Issue 59: July - September 2015
  • Our National bird goes high tech in the Western Cape
  • Understanding your noisy neighbours this spring!
  • A tale of three Cheetah brothers
  • Its springtime, so Sungazers are out again!
  • Study reveals African vultures are heading towards extinction.
  • Making roads safer for all road users in partnership with the N3 Toll Concession
  • St Patrick’s Giant Paw of support for cranes and the EWT

 

EWT Patrons
 
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Framework Donor
R100 000 and above per annum

Senior Corporate Member
R70 000 - R100 000 per annum

Corporate Member
R25 000 - R70 000 per annum

Corporate Supporter
R5 000 - R25 000 per annum

Contact us for futher information
Carla van Rooyen
Business Development Officer
carlav@ewt.org.za

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Help Save our Wildlife
Rhino Poaching Hotline:
082 404 2128
Eskom / EWT Tollfree Incident Reporting Hotline:
0860 111 535

A WORD FROM OUR CEO

October can be a tough month. It’s hot, and dry. The Silly Season beckons but mostly, we all know just how much more there is to do still this year…. Exam time looms for students, year-end approaches for many businesses; budgets are tight with the escalating costs of the holidays advancing …. But as the EWT puts the final dots and crosses into our annual Integrated Report, I am reminded of how much wonderful work has been achieved by your conservation partner of choice during the last year. So let’s take a few minutes to reflect on some positive news for a change, and read about some of the breakthroughs achieved by the EWT this past year...

One of the most threatened bird species in the country, the Wattled Crane, has increased in population size in KwaZulu-Natal with the highest count for Wattled Cranes in the past 25 years being recorded at 311 birds. This is largely due to the ongoing stewardship work with landowners over many years, that has resulted in suitable habitat for these birds being secured. On the subject of habitat, the EWT’s African Cranes and Communities Programme and their partners, have achieved more remarkable gains in recent months, by securing just over 78,000 ha of crane habitat in South Africa in the form of the Chrissiesmeer Protected Environment (60 000 ha), Beaumont Nature Reserve (1 050 ha) and the Cedarville Protected Environment (17 000 ha).  We also await the MEC signature’s to confirm the declaration of the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment which is just over another 14 000 ha and another 5-10 000 ha that will be declared shortly in KwaZulu-Natal. This all amounts to securing around 100 000 ha for cranes in South Africa….  A considerable milestone!
The EWT’s Managed Cheetah Metapopulation Project has driven the introduction of Cheetahs into 52 fenced reserves across South Africa. This equates to 293 Cheetahs, or approximately a quarter of South Africa’s wild Cheetah population. These reserves cover more than one million hectares of new, safe Cheetah habitat and this has increased their total area of occupancy in South Africa by 11%. To put this into perspective, the Kruger National Park covers almost two million hectares and is home to around 400 Cheetahs.

The EWT’s Cape Critical Rivers partnership successfully rescued 380 Endangered sandfish from succumbing to predation by alien fish through a carefully managed relocating project. The EWT also reduced the risk of further alien invasive fish spreading to key catchments – where they take over from threatened native species – by facilitating their removal from high-risk dams and reservoirs and developing a toolkit to identify new areas of high risk in critical catchments. The stocking of alien species in farm dams poses a huge risk of biological invasions into the natural system, where these species have an adverse impact on water quality, indigenous species survival and ecosystem resilience.
Not only is the poaching of rhinos and elephants a grave concern, but numerous other wildlife species are being harvested illegally in our country, pushing them to the brink. To address this, the EWT has implemented two key enforcement support training programmes targeting over 450 officials representing the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), provincial conservation agencies, and the State Security Agency in the past year alone. These training programmes target a range of wildlife species typically being trafficked including our endemic Encephalartos cycad species, some of which are already extinct in the wild.

Our Pickersgill’s Reed Frog project has gone from strength to strength in the last year, with the discovery of several new localities of this Critically Endangered amphibian in the Mtunzini area. We are now working with the relevant landowners to ensure correct management of these wetlands, as well as the implementation of long-term monitoring plans.
These are just a few highlights of the extensive work that the EWT undertakes in 13 African countries and right across South Africa to address the plight of nearly 80 threatened species of plants and animals. Our team comprises more than 110 of arguably the country’s best and most passionate conservationists in the form of full time staff, students and interns. With conservation increasingly becoming more challenging in a complex world modern world that has, for example driven at least 5 species of plants to extinction in South Africa alone in recent years and has seen “a massive 7.6% of the natural habitat of KZN lost to anthropogenic transformation of the landscape in only 6 years (2005–2011)”, the EWT will have to remain focussed and continue to deliver on the excellent results you have come to expect from us and to meet the high standards we have set for ourselves.

This work cannot be done without you and the EWT is completely reliant on the support of our donors and members. The 2014/15 EWT Integrated Report will be on our web site in November and we invite you to read it and send us your comments, as our partners in the journey towards a more sustainable and equitable planet for all.

Yolan Friedmann

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PROJECT NEWS

Our National bird goes high tech in the Western Cape
By Tanya Smith, the EWT’s Regional Manager for the African Crane Conservation Programme

Ever wondered how, why and where our National Bird moves each day? Well we do, and that is why the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in partnership with the International Crane Foundation has launched a project in the Western Cape to understand how Blue Cranes use and move within the landscape of the Western Cape. Cranes are one of the oldest family of birds alive in the world today and the Blue Crane is a near endemic to South Africa, with only a small isolated population of less than 60 birds found in Namibia, The rest of the world’s population of approximately 25 000 to 30 000 birds are found within our borders…READ MORE

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Understanding your noisy neighbours this spring!
By Nick Evans, the EWT’S Threatened Amphibian Programme Field Officer

Spring is finally here! After a dry winter, wildlife starts to awaken. Spring is a lively, colourful time of the year. It’s a great time of the year to view all forms of wildlife, and beautiful flowering plants and trees. At this time, a lot of animals pair up to mate. It’s a magical time of year! It is also, the start of the breeding season for frogs! Frog choruses are one of the many joys of spring! Many people have started complaining about the ‘noise’ coming from their gardens whilst they are asleep. Surprisingly, there are many people who get excited by these wonderful sounds of nature…READ MORE

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A tale of three Cheetah brothers
By Vincent van der Merwe, the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, Cheetah Metapopulation Project Coordinator

In 2012 the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Cheetah Metapopulation Project made a young female Cheetah available to Hopewell Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. There was a requirement for this female to join the only male Cheetah on the reserve so that a breeding population could be established. After her flight to Port Elizabeth, a three month stay in the boma was necessary to nullify her homing instinct to return to Limpopo. Just eight hours after her release onto the greater reserve she made mincemeat of a poor blesbok that made the mistake of crossing her path…READ MORE

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Its springtime, so Sungazers are out again!
By Bradley Gibbons, EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme, Field Officer

It’s that time of the year again...spring time, when Sungazers become active after their winter break. During the May to mid-August period, these reptiles are rarely seen as they brumate and go into a state of inactivity and resort to lengthy periods of sleeping to escape the winter months and food shortages. During these winter months these lizards tend to step out, now and again, to absorb some of the sunshine on warmer days…READ MORE

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Study reveals African vultures are heading towards extinction.
By Lillian Mlambo, the EWT’s Communications Manager

Vultures are critical to a healthy ecosystem; without them carcasses are largely consumed by other scavengers such as feral dogs and jackals and this can increase levels of disease transmission, with possibly dire consequences for human health. With the alarming and increasing rate of healthcare costs, Africa cannot afford to sit back and watch this species to collapse.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is part of a team of international researchers and leading scientists, who collaborated to publish a study indicating that vultures are declining at a critical rate. What’s concerning is that the study also reveals that many National Parks and game reserves appear to offer very little effective protection to the vulture species. The study entitled “Another Continental Vulture Crisis: Africa's Vultures Collapsing toward Extinction” was published in the Society for Conservation Biology scientific journal “Conservation Letters” in June 2015 and proves that vultures and are the most threatened group of birds in the world…READ MORE

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Making roads safer for all road users in partnership with the N3 Toll Concession
By Wendy Collinson, the EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project Executant

Roads are integral to the continued development and prosperity of South Africa’s economy, however, roads also have the potential to destroy and degrade habitat, as well as fragment wildlife populations. Traffic, particularly when reckless driving is involved, can have a direct negative impact on wildlife, with many species at risk from wildlife-vehicle-collisions, often resulting in an animal’s death, or ‘roadkill’…READ MORE

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St Patrick’s Giant Paw of support for cranes and the EWT
By Tanya Smith, the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme, Regional Manager

The winter brings great excitement to our team as we gear up for the annual crane aerial survey in KwaZulu-Natal. This survey takes place over five days and covers the core region for Grey Crowned, Blue and Wattled Cranes in the province and is completed in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW). This year marked the successful completion of the 22nd consecutive survey for cranes in the province and not even the weather could stop us from reaching this milestone. On the third day of the survey, the team, made up of EWT and EKZNW researchers, were treated to a true spectacle from the sky, one which we have not witnessed before in the 21 years of aerial surveys– A giant Cheetah paw made up of over 200 children from the St Patrick’s College in Kokstad…READ MORE

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2015 Rhino Poaching Speech Competition Winner Announced
By Ndifelani Mulaudzi, Intern, Rhino Project

Shola Ngoma from Maphuthaditshaba High school is the winner of the 2015 rhino poaching speech competition. Learners had to develop an argument and present possible solutions “the social, political and economic impacts of rhino poaching”…READ MORE

The Rhino's Eyes
A poem by Jesse Weinberg

There once was a time when they roamed free, of invisible killers, of certainty.
When a fight was fair, the odds were known, and death was surely rare.
Their lives were theirs, to grow and share, to hold their own, to win their dare.
And now here we are, their enemy and their friend, their puzzle that won't end.
His defences are defenceless, senses become senseless, motion, motionless.
There he finally lies, humiliated, exhausted, agonized.
Against a gentle wind, a silent sun, he finally closes his eyes...the rhino, dies.
There once was a time when they roamed free, of invisible killers, of certainty.
When a fight was fair, the odds were known, and death was surely rare.
Their lives were theirs, to grow and share, to hold their own, to win their dare.
And now here we are, their enemy and their friend, their puzzle that won't end.
His defences are defenceless, senses become senseless, motion, motionless.
There he finally lies, humiliated, exhausted, agonized.
Against a gentle wind, a silent sun, he finally closes his eyes...the rhino, dies.

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Ambassadors Corner

To all Supporters: Young Conservation ambassadors Corner
Do you have stories, tales that you want to share of our youngest Conservation ambassadors? We would love to share them on our facebook and all EWT news platforms. Send us your stories be it pictures or drawings. We want to know what our young conservationists are getting up to. Send your stories to lillianm@ewt.org.za

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EVENTS

UPCOMING COUNTRY CLUB JOHANNESBURG TALKS.
We continue to bring you presentations at THE COUNTRY CLUB JOHANNESBURG in WOODMEAD every second month, at the COUNTRY CLUB JOHANNESBURG AUCKLAND PARK

“One World…Better Place” - Even before Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, human civilization has had a morbid fascination with spiders - Presented by Jonathan Leeming
When: 29th October 2015
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Lincoln Street, Woodmead, Johannesburg
Cost: R70 members, R95 non-members, dinner R145 per person
Contact: Joel Thosago on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or joelt@ewt.org.za

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NEW AND EXCITING GIFTS FOR PURCHASE in the EWT E-SHOP

Spring is here and Christmas and the Festive Season is fast approaching. Why not spoil your loved ones with the perfect gift from the EWT E-shop. We have gifts for all occasions, birthday parties, weddings you name it. Choose from the popular Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Relate’s collector’s range of endangered species themed bracelets to rhino sculptures, 2016 Calendars, books, ornaments and golf shirts.
You can also buy on line at www.ewtshop.co.za or at www.relate.org.za
. Contact debbiet@ewt.org.za.

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COMPETITION

CANOPY TOURS ANNOUNCES I SPY SOMETHING WILD COMPETITION
Canopy Tours ® South Africa in association with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is proud to announce the launch of its annual ‘I Spy Something Wild’ competition. The inaugural contest and species count takes place during the month of October. The lucky winner of a luxurious three night stay for two at the exclusive Madikwe Safari Lodge (operated by More Hotels), will be drawn and announced in November.

In keeping with its heritage, ‘I Spy Something Wild’ encourages visitors to pay close attention to their environment, turning a zipline adventure into an exciting Treetop Safari or Mountain Expedition. With assistance from the Endangered Wildlife Trust the ‘I Spy Something Wild’ competition will help create a species database in each of the seven Canopy Tours biomes, cataloguing birds, mammals, reptiles, anthropods and amphibians. You are encouraged to snap photos and share via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook wall with #ispysomethingwild. For enquiries and more information on how you can take part in the exciting I Spy Something Wild Competition, please visit www.canopytour.co.za.
• email: info@canopytour.co.za
• twitter: @CanopyTourSA
• instagram: @canopytoursa
• facebook: Canopy Tours South Africa

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SUPPORTER NEWS

Remhoogte Wine Estate

One of our most recent supporters, Remhoogte Wine Estate, will be donating a portion of the price of each bottle of their Soaring Eagle wine to our Birds of Prey Programme. Watch this spot for discounted rates specially created by Remhoogte Wine Estate for EWT supporters! Thank you Remhoogte!

We celebrate the life of Anne Tilbury
“The day I climbed the mountain peak I found the peace of mind I seek, up there the big things looked so small the little things were not at all.”   Even in death, Anne is moving mountains for us. The legacy left by Margaret Anne Tilbury (known simply as Anne by all who knew and loved her) to the Endangered Wildlife Trust is an example of how the generosity of one woman has helped to ensure the survival of the untamed spaces and species she loved so much.
Anne’s niece Michele (known as Shelley) recalls: “My aunt used to go for a swim at Fish Hoek beach every day regardless of the weather, and she climbed a very steep pass daily to reach her house.
At a young age I decided that my aunt must be a very tough lady. I remember my aunty Anne as a generous person who often allowed family to make use of her home and used to make jars of delicious fudge for Christmas (which all the nephews, nieces and great nephews and nieces used to look forward to). “
Anne’s greatest loves were firstly her husband Lewis, and secondly mountain climbing. She and Lewis would spend Christmas on the mountain, surrounded by nature. After he passed away Anne lost a bit of her lust for life but continued to show kindness to her friends and others on the mountain and often offered to carry their packs if they were unable to.  

Anne passed away on 13 December 2013, and left a lasting legacy in the form of a bequest to the Endangered Wildlife Trust. It is thanks to her kindness and everlasting generosity that we are able to continue the work we do and that the natural landscape she loved will be preserved. In this way, future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature as much as she did.

Thank you, Anne. Your memory will live on forever in the work you made possible.

For an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the EWT please contact Carla van Rooyen at carlav@ewt.org.za.

The EWT’s save our Blue Swallow bags at Woolworths!
The EWT’s save our Blue Swallow bags are still available at Woolworths 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.

Make a Difference and Commit to a Monthly Donation by Debit Order
Interested in helping the EWT to continue critical conservation work that gives more years and a future to threatened ecosystems and species? Sign up for a monthly debit order and help the EWT save many threatened species, their habitats. Together let's create a better environment for the benefit of all. Remember that your monthly debit order can make a huge difference to a Critically Endangered Species. Every rand helps to put an end to extinctions!! Contact Joel Thosago on joelt@ewt.org.za

You can become a member of the EWT and help us to save our heritage:
You can also help us to spread our message and the umbrella of our work by encouraging friends, family and colleagues to become members.READ MORE


 Welcome to our most recent supporters:

  • Auckland Communities Foundation (Threatened Amphibian Programme)
  • Barker Insurance Brokers (General)
  • New Rak Mining (In honour of Mr R Allgeier)
  • KLB Engineering (General)
  • Riplog (General)
  • Seacology (Source to Sea Programme)
  • Stella & Paul Loewenstein Charitable and Educational Trust (General)
  • Synovate IPSOS (Rhino Project)
  • The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (Source to Sea Programme)
  • Woolworths (Carnivore Conservation Programme)

 


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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