Issue 51: Jan - March 2014
  • Crane conservation in south-western Uganda.
  • Awareness campaign to combating illegal hunting with dogs.
  • Exotic wild animals in the pet trade.
  • Sungazer Lizards are desperately in need of conservation.
  • Hit and run! Using Citizen Science to reduce roadkill in Protected Areas.
  • Community development and wetland conservation in Chrissiesmeer.
  • “Capturing” Riverine Rabbits on Karoo Farmland.
  Other EWT News



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Rhino Poaching Hotline:
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It is quite understandable that with the horrific incidences of rhino poaching showing no sign of abating in 2014, people are growing desperate for magic solutions and quick fixes. Facebook and blogs are riddled with calls for death sentences and shoot-on-sight policies for poachers, and well-meaning but short sighted suggestions of erecting 30 foot electric fences between South Africa and our neighbours. The more astute pro-trade lobby has been feverishly working to convince the world that simply farming rhino (as we do cattle) and removing their horns, will amply supply the Asian market for rhino horn and put an end to the rampant illegal slaughter of these creatures for a product that can easily be provided without harming the animal. It sounds so simple and clean, and without an equally simple, clean and clear alternative solution to the problem, anyone who argues against this is seen to be ‘confused’, ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘anti sustainable use’. The problem is that the complex world of international organised crime, the speculation around the size, scale and drivers of the rhino horn market and the lack of knowledge surrounding some critical factors that influence the trade process, may render this magical solution a potentially devastating blow to the future of all wild rhino instead of their saviour. The assumptions that underpin the arguments for legalised trade in rhino horn are startling. They include the assumption that the price for rhino horn will decline with a legal supply, thereby dis-incentivising poachers. Or they assume that a centralised selling body that fixes prices will abolish the need for black-market horn. They assume that farmed horn will replace a demand for wild horn (an assumption that has failed with other farmed wildlife products like tiger bone and bear bile). They assume that the market will either decline or be satiated with the amount of horn legally supplied to the Asian market. This is a bit like arguing that a legal sale in cars means that there is no motive for car theft….

The problem with all the speculation and assumptions is that if we are wrong, we get no second chance. Once a legal trade in rhino horn is facilitated, even if once off, there is no coming back. The distinction between legally and illegally traded horn will be difficult if not impossible to determine, made worse by the fact that rhino horn is a consumable product, sold in many different unrecognisable guises. With elephant populations being decimated in many parts of Africa for their ivory, the laundering of wildlife products globally has become hi-tech, masterful and Big Money. The trade networks and markets are more complex than we begin to understand and simply farming our remaining 20 000 (or less) rhino to satisfy a potential market of a billion Asians is a grand, and risky solution to the impending crisis of wildlife annihilation that is facing not only rhino. The only way to address this problem, even if farsighted and seemingly impossible, is to address demand. If we DON’T do this, we may as well right off a host of species, including pangolins, an assortment of sharks and snakes, all tigers and elephants, most marine species, a variety of plants and who knows what after that? You cannot advocate on the one hand for demand reduction whilst offering the same product for sale on the other, so you have to choose your ‘solution’. Demand reduction is also complex, but it has worked and must be tried again and again. There is simply not enough left of most species to satisfy the growing demand by an expanding human populace if we simply give in to market demands. No silver bullet solutions will address the massively complex problems presented by global wildlife crime and trafficking, but the issue calls for a much deeper analysis of what underpins the issue as opposed to just feeding it. The stakes are high, not just for rhino but for the thousands of other species being traded to extinction under our very noses. No-one is glossing over the complexity or volume of work necessary to address the seemingly insatiable human demand for wildlife products, but that does not mean it is not the most important work we may ever do. If we accept now that we cannot change human behaviour, for a multitude of reasons that go much further than wildlife conservation, we would all be doomed. It is for these reasons that the EWT remains committed to working with all people to finding real solutions that secure long-term futures for our rhino, and ensuring that we begin to protect our wildlife resources, instead of reducing them to ingredients on bottles and jars.

Yolan Friedmann


Crane conservation outreach continues in south-western Uganda
By Osiman Mabhachi, Community Projects Coordinator for the EWT’S African Crane Conservation Programme

Nature Uganda, the EWT’s main partner in Uganda, continues to reach out to a wide range of key stakeholders under its research and conservation programmes in south-western Uganda. Work aimed at monitoring Grey Crowned Crane flocks and breeding pairs, promoting the crane custodianship concept and assessing drivers and magnitude of crane trade is currently underway...READ MORE


Lessons drawn from an awareness campaign focusing on relevant legislation to combating illegal hunting with dogs
By Samson Phakathi, Senior Field Officer of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme and Jiba Magwaza, Intern of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), the South African Community Action Network (SACan) and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wilderness (EKZNW) initiated an educational and awareness campaign aimed at engaging the members of the police and the community about Oribi conservation and the threats posed by illegal poaching with dogs and the legislation relevant to handling these cases. The South African Police Service (SAPS) Clusters targeted were identified according to the prevalence of Oribi populations in the area and number of poaching cases in progress...READ MORE


Exotic wild animals in the pet trade
By Rynette Coetzee, Project Executant of the EWT’s Law and Policy Programme

The latest species to hit the wild pet trade market in South Africa are Tenrecs from the island of Madagascar and Kinkajous from South and Central America...READ MORE


Sungazer Lizards are desperately in need of conservation
By Bradley Gibbons Field Officer for the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme

The Sungazer Lizard Smaug giganteus is also known as the Giant Girdled Lizard and is the largest of the girdled lizards. With a length of up to 40 cm, they are large and have a distinctive yellow underside and brown top surface with the girdled appearance on the head. Sungazers have a very slow growth rate which can be explained by females only giving birth to one or two live young every second year. Furthermore they do not breed in captivity. They are endemic to South Africa and live in the Highveld grasslands of the central to northern Free State and southern Mpumalanga. The generic name Smaug is a reference to the dragon in the Tolkien novel The Hobbit. This is both a result of the seeming resemblance of this species to a dragon and the fact that Tolkien himself was born in the Free State and it is thought that much of the scenery and background to the book was influenced by his experiences on the eastern slopes of the Drakensberg...READ MORE


Hit and run! Using Citizen Science to reduce roadkill in Protected Areas
By Wendy Collinson, Project Executant of the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme’s Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project

There is growing recognition in many countries that roadkill is a real threat to a variety of species. The Endangered Wildlife Trust formed the Wildlife & Transport Programme (EWT-WTP) in 2012 to address identified concerns which include raising awareness of the threat to wildlife from roads and road users, and to identify, develop and implement relevant mitigation strategies. As a result of raised public awareness, protected areas have been highlighted as areas of particular concern for roadkill...READ MOR


Lottery-funded project leads to successful integration of community development and wetland conservation in Chrissiesmeer
By Osiman Mabhachi, Community Projects Coordinator for the EWT’S African Crane Conservation Programme and Steven Segang, Highveld Community Field Officer for the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme

The Mpumalanga Highveld region is renowned for its remarkable landscapes and biodiversity. Nestled within the landscapes are wetlands, rivers and lakes that, in addition to providing habitats to threatened species, also support the livelihoods of diverse community groups. From a crane conservation perspective, the region is unique as it is home to all three crane species found in South Africa. Since the late 1990s, the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP) has been running crane conservation extension programmes in the area focusing on landowners and farmworkers. The ACCP recognised the need to adopt an integrated conservation and community development approach as a way of developing models for sustainable wetland conservation by bringing on board a wide range of stakeholders. Through a project funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), this much-needed integration has been achieved in Chrissiesmeer, an area of special biodiversity importance. A community development component was incorporated into ongoing project activities in 2013 and there are notable breakthroughs already...READ MORE


“Capturing” Riverine Rabbits on Karoo Farmland
By Rona van der Merwe, Conservation Ecology student at the University of Stellenbosch, working with the EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme

In the second week of January I accompanied the EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme team Bonnie Schumann, Johnny Arends and Janice Essex to the Dunedin farm in the Sak River Conservancy. Our mission was to set 30 camera traps with the aim of catching some candid shots of Riverine Rabbits going about their business in the Nama Karoo...READ MORE


One day workshop: Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Business: WHAT, WHY, WHEN and HOW
When : 10th March 2014
Where : Rhodes Business School, corner Somerset & Prince Alfred streets, Grahamstown
Cost : R500
Contact : Dr Marie Parramon-Gurney on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or

A Strategic discussion on the need for collaboration and partnership to maintain the country Natural Capital, especially the key Ecological Infrastructures. Presented by Dr Marie Parramon-Gurney
When : 10th March 2014
Where : Rhodes Business School, corner Somerset & Prince Alfred streets, Grahamstown
Contact : Dr Marie Parramon-Gurney on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or

One day workshop: Understanding the legal and Governance Framework related to biodiversity planning in South Africa
When : 11th March 2014
Where : Rhodes Business School, corner Somerset & Prince Alfred streets, Grahamstown
Cost : R1000
Contact : Dr Marie Parramon-Gurney on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or

Following Elephants in South Africa: Their past, their present and their future. Presented by Michelle Henley of Save the Elephants South Africa
When : Tuesday, 1st April 2014
Where : Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost : R65 members, R90 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact : Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

Update on the EWT Rhino Project – Presented by Kirsty Brebner and Karen Trendler
When : Tuesday, 6th May 2014
Where : Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost : R65 members, R90 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact : Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

The Annual Endangered Wildlife Trust Golf Day Fundraiser
Date : 16th May 2014
Venue : Zwartkop Country Club
For further information contact Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600 or

Tekkie Tax – Friday 30th May 2014 Save the Date
The inaugural Tekkie Tax campaign in 2013 was a huge success with R2.4 million being raised for many NGOs in various sectors. The income raised was audited and has already been paid out to all participating NGOs. Tekkie Tax will again take place this year on the 30th of May and the EWT would like to get a head start on this campaign. Please order your stickers from Debbie Thiart at . You will not pay for the stickers upon ordering them - you will only pay the EWT for the stickers once you have sold those you bought. All unsold stickers are to be returned to the EWT. Please support us!


Limited edition Clive Walker prints

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the EWT in October 2013, Clive Walker is selling signed, limited edition prints of a gorgeous canvass he painted in 1986 for the EWT’s QUAGGA magazine. Dr John Ledger, then CEO of the EWT, commissioned Clive to produce a work that illustrated some of the projects undertaken by the Trust. Depicted in the painting are Endangered and Vulnerable species of southern Africa, such as the Blue Swallow, Roan Antelope, Yellowbilled Oxpecker, Wattled Crane, Black Rhinoceros, Cape Vulture, Martial Eagle, Humpbacked Dolphin, Jackass (African) Penguin, Roseate Tern, Red Duiker, Roodepoort Copper and the African Wild Dog. The original painting was donated to the EWT on the occasion of our 40th Anniversary on the 31st of October 2013. The prints sell for R1000 each excluding postage. You can contact Debbie Thiart on to secure one of these gorgeous creations for yourself.

Support the EWT and Relate’s gorgeous species bracelets
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Relate’s collector’s range of beautifully beaded, endangered species themed bracelets are still on sale. Please continue to support our work by purchasing the Cheetah, Wild Dog, Rhino and Dugong bracelets from Tiger’s Eye stores like Indaba and Out Of Africa nationwide, and the EWT Rhino bracelet from selected CNA stores. You can also buy on line at  or at



The EWT’s Save our Cranes bags at Woolworths!
The EWT’s Save our Cranes bags are still available at Woolworths countrywide. Please be sure to ask your cashier in store for the bags if you do not see them on display as Woolworths still has the beautiful bags in stock.

Protea Kruger Gate Hotel
Many thanks to the Protea Kruger Gate Hotel who will be donating income raised from bed nights to the EWT’s Rhino Project. Please visit and be sure to book your accommodation through them for your next visit to Kruger National Park.

Help the Endangered Wildlife Trust by leaving a legacy
We need your help to safeguard the future of our planet. You can play a major role in supporting our work and South Africa’s Constitutional right of future generations to a healthy environment by leaving a bequest to the Endangered Wildlife Trust. When it comes to deciding who gets your possessions, it is only right that your family and friends come first, but that does not mean that you can’t also leave a gift that will protect our beautiful planet and benefit those same beneficiaries. In fact, leaving a gift to the EWT means that the deceased’s Estate is able to claim the bequest as a deduction and save the Estate up to 20% of the value of the bequest in estate duty.

Your gift to the EWT will help us to keep:
• Finding workable solutions for humans and wildlife to co-exist harmoniously,
• Acting in times of emergencies when swift action has to be taken to save an endangered species,
• Implementing actions to secure threatened habitats,
• Training future conservationists to take over from us in the years to come,
• Educating the next generation on the wonders of nature and our responsibility to protect it, and
• Speaking for those who have no voice.

Together we can create a lasting legacy. No matter how large or small, bequests form the life blood of an NGO. Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you and we will refer you to an attorney who will draw up your will and act as the Executor of your Estate with no fees being charged for planning and drafting the will, or for alteration and periodic updates. Alternatively, you may wish to add a codicil to you current will. Your bequest will be gratefully acknowledged and honoured on our website as well as in our Annual Conservation Report. Visit our website and contact Debbie Thiart at or +27 (011) 3723 600/1/2/3, for further details on how to get involved.

We would like to take this opportunity of welcoming our newest supporters to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and to thank them for their support:
African Compass
Relate Trust
The Ridge School
Strategy Systems
Savannah Fine Chemicals
Slavepak (Pty) Ltd
St Mary’s DSG Outreach Programme
Skukuza Marathon Club
SA Mint
Webber Wentzel
Riso Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Charl Van Der Merwe Trust
Vlakvark Golf Day
Ann Rimbault Pottery
Protea Hotel Kruger Gate
Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust
Charl van der Merwe Trust

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

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