Vol 5. July 2012

Mission of the Riverine Rabbit Programme

The Riverine Rabbit Programme, part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, aims to maintain ecosystem conditions in the Karoo that can support a stable population of Riverine Rabbits along seasonal river courses, whilst simultaneously ensuring
socio-economic benefits to landowners and communities.

 

The RRP Wins National Award!
By Christy Bragg

The RRP scooped the prestigious national Greening-the-Future Mail & Guardian Award in the Biodiversity/Natural Resources Management category. The Greening judges emphasized the national importance of riparian areas in combating the impacts of climate change. They praised the programme’s achievements in addressing the plight of the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit, and in linking the campaign to socioeconomic benefits and habitat rehabilitation. Please click here to read more.

Donors Enhancing Our Capacity For Effective Conservation
By Christy Bragg, Programme Manager
  • Hyde Park Corner mall in Johannesburg ran a very successful promotion during Easter, which not only brought in bucks for the bunnies (over R11,000), but also raised awareness through kids-focused activities and competitions around the Riverine Rabbit. Thank you Hyde Park Corner and Ms Nicola van Kan for your dedication and donation, and thanks to Nu Metro for sponsoring movie tickets as prizes for the promotion. We hope other shopping malls will follow their example next Easter!
  • The RRP is now medically prepared too, thanks to Sere-Med and Mr Gary Page who donated three comprehensive First Aid kits to the rehabilitation programme. These will be useful for our rough-and-tough teams working out in the middle of the Karoo veld! The RRP places a special emphasis on health and safety of our employees, and is very grateful for these kits. 
  • RS Components has provided the tools for conservation! The RRP is indebted to Mr Chris Watt who kindly organized the donation of several essential tools to enable and enhance our rehabilitation work in Loxton. Bonnie and the nursery team have already started drilling and hammering!
  • Mr Gideon Melck is warmly thanked for his sponsorship of the first RRP-owned camera trap for our demography experiments. A website is under construction for sponsors who will be able to see the images from their very own sponsored camera. If you would like to sponsor a camera trap for RRP’s conservation work, please contact Christy.
  • Many thanks to Joe van Wyk, fellow “Loxtonviller”, for his kind cash donation to the RRP.
  • Lindt handed over a cheque for R270,000 to RRP in June, and Christy got to make her very own chocolate rabbit in front of the press!

If you would like to Dare to Care for the Riverine Rabbit, please contact Christy, or Debbie.

 

 

Newsletter Logo Competition

Our newsletter logo competition is “hotting up” with entries coming in from all over South Africa. Prizes include a beautiful pair of professional Chef n G’ Rabbit salt and pepper grinders, kindly donated by Yuppiechef and a hamper packed with delicious Lindt chocolate products. There are also lots of exciting prizes, such as Mom-and-Baby Riverine Rabbit toys and the RRP’s own Karoo Life Game, in the children’s categories: toddlers up to 4 yrs; youngsters 5 to12 yrs; and teenagers from 13 to19 yrs. Send your entries (including your age and details) to Christy, before 30th November 2012!

RRP Team Train with RenuKaroo
By Bonnie Schumann, Senior Field Officer

In June the RRP visited the RenuKaroo Nursery in Prince Albert to exchange knowledge on nursery propagation and veld restoration techniques. It was great to be able to swap information and lessons learnt with the experienced and friendly team at this outstanding nursery. Many thanks to Prof. Sue Milton and her team at RenuKaroo for their endless patience in explaining so much of what they do. We are also very grateful for the donation of a copy of “Karooveld Ekologie en Bestuur” book to the RRP library.

The Great Bossie Trek
By Bonnie Schumann, Senior Field Officer

Over a 1000 RRP-nurtured bossies were planted on the rehabilitation site on Sandgat, and 2000 bossies were planted on the Dunedin and Lapfontein sites along the Sak River during autumn. In addition, weathered soil saver was replaced with Kriedoring (Lycium spp) brush from an old cleared field, packed as barriers to control wind and water erosion on the Dunedin site.  Restoration in itself is a challenging process, but given the tremendous value of the ecosystem services that riparian areas provide, it is critical that we continue to develop and refine ways to restore degraded riparian areas along the seasonal rivers in the Karoo. A big thank you once again to the Loxton KVB for making their trailer available to transport our “bossies” and equipment to the rehabilitation sites. Many thanks also to the famers for their assistance in bringing the Kriedoring to the site on Dunedin, and helping to move bossies to the site on Lapfontein.  

Cameras Capture More Bunnies
By Christy Bragg, Programme Manager

We have just wrapped up our one-month camera trap trial in which 30 camera traps were placed over an area of 300 hectares. These remarkable cameras (loaned to the RRP by Jeremy Bolton; www.trailcamadventures.blogspot.com) yet again captured multiple images of Riverine Rabbits cavorting in their natural habitat. The RRP is tremendously excited about the potential of these camera traps to contribute to our demographic programme. During the servicing of the cameras, Johnny and Bonnie were also fortunate enough to practically trip over a Riverine Rabbit basking in the weak afternoon sun. Bonnie mentions that, “Rain-soaked socks and cold hands were instantly forgotten at this lively, furry reminder of why we were out there.”

YOU TOO CAN CAPTURE YOUR VERY OWN RIVERINE RABBIT PHOTOS - Donate a camera to the RRP for R3000 and you will be sent the images from your camera !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RRP Hosts Saasveld Students
By: Brenda Viljoen. Brenda and Christiaan Viljoen are third year conservation students (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) completing their practical year at RenuKaroo.

It was with great expectations that we left Prince Albert in May, and tackled the long road to Loxton. A little on our nerves, we were met by a terrific cold, but the friendliness of the Loxton community warmed us. For the next two days we helped set up 30 camera traps. On the second day we even had the opportunity to see some of the photos taken the previous night.  Then it was working full-steam on the rehabilitation sites; and before we knew it, we had reached our last week with the Programme. To read more about Brenda and Christiaan’s experiences with RRP, click

Sanbona Records 101st Riverine Rabbit Sighting
By Keir Lynch, Assistant Wildlife Manager: Sanbona
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve recently celebrated its 101st sighting of the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit.  The Reserve, created in 2002 to offer nature-based tourism within the Western Cape, discovered their Riverine Rabbit population in 2006.  As Sanbona is over 54 000 hectares in size, it plays a vital role in the conservation of the species.  Sanbona is working towards a Stewardship agreement with CapeNature to ensure the vital role of Sanbona in biodiversity conservation continues for many years to come. For more information, visit www.sanbona.co.za. Read more....

 I-Spot A Rabbit With My Little Eye!
By Sarah-Leigh Hutchinson, iSpot coordination team

The South African National Biodiversity Institute has recently released a fantastic new website called iSpot. This website enables anyone to share anything they have discovered in nature by uploading photographs of their observations, whether animals, plants, fish, insects, birds or fungi! iSpot is a very interactive space on the web where nature enthusiasts, from beginners to experts, share their knowledge and help each other identify species. For keeping track of Riverine Rabbits, iSpot users can submit observations and attach the Descriptive Tag “Riverine Rabbit”. There is also an option to “Hide Precise Location” if you are concerned about this. iSpot is one great way for the public to record sightings of the Riverine Rabbit - simply sign up and upload an observation of your own. Visit iSpot southern Africa at www.ispot.org.za and get Spotting or click here to read more about iSpot.

Die Oewerkonyntjie

Poem by Elmarie Naude, Williston Mall. Elmarie Naude is hard at work compiling a Karoo poetry (written by children) and colouring-in book for children. Read more about the unique Williston Mall at: Facebook page

Katreintjie, Katreintjie
my Oewerkonyntjie,
wat se lang ore sit op jou kop?
Jy wat by die rivierloop rond hop
jou oogies so mooi met wit omlyn,
’n donsige stertkwassie oulik en bruin,
die donker streep onder jou ken
laat my jou maklik tussen ander uitken!

 

 

 

If you would like this newsletter in Afrikaans, please send an email with this request to Christy

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

Karoo Regional Office, Loxton: (tel/fax) 053 381 3068; Postal address:  P. O. Box 172, LOXTON, 6985, South Africa