Issue: 49: May - June2013
  • Karoo Ecosystems
  • Wattle Crane breeding
  • Managing Wild Dogs
  • Red Data List
  • Roadkill
  • Cheetah in the Free State
  • The Falcon UAV
  • Rwanda Conservation
  • Going to China
  • Groen Sebenza launch
  In other EWT news

Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival

Join us on 12 & 13 July 2013 in South Africa’s Lake District for the Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival!
The 2 day programme includes the following:
• Talks on cranes, Chrissiesmeer’s unique wetlands, and the area’s eco-tourism
• Trips to see the cranes, bird watching and night drives
• Live reptile show and owl flight show
• Activities for the kids, including puppet show and face painting
• Poetry and art by local learners
• A variety of food stalls, as well as arts and crafts
• Saturday evening Scottish dinner in celebration of the area’s history

Download programme click here

For more information or to book your place for the various trips & the Scottish dinner, please contact Ursula Franke at 083 332 8859 or

Celebrating 40 years of Conservation in Action!

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is celebrating 40 years of Conservation in Action on the African continent! Founded in 1973, the EWT has remained a leading conservation organisation working tirelessly to remain relevant as a science-based, action-driven conservation organisation. Our ten core programmes aim to conserve threatened species and ecosystems to the benefit of all people. Working with and for amazing personalities, committed communities and intrepid partners, we look forward to blazing new trails and celebrating the next 40 years with you, our members, supporters and sponsors. What we do would not be possible without you.

For further information about the EWT please visit our website at:

You may also contact us on or speak to our Communications Manager, Nomonde Mxhalisa, on

  Our Patron Sponsors

Chattels Infrastructure Solutions

Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Charitable Foundation

Dohmen Family Foundation

  Other EWT Supporters

Patron (R250 000 +)
Ground Breaker (R100 000+)
Custodian (R50 000- R99 999)
Explorer(R2 500 - R49 999)
Donations in kind (R2 500)

Support webpage click


  Help save our wildlife

Rhino Poaching Hotline:
082 404 2128

Eskom / EWT Tollfree Incident Reporting Hotline:
0860 111 535

Know someone who might be interested in the email? Why not forward this email to them.



What a strange world we live in. Sometimes I imagine trying to explain to an alien being how human society works and I find myself embarrassed even at an imaginary conversation that involves me giving clear details of how and why human beings are knowingly destroying our planet, are openly depriving other beings (human and otherwise) of their right to a decent, healthy life and are creating mayhem and devastation all around us. Yet we remain confused, agitated and frustrated by our inability to conserve our resources, cure diseases, stop/prevent conflicts and basically, save us from ourselves. Take this scenario for example: The International Bottled Water Association recently said that in 2012, “the total US bottled water consumption increased to 9.67 billion gallons, up from 9.1 billion gallons in 2011… With per-capita consumption going up 5.3% in 2012, and every American drinking an average of 30.8 gallons of bottled water last year. Bottled water increased in volume more than any other beverage category in the US” Sounds great doesn’t it? Certainly better for the body as everyone knows that water is healthier than fizzy drinks and coffee.

The trouble is that with the commodification of life’s most fundamental natural resource, and with the massive commercial exploitation of an essentially positive new trend of drinking larger volumes of water, comes a host of other complications, impacts and ills. To supply this growing global market, companies such as Nestle (now deriving more than 10% of its turnover from bottled water) need to continually find new sources of water and are increasingly coming into conflict with landowners and communities who believe that access to clean water is a human right and that natural springs and groundwater should not be over-extracted or tapped for the commercial production of water, the basis of all life. Gustave Levin, former Chairman of Perrier said that “It struck me that all you had to do is take water out of the ground and sell it for more than the price of wine, or for that matter oil.” But this water extraction does not come without its impacts, and more and more frequently, aquifers, springs and rivers are running dry as a result of the billions of litres being extracted (often at no price being paid for the water) for this burgeoning industry.

And the bottling of this water is not less harmful: making the plastic bottles for bottled water in the US required the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil last year and generated 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. It is also estimated that actually 3 litres of water is used to package 1 litre of bottled water. These bottles take over 1 000 years to biodegrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that only 1 in 5 plastic water bottles is recycled and only PET bottles can be recycled with all other bottles being discarded (Earth Policy Institute).

Do we really need it? It is claimed that in some regions, more than 4% of bottled water comes from treated municipal water sources and in various “Tap Challenges”, most consumers could not taste the difference between tap and bottled water. Ironically, bottled water also falls under less stringent regulations in the US that the regulations governing tap water (Harvard Law School). If the public increasingly believes that the only source of clean, safe drinking water is a bottle, there will be decreased political pressure to improve our public water systems and less water for those communities who depend directly on natural sources for their water. Most South Africans are blessed with having access to safe drinking water directly from our taps. So, in your quest to be kind to both your body and Planet Earth, use glass jugs, cups and bottles to keep clean, safe, refreshing supplies of water handy. Be brave: serve tap water (filter if you must) at your next board meeting, conference, dinner party or event. Do something small and change something big. Drink water in a way that is good for you and good for your planet. Do something that makes sense.

Yolan Friedmann


Up scaling the Karoo’s Ecosystems Restoration
By Bonnie Schuman, Senior Field Officer of the Dryland’s Conservation Programme

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme (EWT-DCP) broke ground in May on its fifth riparian ecosystem restoration site. Whereas the previous four areas represented pilot sites, this site, on a farm in Sakrivierspoort, represents the considerable upscaling of restoration efforts as part of the Programme’s Karoo Ecosystems Restoration Project. Work commenced in April with the implementation of baseline monitoring on the selected site. The EWT-DCP staff worked closely with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) Specialist Research Scientist, Lehman Lindeque, to establish a monitoring protocol for the EWT-DCP’s restoration efforts... READ MORE


What a Birdseye view can reveal...
By Tanya Smith, Senior Field Officer of the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme

At this time of the year when winter reaches its peak, Wattled Crane breeding activity commences and this year it seems to be ‘full steam ahead’. The good rainfall in summer has laid the foundation for what appears to be an early start to a breeding season rife with activity and movementt. ..READ MORE


Beat the System, be irrational
By Matthew Child, EWT Red Data List Intern

So economists admit we aren’t robots. We have limits to our rationality. Sometimes this makes us behave in ways not predicted by economic theory. Economists call these ‘behavioural failures’. For example, we are far more afraid of losing than we are of gaining, which explains our infuriating inability to get over sunk costs – things that we can’t get back but that haunt future decisions...READ MORE


The challenges in managing our Painted Wolves
by Brendan Whittington-Jones, the EWT’s Coordinator of the KZN Wild Dog Advisory Group, Carnivore Conservation Programme

Wild Dog management can be a tricky affair. While there is the strong desire to see pack and individual numbers soar, partly so we can tick it off as a species “saved”, it always has to be tempered by some distinct realties. Wild Dogs of the Lycaon pictus variety don’t appear to have changed in form or operating style for millions of years (if the available literature is to be believed). Historically they were a successful predator, both in terms of African spatial coverage and simply by figuring out a niche among other competing carnivores and pushing on through to a period when mankind figured out the game of fencing land, blowing things up and generally fighting the biological world with tar, bricks and other products of industry...READ MORE


An Oribi rescued from peril
By Dr Ian Little, Manager of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme

Oribi, although one of the smaller antelopes on the continent, are extremely aggressive and often, after two males have had a vicious spat over territory, the loser either ends up dead or entangled and injured in fencing...READ MORE


Roadkill - gains and losses
By Wendy Collinson, Project Executant of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme’s Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project

An extremely rare ‘red’ Leopard was recently killed on the Sekhukune Road between the R577 and the R555 last month. The fully grown female has a rare genetic mutation called ‘erythrism’ which refers to the unusual reddish pigmentation of its fur and skin. Gerrie Camacho, of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency said that the appearance of this Leopard is even rarer than the Black Leopard (which was also found in the area), and has not been sighted before. After the roadkilled Leopard was examined, she was found to have been recently suckling, which means that her litter most likely would not have survived.

A Nile Crocodile roadkill was also recently found on N11 between Groblersdal and Marble Hall by Dr. Hannes Botha of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. Hannes said that it was early morning when he found the ‘fresh kill’ and judging by the position of the carcass on the road, it looks to have been a deliberate hit. The Nile Crocodile is the second largest reptile in the world, after the Saltwater Crocodile.

Since January, we have been receiving numerous reports from volunteers across the country with unusual roadkill sightings. Our volunteer network is gradually increasing and we are extremely grateful for your information. Vivian Jonker still continues to collect valuable data on the N14, whilst Isabelle Tillett near Dinokeng Nature Reserve has also joined our ranks.

How can you help?
• Data collection through our Cellular Smartphone Application will shortly be available on the iPhone store.
• Report all roadkill to the EWT, especially rare or charismatic species
• Drive within the speed limits to increase your own and the wildlife’s reaction times
• Slow down and hoot at wildlife that has been momentarily blinded to coax it into fleeing
• Avoid littering, since food thrown out of car windows creates a roadside feast for scavenging wildlife
• Be alert and slow down when you see an animal crossing in front of you, there may be more animals in the vicinity
• Be alert at dawn and dusk and early evening, these are the times you are most likely to encounter wildlife on the roads
• Take special care near animal crossing warning signs or signs warning of the absence of fences. The signs are there for a reason
• If a collision seems inevitable, don't swerve to avoid the animal; your risk of injury may be greater if you do. Maintain control of the vehicle. Report the accident to the police and your insurance company
• Farmers and land owners can help adequately protect road users by looking after fences and gates and conducting regular fence patrols especially during lambing season
• Report injured wildlife to the EWT-WTP on 011 372 3600, or call the nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre or veterinarian.

Please contact us if:
• If you notice a lot of wildlife being killed on a particular stretch of road
• If you are interested in collecting data on regularly travelled routes


The Falcon UAV: the Flying Fight against poachers
By Kirsty Brebner, Manager of the EWT’s Rhino Project

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become a buzz word in the fight against poaching. However, many of the available drones are not suited to African conditions, which require a plane that is affordable, robust and easy to launch, fly and land. In addition, regulations in the USA where most drones have been developed are extremely stringent for any UAV that may have military capabilities. There is also the issue that drones alone have limitations – Africa is simply too big to just fly willy nilly...READ MORE


Wild Cheetah in Free State for the first time in over a century!

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in partnership with Laohu Valley Reserve and Amakhala Game Reserve, reintroduced two wild Cheetah into the Free State on Monday the 24th of June. Read more about this exciting reintroduction...READ MORE


Persuading marginalised communities to play an active role in conservation at Rugezi Marsh, Rwanda
By Osiman Mabhachi, Community Projects Coordinator of the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme

The Batwa are often described as one of the world’s forgotten communities. Their history is interwoven into the history of rainforests and high altitude wetlands in the Albertine Rift eco-region. Though the ecosystems that have depended on over the years have been transformed due to modernisation, their social structures and cultural beliefs remain untainted. Unlike most communities in the region, they still primarily depend on what nature provides to meet their day-to-day needs. With most of the rainforests in the Rugezi Marsh catchment in the Northern Province of Rwanda now gone, the Batwa have no option but to depend on wetland plants and animals. Sadly, the ecological integrity of the wetland ecosystem is threatened by intensive utilisation of soil and water resources and unsustainable harvesting of plants and animal resources. The Batwa community is one of the various stakeholder groups that are participating in a project that the International Crane Foundation / Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership is involved in. The project is being implemented in collaboration with two Rwandan institutions, Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management (KCCEM) and the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS). The goal of the project is to develop institutional and technical capacity for the long-term conservation of Rugezi Marsh, a critical Grey Crowned Crane site in the country ...READ MORE


The EWT in China
Samson Phakathi, Community conservation, education and awareness Project Field Worker of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme, represented the EWT/ International Crane Foundation partnership at the Grey Crowned Crane celebration at the Shijiazhuang and Beijing Zoos in China. The event included speeches from zoo officials, a presentation to school pupils present, and a small thanksgiving ceremony for Zoo’s contribution to the conservation of Grey Crowned Cranes


Minister launches Groen Sebenza
By Rachel Serakwana, the EWT’s Communications Intern.

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, officially launched the groundbreaking R300 million Groen Sebenza project on the 8th of June 2013 at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens. The EWT, as one of 33 partners of the Groen Sebenza, was represented at the event by eight of the EWT/Groen Sebenza interns.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said: “This is definitely a landmark project that we, in collaboration with SANBI and other partners, are proud to be pioneering and using to play a leading role in contributing towards building a pool of young vibrant, capable and confident professionals for South Africa’s biodiversity and natural resource management sector. It is the Department of Environmental Affairs’ hope that the effective implementation of the incubator concept will have a catalytic impact on skills development and job creation in this sector.”


Spiders and Scorpions Demystified by Jonathan Leeming, author and authority on southern African spiders and scorpions
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

Grass Owls – by the EWT’s Birds of Prey Senior Field Officer, Matt Pretorius
When: Wednesday, 24th July 2013
Where: Modderfontein Golf Club, Modderfontein
Cost: R60 members, R85 non-members, dinner R120 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

A balancing act: Cheetah conservation and reserve expectations by the EWT’s Cheetah Metapopulations Project Co-ordinator, Vincent van der Merwe
When: Tuesday, 6th August 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

Join the EWT at the 2nd Annual Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival co-ordinated by Ursula Franke, Senior Field Officer for the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme
When: Friday the 12th to Saturday the 13th of July 2013
Where: Chrissiesmeer, Mpumalanga
Contact: Ursula Franke on 083 332 8859 or on for further information


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


Welcome to our most recent Corporate Supporter, Arrow Bulk

APM Terminal
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to APM Terminal Southern Africa for their donation of a container to house our injured orphan baby rhinos safely while they are receiving care and recovering from the trauma of poaching. APM Terminals’s trucking division, Roadwing, has also donated the costs of transporting the container to the EWT.

Tekkie Tax
A big thank you to all who supported the Tekkie Tax campaign. The campaign is in the process of being reconciled and we will keep you informed of the outcome. The campaign takes place again in May 2014 and we are looking forward to even greater success.

Relate Bracelets
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.


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

Update your details: contact / Join the EWT family: sign up for an EWT membership click here.
Help us conserve our natural heritage