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MWITU’S MEMO

 

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Welcome to the second editionഀ of ChitterChatter. I hope you all had a wonderful holidayഀ season, and are feeling ready to take on the world in 2017!ഀ Holidays are lovely, but I’m super excited to be back,ഀ bringing you all the news about what the team has been up toഀ since we last chatted, and I know that everyone at the EWT isഀ looking forward to another successful year of Conservation inഀ Action, made possible by your support.
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ഀ As excited as we are to be back, it’s been a bit of aഀ concerning time for my friend Duma. A study by Panthera, theഀ Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservationഀ Society, which the EWT also contributed to, was released inഀ December, showing that approximately 7,100 Cheetahs remain inഀ the wild, worldwide! That’s pretty scary stuff, and he’sഀ worried about his family. They’re facing threats like habitatഀ loss and destruction, persecution by livestock owners, andഀ the illegal pet trade, among others. The EWT is working hardഀ to protect these special animals, though, and the Carnivore Conservationഀ Programme is making good headway in South Africa. You canഀ read more about this study in our February edition of Conservationഀ Matters
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ഀ It’s definitely not all doom and gloom though, and I hopeഀ you’ll enjoy the stories we share with you in this edition.ഀ If you’re not already following us on social media, head overഀ to Facebook and Twitterഀ for frequent updates on our exciting projects. We love yourഀ feedback, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like toഀ see more of in these newsletters. You can pop me a mail at Mwitu@ewt.org.zaഀ – I can’t wait to hear from you.
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ഀ Happy reading!
ഀ Mwitu
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A WORD FROM THE HEAD OFഀ CONSERVATION

 

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I am thrilled to beഀ temporarily taking over the responsibility for writing theseഀ messages, as Yolan takes a well-earned sabbatical, and lookഀ forward to continuing to share news of the EWT’s importantഀ work with you. Of course, none of our work would be possibleഀ without you, and I would like to wish all our supporters aഀ slightly belated Happy New Year and all the very best forഀ 2017. It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end ofഀ January already! We look forward to another year of makingഀ Conservation in Action possible through your wonderfulഀ support.

ഀ Towards the end of last year, the EWT released the 2016 Redഀ List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, inഀ conjunction with our partners at the South African Nationalഀ Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This Red List provides anഀ up-to-date assessment of the state of our mammals, and it wasഀ found that 57 (17%) are deemed to be threatened withഀ extinction, while 34 (10%) are Near Threatened. We lookഀ forward to sharing more detailed species assessments in theഀ coming weeks and months, so please do keep an eye on ourഀ website and social media pages.

ഀ The threats that mammals face are broad and complex, andഀ conservationists must tackle multiple ongoing challenges to addressഀ them effectively. These threats include habitat loss,ഀ hunting, illegal wildlife trafficking and climate change. Theഀ Red List’s value lies in its usefulness in planning how toഀ tackle these challenges, as it offers a standardised tool forഀ measuring biodiversity loss and informing policy andഀ conservation planning.

ഀ The Red List showed mixed results, with some species’ഀ statuses having deteriorated (White and Black Rhino, Leopard,ഀ Mountain Reedbuck and Humpback Dolphin) while others haveഀ improved, and it is certainly not all bad news. We have seenഀ some wonderful conservation success stories in South Africa,ഀ such as that of the Cape Mountain Zebra, and this is oftenഀ due to cooperation between conservationists and the privateഀ sector. I am confident that if we continue to work inഀ partnership with concerned citizens like you, we will haveഀ even more success stories in the future.

ഀ Until next time
ഀ Dr Harriet Davies-Mostert
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OUR PROJECTS

 

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Leap into actionഀ for frogs!

Dr Jeanne Tarrant, Threatened Amphibianഀ Programme Manager
JeanneT@ewt.org.za


ഀ Leap Day for Frogs is marked annually in February to raiseഀ awareness of the plight of these special amphibians. Frogsഀ are often met with negative reactions and mixed attitudes, andഀ Leap Day for Frogs aims to help to dispel some of theseഀ unpleasant connotations and educate people about theഀ importance of frogs to our environment. There are 125 frogഀ species in South Africa, of which a third are threatened byഀ habitat destruction, increasing levels of pollution inഀ freshwater systems, disease and climate change. The EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programmeഀ (TAP)
is working hard to secure populations ofഀ some of South Africa’s most threatened amphibian species,ഀ including the Critically Endangered Amathole Toad,ഀ Pickersgill’s Reed Frog, and Western Leopard Toad; protectഀ key habitats for threatened amphibians; and raise awarenessഀ about frogs and their importance, making Leap Day for Frogs aഀ very important day.


ഀ It’s also a day to have fun! This year, the TAP team will beഀ attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largestഀ game of leapfrog. This event will take place on Friday 24ഀ February at 10:00 on the Durban beachfront promenade (nearഀ uShaka Marine World), and we’d love to see as many of youഀ there as possible. We’re aiming for 1,500 participants, soഀ round up your friends, family or school group and hop onഀ over!

ഀ For more information on this frog-tastic event, pleaseഀ contact Dr Jeanne Tarrant at JeanneT@ewt.org.zaഀ or visit www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za


Leap Dayഀ for Frogs takes place in partnership with uShaka Sea World,ഀ Kloof Conservancy and WESSA EcoSchools, and this event isഀ sponsored by Struik Nature and Cooee Softdrinks.
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Conservation Weekഀ 2016

Belinda Glenn, Communication and Brand Manager
BelindaG@ewt.org.za
ഀ Late last year, Endangered Wildlife Trust staff spent a fewഀ days in the field at Dinokeng Game Reserve during our annualഀ Conservation Week. This affords team members, who for most ofഀ the year are based throughout South Africa and beyond, theഀ valuable opportunity to learn more about each other’s workഀ and engage in practical training activities. This year wasഀ particularly special, as it was the first time Conservationഀ Week was held in the field rather than at Head Office. Thisഀ offered field staff even more opportunity to shine, as theyഀ showcased their work in a more natural environment. Practicalഀ training sessions included the use of technology, such asഀ drones, tagging and camera traps, in conservation; freshwaterഀ ecology demonstrations; wildlife crime scene investigations;ഀ and alien vegetation clearing, among others. There were alsoഀ valuable presentations and group discussions on topics suchഀ as the importance of community work, stewardship, vehicleഀ safety, dealing with snake bites, and roadkill identification.ഀ The EWT’s annual awards, where team members are recognisedഀ for their achievements during the year, were also held duringഀ this time.

ഀ The winners were:

  • Programmeഀ of the Year: Threatenedഀ Amphibian Programme
  • Programmeഀ Manager of the Year:ഀ Bridget Corrigan (Source to Sea Programme)
  • Conservationഀ Achiever:ഀ  Lourens Leeuwner (Wildlife and Energy Programme,ഀ Renewable Energy Project Manager)
  • Conservationഀ Supporter: Yves Mananaഀ (IT Manager)
  • Anatolianഀ Award (Conflictഀ resolution): Nic Armstrong (Source to Sea Programme,ഀ Field Officer)
  • Malutiഀ Award (Conflictഀ resolution): Cherise Acker (Threatened Amphibianഀ Programme, Field Officer)
  • Honeyഀ Badger Award (Fiercestഀ field officer):  Cobus Theron (Drylandsഀ Conservation Programme Manager)
  • Outstandingഀ Media Presence: Carnivoreഀ Conservation Programme
  • Self-Improvementഀ Award: Dora Mncubeഀ (Housekeeper), who is studying to be a teacher
  • Newcomerഀ of the Year: Belindaഀ Glenn (Communication and Brand Manager)
  • Pawprintഀ Brand Ambassador Award:  Bridgetഀ Corrigan (Source to Sea Programme Manager)
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Patron Supporters
ഀ (R250,000 and above per annum)

 

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Elizabethഀ Wakeman Henderson Charitable Foundation

 

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Conservationഀ Week 2016 was a great success, and would not have been possibleഀ without the generous support of headline sponsor, Bakwena, as wellഀ as ABI and Painted Wolf Wines, who supplied all the beverages;ഀ Trappers, who supplied all the prizes for our annual awards;ഀ Woolworths, who donated a food voucher; Mongena Game Lodge,ഀ Dinokeng’s flagship lodge, who donated a free game drive for allഀ the staff; Mooiplasie, who provided accommodation at a reducedഀ rate; and Greenfinch, Dinonyane Bush Lodge and Mangy Jackal, whoഀ provided accommodation at no charge. Thank you so much for yourഀ support!


 

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Money matters

Bridgetഀ Corrigan, Source to Sea Programme Manager
BridgetC@ewt.org.za

 
ഀ As part of the Source to Sea Programme’s commitment to communityഀ development, two sets of financial training were organised forഀ community members in the Amathole region.

ഀ Basic financial training was provided to 85 local Natural Resourceഀ Management (NRM) employees. The training, which was sponsored andഀ facilitated by Old Mutual, was held over three days, and was a bigഀ success as it was given in the local language of isiXhosa andഀ covered most of the basics such as debt management, budgeting andഀ financial awareness.

ഀ The Big Five were used to illustrate the message of financialഀ responsibility. This worked well as it was symbolic of the animalsഀ found on South Africa’s currency and the different characteristicsഀ that each of the animals have. For example, the secret of theഀ Leopard is having a clear goal to work towards and starting smallഀ to achieve that goal. Once it has enough experience, it startsഀ stalking and hunting larger prey. This was used to explain the ideaഀ of developing a savings habit by having a clear goal of what one isഀ saving towards and starting small by having a fixed plan savingsഀ account. The secret to the lion (males) is that they eat before theഀ rest of the pride. As such participants were taught to “eat first”ഀ by saving some money first before looking at other expenses.ഀ Participants said the training was very useful and they would tryഀ to apply as much of what they’d learnt in their daily financialഀ lives as possible.


ഀ We also organised two financial business management practitionersഀ (Gerber and Jolandie Strydom) to give business management trainingഀ to eight aspiring local beekeepers and five NRM contractors at theഀ Tyume Valley. This training was specifically aimed at supportingഀ up-and-coming green business entrepreneurs. The main components ofഀ the training were based around viewing their business as a brandഀ and managing it as such. We had positive feedback from theഀ participants who even requested to stay in contact with theഀ facilitators. The facilitators have also committed to providingഀ assistance on an advisory basis to the participants.

 

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Caught on camera!

Bonnieഀ Schumann, Drylands Conservation Programme Senior Field Officer
BonnieS@ewt.org.za

During recent restoration fieldwork, staff from theഀ Drylands Conservation Programme (DCP) and visiting eco-rangers wereഀ lucky enough to see a Riverine Rabbit in its habitat. Staffഀ reported that they were all frozen on the spot, as they could notഀ believe their luck…except Esté Matthew, DCP Field Officer, whoഀ whipped out her iPhone and photographed this rare and Criticallyഀ Endangered bunny! These rabbits are rarely seen, let aloneഀ photographed, so it was particularly special to be close enough toഀ do so. It is the first photo of a Riverine Rabbit in its naturalഀ habitat ever taken by an EWT staff member and as far as we know itഀ is also the first picture taken with an iPhone.

The DCP team has also set camera traps in the Namaഀ Karoo to survey for Riverine Rabbit presence. A survey north ofഀ Williston in a potential conservation area did not find rabbits,ഀ but 16 mammal species were captured in the first three weeks,ഀ yielding valuable data on other wildlife present in the riparianഀ zone.

Closer to home for the project, and just 15 kilometresഀ outside Loxton, we were delighted to capture rabbits at a newഀ location, just upstream of our latest restoration site, usingഀ camera traps. This research looks at Riverine Rabbit distributionഀ as well as biodiversity in general, in relation to the habitatഀ restoration work being conducted, to understand their movementsഀ around degraded areas and hopefully, eventually onto restoredഀ areas. The location is situated near a historical sighting, butഀ “closes the gap” a little so to speak, between two known locations,ഀ separated by a degraded stretch of river that is undergoingഀ restoration. It also confirms that our restoration work is targetedഀ in the right places. The distinguishing characteristics of Riverineഀ Rabbits, namely the black cheek stripe, brown tail, thickly furredഀ feet and disproportionately large ears can all be seen clearly inഀ the photos. We have set up cameras at the most active cameraഀ locations to capture some video footage of bunnies going about theirഀ business, and hope to share footage soon.
This work isഀ made possible by Rand Merchant Bank.

 

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Beഀ Water Wise

Joelഀ Thosago, Membership Administrator
JoelT@ewt.org.za

When water rationing was implemented last year in myഀ neighbourhood of Kagiso, situated on the West Rand of Johannesburg,ഀ I spoke to the manager of the EWT’s Source to Sea Programme,ഀ Bridget Corrigan, to provide me with advice on how I could saveഀ water. She pointed out that one of the most innovative methods ofഀ saving water would be to harvest rainwater – especially forഀ domestic use. My wife and I looked at our limited finances andഀ finally decided to invest in a water tank. She was initiallyഀ sceptical about the idea but soon realised the benefits once theഀ taps went dry when water rationing was introduced! The tank was soഀ easy to install that we did it ourselves, simply connecting itഀ through the gutter system.   

The benefits we are currently enjoying are huge,ഀ including low water bills. But more importantly, the system alsoഀ gives you a good feeling, knowing that you are contributingഀ immensely to the conservation of this scarce resource, fresh water.ഀ I would encourage everyone to implement a similar system in theirഀ own homes! Indeed, my family’s use of this rainwater harvestingഀ system has sparked interest among our neighbours and otherഀ community members, who, after learning about the benefits, are alsoഀ keen to contribute in this small but effective way to saving ourഀ precious natural resource.

 

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EVENTS

Country Club Johannesburg Talk

Savingഀ Kruger’s Wild Dogs – Country Club Johannesburg Talk
ഀ Tuesday 7 February 2017
ഀ Presented by Grant Beverley, Carnivore Conservation Programmeഀ Lowveld Regional Coordinator
ഀ Please note: Dinner reservations need to be booked and paid for byഀ the RSVP deadline.
ഀ Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park
ഀ 1 Napier Road, Auckland Park
ഀ RSVP to joelt@ewt.org.zaഀ or 011 372 3600/1/2/3
 
Taking up the Challenge - Ride 947 Cycle Challenge !
ഀ You can do your bit to put the wild back into life by riding forഀ the EWT in this year’s 947 Cycle Challenge. This year’s event takesഀ place on 19 November 2017 and registration is already open! Visit -ഀ http://www.cyclechallenge.co.za/.ഀ Charity registrations will only open in March, but we’d like toഀ encourage you to join Mwitu’s Pack now. Let us know if you plan toഀ Ride for Wildlife with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and we’llഀ keep you up to date with all the information you need to have aഀ fantastic race, while raising funds for conservation. Email Marionഀ at MarionB@ewt.org.za,ഀ and join Mwitu’s Pack to Ride for Wildlife today!
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Complete ourഀ online form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYgK16AJiiuT-BFZCMBJ_XYQyJcRs70agfeDVO9Rqt6O5BOQ/viewform
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EWT Golf Day - 7 April 2017

Save theഀ date! The EWT Golf Day will take place at Zwartkop Country Club onഀ 7 April 2017. For more information, contact Frank Jackson on FrankJ@ewt.org.za
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LEAP Day for Frogs

For moreഀ information on this frog-tastic event, please contact Dr Jeanneഀ Tarrant at JeanneT@ewt.org.zaഀ or visit www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za
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ONLINE STORE


Happyഀ Valentine’s Day!

Loveഀ wildlife? Why not give your Valentine a gift that gives back toഀ conservation! Shop online at www.ewtshop.co.za or visit us atഀ our offices at Building K2, Pinelands Office Park, Ardeer Road,ഀ Modderfontein (shop open Monday – Friday, 09:00-15:00).
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SUPPORTER NEWS
 

Golfingഀ for good

The EWT andഀ the South African Senior Tour (SAST) have partnered to create aഀ series of unique golf events that will create regular games forഀ senior players, while helping to protect our precious naturalഀ environment. Through a host of national and international golfingഀ events for players over 50 years old, the EWT Senior Golf Seriesഀ will generate much needed funds for the EWT, while also exposingഀ the incredible conservation work the Trust does.

ഀ Brought together by innovative sports marketing agency, Accelerateഀ Sport, the EWT and the SAST are uniting to reach common goalsഀ through this unique new golf series. Each of the EWT Seniors Golfഀ Series events will be tailored in a Pro-Am style, where corporatesഀ or enthusiasts can play alongside professionals. Each event willഀ also be dedicated to an animal that the EWT works with.
ഀ The EWT Senior Golf Series has a roll-out target plan of fiveഀ events by the end of 2017, with the first taking place in April,ഀ and 10 events by the close of 2018. These events will take place onഀ South African soil and beyond, with plans to play golf in the SADCഀ region, Sub-Saharan Africa and the surrounding island regions.
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Transഀ Africa Safaris

Since 1918,ഀ Trans Africa Safaris has been at the forefront of luxury, softഀ adventure travel in Africa.  A boutique luxury inbound tourഀ operator, they specialise in highly personalised, unique andഀ well-conceived travel for discerning clients. Based in Cape Town,ഀ they customise luxury travel to Southern Africa within Southഀ Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya,ഀ and can provide full destination management support within theഀ region.

ഀ Trans Africa Safaris is a long-standing corporate member of theഀ EWT. “The bulk of our clients visit Africa for its magnificentഀ natural offerings and, as such, our business is inherently linkedഀ to our fauna and flora. There are a great many projects, bothഀ social and environmental, in our region that require assistance,ഀ but the work that the EWT does really resonates with us as they doഀ not only focus on the ‘high-profile’ projects, but also many other,ഀ equally important undertakings. Also, we believe that the EWT has aഀ team of really dedicated researchers, scientists and volunteersഀ driving their various initiatives,” says Andre Botha, Trans Africaഀ Safaris Sales and Marketing Director.
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Creativeഀ contributions

In the leadഀ up to Christmas last year, Cooper Pax, a ten-year old artist andഀ budding conservationist, decided that he wanted to make aഀ difference. Using his artistic talent, Cooper created Christmasഀ cards in six different designs and sold these via a number ofഀ different channels, including in local shops. His passion forഀ wildlife led him to pledge to donate 50% of his profits to the EWT,ഀ and he raised over R700 for the organisation. Thank you to Cooperഀ for committing to making a difference!
ഀ Want to get involved through membership or fundraising? Send anഀ email to ewt@ewt.org.zaഀ and we’ll gladly assist!
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Reap theഀ benefits of a tax-deductible donation

Did you knowഀ that you can benefit from tax relief on donations to the Endangeredഀ Wildlife Trust (EWT) made during this fiscal year, which ends onഀ the 28th of February 2017?
ഀ Bona fide donations made to the EWT (a registered Public Benefitഀ Organisation) by taxpayers, whether companies or individuals, willഀ entitle the taxpayer to a deduction from their taxable income. Thisഀ applies up to a limit of 10% of the taxpayers’ taxable income.
ഀ You will qualify to receive a Section 18A tax receipt for yourഀ donation, which will allow you to claim the applicable tax relief.ഀ What’s more, by donating to the EWT, you will be supporting one ofഀ South Africa’s leading conservation organisations, which is workingഀ to safeguard the environment for future generations.
ഀ To find out more about receiving a Section 18A tax receipt, simplyഀ email us at ewt@ewt.org.za
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Donating isഀ now as easy as snapping your fingers… orഀ your phone!                                                                                     ഀ


ഀ Supporters can now donate to the EWT quickly and safely, usingഀ SnapScan. All you need to do is:

  1. Download theഀ SnapScan application on your smartphone
  2. Register with yourഀ details – this should take no more than a few minutes
  3. Scan our EWTഀ barcode to make your donation in the amount of your choice (beഀ sure to choose donation rather than e-shop from the drop downഀ menu) – you’ll be asked to enter your PIN so you know theഀ transaction is secure

 
ഀ It’s as easy as one-two-three! Once you’ve made your donation viaഀ SnapScan, you’ll get an SMS confirming the transaction, and the EWTഀ will be notified via SMS too. Supporting conservation in actionഀ couldn’t be simpler.

 

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Physical Address: Building K2, Ardeer Road,ഀ Pinelands Office Park,
ഀ Modderfontein 1609, Gauteng, South Africa,
ഀ Postal Address: Private Bag X 11, Modderfontein 1645, Gauteng,ഀ South Africa
ഀ Tel: +27 (0) 11 372 3600 Fax: +27 (0) 11 608 4682 NPO Number:ഀ 015-502
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