MWITU’S MEMO

 

Despite the fact that April seemed like a series of never ending public holidays in South Africa, the rest of my pack at the EWT has been working as hard as ever, and we’re excited to share our latest project updates and other news with you in this issue of ChitterChatter!
 
April got off to an especially exciting start, and saw years of hard work paying off when the MEC for Mpumalanga’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), Vusi Shongwe, declared the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment near Dullstroom on 7 April. South Africa’s grasslands and wetlands are poorly represented in formal protected areas and this declaration will now add 14,305 hectares of important grassland and wetland habitat to the network of protected areas within the province. This incredible achievement was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and BirdLife South Africa.
 
In other exciting news, we were also extremely proud of our Senior Manager: Habitats, Dr Ian Little, when he received a Whitley Award for his outstanding efforts (and those of the Threatened Grassland Species Programme team) to protect South Africa’s grasslands. This award is incredibly prestigious and a true honour. It also comes with funding of £35,000 to continue this work, and more specifically to fulfil his dream of creating a corridor of legally protected areas linking with others along the Great Eastern Escarpment. Congratulations to Ian and the team for this wonderful recognition! You can watch a short documentary about Ian’s award-winning work, narrated by the legendary Sir David Attenborough, here.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel extra-proudly South African when I think about the natural wonders that are right on our doorstep! We all need nature to survive, and not just in protected areas, so keep an eye on our social media pages in the build up to World Environment Day on 5 June. We’ll be inviting you to snap a pic of yourself connecting with nature (remember, we encourage responsible selfie behaviour, so no cub petting or other activities that may put species or spaces at risk please!), tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and include the hashtag #EWTWithNature – we’ll have some exciting prizes up for grabs!
 
Let us know what your favourite way to connect with nature is, by dropping me a mail at Mwitu@ewt.org.za
 
‘Til next time
Mwitu

 

 

 

A WORD FROM THE CEO

 

I love what I do. Who wouldn’t when you work in a sector about which you are truly passionate; for an organisation that is improving the world; and with people who live, breath and ooze passion, dedication and commitment to our common conservation cause? Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate how lucky I am to have a career that I love. But having a calling as opposed to just a job, and one which consumes almost every thought, emotion and aspiration, can become exhausting over time. The Tshikululu Foundation is one of the strongest supporters of the NGO community in South Africa and not only funds dozens of NGOs that provide critical, backbone services to society, but they are also integrally involved with their NGOs through the provision of training, skills development, resource mobilisation and most important, providing solutions to the challenges faced in this crucial sector of economy. One of these recent responses to award a sabbatical to four CEOs of their Thsikululu Foundation NGO partners and the EWT was one of their fortunate beneficiaries.
 
My four-month sabbatical ran from January until May 2017 and I have just returned to the EWT head office feeling remarkably refreshed and invigorated! The EWT ran smoothly during my time away and my absence was seamlessly handled by the excellent Executive Management Team. My sabbatical proved that the EWT’s robust governance and management systems and succession planning capability are in top form, which was one of the key success measures of this ‘time out’. For me personally, the time away from the daily grind of traffic, emails and meetings was life changing. I got to spend more time with family and friends; I travelled; I met up with long lost colleagues and associates; I visited some wonderful EWT projects as well as projects being run by other NGOs in the region; I got into the field again and I did lots of ‘me’ things like sport and reading. I also spent much of my time considering some strategic growth opportunities for the EWT and the operational efficiencies we need to implement to support this growth. The EWT is an organisation on the move, and with the right tools, structure and lots of energy, there can be no stopping us as we strive to make the world a more equitable and sustainable home for us all. My sabbatical proved to me that I would not like to be doing anything else apart from working with my inspirational colleagues to make the world a better place. I returned at the beginning of May to open arms, a warm welcome-back party, a redesigned office and a team of outstanding performers who had taken the EWT forward in leaps and bounds. I loved my time off, but I am thrilled to be back, Viva la EWT!
 
Yolan

 

 

PROJECT NEWS

 

Jessie’s on a quest to save the Riverine Rabbit and the Karoo!


Estè Matthew, Drylands Conservation Programme,
Field Officer

EstherM@ewt.org.za

The Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) is an incredibly shy creature that only lives in seasonal river vegetation patches in parts of the Karoo. Their remaining habitat is becoming increasingly fragmented, and they face additional threats from hunting, trapping, and being preyed on by feral dogs and cats. The iconic landscape of the Karoo is also imperilled by climate change, mining, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), power lines and the construction of dams.

The EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme is embarking on an exciting new project that could save the Riverine Rabbit, and with it, the Karoo. Despite having worked on this species for more than 15 years, one of the greatest challenges was finding out exactly where these elusive rabbits are living. Once we know where they are, it becomes easier not only to put more effective conservation measures in place, but also to protect their environment......READ MORE

 

 

Patron Supporters
(R250,000 and above per annum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Charitable Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism


Belinda Glenn, Communication and Brand Manager
BelindaG@ewt.org.za

Did you know that South Africa is the third most biodiverse country in the world? We’re also the only country in the world to contain an entire floral kingdom, the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is home to over 9,000 plant species, and although South Africa occupies only 2% of the world’s land surface area, it is home to 10% of the world’s plant species and 7% of the world's reptile, bird and mammal species!

But what does biodiversity mean and why is it important? Since bio means life and diversity means variety, when we talk about biodiversity, we mean the variety of all living things on earth – all the different plants and animals, from the tiniest micro-organism to the tallest tree and biggest mammal, and the ecosystems they are part of.....READ MORE

 

 

Become a citizen scientist and help to save our Humpback Dolphins


Shanan Atkins
shananatkins@gmail.com


Previous research has highlighted that Richards Bay is a hotspot for the Humpback Dolphin (Sousa plumbea), which was recently listed as Endangered on the Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. It is one of the places in South Africa where Humpback Dolphins are most likely to be found…and most likely to become caught in the shark nets. This unintentional entanglement has been identified as major threat to the species, and we’ve learnt that the Richards Bay shark nets have been set in a core feeding area. The loss of dolphins in the nets affects not only the resident Humpback Dolphin population at Richards Bay but also the wider KwaZulu-Natal population, as many transient Humpback Dolphins move through the area. It is abundantly clear that conservation resources could be maximised by focusing efforts in one area, Richards Bay, potentially creating a ripple effect throughout the population of this Endangered species.....READ MORE

 

 

 

Exploring fishing as an alternative to poaching


Samson Phakathi, Threatened Grassland Species Programme, Senior Field Officer
samsonp@ewt.org.za

Poaching in KwaZulu-Natal continues to be a major concern. It has financial and ecological implications not only for livestock and game farmers, but for the grassland ecosystem as a whole. It is a multi-faceted, cross-cutting and complex issue, which has largely resulted from an ideology of preservation, while excluding ordinary communities from wildlife conservation....READ MORE

 

 

Empowering communities through frog and wetland conservation


Jiba Magwaza, Threatened Amphibian Programme, Intern
JibaM@ewt.org.za

Conservation without the inclusion of people does not always work. In order to address the issue of South Africa being environmentally sound, education and training is vital because not everyone is aware of the fact that our ecosystems are threatened. As a Community Development student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and an intern of the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP), I have come to realise that increasing beneficiary consultation during project planning or beneficiary involvement in the management of project implementation or operation also increases project efficiency.....READ MORE 

 

 

ONLINE STORE


Dogs for Conservation
Now you can wear your love for dogs and conservation on your sleeve, with our beautiful new Relate bracelet! Dogs are definitely not just our best friends, they’re friends of conservation too! At the EWT, we work with dogs to help us to protect our precious wildlife in a number of different ways.

Show your support by buying one of these beautiful Dogs for Conservation bracelets for just R45 at www.ewtshop.co.za or pop into our offices in Modderfontein between 09:00 and 14:00, Monday to Friday. For more information, contact Marion at eshop@ewt.org.za

 

 

 

EVENTS
 

Shining a light on renewable energy – Country Club Johannesburg Talk

Date: 6 June 2017
Speaker: Lourens Leeuwner, Wildlife and Energy Programme Renewable Energy Project Manager

 

A note of appreciation

Joel Thosago, Membership Administrator
JoelT@ewt.org.za
 
As we draw closer to the middle of the year, we would like to take a moment to thank all those who continue to support our monthly talks. We have hosted one morning and four evening talks thus far this year, and all have been a great success. These events give us a great opportunity not only to share our work with you, but also to spend time with our valuable supporters, and they would not be the success that they are without your ongoing interest.
 
We must also extend our sincere thanks to Cathy Robertson and the Country Club Johannesburg management for their continued support over the years. Cathy and I have been coordinating and managing these talks for over 10 years and it has been a pleasure working with her. I’m looking forward to many more years of working with Cathy and her team. Thanks for all you do!
 
After many requests to reintroduce our morning talks, we are thrilled that the first event on 25 April was a great success, and look forward to the next one. We have received a number of queries regarding hosting a morning event in Modderfontein, and will do so in July – watch this space for more details. Should you have any feedback on our talks or want to share ideas or suggestions with us, please don’t hesitate to email JoelT@ewt.org.za
 

Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge
 


 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • Register on the official website www.cyclechallenge.co.za ENTRY FEE = R475
  • Raise a minimum of R1,000 in sponsorships and donations, but the sky’s the limit!
  • Purchase a EWT Cycle shirt if you do not have one. Shirt price is R450. You can either buy from our online store www.ewtshop.co.za or at our office between 9h00 and 14h00, Monday to Friday.
  • Once you have entered please email marionb@ewt.org.za with your contact details.
  • Please visit our website for more information and use our online form to fill in all your details and shirt size - https://www.ewt.org.za/947CycleChallenge.html


COST PER RIDER

  • Entry fee – R475
  • Minimum funds raised – R1,000
  • Cycle shirt (if you don’t have one) – R450

 

 

SUPPORTER NEWS

Bush Whisper
Bush Whisper Expedition was established eight years ago to provide exclusive travel packages for local and international tourists. Based in Johannesburg, the company offers tours ranging from budget to five star luxury in the small to medium group category. From overland tours to hiking, bird watching, photographic tours and family fun, Bush Whisper will ensure that every holiday is an unforgettable experience.

With a passion for African wildlife and showcasing its beauty at the core of their business, the decision to support the EWT, an organisation that protects that wildlife, was an easy one for Bush Whisper. http://www.bushwhisper.co.za

 
Grant Thornton South Africa
Grant Thornton South Africa provides assurance, tax, advisory and outsourcing services to dynamic organisations in both the private and public sectors. This includes listed companies, large privately held businesses and private equity-backed organisations. In the public sector, they work with national, provincial and local government as well as State Owned Enterprises and Development Finance Institutions.

At Grant Thornton, they understand the importance of protecting our environment for future generations to come. That’s why they support the EWT. Contact Jason Liffman (Jason.liffmann@za.gt.com) for any BBBEE advice. https://www.grantthornton.co.za


Outdoor Africa
Outdoor Africa is a professional safari company offering custom designed photographic safari and adventure tours to some of the very best safari destinations in southern Africa.
They pride themselves on providing a customised adventure, and will tailor-make your safari exactly to your requirements and budget. In addition, because they do not subscribe to mass tourism, their groups are intentionally kept small and intimate. This allows them to provide each individual with personal attention during their safari.

Outdoor Africa is a corporate supporter of the Endangered Wildlife Trust because they believe that the EWT plays a vital role in the conservation of our fauna and flora in South Africa, which is under immense pressure through human population growth and other factors such as mining activities in ecologically sensitive areas. They appreciate the work that the EWT does with their programmes, and believe that Outdoor Africa must be part of the EWT’s movement against extinction.

With Outdoor Africa, you will not only experience the finest safaris in South Africa, but you will also make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of our natural heritage! http://www.outdoor-africa.com/


 

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.....OPEN MEMBERSHIP FORM or contact Joel Thosago on joelt@ewt.org.za

 

 

 

 

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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