Issue: Vol 47: Feb 2013



  • Batty for fruit
  • Reckless driving a threat
  • New guarding dogs
  • Wetland conservation
  • Critical Cape Rivers Project
  • Sniffing out rhino horn
  • Dugong Project
  • TGSP’s moment
  • Kruger under water
  In other EWT news



Knowing what to do and where to do it: Addressing the question of focus in wetland conservation

by Osiman Mabhachi, Community Projects Coordinator International Crane Foundation / Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership

The world woke up to the need to halt the global problem of wetland degradation during the last half of the 20th century. Since then, international treaties have been signed, national policies enacted and site-focused projects implemented as a reactive response to the problem. Regrettably, the problem still persists, with high prospects of further escalation. In recent years, wetland degradation has been overtaken by climate change as a global environmental issue that calls for urgent attention. The focus of attention among conservation and development organisations has been broadened due to the multiplicity of climate change impacts that have to be tackled urgently. Despite the fact that drying of wetlands in some of parts of the world is one of the projected long-term impacts of climate change, the mindsets of many individuals and organisations have not shifted, partly because conservationists have not succeeded in making wetland conservation an emotive issue that spurs people to act. READ MORE

Brutally attacked rhino calf, Ntombi, healing beyond expectations!

On the 11th of January the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Rhino Orphan Response Project, in partnership with the Rhino orphanage, reported on the rescue of a horrifically injured, two month old rhino orphan.

The calf was found in a terrible condition.  She had obviously tried to return to her mother while the poachers were removing her horn and they slashed at her face with a panga and an axe repeatedly in order to chase her away. The calf survived the brutal attack and had 18 very deep lacerations across her face, one which cuts right through her stump and the other through her skull.

“We are very happy to report that Ntombi, the little calf, has healed far beyond expectations! In less than a month she has gone from being a very weak, traumatised rhino calf with severe head injuries and lacerations to a healthy, happy and active rhino.  She still has moments of panic  but most of the time she is a content.  She loves water and rushes to the dam at every opportunity where she will gleefully spend an hour or two swimming. The wounds have healed exceptionally well and one cannot believe that this is the same calf that we rescued,” commented the EWT’s rhino specialist, Karen Trendler.

The Rhino Orphan Response Project provides an integrated emergency response and support network for rhino calves that may be injured, orphaned and traumatised as a result of poaching events. The project ensures that the calves are recovered swiftly, stabilised and treated and if necessary, are then placed in suitable facilities with professional staff that are trained to provide the right care and comfort.  This fast, skilful approach executed by individuals with the necessary expertise means that the calves have a much better chance of surviving and being successfully rehabilitated back into the wild.

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.

Kruger under Water


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Although we are well into the swing of 2013 already, it is still appropriate to wish all our members and supporters a wonderful, happy and prosperous 2013. So far, the year has been off to an exciting start with promises that the year ahead will be an improvement on the last two. The Trust will be a proud host of 24 Groen Sebenza interns, as part of a national environmental skills development and job creation project lead by SANBI and the DBSA, to support the development of over 300 young people into the environmental sector. We also welcome a number of new faces into the EWT team, ranging from project staff (kick-starting a revision of the 2004 Red List of South African Mammals) to a new Head of Conservation Funding and a new Biodiversity Information Specialist. People make conservation happen, and the EWT is fortunate to have an extraordinary team of people driving the organisation, running our projects and delivering conservation action. The Trust has always attracted and invested in people with buckets of passion, energy, commitment and drive and it is our people that deliver results and build the character of an organisation that has become a household name in southern African conservation.

And character is what it takes to reach a landmark moment such as turning 40. The EWT turns 40 during 2013 and will be celebrating this special occasion in a number of ways throughout the year. We will be both reflecting back on 40 years of Conservation in Action as well as casting an eye into the future so that we can be prepared for what the next 40 years may deliver. Key to both the successful growth of the EWT over our exciting history, as well as being critical to our ability to remain impactful, relevant and effective into the future, will remain our people. Not only our staff, interns and students, but our members, Trustees, partners, colleagues, fellow NGOs, friends and associates too. Just to remind you of the importance of your contributions, let’s take note that 2012 signalled the end of the warmest decade on record for Planet Earth with 2012 itself being among the ten warmest years on record. It was also the hottest on record in the USA with almost 15 000 new temperature records being set. In South Africa over 668 rhino died to supply Asian markets with rhino horn. Globally, illegal wildlife trade was identified as being third in scale and significance after drugs and human trafficking with an estimated value of $7-10 billion annually. Unfortunately, after 40 years, our work is not done and in fact, it just got more urgent. Our planet is dying and it is up to us humans, yes people, to change all this. May 2013 be the start of us all finally doing just that.

Thank-you for your support in 2012 and bring on 2013!

Yolan Friedmann
Endangered Wildlife Trust


Batty for fruit ! By Kath Potgieter Senior Field Officer of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife and Energy Programme

We had travelled over three and a half thousand kilometres to be here and now we stood, waiting. It was 4am in the morning and, despite being 20m above the ground in a rickety tree-top platform, the mosquitoes still managed to find us. Why were we there? What could get us out of our sleeping bags and tents so early in the morning? One word: bats!

It is the greatest concentration of mammals in Africa but, despite the spectacle of the annual gathering of millions of Straw-coloured fruit bats in the Kasanka National Park in Zambia, it is still considered one of the continent’s best kept secrets. We stood in a platform built specifically for the BBC film crew that filmed this phenomenon for their ‘Life’ series, waiting for the bats to return to their roosts after their nightly foraging foray. Approximately 10 million of these large, fruit-eating bats gather in the evergreen mashitu swamp forest from late October to mid-December to feast on the fruit of the Red milkwood, Waterberry, mango and Wild loquat trees every year. Each night, as the sun begins to set, the bats, with almost one meter wide wingspans fill the skies as they set off on their nightly foraging sessions. They return in their droves each morning to settle once more in a small stand of trees. Researchers believe that each fruit bat can consume up to twice its own body weight a night, accounting for a mind-boggling 5 000 tonnes of fruit every night...READ MORE

Reckless driving a threat to people as well our precious biodiversity by Wendy Collinson, Project Executant of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife and Transport Programme Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project
I read with great sadness the statistics for human-road-fatalities over the recent holiday season. About 14,000 people die on South African roads each year. When it comes to legislation to prevent road deaths, South Africa checks all the right boxes, but often falls short on implementation. The World Health Organisation profiled the country’s road safety status and found that South Africa had legislation in place for everything from speed limits and blood alcohol limits to seatbelt and helmet laws. However, on a scale of zero to 10, it scored an average of three for enforcement in all categories...READ MORE


Brand new Livestock Guarding Dog Puppies! By Deon Cilliers, Senior Field Officer of the Carnivore Conservation Programme

The EWT’s Livestock Guarding Dog Project’s partnership with Greendog Conservation (GC) has paid off yet again! GC’s female Anatolian, Thandi, delivered healthy pups on Sunday, the 27th of January. These pups were fathered by the EWT’s Akbash male, Derryn. The puppies will be carefully raised and acclimatised to livestock until they are eight weeks old. At eight weeks they will be placed with farmers to guard the livestock against predation by Leopard, Cheetah and other predators. This project is a proven success as farmers who employ these dogs see an average of 96% in the reduction of predation. The Livestock Guarding Dog Project is sponsored by Eukanuba, Novartis, Virbac, Cheetah Outreach, Gallagher Fencing, the Feline Conservation Foundation, the Wildcat Education and Conservation Fund, Bidair Cargo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Zoological Society Conservation Grants Programme, Stuart Williams Trust, Living Creatures Trust, Miami Metro Zoo, Big Cat Conservation UK, Educos, Phoenix Zoo and the National Research Foundation. For further information on the Livestock Guarding Dog Project please contact Deon Cilliers on


The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Drylands Conservation Programme, in collaboration with the Source to Sea Programme, launches the Critical Cape Rivers Project by Christy Bragg, Programme Manager of the Drylands Conservation Programme

The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa is recognised as an area of exceptional biodiversity and endemism. The CFR freshwater ecosystems, together with their riparian corridors, support a diverse assemblage of aquatic and terrestrial organisms. The EWT’s recently formed Critical Cape Rivers Project, which is run under the Drylands Conservation Programme, aims to focus on two catchments within the CFR hotspot: the Breede-Tradouw and the Olifants-Doring, the latter extending into the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot. 

Both of these catchments are very high priority areas for freshwater species conservation in Africa and support 17 species of freshwater fish, of which 70 % are endemic and 76% threatened. Both catchments are exposed to threats of similar nature, including threats to habitat integrity; inadequate water use governance; lack of environmental awareness; alien fish invasions and gaps in research and monitoring.

Towards the end of 2012, the IUCN Save our Species Fund (SOS) awarded the EWT a grant to undertake direct conservation interventions, as defined in the draft Biodiversity Management Plans (BMP) for the two flagship freshwater species - Clanwilliam sandfish Labeo seeberi and the Barrydale redfin Pseudobarbus burchelli. Other species that will also benefit from this project include a number of threatened freshwater species as well as the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit Bunolagus monticularis. This project will implement the BMP by partnering with the provincial and national conservation agencies, freshwater specialists as well as a range of interest groups in the region to provide the necessary conservation support for these Cape Rivers. The project team held a kick-off meeting in January and a recon site visit is planned for February

For further information on our Drylands Conservation Programme email Christy Bragg on and visit


Bidvest and the EWT – Sniffing out rhino horn trade by Kirsty Brebner, Rhino Project Manager

Four sniffer dogs - Rico, Heddi, Renaldo and Condor - are helping to block attempts to smuggle rhino horn and other contraband through Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. Rico has already twice sniffed illegal exports of rhino horn, ivory and elephant skin at the airport’s cargo terminal.

For further information about the EWT’s Rhino Project please contact Kirsty Brebner at and visit our READ MORE


Dugong Emergency Protection Project by Karen Allen of the Dugong Emergency Protection Project

This has been an extremely eventful quarter for the Dugong Emergency Protection Project! In November, we were very pleased to hear that IUCN Save our Species (SOS) Foundation had approved our funding proposal for year two. This funding will enable aerial surveillance of the Archipelago on a regular basis over the course of the year to augment boat patrols.

This excellent news, however, was dampened by a runaway fire at our Marlin Lodge base in December where much of the lodge, our Enviro-Centre and the lodge’s boats were reduced to ash in a matter of hours. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the process of rebuilding is underway. We would like to put a call out for any assistance in getting back up and running. We lost a number of pieces of equipment in the blaze so if you have any items that are not being used or that you would be prepared to part with, please get in touch with us to donate them to the Dugong Project. We are in particular need of four GPS’s for patrol boats, two sets of binoculars and a colour printer, copier and scanner. These items would be highly appreciated.

The Dugong Emergency Protection Project is supported by Marlin Lodge, Save Our Species, Skyhawk Photography, and Machilla Magic. For further information on our Dugong Project email Karen Allen on and visit


TGSP’s moment on the silver screen by Dr Ian Little, Manager of the Threatened Grassland Species Programme

In mid-December 2012 the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme (TGSP) and African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP) hosted a film crew from Kyknet’s ‘Groen’ series. For five days the team focussed on Blue Swallows and other grassland species for an episode highlighting the plight of Blue Swallows in South Africa’s grasslands.

Filming in mist-belt grasslands, where this species occurs, proved to be quite challenging with mist and rain rolling in unexpectedly through-out the shoot. Never the less, the footage obtained is likely the most all encompassing and beautiful footage ever captured of this species.

Following this the team took on the challenge of capturing our Crane species for a special episode about South Africa’s three Crane species. In this episode the team captured many gorgeous shots of crane flocks in the southern Drakensberg and midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. The undoubted highlight of this episode is the ringing of a massive Wattled Crane chick. This hands-on experience was certainly one to remember. Unusually for the Groen team the majority of the filming was in active agricultural land, illustrating the compatibility of species conservation and agricultural practices. Keep an eye out for these episodes in mid March this year – they promise to be both entertaining and boast stunning footage of some of our Critically Endangered birds.

The TGSP is sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank, Mazda Wildlife Fund, Mondi Ltd, Farmers Agri-care and the DST/NRF Centre of excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. For further information on the Threatened Grassland Species Programme contact Dr Ian Little on and visit


Rhino Crimes / Arrests and Rhino orphan response project update presented by Rhino Specialist Karen Trendler, Kirsty Brebner,  Manager of the EWT’s Rhino Project,  together with Rynette Coetzee,  Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme
When:                  Tuesday, 28th February 2013
Where:                 33 High Street Restaurant and Venue Centre 
Cost:                     R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact:               Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or  for more information

The Riverine Rabbit - presented by Christy Bragg, Manager of the Riverine Rabbit Programme
When:                Tuesday, 12th March 2013
Where:               Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg 
Cost:                   R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact:              Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or  for more information

Jumping into Frog Conservation: A new programme for the EWT presented by Dr. Jeanne Tarrant, Manager of the EWT’s Amphibian Programme
When:                  Thursday 25th April 2013
Where:                  uShaka Marine World, King Shaka Road, Point, Durban
Cost:                     R60 members and R85 non-members
Contact:               Debbie Thiart 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

The Annual Endangered Wildlife Trust Golf Day Fundraiser
Date:                    26th April 2013
Venue:                 Zwartkop Country Club
Tee off:                Shotgun tee off at 12.30pm
For further information contact Joy Nel on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or


EWT 2013 Calendars
We still have a few of our gorgeous 2013 EWT / Richard du Toit calendars. Our member price R273.60 and non member price R299.00 – this excludes the R38.00 per calendar for postage of the calendars within South Africa. Please order yours to avoid disappointment.
Please visit our website and take a look at the beautiful products we have in our shop at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town.


eMpas2day for Conservation
eMaps2day and Mapstudio, the repository of Africa’s largest range of digital maps, has entered into a partnership with the EWT wherein a portion of the funds gained from every map downloaded is donated to the EWT’s conservation efforts. Visit for more.

Exclusive African safaris
Orient Express Africa is offering six night, exclusive and exotic safari get-aways to Botswana hosted by Bram Malherbe, a renowned conservationists. A portion of each booking will be donated to the EWT’s Wattled Crane Project.  Join Orient Express for this once-in-a-lifetime, luxury, African adventure by contacting Joy Nel on +27 11 372 3600 or today.

Pick ‘n Pay
A massive thank-you to Pick ‘n Pay and their Smart Shoppers for their wonderful support for our Rhino Programme and our Rhino Orphan Response Project.  An amount of approximately R200 000 has been generated with more to come from the Pick ‘n Pay Nappy Campaign which ran over the November and December period.

Welcome to our latest supporters

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• Zikiza Joinery (Pty) Ltd
• Endress and Hauser (Pty) Ltd
• Plaster Beads SA
• Ububele
• Rand Merchant Bank
• Land Rover Centurion

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