Volume 14Click here if you cannot view HTMLMarch 2007
ED's Note

A recent headline in Pretoria News proclaimed "Laas maand was kurk droog" (Last month was bone dry) - which is an accurate reflection of the looming winter months up here in Gauteng. Yet, as a late highveld thunder storm is raging outside, I can't help but wonder whether we're conscious enough of how precious water really is in South Africa. Face it, most of us are lucky to have instant water on tap, rain or shine.

This month, we're once again asked to focus and become aware of our use of water around the home with the upcoming Water Week from 19 to 25 March. The theme : Water is Life - Protect our scarce resources. And the decimation of our grasslands and wetlands due to urbanisation, agriculture, alien plant invasion, overgrazing, incorrect burning and over-harvesting of medicinal plants is placing increasing strain our ability to provide our growing population with potable drinking water.

It's a sad fact that sixty percent of South Africa's grasslands and fifty percent of our wetlands have already been irreversibly transformed. And the influence of this spreads far wider than even I realised - the health of aquatic ecosystems flowing from their source catchment areas to the sea significantly affects marine and coastal biodiversity. Luckily, there are dedicated people at the EWT and specifically the Marine and Coastal Working Group (MCWG) that are working to maintain the integrity of essential ecosystems that support life in our oceans.

What can we do to support them? Become conscious of our use of water around the home and office. And remember - while Water Week is in March, our commitment to water conservation needs to be an all year long one. - The Editor

Water is life - Protect our scarce resources

When you look out to sea it is difficult to imagine that water is a scarce resource. Although 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, less than 1% of this is suitable for our consumption. The earth is a closed system, therefore the total amount of water across the earth remains more or less constant. The amount of fresh water available to us today is about the same amount we had a thousand years ago, it’s availability does not increase with the growth of our population and development of new settlements or urban areas.

Click here to read more.

Written by Bernice McLean

Plight of our Wetlands

For years people have seen wetlands as “wastelands” – developments are being errected on every possible vacant piece of land, irrespective of the habitat and wetlands are frequently drained to facilitate construction. Sixty percent of South Africa's grasslands and fifty percent of our wetlands have already been irreversibly transformed, placing our country's already scarce water resources under even further strain.

Click here to read more.

Written by Sharon Magro

Eco News
Shark nets are on their way out!

The EWT is pleased to see that Natal Sharks Board (NSB) is embarking on a bold move to decrease the environmental impact on our inshore marine ecosystem. The NSB is mandated with protecting bathers from shark attack. In the past they have done this by setting shark nets to catch and kill sharks in order to reduce the number of sharks and hence decrease the risk of shark attack. A major problem is that the shark nets are not species-specific and catch a variety of harmless animals (bycatch) as well as harmless and dangerous sharks.

Click here to read more.

Written by Shanan Atkins

The EWT’s view of the new Threatened and Protected Species Regulations

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) welcomed the launch of the new Threatened and Protected Species Regulations on the 20th of February 2007 by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk. The Regulations are the result of a three year public consultative process to clean up the South African hunting industry and better conserve listed threatened and protected species.

Click here to read more.

Written by Dr Nick King

Endangered Wildlife Trust auction at Browns is a hit

The Endangered Wildlife Trust in collaboration with Browns of Rivonia held a highly successful charity auction for eighty people on Tuesday 20 February. Over R55 000 was raised following the auction of eight exclusive lots including a pack of six bottles of Rupert and Rothschild Baron Edmond which fetched a whopping R10 000, as well as a Middelvlei Pinotage 5 litre magnum which was sold for R5 000.

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Birds, Buck and the Challenge of Surviving in South Africa's Grasslands

Where: Country Club JHB , Auckland Park, Johannesburg
When: 13 March 2007
Time: 18:30 for 19:00
Dress: Smart Casual
Cost: R35.00 per EWT/CCJ member, R40 for non members - talk only

You may recall Steven Evans from his previous presentation on Ethiopia which was highly entertaining and very well attended. On this occasion Steven will promote the globally threatened Blue Swallow and Oribi as ambassadors for the conservation of South Africa’s Grasslands.

RSVP: 9 March 2007 - click here marketing@ewt.org.za to contact Mary Richie or phone on (011) 486 1102

Click here to read more.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Critically Endangered Maloti Minnow

Where: The Country Club Johannesburg, Napier Road, Auckland Park
When: 10 April 2007
Time: 18:30 for 19:00
Dress: Smart Casual
Cost: R35.00 per EWT/CCJ member, R40 for non members - talk only. Talk and Buffet Dinner: Members R115, R120 for non-members.

John Ledger gives us insight into the effects the Lesotho Highlands Water Project has on the Endangered Maloti Minnow found in the rivers in the area.

RSVP: 4 April 2007 - click here marketing@ewt.org.za to contact Mary Richie or phone on (011) 486 1102

Click here to read more.

The Venetia Limpopo Bike4Beasts MTB Individual Challenge supports EWT

Where: Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve, Limpopo
When: 27-28 April 2007
Time: 06:30
Dress: Sports Gear
Cost: R275 per entrant - 90 individuals and 20 teams of 3 (60 riders) will make up the participants of the race. Participants are requested to raise a minimum of R1000 sponsorship for the event.

Join us on this exciting and adrenalin-filled cross-country MTB challenge in the 33 000ha Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve.

RSVP: 31 March 2007 - click here info@lycaonlogistics.co.za to contact Wendy Collinson or phone on +27 (0) 83 657 1551

Click here to read more.

Eco Facts
Water saving points in your home

With the focus on Water Week in March and the need to conserve one of South Africa's most precious resources, we can all do our bit to help save water in our homes.

  • Don’t let water run in the basin. While shaving or brushing teeth, keep the tap turned off.
  • Fill a bowl of water to clean vegetables, instead of rinsing them under a running tap
  • Avoid using colouring for toilet water as these introduce chemicals into the eco-system which can be dangerous and costly to filter out.
  • Use water saving shower heads that deliver a max of 10 litres of water per minute
  • Choose shower heads that have a ‘shower off’ button to conserve water while you lather up

The EWT has a wish list that you could contribute to. We would be grateful for the following items/volunteers:

  • PA System
  • Data projector
  • EWT is looking for volunteers to help them clean up our contact database - give some time to EWT by helping us update our database through contacting members to confirm their details. All you'll need is some computer skills and be willing to make calls.

Our field workers often work in hard conditions with not much equipment so they get extremely excited when we can supply them with equipment to make their lives easier and more efficient. Click here to read more about the EWT Wish list.

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


The Riverine Rabbit is one of Southern Africa’s most endangered mammals. In fact, the latest edition of South Africa’s Red Data book lists the species as critically endangered. Not surprising, when it’s estimated that there are less than 250 adult rabbits left in the wild!

You can now ‘adopt’ a small or large Riverine Rabbit* cuddly toy to help support the work that the EWT does in conserving the eco-system they live in and tracking of the Riverine Rabbits to ensure they have a future.

Unit Price : excluding postage and packaging

  • Small - Per Unit Members : R 99.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Small - Per Unit Non-Members : R 110.00 (Inc. Vat)
  • Large - Per Unit Members : R 150.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Large - Per Unit Non-Members : R 165.00 (Incl. Vat)
  • Mother and baby pair - Per Unit Members: R235.00 (Inc. Vat)
  • Mother and baby pair - Per Unit Non-Members: R260.00 ( Inc Vat)

Please note that the correct colouring of the Riverine Rabbit in the Wild is Brown, with long ears and a white ring around their eyes.

To order, contact sales@ewt.org.za.

Update your Details: If you have moved home or jobs, please remember to update your details with the EWT so you can continue to receive invitations to events and updates on the work we do - click the link to update now - http://www.ewt.org.za/memberships_update.aspx