camera trap picture of them. This was very exciting as it is one of the only times we have managed to capture a picture of this pair on the reserve.

 
 
Constant Hoogstad - the EWT's Project Manager: Eskom/EWT strategic partnership was recently fortunate enough to capture Lappet-faced Vulture and Black backed jackal interaction . Although its known for Lappet-Faced Vultures to interact with jackals at carcasses it is rarely ever caught on film. The intensity and the sequence of the images tell the full story. The images were taken at a vulture restaurant close to Polokwane in South Africa on a property called Mockford farms.” See more on Facebook
If interested in publishing these photos let me know constanth@ewt.org.za and I can get the high resolution images to you.
 
 
EVENTS

The Annual Endangered Wildlife Trust Golf Day Fundraiser
Date : 16th May 2014
Venue : Zwartkop Country Club
For further information contact Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or debbiet@ewt.org.za

Painted Wolf – Presented by Kelly Marnewick, Manager of the Carnivore Conservation Progamme of the EWT
When : Tuesday 3rd June 2014
Where : Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost : R65 members, R90 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact : Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or debbiet@ewt.org.za for more information

The plight of our Wild Dogs – Presented by Kelly Marnewick, Manager of the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme
When : Tuesday 1st July 2014
Where : Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost : R65 members, R90 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact : Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or debbiet@ewt.org.za for more information

Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival


 
E-SHOP

Limited edition Clive Walker prints

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the EWT in October 2013, Clive Walker is selling signed, limited edition prints of a gorgeous canvass he painted in 1986 for the EWT’s QUAGGA magazine. Dr John Ledger, then CEO of the EWT, commissioned Clive to produce a work that illustrated some of the projects undertaken by the Trust. Depicted in the painting are Endangered and Vulnerable species of southern Africa, such as the Blue Swallow, Roan Antelope, Yellowbilled Oxpecker, Wattled Crane, Black Rhinoceros, Cape Vulture, Martial Eagle, Humpbacked Dolphin, Jackass (African) Penguin, Roseate Tern, Red Duiker, Roodepoort Copper and the African Wild Dog. The original painting was donated to the EWT on the occasion of our 40th Anniversary on the 31st of October 2013. The prints sell for R1000 each excluding postage. You can contact Debbie Thiart on debbiet@ewt.org.za to secure one of these gorgeous creations for yourself.


Support the EWT and Relate’s gorgeous species bracelets
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Relate’s collector’s range of beautifully beaded, endangered species themed bracelets are still on sale. Please continue to support our work by purchasing the Cheetah, Wild Dog, Rhino and Dugong bracelets from Tiger’s Eye stores like Indaba and Out Of Africa nationwide, and the EWT Rhino bracelet from selected CNA stores. You can also buy on line at www.ewtshop.co.za or at www.relate.org.za


Froggy Posters for sale!
We have created two lovely posters – Frogs of Gauteng and Frogs of KwaZulu-Natal –  and they are for sale at R35.00 each excluding postage.  Please contact Debbie Thiart on debbiet@ewt.org.za to find out how you can get your hands on these beautiful, educational posters.


 
SUPPORTER NEWS

The Tekkie Tax Challenge!
The inaugural Tekkie Tax campaign in 2013 was a huge success with R2.4 million being raised for many NGOs in various sectors. This year the campaign launches on Friday, the 30th of May, and you can show your support for the Endangered Wildlife Trust by placing your order for stickers with Debbie Thiart at debbiet@ewt.org.za or call on 011 372 3600/1 Each sticker costs R10 and entitles you to wear your tekkies to work, at home, shopping – wherever you choose – on the 30th of May. You will not pay for the stickers upon ordering them - you will only pay the Endangered Wildlife Trust for the stickers once you have sold those you bought. All unsold stickers are to be returned to the Endangered Wildlife Trust at the conclusion of the campaign. Play your part in preventing extinction and support us!

Walk the extra mile...
Ensure that you don’t embarrass your tekkies in public, and get yourself a pair of giggle-green and o-so-bright orange shoelaces with pretty purple Tekkie Tags to upgrade your tekkies on the 30th of May! These packs are R30 each and will include the sticker of your choice. You can also acquire a giggle green Tekkie Tax golf shirt for R110 to demonstrate undying support for the cause! The R30 for the packs and the R110 for the shirts must be paid for upfront.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust invites you to cycle for your wild heritage in the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge 2014
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is registered as a charity bond for the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge 2014 and we need YOU to ride for our cause!

Get involved and do your part to bring an end to extinction!

  • Register yourself at www.cyclechallenge.co.za and make the payment
  • Inform the team leader, Debbie Thiart on debbiet@ewt.org.za, that you have entered and made the payment and send her your name and I.D. number.
  • Visit the EWT’s GivenGain link at www.givengain.com/cause/2347/projects/14748/
  • Donate R420 to the EWT at the GivenGain link. This will also secure your EWT/Wild Dog cycling shirt and access to the hospitality tent at the end of the race. You will also receive an activist link. Send your activist link to friends, family and colleagues and ask them to help you to save our wildlife heritage.
  • They can do this by sponsoring every kilometer you cycle; or by attending a pre-cycle event hosted by you where entrance fees are donated to the EWT; or by donating ‘themed’ amounts of money to the EWT like R9.47 or R94.70 or R947.00 etc.
  • At the conclusion of the cycle challenge the individual who has managed to raise the most money for the EWT via the GivenGain will win a spectacular getaway prize for two to the Protea Kruger Gate Hotel. Please note that travel costs to and from the hotel are for your own account. Please note that travel costs to and from the hotel are for your own account. As part of the prize you will be treated to a once in a lifetime opportunity to track Wild Dogs with the EWT’s Grant Beverly!

The EWT’s Save Our Cranes bags at Woolworths!
The EWT’s save our Cranes bags are still available at Woolworth’s stores countrywide. Please be sure to ask your cashier in store for the bags if you do not see them on display as Woolworths still has the beautiful bags in stock.

Welcome to our most recent Corporate Supporters:
Faircape Dairies
Naked Feet
&Beyond
3M

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.
Help us conserve our natural heritage