Issue: Vol 48: April 2013



  • Bat detecting
  • Moles in South Africa
  • Oxpeckers for Mokala
  • Survival of Cycads
  • Yellow-breasted pipits
  • Hornbill harvest
  In other EWT news



• Source of the Umngeni River declared South Africa's 21st Wetland of international importance - 18 April 2013 click

• Endangered Wildlife Trust statement regarding Rhino Force - 11 April 2013 click

• The EWT voices concern about Ngaka Modiri Molema Municipality planned water waste treatment plant in Groot Marico - 20 March 2013 click

• South Africa and Vietnam working together to campaign for Rhino protection - 14 March 2013 click

• Hope for Cheetahs with international focus on illegal trade - 8 March 2013 click

• The EWT partners with SA Can to reverse the plight of the Oribi - 5 March 2013 click

• The EWT and ICF welcome Cites’ decisive conclusion on trade of Grey and Black Crowned Cranes - 4 March 2013 click


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John Steinbeck once said that “of all animals in God’s creation, man is the only one who drinks without being thirsty, eats without being hungry and talks without having something to say.” It is unfortunate that the list of what humans do without being driven by a life-sustaining need is endless. Despite the fact that not one human-being’s survival depends on the composition of rhino horn, the features of elephant ivory or the taste of lion bone tea, these three species are being mercilessly targeted for their body parts to the point where biologists are now modelling their extinction rates. I have said this before: before South Africans condemn foreigners and bemoan the injustices of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, take note of the trends within our own cultures that may otherwise be undetected… the rampant theft and domestication of wild birds for the pet trade; the increasing numbers of ‘predator parks’ that serve as repositories for traders in both live and dead animals; the continued use of wild animals like lions and elephants in circuses for the amusement of our children; the proliferation of ‘wildlife rehabilitation centres’ with profiteering being their sole motive; the hunting of small antelope and rabbits with domestic dogs for ‘sport’… ‘Strict’ conservationists will argue that unless the ‘sustainability of wild populations’ is under threat, these issues are animal ‘welfare’ issues and are not the domain of the conservation sector. The EWT views this slightly differently. Indeed, a great many of these acts do threaten the survival of our wild populations. But they also threaten society’s understanding and appreciation of the role, place and purpose of wild species, and places; they tarnish our ability to value the contributions of a universe of beings that do not exist solely for our pleasure; they undermine a regulatory framework that should in fact be focused on ensuring the survival of species but which is increasingly being forced to address (but often overlooks) the fate of individuals; and in so doing, they undermine what it should mean to be a human. Buda said that “when man feels compassion for all other creatures, then he will be noble”. Nobility may be a long way away but for most of us, but doing the right thing is not. The EWT has taken up the fight against immoral, unlawful actions involving wild animals, be it illegal hunting, trading, breeding or dealing; poaching; fraudulent fundraising and the abuse of public funds. It will be a sad day when children believe that lion cubs were born to be bottle-fed and that elephants want to swing hoops around their trunks for the sound of applause. When cycads only exist behind 6 foot walls and the cry of a free-ranging Wild Dog is probably a ring-tone. That day may in fact be here for many… This newsletter touches on some of our efforts to bring about a rapid reversal in the way that we are commoditising, and to some degree, destroying our wildlife heritage. We believe that our precious ‘wildlife’ needs to be both ‘wild’ and ‘alive’ in order to remain intact. We hope that you do too.

Yolan Friedmann
Endangered Wildlife Trust



Bat detecting and the battle of the ‘middel-mannetjie’
by Kath Forssman, Senior Field Officer, EWT Wildlife and Energy Programme

Being a bat specialist is a pretty unusual job. It entails fundamentally altering one’s internal body clock to match that of the world’s only flying mammal. All bat species are entirely nocturnal, foraging at night and roosting during the daylight hours. To really understand these creatures one has no choice but to become nocturnal as well...READ MORE


Reassessing the Red Data List of Mammals for South Africa
By Matthew Child, EWT Red Data List Intern

Life on Earth is undergoing its sixth major extinction crisis. We must understand the risk of each species becoming extinct to prioritise conservation measures and effectively allocate scarce funding. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) established a Red List system in 1963 to objectively categorise the probability of extinction for every species on the planet. Assessments are carried out through vast networks of scientists and conservationists pooling their expert knowledge. Red Lists have become the backbone of global conservation, and are a unified and standardised protocol to set conservation priorities and policies...READ MORE


Rhino Soulmates

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Rhino Orphan Response Project, in partnership with the Rhino orphanage, recently rescued a two month old calf named Nkwe. Nkwe is very closely bonded to Ntombi – the little calf who was so brutally attacked by poachers – and the two are now inseparable.

For further information about the Rhino Orphan Response Project please contact Karen Trendler at or 072 969 4499 and Kirsty Brebner at This project is sponsored by Sting Music, EMI, the Van der Merwe family, Walter Hirzebruch, Sun Circle Publishers, Coronation Asset Management, Greg and Giorgio Slater, Mones Micheals Trust, Felix Schneier Foundation, Woolworths Trust, St Mary’s DSG Pretoria, Isuzu Trucks, Bloemhof Girls High, Africa Geographic, Holy Cross Convent, My Planet Rhino, Marc and Julie Walton and Victoria Reuvers.


Surviving the Suburbs – tracking otters in Gauteng
By Dr Harriet Davies-Mostert, the EWT’s Head of Conservation Science

More than 50% of the world’s human population is currently living in urban centres and projections show that populations will continue to increase rapidly and develop worldwide. As the impacts of urbanisation spread ever outwards from our cities, the resultant transformation and decline of suitable habitats for a variety of species significantly affects their distribution within the urban edge and may result in the disappearance of species from the area all together.

Two species currently under significant threat due to urban pressure are the Spotted-necked and Cape Clawless otters. Wits University has recently started a research programme focusing on various aspects of otter biology in Gauteng’s urban and peri-urban areas.

To identify suitable sites for the study, we are asking for your help in assisting us with information about any otter sightings dating from March 2012. We are looking for information about sightings of the animal itself, otter spraint, spoor or holts in Gauteng. Where possible, GPS coordinates or detailed information about the location of the sighting as well as a photo would be helpful. For more information or to submit information about a sighting, please visit the study group’s Facebook page South African otters in Gauteng, or contact Kaylee Clark at


Even more Oxpeckers for Mokala!
By Leigh Combrink, Senior Field Officer Birds of Prey Programme

The success of the release of 21 Red-billed Oxpeckers has been documented in a number of local media publications including the Kruger Park Times, Wild&Jag Magazine (Jan2013 issue) and Country Life Magazine (March 2013 issue). Ronelle Visagie, the EWT Birds of Prey fieldworker in the Free State, has been keeping a watchful eye on Mokala’s Oxpeckers and recently reported that one of the nestboxes erected specifically for the Red-billed Oxpeckers was in fact, being used by them! The adult birds had apparently been seen flying out of the nest box and when someone climbed up to see if they could see anything inside the box, they heard the sounds of the nestlings.

On the 12th of February, we received even better news when Dries Engelbrecht took the photograph below of an adult and juvenile Red-billed Oxpecker sitting on a buffalo. The juvenile is easily distinguishable as it is lacking the bright red bill and characteristic yellow wattle on the eye.


The EWT’s Skills Development Unit fighting for the survival of South Africa’s cycads
By Adam Pires, Senior Training and Development Officer of the EWT’s Skills Development Unit

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Skills Development Unit (EWT-SDU) will be launching the South African Cycad Species Protection Training Project, which focuses on the elimination of the illegal trade in cycads......READ MORE


The EWT and ENV’s Say NO To rhino Horn campaign gaining traction in Vietnam
By Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme

In March the EWT partnered with Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), a Vietnamese non-profit NGO, to develop a hard hitting rhino protection campaign for countries where rhino horn is in great demand, starting with Vietnam. The campaign, with the message Say NO to rhino horn, has been a great success in Vietnam with the online component gaining over 40 000 views and the posters, which are being used at ENV’s Wildlife Trade Exhibits and at US Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City, stirring real awareness and conversation amongst the people of Vietnam.

Some results from the exhibit of the posters held at the Vietnam Trade Union University in Hanoi on April 16, where 169 students shared their thoughts on the topic of rhino poaching were as follows:

The trade and consumption of rhino horn is directly killing and pushing rhinos to extinction. These actions are illegal. All of us in general and the authorities in particular need tougher measures against wildlife violations. Individually, I will say no to wildlife products, not keeping wild animals as pets and reporting wildlife crimes to authorities.”
“You have a family – and animals do too. You want to live with your family - and animals are no exception. Love and protect wildlife as you love and protect your family.”
“We need more activities to raise awareness and spread the message of the harm of hunting and consuming wildlife…Illegal hunting and wildlife trade should be treated very seriously

For further information and comment please contact Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme, on and Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy of ENV’s Communication and Public Awareness Unit on


Conserving the Yellow-breasted Pipit
By Dr Ian Little, Manager of the Threatened Grassland Species Programme

The Yellow-breasted Pipit is recognised as globally and nationally Vulnerable, however this status is in need of review. They occur in moist highland grasslands (the most threatened grassland biome in South Africa) of the Drakensburg, endemic to South Africa in a strip from Mpumalanga near Dullstroom to the northern Eastern Cape and a small population extends into Lesotho. They breed at altitudes above 1 500 meters above sea level...READ MORE


Kruger’s successful hornbill harvests
By Leigh Combrink and Scott Ronaldson, Birds of Prey Programme Senior Field Officers

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Lowveld Large Bird Project has been responsible for the harvesting of the sadly redundant, second-hatched hornbill chicks from the Kruger National Park for the past five years. SANParks’s Scientific Services insisted that before they would allow harvesting to occur, a study to determine the impacts of the removal of the second-hatched chick on the first chick and the group as a whole must be conducted...READ MORE


By Kelly Marnewick, Manager of the EWT‘s Carnivore Conservation Programme

Cheetahs are already extinct in many countries and in eastern Africa resident populations are known to exist in just 6% of their estimated historical range. Aside from the illegal wildlife trade, cheetahs face multiple threats ranging from the loss of their habitat to persecution by farmers who fear their livestock and game are in danger. Cheetahs normally occur at very low density in the wild so the removal of individual animals to supply a demand for exotic pets could have significant consequences for the survival of wild populations.

Currently the trade is known to affect many countries across Africa but we don’t have a good understanding of the scale, the trade routes or the mode of operation. It is this situation that prompted Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to raise the issue at the current meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as CITES. The conference took place in Bangkok, Thailand in March and a decision was made to commission a study on the legal and illegal trade in cheetahs. This study will highlight trade routes, sources of cheetahs, destinations, key players in the trade and trade drivers and, finally and most importantly, the impact of trade on wild populations will be assessed.

In South Africa 26% of cheetah on small reserves are being removed from the wild and sold into captivity and this is partially responsible for the current population decline of 5.7% per annum of cheetahs on small reserves. Additionally, the proliferation of captive facilities is a conservation concern because captive breeding of cheetahs has not been identified as a conservation requirement. With less than a 1000 cheetahs left in South Africa, and the real impact of trade not yet known, the EWT looks forward to the results of this study which will help us better conserve South Africa’s cheetahs.

The Range Wide Programme for Cheetah and African Wild Dog Conservation ( is a joint project of the Zoological Society of London ( and the Wildlife Conservation Society (, in collaboration with the IUCN Cat Specialist Group ( and the Endangered Wildlife Trust ( For further information contact Kelly Marnewick on


Save our Rhinos
Date: 4th May 2013
Time: 12h00
Venue: Molly Malones Pub and Restaurant, Fourways
Live Entertainment by Graham Watkins Project and Mean Mr Mustard. Funds raised will go to the
Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Rhino Project. For further information contact Joy Nel on 011 372
3600/1/2/3 or

The Impacts of Roads on Wildlife in South Africa
Presented by Wendy Collinson of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme.
This presentation will outline the results of a two-year study undertaken in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area of the northern Limpopo and discuss the impacts of road traffic on biodiversity and suggest potential mitigation measures.
Date: Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Venue: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R130 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

Woman 2 Woman Breakfast
Date: 11th May 2013
Venue: Moyo at Eden on the Bay, Cape Town
Time: 8h30 for 9h00
Cost: R230 will cover you and your mum, daughter or a friend.
Please support this event that promises to be great fun with loads of prizes to be won. All funds raised will go to supporting the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Rhino Orphan Response Project.

Mother’s Day Promotion – Crafters Market
Support this fabulous promotion that will be running in all the Crafters Market Stores in Gauteng from mid April through to 12 May 2013. By supporting this promotion you will be supporting the EWT Wild Dog Project and stand a chance to win a 2 night stay at Legacy Hotel Kruger Park Lodge as well as a day tracking Wild Dogs with the EWT Wild Dog Expert in the Kruger National Park.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Talk at the JHB Zoo – Birds of Prey
Date:16th May 2013
Venue:The Old Elephant House (please use the Jan Smuts Entrance)
Cost:R50 per head includes tea, coffee and entry to the Zoo
Speaker:Andre Botha, Manager of EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme
Come along and hear a very interesting talk on our Birds of Prey by the EWT’s specialist in the field.
For further information contact Joy Nel on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or

Tekkie Tax fundraising initiative
Date:31st May 2013
Cost:R10 donation for your sticker....READ MORE
The inaugural Tekkie Tax Day will take place on the 31st May and the initiative invites you to wear your sticker and your favourite pair of tekkies to work. The idea is to donate R10 for your Tekkie Tax sticker and show where your heart is. There are five categories to choose from and the EWT falls under the ‘Animals’ category. Please support this initiative by placing your order for stickers through Joy Nel on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or

The Dugong Emergency Protection Project
Presented by Karen Allen of the EWT’s Source to Sea Programme
When: Tuesday, 4th June 2013
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R130 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

Spiders and Scorpions – Should we be afraid?
Presented by spider and scorpion specialist and author, Jonathan Leeming
When: Tuesday, 2nd July 2013
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R130 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

Spring Day is going to the Dogs
Date: 4th August 2013
Venue:Dukelands Dog Park Alberton
Cost:R30 per head
Bring your dog on a leash and come witness the EWT’s rhino horn sniffer dogs in action. Funds raised at this event will go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Rhino Project.


Please visit our website and take a look at the beautiful products we have in our shop at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town.


The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in partnership with Relate, a South African, not-for-profit enterprise, is developing a collector’s range of threatened species beaded bracelets. Relate’s commitment to sustainability and transparency is represented by a signature “R” bead on every handmade bracelet. Through every stage of the manufacture and sale of these bracelets, opportunities have been created to change lives. There is utmost transparency and accountability in how funds from the sale of each bracelet have been spent. The sale of the bracelets will generate funds for the EWT’s various programmes. Below is a diagram that explains what happens to the money you spend when you purchase a Relate bracelet. Visit to learn more.

Platinum Life
A warm welcome to Platinum Life who will be donating a portion of the proceeds received from every new policy for a male member sold by them to the EWT’s Rhino Project.

Spur Group
Many thanks to the Spur Group for encouraging their young members to join the EWT’s Eco Stars.  Spur also carried fantastic editorial about Eco Stars and the EWT in their TOTEM magazine.  Eco Stars are inspirational young people who help to safeguard our environment and who realise that the health and wellbeing of our natural world and the survival of the human race depend on the actions which every person, big or small, takes today.  For further information about Eco Stars and how to join the club contact Debbie Thiart at  Visit our website to download the registration form and join us on Facebook for more exciting news and Eco Star developments.


We would like to take this opportunity of welcoming our newest Corporate 4 Conservation members to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and to thank them for their support
• PSG Konsult Corporation
• The Afken Group
• Ann Swann Personnel Services cc
• Micro Finance South Africa (MFSA)
• Grant Thornton


Join us on an epic African adventure

As part of our 40-year anniversary the EWT, in association with Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), is offering a 12 day Kaokoveld Expedition, led by conservationist Garth Owen-Smith and anthropologist Dr Margie Jacobsohn, with early EWT directors Clive Walker and Dr John Ledger. Organised and run by Conservancy Safaris Namibia (CSN) this not to be missed expedition will take in some of Africa’s most spectacular desert scenery and the wildlife that lives there. For further information and to make your booking contact Click here for more information.

The African Wild Dog Behaviour Course

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in partnership with ThinkingPets COAPE SA, is proud to present an advanced course in understanding the behaviour of African Wild Dogs for students of zoology, wildlife conservation, field guides and other professionals who want to understand more about the unique and fascinating traits of this Endangered species.

This course will allow students to come to grips with the more subtle aspects of Wild Dog behaviour and understand some of the reasons why this incredibly social carnivore has been so heavily persecuted over the last century. The African Wild Dog Behaviour Course is an excellent course for any BSc student or anyone going into the guiding industry. Students who successfully complete the course automatically fulfil the qualification requirements for the CDP COAPE Diploma course. The Diploma is now available in South Africa and is hosted by ThinkingPets COAPE SA.

This nine month long, distance learning course will be delivered by Wendy Collinson of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme. For further information about the course and to enrol please contact or Adam Pires

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

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