Issue: Vol 44 May 2012
  • Blue Swallows
  • Vulture Summit
  • Earth Day
  • Carnivore Photographic census
  • Eskom and Giraffe electrocution
  • Marlin Lodge makes a splash
  • Grass-Owl tagging
  • Bird of the Year
  In other news
Summit to save Africa’s vulture populations from extinction

Eleven species of vulture occur on the African continent and the populations of these species have declined considerably. The range and extent of threats facing these species is varied, but include poisoning, habitat loss, and collection for food and witchcraft.

The Vulture Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, working with the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and The Peregrine Fund and their partners in the African Raptor Network, aimed to assess the population status of all African vulture species and identify and initiate the implementation of appropriate conservation interventions and actions to attempt to effectively address the key threats to these birds from a continental perspective. This initiative was generously sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife without Borders Programme and Sasol Limited...READ MORE

Africa to seize opportunities of the burgeoning green economy

On the 22nd of April more than one billion people, from all over the world, celebrated Earth Day. This year also sees the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – RIO+20 pushing the ‘Green Economy’ forward. Global business leaders are jumping on board and with Sir Richard Branson recognizing that "Climate change is one of the greatest wealth generating opportunities of our generation", African businesses should be grasping the ‘Green’ opportunity and holding on tight! So, this Earth Day we should be celebrating our environment and all the opportunities it holds for economic growth, wealth generation and job creation.

Bird of the Year 2012 - African Fish Eagle

The icon of Africa’s waterways, wetlands and estuaries, the African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer, has been named South Africa’s Bird of the Year for 2012. With its characteristic call that evokes images synonymous with Africa and its natural environment in most people’s mind, this species is a more than appropriate candidate for title.READ MORE

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Too few people know that May the 22nd is International Biodiversity Day. A day when everyone around the world should celebrate the glorious diversity of life on Planet Earth, and the way in which these various forms of life and their complex inter-dependences are integral to our survival as human beings. Frankly, everyday should be a day of celebrating biodiversity or a least acknowledging it, treasuring it and conserving it, but I’ll settle for this one day, as long as we do it seriously!

By now most people know that the planet is losing precious biodiversity at an unprecedented rate despite the commitments made by the signatories to the Convention in Biodiversity (including South Africa) in 2002 to achieve by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth”. Yet, not even one country achieved this target. Progress in South Africa is also falling behind.  We remain a country with extraordinarily high levels of biodiversity but need a much greater commitment to conserving it and honouring our obligations. Underpinning this is not necessarily the strength of our legal regime or our enforcement agencies, but the passion and zeal for our natural heritage, which we South Africans need to reclaim.

South Africa occupies only 2% of the world’s land surface area and yet is home to 10% of the world’s plant species and 7% of its reptile, bird and mammal species. Our oceans are home to about 10 000 species, representing 16% of the world’s marine wildlife. We are equally blessed with a rich diversity of cultural heritage, which is integrally linked to our natural world through our history, our evolution, our development, our livelihoods and our unique South African way of life.

The Cape Floral Kingdom is the only floral kingdom in the world that is located entirely within the borders of one country. It is the smallest, richest and most threatened of the world’s six floral kingdoms and is home to 9 000 or 38% of the country’s plant species. More than half of all plant species found in South Africa are endemic, as are 70% of the nearly 80 000 invertebrate species in this country and 56% of the more than 80 species of amphibians. The total value added to South Africa’s economy by ecosystem services in South Africa, excluding the marine environment, water extracting and mineral resources, is estimated to be around R73 billion per annum, which is in the region of 7% of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product. Over 70% of South Africans use traditional medicinal plants as their primary source of healthcare. The total value of resources provided by rivers, wetlands and estuaries is estimated to be worth about R1.05 billion, R784 million and R60 million per year, respectively. More important than figures and statistics is however, the specialness of our Africa. From the jackal’s cry and the hyena’s guffaw; to the flight of the Fish Eagle; to the majestic Drakensberg vista and the serenity of grazing rhino. The value of South Africa’s biodiversity: billions. Impact on our souls and lives: priceless.

 Let every day be Biodiversity Day.

Yolan Friedmann
Endangered Wildlife Trust


Urgent conservation attention required to bring the Blue Swallow back from the brink of extinction

The EWT Threatened Grassland Species Programme has taken on the task of reversing the rapid decline and possible extinction of the South African population of the Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea. The local Blue Swallow population is facing a risk of certain extinction if both their breeding and non-breeding habitats cannot be urgently secured. According to Dr. Ian Little, Programme Manager of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme, “Loss of suitable habitat is the primary cause of Blue Swallow’s population decline, however causes for recent continued declines are uncertain. Four known regional populations of Blue Swallow have already gone extinct in South Africa in the past decade. This includes a breeding population that was in the Kaapsehoop region, which was once recognised as a Blue Swallow Natural Heritage site...READ MORE

Evaluating the status of large carnivores using Citizen Science and a Photographic Project

The EWT Carnivore Conservation Programme, in collaboration with the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, has embarked on two key initiatives: the first being a citizen science trail camera survey and the second a photographic project, with the aim of better managing the human-wildlife conflict in the area.  The citizen science trail camera survey seeks to gather data on the numbers, distribution and habits of large carnivores living in the Waterberg area...READ MORE

Eskom puts an end to Giraffe electrocutions in Marloth Park

In June 2011, the EWT received a report of a giraffe electrocution in Marloth Park.  Constant Hoogstad, Project Coordinator for the EWT’s Wildlife and Energy Programme conducted an investigation and advised Eskom that, due to the number of electrical transformers requiring mitigation, an additional site visit involving all stakeholders should be conducted with urgency. Subsequent site visits and meetings with Marloth Park landowners and Eskom representatives were conducted in July and December 2011, with the most recent consultation taking place in February 2012...READ MORE

The EWT and Marlin Lodge make a splash for oceans

On May 5th, the EWT invited all dive operators in Vilanculos, Mozambique, and the surrounding islands to participate in a global conservation event driven by CONNECT THE DOTS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE.  Across the planet, we see ever more flooding, more drought, and more storms. Closer to home, we see coral bleaching  and feel the wrath of tropical cyclones—the impacts we’re already witnessing from climate change are unlike anything we have seen before. But because the globe is so big, it’s hard for most people to see that it’s all connected.  The event involved broadcasting how climate change has affected an array of places around the world by placing a “dot” at these locations. Because the ocean is the planet’s largest carbon sink, the EWT, in partnership with Marlin Lodge, created an event for the Bazaruto Archipelago where our Dugong Protection Project is run. The idea was to get as many divers together and then to group them together into a human dot close to the surface of the ocean. This dot was then photographed and the images sent to then shared the dots from around the world and gave climate change a human face,  hopefully forcing people to wake up to the ravages of climate change.

Rehabilitation and release of African Grass-Owls: A viable conservation strategy?

An injured African Grass-Owl (Tyto capensis) was released at Oxbow Country Estate in March after spending some time under the care of Delecia Gunn at Loskop Dam Nature Reserve. The owl was first brought to vet Dr. Zephné Bernitz after being struck by a mower on a farm near Middelburg, Mpumalanga. The natural defensive posture for an African Grass-Owl is to fall on its back exposing its impressive talons to the threat. The resulting injuries meant that Dr. Bernitz had to amputate a few toes. The owl recovered well under rehabilitation and it was soon ready to be released back into the wild. Oxbow was chosen as a suitable release site, with good wetland habitat but no resident African Grass-Owls that would drive the bird out of their territory. On the 13th of March the owl was ringed and fitted with a radio transmitter at the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s head office. It was then released and monitored on a daily basis in order to maintain contact should it decide to leave the area. The owl remained within the wetland habitat at Oxbow, and seemed to fair well at first, but after four days I realized that the bird had grown weaker and the decision was made to capture it again...READ MORE


  Country Club Johannesburg talk 12th June 2012.
For information on the next EWT Country Club Johannesburg talks contact Debbie Thiart at for further information.

Golf Day
The EWT’s Annual Golf Day at the Zwartkop Country Club on the 20th April 2012 was a big success with 112 golfers participating. The event raised a total R80 000 for the Trust! Thank you to all our donors who participated and contributed to a great day. It is your generosity and commitment that allows us to continue the work we do to save our threatened species and ecosystems.


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

Fluffy Toys E-shop


Smart Shopper Card Pick n Pay
Pick n Pay are supporting EWT’s Rhino Campaign and have loaded EWT on their Smart Shopper Card for customers to donate their points. Simply register and swipe your card at any in store kiosk and donate your points to our Rhino Campaign whenever you shop at Pick n Pay!

Raffle for Rhinos
Photo Freedom KwaZulu-Natal is holding a raffle on behalf of the EWT’s Rhino Project.  The raffle aims to raise R300 000 for efforts to address rhino poaching. The tickets are on sale for R100 each and the winner will receive one of three limited edition rhino image canvas prints donated by JFK Photography.   The closing date for the raffle is the 31st May 2012. For more information please contact Joy Nel at or Mariette Riggien at (include images, sent by Joy, of what the prizes look like)

The EWT is proud to present its’ very first diary
The EWT is proud to present a unique diary commemorating South Africa’s spectacular wildlife, created in partnership with Global Diaries. This special 2013 EWT diary will be available for ordering through our e-shop by mid May 2012. To place single or bulk orders directly, phone Global Diaries on 011 373 2913 or 083 926 7325 or visit their website

Bright, Young Activists
Six incredible young ladies took the initiative to sell their very special homemade lemonade to raise funds which were donated, along with their own pocket money to the EWT’s Rhino Project. We commend these young ladies for their initiative and genuine concern for our heritage. They paid a visit to the EWT offices and each received a thank you parcel from the EWT. We are delighted to see such young ambassadors helping us to spread awareness and passion for wildlife.

Help the Rhino and Win!
Help the EWT in our efforts to address rhino poaching by SMSing WIN to 31913 and donating R10.00 to the cause. The entirety of the donation will be made to the EWT as zero admin costs will be levied by the cell providers. On making the donation you will automatically be entered into our lucky draw for an all inclusive weekend away for two, including two return flights to Kasane courtesy of Air Botswana, and a fully inclusive luxurious stay at the four-star Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa in Kasane, Botswana.

Eco Stars
Eco Star, the EWT’s new kids only club, is launching on the 8th of June Outdoor  Eco Adventure Travek Experience show at the Waterfall Polo Estate in Kyalami ! Be sure to join us from the 8th to the 10th of June at the Waterfall Polo Estate where we will be enrolling new members!

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

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