Volume 10Click here if you cannot view HTMLJuly 2006
ED's Note

National Environment Week (5-11 June) and World Population Day (11 July) came and went with the minimum of fanfare and publicity. Did any of you see anything on the 7 o'clock news? It's a pity really. We are in desperate need of more exposure to bring our message home to a wider audience. And if a National Day can't get it, how do we manage to get our voices heard?

There is one way you can help out. The EWT needs you to vote now to help us secure our place at the 2006 Giving Exchange. If we get enough votes, we'll have a world class platform to reach everyone's heart and mind. Voting closes on 31 July so please Cast Your Vote so that we stand a chance to be invited to this event.

There's no doubt that as a species, humans leave a very large footprint on our natural environment and the finite resources of this beautiful planet we live on. And some frightening facts should be made public:

  • the world population currently stands at six billion people and increases by three people per second
  • South Africa's population is estimated at 45 million people
  • the 42 countries that use the most energy per person, only have 1 quarter of the world's population
  • the 128 countries that use the least energy per person, have 3 quarters of the world's population

While our population is increasing by the second, other less fortunate inhabitants are diminishing rapidly ... like the Grass Owls (see article below) who are especially vulnerable due to habitat destruction and the increase in veld fires during the winter months.

We need to take a stand, be loud and proud in our efforts in order to be heard. Support the EWT by becoming a member or asking your friends and family to join the cause as well. - The Editor

What is all this flap about PHVAs?

In the May edition of EWTalk, the acronym PHVA, which stands for a Population and Habitat Viability Assessment, was referred to more than once. L.D. van Essen (Ground Hornbill Working Group Manager) mentioned the Ground Hornbill PHVA workshop that was held in February last year and Sonja Kreuger (Bearded Vulture Species Champion from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) mentioned a Bearded Vulture PHVA. A PHVA workshop is a tool to assist in the development of a strategic conservation plan for a threatened species and its habitat.

Click here to read more.

Written by Brenda Daly

Crane Conservation in Kenya and Uganda is Key for Wetland Health

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) was once widespread across Uganda and Kenya, a denizen of the seasonal grass swamps that carpet the valley floors of the Lake Victoria catchment. In recent decades, the range and population of Grey Crowned Cranes have decreased sharply in response to ever-increasing human pressure for agriculture and livestock grazing on their wetland breeding grounds. As these wetlands degrade and disappear, many of their important functions are lost. Not only do these wetlands provide invaluable habitat for threatened Grey Crowned Cranes and a host of other mammals and waterbirds, but they provide a reliable source of water during dry seasons and in times of drought, serve as filters to produce clean drinking water for local communities and ensure clean runoff to Lake Victoria downstream.

Click here to read more.

Written by Kerryn Morrison

New Vulture Colour-Marking Method for Southern Africa

A new era in the study of the biology of southern African vulture species has arrived with the implementation of a method, known as patagial tagging, in the colour-marking of such birds. Colour-marking of birds is commonly used as a simple and affordable method to identify individuals in a population to determine, among other aspects, the birds' movements, dispersal, foraging range and longevity across their range.

Click here to read more.

Written by André Botha

Eco News
Anyone been birding lately? Has anyone seen something interesting perhaps?

How would you like to show the world what you've seen while contributing data to the Online NaturalWorld Sightings Database, a new interactive Mapping Database that has recently been launched and that is aimed at helping other Organisations such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust to better understand the Species they are concerned about.

Click here to read more.

Written by Kevin Ravno

Fighting Fires

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis) habitat is rapidly being lost to development, land clearing for agriculture, unnatural fires, overgrazing and afforestation. This is worrying since there are fewer then 5 000 of these birds left. The Grass Owl is one of only two South African owls listed as Vulnerable, the other being the Pel's Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli).

Click here to read more.

Written by Hayley Komen

Call for Urgent, Coordinated Strategy on Wild Coast

Five of South Africa's major environmental Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) (the Botanical Society of South Africa, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), the Wilderness Foundation, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and the World-Wide Fund for Nature - South Africa (WWF-SA) have agreed to a collaborative approach to address sustainable development and environmental conservation on the Wild Coast. This region, still largely ecologically intact, offers us the opportunity to break from current short-term, exploitative development models which are unsustainable, to a more locally-driven, socially-equitable model designed to benefit local people.

Click here to read more.

Source The Southern African Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, CSIR, 2004.

EWT Annual Wine Makers Dinner

Where: The Grace Hotel, Bath Ave, Rosebank
When: Saturday, 26 August 2006
Time: 18:00 for 18:30
Dress: Smart
Cost: R295.00 per person

The Endangered Wildlife Trust together with Liquid Assets & Middelvlei Wines invite you to join us for a fundraising evening with a difference. Enjoy a four course meal, each course carefully chosen and served with an accompanying Middelvlei wine, selected to compliment the food.

RSVP: 18 August 2006 - EWT Members, click here marketing@ewt.org.za to contact Mary Ritchie at EWT or phone Mary on (011) 486 1102

Click here to read more.

Directions in Wild Dog Conservation in South Africa

Where: The Country Club Johannesburg, Napier Road, Auckland Park
When: 15 August 2006
Time: 18:30 for 19:00
Dress: Smart Casual
Cost: R35.00 per EWT/CCJ member, R40.00 per non members, talk only.

We are pleased to announce that Harriet Davies-Mostert, the newly appointed Manager of the Carnivore Conservation Group, will be giving a talk on the current status of African wild dog conservation in South Africa. Harriet is presently completing her Doctorate entitled "The utility of the metapopulation approach for African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) conservation in South Africa" at Oxford University.

RSVP: 8 August 2006 - EWT Members, click here marketing@ewt.org.za to contact Mary Ritchie at EWT or phone Mary on (011) 486 1102

Click here to read more.

The EWT Great Green Golf Day Fundraising Event

Where: The Lost City Golf Course at Sun City, Rustenburg
When: 28 & 29 September 2006
Time: Registration from 08:00 Shot gun start at 11am
Dress: Official Golf Attire (soft spikes only) and Smart Casual for Prize Giving
Cost: From R8000.00 a 4 ball ( includes accomodation)

Join us for a round of golf at the Endangered Wildlife Trust's annual "Great Green Golf Day" at Sun City. Come and show your support for conservation and enjoy an unbeatable day out on one of the leading courses in South Africa . Get away from the city and relax, entertain your clients and staff and have a "ball" playing in the wild surroundings of the Lost City.

RSVP: 4 August 2006 - Alison de Smidt on (011) 486 1102 or alisond@ewt.org.za

Click here to read more.

Greener Life Tips

Next time you go shopping take a moment to think of the effect your next purchase could have on the environment. Be an informed consumer. There are safe alternatives to many of the products we buy today.

  • Buy pump-action sprays, particularly when refills are available. Avoid aerosols unless they state they do not use CFCs. + Buy recycled toilet paper, stationery etc.
  • If you can, buy in bulk - it saves packaging and money.
  • Avoid products designed specifically for a short life span, for example disposable items such as nappies - buy long-lasting items to reduce the amount of urban waste.
  • Take your own bag shopping. Billions of non-recyclable or non-biodegradable carrier bags are given away free and used only once. These can, for example, end up in rivers and seas where they can kill or injure wildlife. Re-use them as dustbin liners and take half-a-dozen along to the supermarket for re-use. Some supermarkets have introduced collection points for carrier bags - find out if yours has one.

Remember yours is the power of the purse - you can make a difference by selecting articles which are environmentally safe.

Eco Facts
Grass Owls
  • Less than 5000 Grass Owls are left in South Africa and the population is declining.
  • African Grass Owls usually hunt by making a fast strike to the ground whilst in flight.
  • The ground roost of the African Grass Owl develops into a series of cave-like forms in the grass, interconnected by tunnels and open landing platforms.
  • When hunting, about 90% of strikes are unsuccessful.
  • Owls do not have crops or true stomachs - food is passed directly into the foregut where it's digested and indigestible parts are regurgitated as a compact pellet.

If you're at a loss on what to do with unwanted items, why not donate them to the EWT. The EWT has a wish list that you could contribute to. We would be grateful for the following items:

  • 300 000 Voyager miles needed urgently to allow our scientists to attend a Vortex training course to be held in Mexico in October. Vortex is a computer programme, developed by the IUCN's Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, which assists with the modelling of conservation scenarios to guide the development of conservation plans for threatend and endangered species. Having locally available specialists will mean that we no longer have to draw in costly internationational expertise to give input into these workshops.Please donate your Voyager Miles to the EWT through SAA Voyager.
Click here to read more about the EWT Wish list.

Please contact Penny Buthelezi on (011) 486-1102 or email wishlist@ewt.org.za to organise for deliveries, and collections where necessary.

Discounted Lifestyle Winter Warmer

Take advantage of the Discounted Lifestyle Winter Warmer offer to EWT members and enjoy a winter weekend away!


Please quote WINT06 as your booking code when making your reservation. Call 0861 444 444 to make your booking today.

Click here to read more.

Wild dog tracking trips

Wild dog tracking trips provide guests with an exciting opportunity to radio-track the Venetia wild dogs with the researchers on the project. These trips are conducted in the early morning or the late afternoon when the wild dogs are generally most active.

Remember: EWT members receive a 20% discount on each tracking trip booked.

Click here to read more.

SA Gardening and Tuin Paleis Magazine Subscription Offer

SA Gardening is a specialist monthly gardening magazine catering exclusively for keen gardening enthusiasts on the subcontinent. Its editorial policy is to provide readers with both practical, hands-on information and advice as well as inspirational ideas for creating a beautiful garden. The magazine is designed as a reference guide for keen gardeners who retain it as a resource for future use. The magazine aims to provide gardening enthusiasts with a window on the world of gardening in all its many forms.

Remember: EWT members receive a 40% discount off the cover price.

Click here to read more.