Issue: Vol 46: November 2012
  • Treasure hunts and rabbit races
  • New Anatolian puppies delivered to protect farmers’ flocks
  • Join us for Save Our Frogs Day!
  • Save the Rhino…bird?
  • Rwanda: A country of contrasts, communities and carbon
  • Following the Otter trail to Hungary
  In other EWT news

EWT, received the Ecologic Lifetime Achiever Award

The EWT was recently recognised for the world class excellence of its programmes and leadership when its Wildlife and Transport Programme was nominated in the Transport category and the organisation as a whole won the Biodiversity Category of the Second Annual Ecologic Awards hosted by Enviropaedia in association with SABC 3. Furthermore, Clive Walker, one of the founders of the EWT, received the Ecologic Lifetime Achiever Award for a life lived working at the very frontiers of conservation. The EWT is grateful to Enviropaedia, hosts of the annual Ecologic Awards, and the sponsors of the Biodiversity category, the Department of Environmental Affairs, for honouring us with this prestigious award. 



Rhinose Day is the core project of the Rhinose Foundation, a Section 18a non-profit trust registered in South Africa, aimed at effectively engaging the rhino war on two fronts. On the one hand, we will continue to support the ongoing reactive & physical campaign being fought against poaching on the ground. On the other, we will engage in a concerted campaign to spread education about the intrinsic value of wildlife in general and rhinos in particular.


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Numbers. Mathematical objects used to count, label and measure. Loved by politicians, journalists and teachers, adored by accountants and biologists. Depending on the context, these configurations of symbols have the power to shock us, thrill us or catalyse intense debate about not only the system of tallying which was applied, but the implication of such numbers for the object of its measure. Let me demonstrate: 38 - the number of Blue Swallow pairs left in South Africa. 600 – the number of rhino South Africa will probably lose to poachers during 2012. 48 (or so) days until Christmas and then another 7 until the end of 2012! But the scariest of them all is that there are now over 51.8 million people living in South Africa! That’s a worrying 13% increase in just 10 years! Globally, the human population crossed the 7 billion mark in March 2011. By far the most successful species to ever have existed, human beings seem to multiply despite the stresses of famine, disease, pollution, natural disasters, perpetual conflict and warfare and simply put, our increasingly unsustainable modern way of life, stresses that would probably have wiped out most other species!

So I am going to say it. It is probably no coincidence that the trends within the numbers of so many species are changing disproportionately to the trends within the numbers of humans. There are, simply put, too many humans. Yes, I have had endless debates and hours of discussion with various parties who argue that qualitative measures are more important than quantitative. So it is not about the number of humans per se, but more about the footprint of each human being, the quantity of resources we consume, destroy or just ruin, for others. The social scientists will argue that we need to reduce our impact and not our numbers; numbers alone don’t tell the story. The latter comment is of course true, but let’s consider this: we don’t always employ the ‘qualitative’ argument when we turn the discourse to other species. Numbers alone tell us that we will very possibly lose the last Blue Swallow or East Indian Ocean Dugong, the last of a range of cycads and even the last Wild Dog in South Africa in the next few years unless some drastic action is taken. Numbers alone tell us that the markets in the east for the resources in the south are simply too big to ensure sustainability. Numbers alone send shivers down our spine when the rhino poaching stats are revealed every year.

Yet numbers of humans is a taboo subject in most civilized circles. So let’s qualify the human population issue then. Person number 7 billion, when he or she was born last year, stood a 1 in 7 chance of going to bed hungry for most of his or her life. Over 18 000 people will die of hunger and over 3 000 will die from water related diseases - just today. Around 7 million children will die before they reach their 5th birthday this year. Not much quality for many, many people it seems. And the majority of the people that are counted into the stats above, come from the most populous countries with the highest population growth. Coming back home, 51.8 million folk is a lot of people to house, feed, educate and provide with work. It’s a lot of folk competing with Blue Swallows and Wild Dogs for land and food. Bottom line: Quality versus quantity aside, there are just too many people on planet earth, and if you ask me, this is the greatest and possibly most pressing challenge that the conservation community, AND the social scientists, politicians and in fact every one of us has to admit to, and address if we are ever to comprehend the notion of sustainability, for the sake of not only our wildlife but the future generations of humans too.

On a lighter note, the numbers of people who visited the fabulous new EWT web site in its first week or so stands at 1138, please do take a look and let us know what you think! 40 – A BIG number for the EWT and a case for commemoration and celebration next year when we celebrate this landmark. 200 – more words than I was commissioned to write so from me, thank-you for your support during 2012 and warmest wishes over the holidays.

Yolan Friedmann
Endangered Wildlife Trust

The EWT and Richard Du Toit 2013 Calendars

We are selling absolutely gorgeous 2013 calendars. Our member price is R273.60 and non member price is R299.00 – this excludes the R38.00 per calendar for postage of the calendars within South Africa.


Save the Rhino…bird?

When visiting a game reserve, everyone is always eager to see the Big 5 and with all the poaching problems these days, seeing a rhino is all the more special. When looking at a rhino though, other than a few avid birders, most people would hardly notice the brown birds with bright red beaks named in Afrikaans for the creature they are perched on – the “Renostervoël” or Oxpecker. Red-billed Oxpeckers are listed as Near Threatened in South Africa, which means that they are a species we should start worrying about saving now before things get any worse for them. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has decided to do something about oxpeckers and initiated the Operation Oxpecker Project to ensure that they are able to survive. READ MORE.


New Anatolian puppies delivered to protect farmers’ flocks by Deon Cilliers

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Livestock Guarding Dog Project recently placed six new Anatolian puppies with selected livestock farmers in Limpopo. These farmers farm within the natural distribution range of Cheetah.  This means that Cheetah occur naturally in the wild within the area and this sometimes leads to farmer-carnivore conflict when these Cheetah prey on livestock such as sheep, goats or cattle. 

The puppies were produced by the EWT Livestock Guarding Dog Breeding Project, conducted in partnership with Greendog Conservation. The breeding project is situated close to the small town of Alldays, which is also within the natural range of Cheetah. These puppies are the first to be born into the EWT and Greendog cooperative breeding project, with parents Thandi, belonging to Greendog Conservation, Derrin, an Akbash Anatolian, , belonging the EWT.

The puppies – Ranger, Wardance, Nyoka, Lexi, Legend and Panther – were sponsored by Cheetah Outreach so that they can be specifically placed where Cheetahs occur and where they could possibly predate on livestock.

The puppies will be closely monitored by the EWT Livestock Guarding Dog Project for the next 12 months and the recipient farmers will receive expert guidance on how to raise and train the puppies by the Livestock Guarding Dog Project. Eukanuba proudly supports the project by providing Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy food for these puppies for a year. The EWT Livestock Guarding Dog Project has reduced predation on livestock by 97% through the placement of livestock guarding dogs in high risk areas, and in most cases predation has been completely prevented. This increases the tolerance levels of the farmers towards predators such as Cheetahs and thus secures safe habitat for these predators.  It is estimated that only 600 Cheetahs occur outside of protected areas in South Africa, making it very important to secure conflict-free and Cheetah friendly farmland areas.

For further information on the Livestock Guarding Dog Project and to sponsor a dog for a year, please contact Deon Cilliers at  The Livestock Guarding Dog Project is sponsored by the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, the Way Trust USA, Novartis South Africa, Xstrata Eland Platinum, Eukanuba and Afrivet. 

Treasure hunts and rabbit races by Bonnie Schumann

In the month of October, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Riverine Rabbit Programme (EWT-RRP) travelled to two schools, one in Loxton, and one in Fraserburg, and hosted another Loxton school at the Karoo Indigenous Nursery. All together 140 learners from grades one to nine participated in the Riverine Rabbit awareness and education activities.

The visits to Loxton and Fraserburg included teams being tasked to draw the different rabbits and hares based on what they had learned during the programme about the four species occurring in the Karoo. The teams in the Grade One class in Fraserburg added a fifth, and distinctly delicious species – namely the Easter Bunny!

The Grade Four learners from JJ Booysen Primary in Loxton made a trip to the EWT-RRP nursery to learn more about nature and biodiversity. The whole class met Bonnie, the RRP Senior Field Officer, as well as Johnny and Hester, the EWT-RRP Nursery staff, who welcomed the learners to the nursery and introduced them to the Karoo bushes, or bossies, being grown for riparian habitat rehabilitation purposes. The bossie introduction entailed smelling the different bossies – most of which have a very distinctive and pleasant smell. Hester shared her knowledge on growing bossies and Johnny chatted to them about what is done with the bossies to repair the degraded habitat for the Riverine Rabbits. The staff then led the children on a treasure hunt along the bossie trail. Each team was armed with a map of the trail, which included clues to help them find the treasure. Amongst other things they had to bring Johnny a twig of Skaapbos before being allowed to proceed in the hunt. This meant the children had to smell different bossies in the vicinity in order to find the right one. They also had to find an animal that was hiding along the trail – a tin Riverine Rabbit hidden under a bush. At that point information was shared with them on Riverine Rabbits’ behaviour, where they live and why they are special.

A hopping race concluded the morning’s programme which was followed by a jovial walk back through town with the children greeting locals with bunny hops and chants of “Oewerkonyn”. For further information about the Riverine Rabbit Programme contact Bonnie Schumann on or 082 332 5447. The Riverine Rabbit Programme is sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank, Lindt, Altron Group, Mazda Wildlife Fund, Zoological Society for Species and Populations, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Zoo Berlin.


Join us for Save Our Frogs Day!

Aspiring princesses beware! We are very quickly running out of frogs to kiss! Frogs are among the most threatened species on Earth. These creatures of popular folklore are teetering on the brink of extinction and unless we act NOW to save them, South Africa too will start losing species.

Frogs are not just slimy and green and potential princely suitors. These water-loving amphibians are extremely important to our ecosystems as they provide food to a wide array of other animals and consume vast quantities of insects. They are also important bio-indicators due to their sensitive skins and biphasic lifestyle. Habitat destruction, increasing levels of pollution in freshwater systems, disease and changes in climate, are starting to have noticeable effects on amphibian communities globally. Despite their crucial role, amphibians are currently the most threatened Class of vertebrate animal on Earth, with 32% of all species listed as threatened - compared with 12% of birds and 23% of mammals. In South Africa, 29% of our frog species are listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. The fact that one third of all amphibians are Red Listed should be an important warning to humans that our global environment is in jeopardy and that urgent conservation action is crucial.

In an effort to bring these very important and beautiful amphibians back from the brink of extinction we will be holding a SAVE OUR FROGS DAY ON THE 1ST OF DECEMBER 2012.

The aim of the Save our Frogs Day is for any interested organisations and individuals to carry out their own activities that highlight amphibian conservation and generate increased awareness.
Save Our Frogs Day will:

• Raise awareness about the global amphibian crisis and the importance of wetlands in sustaining critical amphibian populations
• Create a platform for citizen science
• Raise funds for conservation activities for frogs and wetlands
• Have fun in the name of frogs!

Despite their benign nature, and environmental significance, frogs are received with mixed social attitudes. We need you to join us on Save Our Frogs Day to help bring this critically important suit of species back from the brink of extinction. In order to participate in the Save Our Frogs Day, organise your own event or join in on existing activities contact Jeanne Tarrant on

Rwanda: A country of contrasts, communities and carbon by Tanya Smith, Kerryn Morrison and Osiman Mabhachi

This year the ICF/EWT partnership for African Cranes initiated a project in Rwanda. Rugezi Marsh is one of the biggest wetlands in Rwanda, covering an area of nearly 7 000 ha and is probably the most critical site for the Grey Crowned Crane in the East African country. Rugezi Marsh is located in the Northern Province of Rwanda, straddling the two districts of Burera and Gicumbi.  The area has one of the highest population densities in Africa and is also inhabited by some of the poorest communities in the country.  Even chickens are considered a luxury food in the area, with most people living in a completely subsistence manner.  The catchment of Rugezi, like most of Rwanda, is 100% converted to subsistence agriculture and Eucalyptus plantations. The slopes of Rugezi catchment are incredibly steep (more than a 35o slope) and hence a real challenge for agriculture.  Erosion and loss of top soil down the slope and into Rugezi has been very significant and the soil fertility on the slopes has decreased significantly over time.   A huge concern is the fact that the population is increasing even further and the demand for land is even higher. With decreasing productivity and erosion, there is only so much that this catchment and its communities can withstand, before they move back to the wetland...READ MORE


Following the Otter trail to Hungary

Kelly Marnewick, Programme Manager of the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, paid a visit to Hungary in order to collaborate on a project titled Conservation monitoring of otters in Europe and South Africa: aligning and testing research monitoring methods for European otters Lutra lutra and southern African otters Aonyx capensis and Lutra maculicullis.’  During the visit, otter scat samples were collected in the Transdanubian region of Hungary and, based on the results of the bilateral project, two scientific papers have been prepared by the joint South African – Hungarian research group about the genetics and feeding habits of the three otter species. In addition to the EWT, key participants in this project are: Professor Antoinette Kotze (National Zoological Gardens of South-Africa and National Research Foundation), Mmammati Thabang Madisha (National Zoological Gardens of South-Africa), Coral Briss (CapeNature), Professor Ray Jansen (Tshwane University of Technology), Dr. Michael Somers (University of Pretoria), Dr. József Lanszky (The University of Kaposvár) and Zoltán Sallai (Hortobágy National Park Directorate).  


The Journey of a River presented by Bridget Corrigan Acting Programme Manager – Source to Sea Programme

When: Tuesday, 13th November 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 for more information

According to the Water Research Commission, by 2050 the world’s population is estimated to have swollen to 9 billion human beings, all competing for the same, dwindling natural resources. 25% Of people in developing countries already have to purchase their drinking water from private vendors while only 58% of people on the African continent have access to safe drinking water. The reality of our water situation has never been more urgent and Bridget will be sharing the EWT’s work and efforts to guarantee this precious and irreplaceable natural resource. This will be the last Country Club Johannesburg talk for 2012. We will resume with the talks on 12th February 2013.


As another year draws to a close we at the EWT want to say a big thank you to all of our supporters who have stood by us in 2012. The work we do would simply not be possible without you. We look forward to your continued and passionate support over the Festive season and into the New Year. Have a safe, restful and joyful break!

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

Eco Stars Christmas Membership!
Toy cars and dolls lose their wheels, arms and lustre but a subscription to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Eco Stars kids club is the gift that keeps on giving. Grant your children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren the opportunity to be a part of saving the world and fill in an Eco Stars membership form today. Download form

Buy a Blue Swallow sculpture to help save the species
We have crafted and are selling lovely, to scale sculptures of Blue Swallows for R3000 a bird. To order please contact Joy Nel on



EWT Eco Ambassador making waves
Be sure to visit run by the EWT’s 16 year old Eco Ambassador, Nadav Ossendryver.  Nadav, who is in Grade 10 at King David in Linksfield, Johannesburg, developed so that visitors to the Kruger National Park could locate and share up-to-the-minute wildlife sightings.  The website already has 18 000 followers from across the globe.

Painted Wolf Wines
Congratulations to Painted Wolf Wines, one of the EWT’s Wild Dog project sponsors, for placing in the top 10 and the top 20 of the 2012 ABSA TOP 10 Pinotage awards. The ABSA TOP 10 is organised by the Pinotage Producers Association, and strives to recognise the very best Pinotage produced in South Africa. Painted Wolf’s Guillermo Pinotage 2009 was selected by the judges as one of the top 10 Pinotage wines in South Africa, whilst The Den Pinotage 2010 made it into the top 20 runner up selection. For further information visit

Technology and Conservation – the EWT at the 2012 Getaway Show
The EWT had the opportunity to collaborate with ProLens2Go and Latest Sightings Kruger at the 2012 Getaway Show at the Coca Cola Dome. ProLens2Go gives tourists and keen photographers the chance to rent top of the range camera and lens equipment, granting them the opportunity to take high quality images of any wildlife they may see. ProLens2Go also offers visitors to the Umlani Bush Camp in the Timabavati Nature Reserve of the Kruger Park a three day Leopard tracking safari and a portion of every booking on the safari is donated to the EWT. Latest Sightings Kruger is an application where users share sightings in the Kruger National Park, and these can be accessed via Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, iPhone and BlackBerry apps.  Both these platforms have provided invaluable assistance to the EWT’s Wild Dog and Cheetah programmes with regards to identification and monitoring of these species and their range.  This unique collaboration, and the use of technology in conservation and research, intrigued the South African Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, and Nigerian Minister of Tourism, Chief Edem Duke. For more on ProLens2Go and Latest Sightings Kruger visit http:  and

Servest Multi Service Group
A big thank you to the Servest Multi Service Group for their continued supply and maintenance of our beautiful office plants.  


• Barloworld
• Berco Express
• Hollard Insurance Co Ltd
• andBeyond Travel SA (Pty) Ltd
• Accutronics
• Eco Training
• Canopy Tours
• Indwe Risk Services
• Investec Property (Pty) Ltd
• Champagne Resort
• Sabi River Sun Resort
• Sasol
• OKI Printing Solutions
• Painted Wolf Wines
• Amalgamated Beverage Industries
• RS Components
• Musos for Rhinos

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

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