MWITU’S MEMO

 

Welcome to the second edition of ChitterChatter. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and are feeling ready to take on the world in 2017! Holidays are lovely, but I’m super excited to be back, bringing you all the news about what the team has been up to since we last chatted, and I know that everyone at the EWT is looking forward to another successful year of Conservation in Action, made possible by your support.
 
As excited as we are to be back, it’s been a bit of a concerning time for my friend Duma. A study by Panthera, the Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which the EWT also contributed to, was released in December, showing that approximately 7,100 Cheetahs remain in the wild, worldwide! That’s pretty scary stuff, and he’s worried about his family. They’re facing threats like habitat loss and destruction, persecution by livestock owners, and the illegal pet trade, among others. The EWT is working hard to protect these special animals, though, and the Carnivore Conservation Programme is making good headway in South Africa. You can read more about this study in our February edition of Conservation Matters.
 
It’s definitely not all doom and gloom though, and I hope you’ll enjoy the stories we share with you in this edition. If you’re not already following us on social media, head over to Facebook and Twitter for frequent updates on our exciting projects. We love your feedback, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of in these newsletters. You can pop me a mail at Mwitu@ewt.org.za – I can’t wait to hear from you.
 
Happy reading!
Mwitu
 

 

 

A WORD FROM THE HEAD OF CONSERVATION

 

I am thrilled to be temporarily taking over the responsibility for writing these messages, as Yolan takes a well-earned sabbatical, and look forward to continuing to share news of the EWT’s important work with you. Of course, none of our work would be possible without you, and I would like to wish all our supporters a slightly belated Happy New Year and all the very best for 2017. It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of January already! We look forward to another year of making Conservation in Action possible through your wonderful support.

Towards the end of last year, the EWT released the 2016 Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, in conjunction with our partners at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This Red List provides an up-to-date assessment of the state of our mammals, and it was found that 57 (17%) are deemed to be threatened with extinction, while 34 (10%) are Near Threatened. We look forward to sharing more detailed species assessments in the coming weeks and months, so please do keep an eye on our website and social media pages.

The threats that mammals face are broad and complex, and conservationists must tackle multiple ongoing challenges to address them effectively. These threats include habitat loss, hunting, illegal wildlife trafficking and climate change. The Red List’s value lies in its usefulness in planning how to tackle these challenges, as it offers a standardised tool for measuring biodiversity loss and informing policy and conservation planning.

The Red List showed mixed results, with some species’ statuses having deteriorated (White and Black Rhino, Leopard, Mountain Reedbuck and Humpback Dolphin) while others have improved, and it is certainly not all bad news. We have seen some wonderful conservation success stories in South Africa, such as that of the Cape Mountain Zebra, and this is often due to cooperation between conservationists and the private sector. I am confident that if we continue to work in partnership with concerned citizens like you, we will have even more success stories in the future.

Until next time
Dr Harriet Davies-Mostert
 

 

 

OUR PROJECTS

 

Leap into action for frogs!

Dr Jeanne Tarrant, Threatened Amphibian Programme Manager
JeanneT@ewt.org.za


Leap Day for Frogs is marked annually in February to raise awareness of the plight of these special amphibians. Frogs are often met with negative reactions and mixed attitudes, and Leap Day for Frogs aims to help to dispel some of these unpleasant connotations and educate people about the importance of frogs to our environment. There are 125 frog species in South Africa, of which a third are threatened by habitat destruction, increasing levels of pollution in freshwater systems, disease and climate change. The EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) is working hard to secure populations of some of South Africa’s most threatened amphibian species, including the Critically Endangered Amathole Toad, Pickersgill’s Reed Frog, and Western Leopard Toad; protect key habitats for threatened amphibians; and raise awareness about frogs and their importance, making Leap Day for Frogs a very important day.


It’s also a day to have fun! This year, the TAP team will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest game of leapfrog. This event will take place on Friday 24 February at 10:00 on the Durban beachfront promenade (near uShaka Marine World), and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible. We’re aiming for 1,500 participants, so round up your friends, family or school group and hop on over!

For more information on this frog-tastic event, please contact Dr Jeanne Tarrant at JeanneT@ewt.org.za or visit www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za

Leap Day for Frogs takes place in partnership with uShaka Sea World, Kloof Conservancy and WESSA EcoSchools, and this event is sponsored by Struik Nature and Cooee Softdrinks.
 

 

 

Conservation Week 2016

Belinda Glenn, Communication and Brand Manager
BelindaG@ewt.org.za
Late last year, Endangered Wildlife Trust staff spent a few days in the field at Dinokeng Game Reserve during our annual Conservation Week. This affords team members, who for most of the year are based throughout South Africa and beyond, the valuable opportunity to learn more about each other’s work and engage in practical training activities. This year was particularly special, as it was the first time Conservation Week was held in the field rather than at Head Office. This offered field staff even more opportunity to shine, as they showcased their work in a more natural environment. Practical training sessions included the use of technology, such as drones, tagging and camera traps, in conservation; freshwater ecology demonstrations; wildlife crime scene investigations; and alien vegetation clearing, among others. There were also valuable presentations and group discussions on topics such as the importance of community work, stewardship, vehicle safety, dealing with snake bites, and roadkill identification. The EWT’s annual awards, where team members are recognised for their achievements during the year, were also held during this time.

The winners were:

  • Programme of the Year: Threatened Amphibian Programme
  • Programme Manager of the Year: Bridget Corrigan (Source to Sea Programme)
  • Conservation Achiever:  Lourens Leeuwner (Wildlife and Energy Programme, Renewable Energy Project Manager)
  • Conservation Supporter: Yves Manana (IT Manager)
  • Anatolian Award (Conflict resolution): Nic Armstrong (Source to Sea Programme, Field Officer)
  • Maluti Award (Conflict resolution): Cherise Acker (Threatened Amphibian Programme, Field Officer)
  • Honey Badger Award (Fiercest field officer):  Cobus Theron (Drylands Conservation Programme Manager)
  • Outstanding Media Presence: Carnivore Conservation Programme
  • Self-Improvement Award: Dora Mncube (Housekeeper), who is studying to be a teacher
  • Newcomer of the Year: Belinda Glenn (Communication and Brand Manager)
  • Pawprint Brand Ambassador Award:  Bridget Corrigan (Source to Sea Programme Manager)

Patron Supporters
(R250,000 and above per annum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Charitable Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conservation Week 2016 was a great success, and would not have been possible without the generous support of headline sponsor, Bakwena, as well as ABI and Painted Wolf Wines, who supplied all the beverages; Trappers, who supplied all the prizes for our annual awards; Woolworths, who donated a food voucher; Mongena Game Lodge, Dinokeng’s flagship lodge, who donated a free game drive for all the staff; Mooiplasie, who provided accommodation at a reduced rate; and Greenfinch, Dinonyane Bush Lodge and Mangy Jackal, who provided accommodation at no charge. Thank you so much for your support!


 

 

 

Money matters

Bridget Corrigan, Source to Sea Programme Manager
BridgetC@ewt.org.za

 
As part of the Source to Sea Programme’s commitment to community development, two sets of financial training were organised for community members in the Amathole region.

Basic financial training was provided to 85 local Natural Resource Management (NRM) employees. The training, which was sponsored and facilitated by Old Mutual, was held over three days, and was a big success as it was given in the local language of isiXhosa and covered most of the basics such as debt management, budgeting and financial awareness.

The Big Five were used to illustrate the message of financial responsibility. This worked well as it was symbolic of the animals found on South Africa’s currency and the different characteristics that each of the animals have. For example, the secret of the Leopard is having a clear goal to work towards and starting small to achieve that goal. Once it has enough experience, it starts stalking and hunting larger prey. This was used to explain the idea of developing a savings habit by having a clear goal of what one is saving towards and starting small by having a fixed plan savings account. The secret to the lion (males) is that they eat before the rest of the pride. As such participants were taught to “eat first” by saving some money first before looking at other expenses. Participants said the training was very useful and they would try to apply as much of what they’d learnt in their daily financial lives as possible.


We also organised two financial business management practitioners (Gerber and Jolandie Strydom) to give business management training to eight aspiring local beekeepers and five NRM contractors at the Tyume Valley. This training was specifically aimed at supporting up-and-coming green business entrepreneurs. The main components of the training were based around viewing their business as a brand and managing it as such. We had positive feedback from the participants who even requested to stay in contact with the facilitators. The facilitators have also committed to providing assistance on an advisory basis to the participants.

 

 

Caught on camera!

Bonnie Schumann, Drylands Conservation Programme Senior Field Officer
BonnieS@ewt.org.za

During recent restoration fieldwork, staff from the Drylands Conservation Programme (DCP) and visiting eco-rangers were lucky enough to see a Riverine Rabbit in its habitat. Staff reported that they were all frozen on the spot, as they could not believe their luck…except Esté Matthew, DCP Field Officer, who whipped out her iPhone and photographed this rare and Critically Endangered bunny! These rabbits are rarely seen, let alone photographed, so it was particularly special to be close enough to do so. It is the first photo of a Riverine Rabbit in its natural habitat ever taken by an EWT staff member and as far as we know it is also the first picture taken with an iPhone.

The DCP team has also set camera traps in the Nama Karoo to survey for Riverine Rabbit presence. A survey north of Williston in a potential conservation area did not find rabbits, but 16 mammal species were captured in the first three weeks, yielding valuable data on other wildlife present in the riparian zone.

Closer to home for the project, and just 15 kilometres outside Loxton, we were delighted to capture rabbits at a new location, just upstream of our latest restoration site, using camera traps. This research looks at Riverine Rabbit distribution as well as biodiversity in general, in relation to the habitat restoration work being conducted, to understand their movements around degraded areas and hopefully, eventually onto restored areas. The location is situated near a historical sighting, but “closes the gap” a little so to speak, between two known locations, separated by a degraded stretch of river that is undergoing restoration. It also confirms that our restoration work is targeted in the right places. The distinguishing characteristics of Riverine Rabbits, namely the black cheek stripe, brown tail, thickly furred feet and disproportionately large ears can all be seen clearly in the photos. We have set up cameras at the most active camera locations to capture some video footage of bunnies going about their business, and hope to share footage soon.
This work is made possible by Rand Merchant Bank.

 

 

Be Water Wise

Joel Thosago, Membership Administrator
JoelT@ewt.org.za

When water rationing was implemented last year in my neighbourhood of Kagiso, situated on the West Rand of Johannesburg, I spoke to the manager of the EWT’s Source to Sea Programme, Bridget Corrigan, to provide me with advice on how I could save water. She pointed out that one of the most innovative methods of saving water would be to harvest rainwater – especially for domestic use. My wife and I looked at our limited finances and finally decided to invest in a water tank. She was initially sceptical about the idea but soon realised the benefits once the taps went dry when water rationing was introduced! The tank was so easy to install that we did it ourselves, simply connecting it through the gutter system.   

The benefits we are currently enjoying are huge, including low water bills. But more importantly, the system also gives you a good feeling, knowing that you are contributing immensely to the conservation of this scarce resource, fresh water. I would encourage everyone to implement a similar system in their own homes! Indeed, my family’s use of this rainwater harvesting system has sparked interest among our neighbours and other community members, who, after learning about the benefits, are also keen to contribute in this small but effective way to saving our precious natural resource.

 

 

EVENTS

Country Club Johannesburg Talk

Saving Kruger’s Wild Dogs – Country Club Johannesburg Talk
Tuesday 7 February 2017
Presented by Grant Beverley, Carnivore Conservation Programme Lowveld Regional Coordinator
Please note: Dinner reservations need to be booked and paid for by the RSVP deadline.
Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park
1 Napier Road, Auckland Park
RSVP to joelt@ewt.org.za or 011 372 3600/1/2/3
 
Taking up the Challenge - Ride 947 Cycle Challenge !
You can do your bit to put the wild back into life by riding for the EWT in this year’s 947 Cycle Challenge. This year’s event takes place on 19 November 2017 and registration is already open! Visit - http://www.cyclechallenge.co.za/. Charity registrations will only open in March, but we’d like to encourage you to join Mwitu’s Pack now. Let us know if you plan to Ride for Wildlife with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and we’ll keep you up to date with all the information you need to have a fantastic race, while raising funds for conservation. Email Marion at MarionB@ewt.org.za, and join Mwitu’s Pack to Ride for Wildlife today!
 

Complete our online form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYgK16AJiiuT-BFZCMBJ_XYQyJcRs70agfeDVO9Rqt6O5BOQ/viewform
 


 

EWT Golf Day - 7 April 2017

Save the date! The EWT Golf Day will take place at Zwartkop Country Club on 7 April 2017. For more information, contact Frank Jackson on FrankJ@ewt.org.za
 

LEAP Day for Frogs

For more information on this frog-tastic event, please contact Dr Jeanne Tarrant at JeanneT@ewt.org.za or visit www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za
 

 

 

ONLINE STORE


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love wildlife? Why not give your Valentine a gift that gives back to conservation! Shop online at www.ewtshop.co.za or visit us at our offices at Building K2, Pinelands Office Park, Ardeer Road, Modderfontein (shop open Monday – Friday, 09:00-15:00).
 

 

 

SUPPORTER NEWS
 

Golfing for good

The EWT and the South African Senior Tour (SAST) have partnered to create a series of unique golf events that will create regular games for senior players, while helping to protect our precious natural environment. Through a host of national and international golfing events for players over 50 years old, the EWT Senior Golf Series will generate much needed funds for the EWT, while also exposing the incredible conservation work the Trust does.

Brought together by innovative sports marketing agency, Accelerate Sport, the EWT and the SAST are uniting to reach common goals through this unique new golf series. Each of the EWT Seniors Golf Series events will be tailored in a Pro-Am style, where corporates or enthusiasts can play alongside professionals. Each event will also be dedicated to an animal that the EWT works with.
The EWT Senior Golf Series has a roll-out target plan of five events by the end of 2017, with the first taking place in April, and 10 events by the close of 2018. These events will take place on South African soil and beyond, with plans to play golf in the SADC region, Sub-Saharan Africa and the surrounding island regions.
 


 

Trans Africa Safaris

Since 1918, Trans Africa Safaris has been at the forefront of luxury, soft adventure travel in Africa.  A boutique luxury inbound tour operator, they specialise in highly personalised, unique and well-conceived travel for discerning clients. Based in Cape Town, they customise luxury travel to Southern Africa within South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya, and can provide full destination management support within the region.

Trans Africa Safaris is a long-standing corporate member of the EWT. “The bulk of our clients visit Africa for its magnificent natural offerings and, as such, our business is inherently linked to our fauna and flora. There are a great many projects, both social and environmental, in our region that require assistance, but the work that the EWT does really resonates with us as they do not only focus on the ‘high-profile’ projects, but also many other, equally important undertakings. Also, we believe that the EWT has a team of really dedicated researchers, scientists and volunteers driving their various initiatives,” says Andre Botha, Trans Africa Safaris Sales and Marketing Director.
 


 

Creative contributions

In the lead up to Christmas last year, Cooper Pax, a ten-year old artist and budding conservationist, decided that he wanted to make a difference. Using his artistic talent, Cooper created Christmas cards in six different designs and sold these via a number of different channels, including in local shops. His passion for wildlife led him to pledge to donate 50% of his profits to the EWT, and he raised over R700 for the organisation. Thank you to Cooper for committing to making a difference!
Want to get involved through membership or fundraising? Send an email to ewt@ewt.org.za and we’ll gladly assist!
 

Reap the benefits of a tax-deductible donation

Did you know that you can benefit from tax relief on donations to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) made during this fiscal year, which ends on the 28th of February 2017?
Bona fide donations made to the EWT (a registered Public Benefit Organisation) by taxpayers, whether companies or individuals, will entitle the taxpayer to a deduction from their taxable income. This applies up to a limit of 10% of the taxpayers’ taxable income.
You will qualify to receive a Section 18A tax receipt for your donation, which will allow you to claim the applicable tax relief. What’s more, by donating to the EWT, you will be supporting one of South Africa’s leading conservation organisations, which is working to safeguard the environment for future generations.
To find out more about receiving a Section 18A tax receipt, simply email us at ewt@ewt.org.za
 

 

 

Donating is now as easy as snapping your fingers… or your phone!                                                                                     


Supporters can now donate to the EWT quickly and safely, using SnapScan. All you need to do is:

  1. Download the SnapScan application on your smartphone
  2. Register with your details – this should take no more than a few minutes
  3. Scan our EWT barcode to make your donation in the amount of your choice (be sure to choose donation rather than e-shop from the drop down menu) – you’ll be asked to enter your PIN so you know the transaction is secure

 
It’s as easy as one-two-three! Once you’ve made your donation via SnapScan, you’ll get an SMS confirming the transaction, and the EWT will be notified via SMS too. Supporting conservation in action couldn’t be simpler.

 

 

 

 

 

Physical Address: Building K2, Ardeer Road, Pinelands Office Park,
Modderfontein 1609, Gauteng, South Africa,
Postal Address: Private Bag X 11, Modderfontein 1645, Gauteng, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 11 372 3600 Fax: +27 (0) 11 608 4682 NPO Number: 015-502
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