Issue 56: Nov 2014 - Jan 2015
  • Becoming an EWT EcoRanger
  • Determining the extent of human-wildlife conflict in the Bakwena N1/4 Corridor
  • Heddi hits the ground running, one sniff at a time
  • Overcoming fears and sharing stories
  • Solar Power: How different technologies affect birds
  • The story of the Darlington Male
    Wood Owl chick rescued and reunited with its family

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Like many MNet subscribers, I found myself watching the film Noah last Sunday night and was drawn into the film’s key theme of conflict and the Human Condition. The merits of the film aside, it brings into focus the nexus at which both angels and demons exist in the entire human race and inside every one of us. It makes a dramatic statement as to the perversion of the human species and the need for complete eradication in order for the earth to begin again. Cain’s descendants, having chopped down almost every tree, eaten every animal, mutilated the earth to extract every ounce of ore and polluted every waterway, are the clear villains but inside of Noah himself lies both the palpable ‘righteous’ man that nurtures the earth and cares for all beings; but also lingers a man who can kill and watch others die.

In the conservation sector, we are regularly faced with the dark side of the Human Condition. Where greed, narcissism, malice and cruelty thrive and where the results are often like those portrayed in the film – as in the earth that Cain’s people had destroyed. I found myself wondering if in fact, the complete annihilation of a society, a culture or a way of life is what it will take to restore peace and harmony in the world. Where it is not a matter of changing people, but rather accepting that the ‘good’ must be supported and nurtured and the bad may never change. In the context of the work that we do,we must ask if the kingpins in poaching networks will ever care about rhino or pangolins or if the directors and shareholders in rogue mining companies will ever choose ecological integrity over greed? But if the bad will never change, and without advocating floods and tsunamis to wipe them (us?) all out, what does this mean for saving an earth that is increasingly being ravaged by humans driven by power, greed and malice?

The links between rampant wildlife poaching and illegal trade, to terrorism and militant factions are no longer conjecture and the horror we all feel as we watch the rise of these groups at the cost of thousands of innocent lives, is mirrored only by the fear in the hearts of the conservation community that the solutions to save rhinos and elephants and pangolins and forests may just be beyond our grasp. It has been said that one terrorist group in Africa earns in the region of US$600 000 per month from the sale of poached elephant ivory alone. The conservation community may be hard-pressed to save elephants or rhino when the stakes are so high and evil pays so well. So one starts to wonder where all this will end. When all the elephants and rhino are gone and the forests are razed and the water is black. Will human beings have another Noah to save us?

I like to believe that we don’t need an apocalypse to ‘save’ us and that in fact, on a global scale, there are probably many more ‘good’ people than bad. On the face of it, it may be fairly easy to distinguish a good person (who recycles and only eats organic) from a bad person (who poaches rhino and blasts away at mountains). However, as with Noah himself, this distinction may not be so clear inside the hearts and souls of humans. Would the recycler buy rhino horn if she believed it could save her dying baby? And does the organic fruit eater’s pension fund invest in dirty coal? We’ve created a complex world in which we are a highly conflicted species, and not one of us can claim to be righteous and pure whilst pointing fingers at those who aren’t. But here’s the upside: as long as there is this conflict, and as long as we recognise it, it means that the good voices remain a challenging force and that we have hope. A hope that may not come from trying to change the evil forces that we are so quick to label ‘out there’ but from that place inside all of us that knows that we too are conflicted and that we too bring angels and demons upon our earth with the choices we make and the impacts that we have.

I believe that there is enough good inside us all and in the world to thwart the bad. While we grapple with the finer details of what is good and by whose definitions, we mostly agree on the fundamentals: It is not right, in any religion, culture or society to take more than we need; to cause extinction of the species for whom we should be their guardians; to destroy a resource or another’s right to benefit from it; and to prioritise greed and power over compassion and a duty of care that is the ultimate human quality. The problems of a world seemingly gone mad are all of ours to fix and this begins with our personal daily struggles to quell what is simply wrong and stand up for what is right. Only then can we truly be called the Human Civilisation.

Yolan Friedmann
Endangered Wildlife Trust CEO




Heddi hits the ground running, one sniff at a time
By Kirsty Brebner, EWT's Rhino Project, Project Manager

Heddi, a Belgian Malinois sniffer dog was first imported by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) from Germany in July 2012 and was trained to detect rhino horn and ivory. Her first working years were at OR Tambo International Airport. When KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife recognised the value of sniffer dogs at reserves, they approached the EWT for help in obtaining a dog for their anti-rhino poaching operations. Heddi appeared to be exactly what they were looking for. A decision was made to deploy her there which meant her sniffing repertoire was expanded to include weapons and bullets. Her new handler Chantel Dickson spent time in Johannesburg where she bonded with Heddi during her training period with Bidvest Magnum Dog unit. …READ MORE


Becoming an EWT EcoRanger
By Cobus Theron, EWT's African Crane Conservation Programme,Senior Field Officer

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)'s African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP) recently took on eight trainees on a three month intensive EcoRanger training. The EcoRangers programme offers hands on practical fieldwork training to participants supervised by experienced conservationists whose aim is to produce competent EcoRangers capable of performing practical tasks in the field. Trainees are exposed to the rigorous field work and are given challenging tasks to solve conservation problems …READ MORE /


Overcoming fears and sharing stories
By Jeanne Tarrant, EWT's Threatened Amphibians Programme Manager & Cobus Theron, EWT's African Crane Conservation Programme, Senior Field Officer

As part of the extensive training that was undertaken by the EWT Southern Drakensberg Eco-Rangers, Dr. Jeanne Tarrant of the Threatened Amphibian Programme joined Cobus Theron (African Crane Conservation Programme) for two days in Underberg to give an introductory course on frogs including identification of species local to the region. Judging by the faces of the eight participants at the outset, no one was particularly enamoured with the idea of learning about this group of creatures…READ MORE


Determining the extent of human-wildlife conflict in the Bakwena N1/4 Corridor – North West Province
By Tselane Rachuene – Intern for the EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme and Jiba Magwaza-intern for the EWT's Threatened Grassland Species Programme

Understanding the relationship between free-roaming wildlife, especially carnivores, and humans is very important. A lot of Endangered species find themselves threatened by angry communities and sadly often end up being killed either through fear or to protect livestock. Some predators do cause problems which results in conflict in and around communities especially those that are close to mountains and game farms. It is very important that a holistic management approach to human-wildlife conflict is taken when dealing with such issues because many predators are of conservation concern and predation can impact on livelihoods…READ MORE


The story of the Darlington Male
By Vincent van der Merwe, EWT's Carnivore Conservation Programme, Cheetah Metapopulation coordinator

In George Orwell’s allegorical novel ‘Animal Farm’, Napoleon revised one of the seven commandments. “All animals are equal” was promptly replaced with “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
Graaf Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa and is situated in the heart of the Great Karoo. It is a boundless area covered by vast sheep and game farms, where broad plains roll away to distant koppies and the multilayered Sneeuberg Mountains. These are the only mountains in Africa where one can observe the world’s fastest land mammal in snow. Cheetah are more tolerant of cold weather than one would think. In Samara Private Game Reserve Cheetah are known to compete for higher lying grassland areas where it frequently snows in winter. It was in these grasslands that an exceptional young Cheetah was born in October 2006. …READ MORE


Solar Power: How different technologies affect birds
By Lourens Leeuwner, the EWT’S Wildlife and Energy Programme, Renewable Energy Project Manager

South Africa`s potential for solar power generation is extremely high due to the levels of solar irradiation. A number of independent power producers have already identified this and photo voltaic (PV) solar farms are cropping up all over the Northern Cape. …READ MORE


Wood Owl chick rescued and reunited with its family
By Ronelle Visagie, EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme, Field Officer

Last year in November, Hilton Kuisis a community member from the Sabie region in Mpumalanga found a baby owl and alerted the EWT. Hilton wanted to know if there was a rehabilitation centre nearby or if it was possible to feed and raise the chick. I suspected that the chick could be a Spotted Eagle Owl so, I advised him to leave it on the ground or to put it in a safe place, to make it easier for its parents to find it. It is always better to leave the chick with its parents to raise, because the rehabilitation process is long and can only be done by people with knowledge about raptors. …READ MORE


Karen Allen of the Endangered Wildlife Trust bags Future for Nature award

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is delighted to announce that Karen Allen, EWT's Dugong Emergency Protection Project Executant is one of the proud 3 winners of the Future for Nature Award for the Dugong Emergency Protection Project based in Mozambique. Winners have been selected out of many entries from around the globe. Future for Nature supports young, talented and ambitious conservationists committed to protecting species of wild animals and plants. The commitment of these individuals is what will make the difference for the future of nature. Through their leadership they inspire and mobilize communities, organizations, governments, investors and the public at large.

The focus of Future for Nature award is specifically on the advancement and support of young, emerging conservationists. Karen has achieved substantial and long term benefit to the conservation status of the Dugong. She has demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurship in her conservation work and has been creative and innovative in her work.

EWT's Dugong Emergency Protection Project Executant, Karen Allen said "Through conserving Bazaruto’s dugongs, I hope to improve the overall conservation management of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park and its diverse and sensitive habitats", she continued, "I believe species conservation can also be a catalyst to uplift and develop the often-impoverished human communities who share a species’ habitat. By elevating dugongs as a flagship species, I hope to leverage funds and international support, and to secure partners to help develop a range of sustainable alternative income-generating activities for the Park’s resident fishing communities."

Karen will be jetting off to the Future for Nature Awards Ceremony in Royal Burgers’ Zoo in the Netherlands on Friday 27 February 2015 where she will present her work on the Dugong Emergency Protection Project. She will also be presented with a prize of o €50,000 to continue saving the Bazaruto Dugong.


Vote for the Beautiful Blue Crane

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is calling on members of the public to vote for South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) in a national poll being run by BirdLife South Africa from 1 December to 28 February encouraging South Africans to vote for their favourite bird.

" The EWT is excited to be campaigning for the Blue Crane, we have a solid track record of more than 25 years working to conserve cranes and the habitats on which they depend, and we are proud to put our weight behind this magnificent bird", says Tanya Smith, the EWT's African Crane Conservation Programme, Southern African Regional Manager.

The Blue Crane is South Africa's legendary, spectacular and graceful bird that has captivated the imaginations of thousands of people and is one of the selected 52 bird species listed in the national poll. Its image can be found embossed on our coins and its feathers have significant traditional value for the Zulu and Xhosa people. There is nothing quite like the sight of a pair of ‘dancing’ Blue Cranes in the grasslands in the east to the farmlands of the Western Cape in the west; no matter where you are in South Africa the sight and sound of Blue Cranes calling instil a sense of belonging to this magnificent country we all call home.
To view a video clip and to vote for the Blue Crane, go to

Blue Crane Fast Facts:

  • National Bird of South Africa
  • Mainly found in South Africa’s grasslands, Karoo and agricultural landscapes of the Western Cape.
  • Classified as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red Data List of Species for southern Africa – there are around 25 000 Blue Cranes in South Africa.
  • Near endemic to South Africa, with a small population in Namibia of less than 35 birds
  • The biggest dangers facing the blue cranes are: habitat loss, poisoning and collision with powerlines and illegal trade.

The EWT's African Conservation Programme focuses on Crane habitat conservation, conservation based scientific research, environmental education and awareness, risk assessments and threat mitigation and reducing unnatural crane mortalities.
For more information please contact: Tanya Smith
International Crane Foundation / Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership
Southern Africa Regional Manager: African Crane Conservation Programme
W + 27 33 330 6982 | Email:


Oxpecker Eco-label Design Competition

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is inviting aspiring art, visual communication and graphic design students to enter the Oxpecker Eco-Label Design Competition. The theme for the competition is “Oxpecker Compatible” product identification....READ MORE


We are very excited to inform you that we will be giving presentations at THE WOODMEAD COUNTRY CLUB every second month, we of course will be continuing at the COUNTRY CLUB JOHANNESBURG AUCKLAND PARK.

Cheetah Evolution and the Status of wild Cheetahs in South Africa - by Vincent van der Merwe, the EWT’s Cheetah Metapopulation coordinator Carnivore Conservation Programme
When: Tuesday 24th February 2015
Where: Country Club Johannesburg (Woodmead) Cnr. Woodlands Dr.& Lincoln St. WoodmeadSandton,
Cost: R70 members, R95 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

“Wild Dogs at the Paw front of Conservation ” – by Kelly Marnewick, the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Manager
When: Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Where: Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Cost: R70 members, R95 non-members, dinner R140 per person
Contact: Debbie Thiart on 011 372 3600/1/2/3 or for more information

Leap day for Frogs - presented by Dr Jeanne Tarrant, the EWT's Threatened Amphibian Programme Manager
When: Saturday 28th February 2015
Where: Scout Hall Memorial Park, Kloof
Cost: R20 adults, R10 children under 12
All proceeds will go towards the EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme
Contact: Jeanne Tarrant at 031 765 5471or for more information

The EWT’s annual golf day will take place on 29th May 2015. Please save the date, an official mailer will be emailed during February. Save the date and start planning your 4 ball team. For further information please email


New additions to the exclusive EWT / Relate’s gorgeous wildlife bracelet collection…

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, EWT Rhino bracelet from selected CNA stores, and soon to be in selected Trapper’s Trading stores. You can also buy on line at or at

We are continuously expanding our e-shop range. Have you seen our new pewter range of miniature animals? Each miniature animal is packed in a black satin bag – you could collect the entire range or you could opt for the popular Dung Beetle or the Meerkat. Another clothing item that has proved very popular is the EWT Paw Print T-shirt.

Visit the EWT E-shop and buy from our gorgeous range of products -
All items may be ordered online or alternatively you can email


The Endangered Wildlife Trust invites you to cycle for your wild heritage in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Cape Argus.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust is registered as a charity bond for the Cape Argus 2015. The EWT will have a team for the Cape Town Cycle Tour taking place on 8th March 2015. We have 7 entries available.
Get involved, join our team and cycle for conservation in action and do your part to bring an end to extinction!
Email Debbie with your name, ID Number and proof of payment.
For any queries contact Debbie on or call her on 011 372 3600/1/2/3

The African Pangolin Working Group set to launch on 19th February 2015

The African Pangolin Working Group (APWG), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and awareness of all four species of African pangolin, will be officially launched at a function at the National Zoo in Pretoria on the 19th February 2015; two days prior to world pangolin day.
The APWG is the official representative of the IUCN Species Survival Commissions Pangolin Specialist Group for Africa and, as such, attempts to monitor and launch research, rehabilitation law enforcement and community projects on African pangolins across multiple African states.
With its official launch in February, the APWG hopes to reach a global audience to highlight the plight of these mammals and bring the world’s attention to a group of animals that face a very real extinction crisis if a concerted effort is not made to reverse their rapid decline.
Contact: Rynette Coetzee on Tel: +27 11 372 3600/083 271 0274 or for further information.

Welcome to our most recent supporters:
We would like to take this opportunity of welcoming our newest supporters to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and to thank them for their support:

  • The TreadRight Foundation
  • African Compass
  • The Hans Hoheisen Trust
  • CSIR Running Club
  • AJ Sender
  • TienhovenStichtingTotin
  • The St Louis Zoo
  • The HCI Foundation
  • KLB Engineering

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.
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