Issue: Vol 45 August 2012
  • Bats in the belfry 
  • Roadkill Research
  • Eno the Leopard fighting canine
  • Win with RRP – Draw a Rabbit!
  • Red Carpet EWT
  • The Dashing Dogs of Africa
  In other news

Win with RRP – Draw a Rabbit!

The Riverine Rabbit Programme is running a competition for a new RRP newsletter logo. Prizes include a beautiful pair of bunny-shaped professional Chef n G salt and pepper grinders, kindly donated by Yuppiechef (www.Yuppiechef.com ) and a hamper packed with delicious Lindt chocolate products. There are also lots of exciting prizes 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 christyb@ewt.org.za, before 30th November 2012 !

Red Carpet EWT

The EWT ‘s Riverine Rabbit and Wildlife and Energy Programmes were both nominated for the Mail and Guardian Greening the Future Awards.  We are very proud to announce that the Riverine Rabbit Programme won the Biodiversity/Natural Resources Management category of the Greening the Future Awards. The Greening judges emphasized the national importance of water catchments and riparian areas in combating the impacts of climate change and praised the programme’s achievements in addressing and highlighting the plight of the critically endangered Riverine Rabbit and in linking the campaign to socioeconomic benefits and habitat rehabilitation.

Yolan Friedmann, CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, was also recently nominated for and won CEO Magazine's Most Influential Woman in SA in the category Environment, Waste and Forestry

Eno the Leopard fighting canine!

Eno, one of the EWT’s Livestock Guarding Dogs, met a leopard head on and won!  Eno lives on a farm near the town of Baltimore in Limpopo where he spends his days happily guarding Nguni cattle.  As with all of our LGDs Eno works alone in the veld with his herd and his owner, Friedl van Rensburg, realised that something was amiss when he could not pick up a signal from the radio transmitter on Eno’s collar.  The dog was found and his collar removed and that’s when his owner noticed the puncture marks made in the transmitter by the sharp teeth of a leopard.  The wild cat tried to poach some of Eno’s herd and when the Anatolian fought back the leopard bit him but was scared away when the battery in the dog’s transmitter exploded.  Not a single one of Eno’s herd was hurt or missing.


The LGD Project has been extremely successful in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces over the past 6 years.  110 Dogs have been placed and loss reduction has dwindled from over R 4,2 million to approximately R 140 000.  This has increased the tolerance levels of farmers towards carnivores, thus expanding the areas where these carnivores can safely roam. For further information on the Livestock Guarding Dog Project please contact Deon Cilliers of the EWT’s Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Programme at deonc@ewt.org.za

 
 

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NEWS FROM OUR CEO

The 2012 London Olympics have come to a spectacular close and the armchair athletes among us were inspired, intimidated, enthralled or simply astounded as the best the world has to offer competed for gold, silver and bronze and the title of the world’s fastest, strongest, fittest, most accurate and best trained. Whilst we humans slap each other on the back for breaking records and defying the odds, Professor Craig Sharp from Brunel University has just released a paper in the Veterinary Record that demonstrates how members of the animal kingdom could easily out-compete humans in most of the major sporting events at the Olympics. The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, is no competition for the planet’s fastest land animal - the cheetah, whose speeds of up to 100m per 5.8 seconds simply crush Bolt’s record of 9.63 seconds for the same distance. Add another 100metres to the distance and Bolt does it in 20.39 seconds whilst the Cheetah add about a second to its time and manages 200m in only 6.9 seconds!
Animals outperform humans over distance too and whilst Patrick Makau of Kenya holds the record for the 42.2km marathon distance in a blistering 2 hours and 3 minutes, endurance horses will cover this same distance in around 1 hour 18 minutes. Even camels and Siberian Huskies can maintain speeds of 16 km/h for over 18 hours. In weightlifting, Iran’s Hossein Rezazadeh holds the current record at 580 pounds, but the African elephant can lift 660 pounds with only its trunk! To top this, gorillas have been known to lift almost 2000 pounds through only a snatch or jerk technique. Mike Powell’s long jump record of 8.95 meters would be no match for a Red Kangaroo which can leap distances of over 12 meters with the Snakehead Fish reaching 4 metres into the sky directly out of water. Good thing that there is no Olympic flying event for humans as they would lose here too: Peregrine Falcons can reach speeds of 259 km/h, while ducks and geese can achieve speeds of 103 km/h in level flight.
Sadly, one race humans look certain to win over many of these incredible species is the race against extinction. It seems that we humans can achieve extraordinary things when we put our hearts and souls into it, yet keeping our planet and its multitude of extraordinary creatures alive appears to be a challenge we’re just not taking up. Pity, because with every species we drive to extinction, the more we in fact lose. We may not be the fastest or strongest species, but we are the most versatile and surely the most intelligent... Let each one of us become a Champion for our Earth and Stop Species Extinction! Join the EWT today and help us win their race.  


Yolan Friedmann
CEO
Endangered Wildlife Trust

PROJECT NEWS

Bats in the belfry 

The mention of bats does not usually evoke feelings of love and warmth in most people. Misconceptions about bats have not made them very popular creatures even though they play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity and the sustainability of the environment.

Bats are the only mammals that can fly and South Africa boasts some seven fruit-eating bat species and 65 insect-eating bat species. The benefits of having bats in one’s neighbourhood far out-weigh any possible disadvantages. Insect-eating bats consume masses of insects that could otherwise cause huge damage to crops and, carry harmful diseases like malaria or sleeping-sickness.

In Austin, Texas in the USA a colony of approximately 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats spend their summers roosting under a bridge in the center of the city. Each of these bats can consume up to eight grams of insects a night in the fruit orchids surrounding the city. This means that the entire colony can potentially consume an incredible 12 tons of insects in a single night! This saves the local farmers billions of dollars that otherwise would have to be spent on harmful pesticides.

Many fruit bats are responsible for pollinating flowers and fruit trees, including bananas, mangos, wild guavas and even the iconic African Baobab. Bat guano, or faeces, is considered to be one of the most nutrient-rich types of plant fertilizer and is sold all over the world. Research is currently underway to use the unique anticoagulant, extracted from the saliva of South American vampire bats, to help stroke and heart attack victims. Furthermore, studies of bats’ use of echolocation have resulted in the design of navigation systems for the blind.  Despite the obviously important role of bats in our ecosystems over one fifth of all bat species are threatened and some people still consider them to be loathsome creatures.  Education and identification of key threats to bat biodiversity are imperative if we are to change perceptions and turn the tide on species decline.

Wind farms have been identified as a key threat to bat populations. This is of particular concern in the South African context as many developers are seeking approval to proceed with various wind farm projects across the country. In a bid to mitigate the possible negative effects of wind farms on bat populations the Endangered Wildlife Trust, in partnership with independent eco-consultant and trainer Sandie Sowler; Stellenbosch University postdoctoral fellow Samantha Stoffberg; and endorsed by the South African Wind Energy Association, have recently completed the South African Good Practice Guidelines for Surveying Bats in Wind Farm Developments. 

This documenthighlights the importance of bats in the context of the ecosystem services they provide and discusses the need to assess the impact of wind farms on ecology. In addition it provides guidance on assessing the need for monitoring and preparing, planning and implementing bat monitoring in respect to wind farm development. The guidelines aim to standardise data collection and results interpretation and proactively address any possible negative impacts before it is too late.

For further information contact Kath Potgieter on kathp@ewt.org.za. The Wildlife and Energy Programme is sponsored by Eskom.

Roadkill Research and Mitigaton Project makes some interesting seasonal discoveries

Phase 2 of the fieldwork of the Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project is drawing to a close, and the data analysis will shortly begin. Data collected has been across the three ecological seasons: hot / dry (September – December), hot /wet (January – April) and cold / dry (May – August). Wendy Collinson, the project executant has been finding marked differences between the seasons, with less wildlife being hit on the roads during the cold / dry season. However, she noticed that larger mammals were more prevalent during the cold /dry season. Due to the poor rains, many animals were feeding on the road verges due to the lack of grazing on the farms and consequently being hit by cars. Wendy sampled the roads during the day as well as before dawn and after dusk. It has been a particularly harsh winter with very low temperatures, making it particularly unpleasant to be ‘out in the field’. Bridgestone SA, sponsors of the project, took pity on Wendy and donated blankets and warm clothes in order to help her brave the icy early mornings. Many of the roads that Wendy also drives are not in the best condition and the tyres on her project vehicle have not worn too well. Thank you to Bridgestone SA for donating tyres to the project and extending the life of the vehicle!

The Dashing Dogs of Africa

Ask anyone who has monitored Wild Dogs – at some point you can’t help but fall for your favourites in the pack. It’s tricky not to get sucked into some emotional tie with this species because they’re such vibrant animals and individuals often have clear personality traits. With their sleek and slightly spindly physique and their brisk trotting they almost seem quite precious and fragile at times; even when they constantly impress upon us that they are tough as nails.

They can hunt with efficiency even when missing limbs or have snares slicing deep into their flesh and it is apparent that given a break from human persecution and habitat fragmentation they can persist and survive. It is a bit of a charismatic, tender, pungent and brutal liaison that Wild Dogs can have with observers, prey and packmates.

Tambo was one of those characters who, in part because of his two crumpled, rather unsavoury looking ears, stood out. He just looked a little more bad-ass than his pack mates. His history showed us the potential that Wild Dogs have to capture our imagination and achieve popularity among tourists and the general public. His ignominious death, strangled in a snare set for antelope, represented how much work we have ahead of us to create safer reserves and range land for Wild Dogs, despite the hard work put in by many people already.

In late 2009 he led a dispersal group of eight males out of the south-western corner of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in a roughly circular route of over 300km past Ulundi, Vryheid and Hluhluwe for nearly two months. He was the last of his crew to be caught, darted from a helicopter while hurtling through the grass of Phinda desperately trying to avoid capture. Reunited with his five remaining travel companions in the Tembe Elephant Park boma, they were all later transferred to the Mkhuze Game Reserve (MGR) boma. We, the cooperative collection of various conservation entities which combine to make up the KwaZulu-Natal Wild Dog Advisory Group, then tried to source them appropriate females with which they could establish a new pack. The fact that their release into MGR only took place in mid- 2011 was an alarming indication of the lack of available female Wild Dogs nationally. 

It would have been all too Hollywood though for this Wild Dog specimen to have retired subtly. Tambo’s physical prime had been passed prior to release from the boma, and to highlight the complex and hard nature of the pack dynamic, he was displaced as the alpha male by a member of the original dispersal posse and relegated to an average member of the rather extraordinary Mantenga pack. Our colossal challenge is to ensure that we maintain a viable population of these captivating creatures for future generations to witness their own legends in the making.

For further information about the KZN Wild Dog Advisory Group and the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme contact Brendan Whittington-Jones on brendanw@ewt.org.za.  The project to expand the current range, and facilitate proactive management of Wild Dogs in northern KwaZulu-Natal is carried out through collaboration between the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Wildlife ACT, Wildlands Conservation Trust and the participants within the KZN Wild Dog Advisory Group. The EWT’s Wild Dog efforts are supported by Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, Land Rover Centurion, Richard Bosman and Vaughan de la Harpe.

EVENTS

Country Club Johannesburg: Lion Bone trade Talk
Kelly Marnewick, Manager of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, will speak about the captive Lion industry, how it functions, welfare issues, the impact on conservation and the possible links to the Lion bone trade. When: Tuesday 14 August 2012
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost:  R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact :   Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or debbiet@ewt.org.za  for more information

Music Event
Blue Suede Heaven, an official Elvis Presley Fan Club, will be hosting a fundraiser on behalf of the EWT.  The event will be an evening of Music through the Decades hosted at the Reading Country Club
When: Friday 17th August 2012
Where: Reading Country Club, Alberton, Johannesburg
Cost: Tickets are R140 and this includes a donation to the EWT, buffet supper, live       
entertainment, a raffle and spot prizes
Contact: Jennie Baldree on 011 731 3392 or BaldreeJ@macmillan.co.za for more information

Golf Day
Diamond Events will be hosting a golf day as a fundraiser on behalf of the EWT in conjunction with the Amateur Golfer’s Network at the Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate in Midrand, Gauteng.  
When: Sunday 19 August 2012
Where: Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate, Midrand
Contact: Samantha Byrne on 011 467 1039 or samantha@diamondevents.co.za  for more
information

International Vulture Awareness Day
The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme, in collaboration with VulPro and BirdLife South Africa, will be hosting the International Vulture Awareness Day, a fun-filled family day, at VulPro’s rehabilitation centre near Hartbeespoort Dam. The purpose of this day is to create awareness of the continued plight of all vulture species and to highlight the work done by conservationists to monitor populations and implement effective measures to conserve these birds and their habitats. Bring your family, friends and picnic baskets and join us for a fun day .
When: Saturday 1st September 2012
Where: Vulpro, Plot 121, Rietfontein, Boekenhoutkloof Road which becomes Kenneth Road
Cost: R20 adults and R10 children under 12
Contact: Zelda Hudson on 011 372 3600 or zeldah@ewt.org.za for more information

Country Club Johannesburg: Vulture Monitoring Talk
André Botha, Manager of the EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme, will be giving a talk on the need for a pan-African approach to vulture monitoring, research and conservationThe talk will be followed by the Birds of Prey Programme’s annual raptor conservationists awards ceremony.
When: Tuesday, 11th September 2012
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg 
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or debbiet@ewt.org.za  for more information

Wild Dog Talk
Brendan Whittington-Jones, Co-ordinator for the National Wild Dog Metapopulation Project,  will be delivering a talk on the realities and challenges of Wild Dog conservation in South Africa.
When: Thursday, 4th October 2012
Where: Ushaka Marine World, Durban
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members. No dinner for this talk.
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or debbiet@ewt.org.za  for more information

Country Club Johannesburg: Livestock Guarding Dog Project Talk
Deon Cilliers, Senior Field Officer for the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, will deliver a talk on the Livestock Guarding Dog Project and its impacts thus far. Two of the canines will be present.
When: Thursday 11th October 2012
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or debbiet@ewt.org.za  for more information

E-SHOP

Buy a Blue Swallow Sculpture to help save the species
The EWT has crafted and is selling lovely, to scale sculptures of Blue Swallows for R3000 a bird. To order please contact Joy Nel on joyn@ewt.org.za

Fluffy Toys e-shop

SUPPORTER NEWS

Wild Dogs captured forever in gold
On 17 July 2012 the SA Mint launched the latest coin in their Natura series, featuring the African Wild Dog, at the Kruger Park Protea Hotel.  A 1oz Natura coin was overstruck by EWT CEO Yolan Friedmann and Head of Fundraising, Vanessa du Plessis. The coin features the EWT paw print logo. For every coin set sold the SA Mint will donate R1000.00 to the EWT’s Wild Dog projects. For more information or ways to order this unique, magnificent coin set, contact natanya@samint.co.za

Bridgstone supports the Roadkill Research and Mitigaton Project
The Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project has been integrated into the EWT’s Airport Wildlife Programme in order to address biodiversity conservation in the rapidly growing, and potentially impactful, transport industry. The project will now operate under the expanded scope of the Wildlife Transport Programme.  The work of the Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project would not be possible without the generous support of Bridgestone SA.  

Land Rover Centurion and KZN Wild Dogs
Land Rover Centurion sponsors the KZN Wild Dog Project by donating a portion of the sale of every Land Rover. In addition, they maintain the Land Rover used by the EWT for the Wild Dog Project.  This support is vital to the financial health and longevity of our work with the species.  Visit them at www.landrovercenturion.co.za

Energy Savings
Electro Sense has generously continued their support of the EWT in our new building in Modderfontein by installing sensors that turn the lights off when a room is unoccupied.  This will result in substantial electricity savings for the EWT. For more information please contact www.electrosense.co.za

Latest Supporters

  • Barloworld
  • Investec
  • AndBeyond Travel SA (Pty) Ltd
  • Hollard Life Assurance Co
  • Berco Express an ARAMEX company
  • Printacom, OKI Printing Solutions
  • Modderfontein Golf Club

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

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