A passion-fuelled rescue effort

Returning chicks to the wild; from left Paul - the village chairman, Phiona, and Bosco the chick captor

Phionah Orishaba, Educator, Buranga Primary School

Phionah Orishaba, a teacher implementing the EWT’s “Cranes in the Classroom” programme in Kabale, Uganda recently led a crane rescue effort, and shares the story with us.

“My role in the crane conservation project has for the last while been that of a patron for the Buranga Primary School “Cranes in the Classroom” programme. This programme was introduced to us by the EWT/ICF Uganda Project Coordinator, Jimmy Muheebwa, about two years ago. It came in handy when the cranes in Kabale were facing incredible persecution through capture for sale across the border into neighbouring countries. My school and I embraced the “Cranes in the Classroom” programme and subsequently we have been keeping an eye out for any persecuted cranes in the village. On a fateful Saturday afternoon in March, I received a call from our former local council chairperson, Happy Addy, to alert me to the fact that his neighbour had captured a pair of chicks from South Kiruruma wetland, and wanted to sell them. I asked Happy to tell his neighbour that I would pay for the chicks, to buy time while I sought advice, and also to allow me time to get to the site to collect photographic evidence. I liaised with Jimmy, who was in South Africa at the time, and he advised on how to rescue the chicks. I also roped in a crane custodian, Kagyenda, and a colleague of mine, Saturday, who implements “Cranes in the Classroom” in a sister school. We raced to the house where the chicks were being held, and were welcomed by their captor. He was quite unconcerned that he had captured these now traumatised chicks, saying he was feeding them what they would eat in the wild, and that while the law forbids killing cranes, it doesn’t say anything about keeping them.

I explained that the chicks were best off with their parents, in their natural environment, and told him a little about the work we do to save cranes, our national symbol, heritage and flagship for environmental health. The local council chairperson also arrived and, sharing my passion for cranes, reiterated the legal and cultural implications of keeping cranes in captivity.

By this point, the captor was trembling, thinking he was under arrest. He pleaded for us to allow him to deliver the chicks back to the wetland where they were captured. We only allowed him to lead us to the site but once there, took control of the situation as Jimmy had advised. We carried the chicks to the site, and soon spotted the frustrated and almost bereaved parents in the distance. As advised by Jimmy, we tickled the chicks to get them to make some distress sounds, which attracted the attention of the parents. The chicks made a sharp, shrill “peep” sound which in turn alerted the parents to return the call. As the parents hovered, we released the chicks who quickly took off into the wetland, and were welcomed back into the fold.

About to release the chicks - left to right Paul - the village chairman,George - custodian, Phionah and Bosco the captor

Since then, they have occasionally been seen gracefully feeding under the care of their parents, and we are all happy and relieved that this mission was successfully accomplished – with passion, we save one, and save all!”

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Belief-based poisoning seals the fate of a Lappet-faced Vulture on the cusp of adulthood

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Andre Botha, Manager, EWT Vultures for Africa

AndreB@ewt.org.za

I still vividly recall the first interaction of the team from the Zululand Vulture Project with this Lappet-faced Vulture as a nestling in the Phongolo Nature Reserve on the border with Eswatini on 17 October 2015, almost four years ago. The Zululand Vulture Project is a working partnership between the EWT, Wildlife ACT, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and other partners, and aims to conserve and secure the dwindling populations of all vulture species breeding in the Zululand-region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

An important aspect of the work of this project is monitoring of breeding activity of critically endangered African White-backed and White-headed, as well as Endangered Lappet-faced Vultures since the early 2000s. This includes visiting nests towards the end of the breeding season every year to ring and wing-tag a substantial sample of nestlings to assess their dispersal and movements after leaving the nest and to determine their survival over time. Information gathered from the re-sighting of these birds contribute to our understanding of how this population of vultures use the landscape, where they roam to find food. Recovery of dead wing-tagged birds also contributes to our knowledge of the mortality factors that impact these ecologically important birds and where they are potentially exposed to the threats that have contributed to their continued decline in Zululand over the last two decades.

P068, a Lappet-faced Vulture, was one of these nestlings that we fitted with wing-tags early one morning after accessing the nest with the kind assistance of a team from Eskom’s Pongola operational node that annually makes available one of their cherry-picker vehicles for this purpose. I was fortunate to be in the bucket that was raised to the nest and photographed the nestling before we removed it and took it to the ground where we proceeded with fitting a metal SAFRING and a pair of wing-tags with the code P068 which enabled us to later identify this individual in the field. In addition to taking a number of biometric measurements and assessing the general condition of the nestling, we took a blood sample which subsequently confirmed that this was a female bird. She was then returned safely to the nest and one of her parents, who had been circling in the sky above us keeping a beady eye on our activities, landed at the nest within about 20 minutes to continue taking care of the nestling until it fledged a few weeks later.

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Since leaving the nest, this bird has been re-sighted more than ten times over the last almost four years and seems to have spent her time foraging between the Phongolo and Mkhuze Game Reserves in northern Zululand and the southern Kruger National Park. Based on these reports, she must have flown between these two areas across Eswatini at least three times over the last 55 months. The latest re-sighting of her was again from the southern Kruger National Park on 4 May 2019 by Sue Bega who also submitted a photograph of a healthy bird about a year away from reaching maturity, finding a mate and starting to breed. Sadly, this was not to be.

On 7 June 2019, we received a report of a poisoning incident in northern Zululand, a few hundred metres from the N2 highway. An investigation by Wildlife ACT staff and the Stock Theft Unit of the South African Police Service revealed that a total of nine African White-backed-, three Lappet-faced- and a single White-headed Vulture as well as a Warthog and Pied Crow were poisoned after feeding on the remains of an Impala carcass that was laced with an unknown toxin. One of the vultures found on the scene was identified by the wing-tags still attached to her remains as P068. Such a sad and unfortunate end to a valuable bird on the cusp of adulthood and making a contribution to the breeding population, and an example of how devastating the impact of poisoning on vultures is.

It seems that the Impala may have been snared, most of the meat removed for consumption, and what was left behind was then deliberately poisoned to kill scavengers. The most likely target in this instance seems to be vultures and a possible motive could have been the collection of vulture body parts for belief-based purposes. This threat is one of the most significant for vultures in most of West Africa and is also prevalent in many parts of southern Africa.

This suspicion seems to have been confirmed by another incident taking place in the same district a mere five days later, this time killing 13 African White-backed Vultures, but with two birds being extracted in time and currently under treatment at Raptors Rescue in Pietermaritzburg. It seems as if there is a specific demand for vulture parts in the area and that poachers are eager to target birds for this purpose. Investigations into both these incidents are continuing, but no arrests have been made and the substances used have not been identified yet.

Over the last 20 years, poisoning has already lead to significant declines in vulture populations in northern Zululand and this latest onslaught could be the nail in the coffin for some species, as the single White-headed Vulture collected at the first scene is believed to be one of the last adult males of this species that still frequented this area. Land-owners, communities, and conservation and law enforcement staff in the area have been placed on high alert to respond to any further attempts at poisoning vultures in the area.

During the last week, we have also been notified of other poisoning incidents in Kenya, Zambia and the Lowveld, impacting more than 50 vultures of a range of species, which were killed in these incidents. This further supports the need for cooperation across international boundaries to counter this most significant threat to Africa’s vultures as recommended in the Multi-species Action Plan for Africa-Eurasian Vultures of the Convention on Migratory Species.

However, the fact that incidents of this nature are now being detected and reported more regularly, then responded to and decontaminated which results in reduced losses, is an indication that the work that programmes such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust-Hawk Conservancy Trust partnership and other partner organisations are engaged in to address this threat is starting to have an impact in some of the identified wildlife poisoning hotspots in the region. The EWT and its partners will continue unabated to work towards reducing this threat to reverse the current trend in African vulture populations.

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Breaking news as new Riverine Rabbit population found in Baviaanskloof

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The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme was thrilled to confirm the presence of a population of Riverine Rabbits on the western side of the Baviaanskloof in late May 2019. This population represents a completely new distribution of the species not anticipated by any previous population modelling. According to Bonnie Schumann, EWT Nama Karoo Coordinator, this is an historic find with the closest confirmed sightings of the southern population having been more than 250 km to the west.

The discovery comes after ornithologist and well-known conservation scientist, Alan Lee from Blue Hills Escape Farm in the Western Cape, discovered a dead Riverine Rabbit on a gravel road in December 2018. Fortunately, he realised that the animal in front of him was not a hare or a Rock Rabbit but the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit.

EWT team members visited the area and set out 38 camera traps with the aim of capturing live images to confirm the presence of another population. Camera traps are placed in clusters and in such a manner that individuals are not likely to be observed twice by more than one cluster. After 50 days in the field, the cameras were collected by the team and processed.

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According to Cobus Theron, EWT Drylands Conservation Programme Manager, “while we expected one or two clusters to capture images, we were astounded that eight of our 12 clusters had confirmed images of Riverine Rabbits on them!” This again demonstrates that this species is the true hide-and-seek champion of the Karoo.

“This find is unexpected and redefines our understanding of the distribution of the species. It demonstrates that their elusiveness is part of their survival strategy,” continues Cobus.

CapeNature Executive Director: Biodiversity Capabilities, Coral Birss, added, “CapeNature is delighted about the recent discovery of Riverine Rabbits in the Baviaanskloof area in the Southern Cape. The species, which previously managed to go virtually undetected, has proven to effectively solidify its presence, supported by research on genetic connectivity and distribution in the last decade. This latest discovery is remarkable and bodes well for the future survival of this Critically Endangered species, particularly for its protection within the landscapes of the Western Cape surrounding our nature reserves. CapeNature commends the great work and research being done and facilitated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and looks forward to further collaboration and tracking the progress of this interesting species.”

The EWT has also obtained a genetic sample from the dead rabbit found by Alan Lee. This will be analysed to provide insights into the relationship between the Baviaanskloof Riverine Rabbits and Riverine Rabbits from the northern and southern populations.

The find shows the importance of sightings by members of the public and the value of social media in connecting people.

The EWT, along with CapeNature, will now incorporate the findings into their conservation strategy and engage landowners in the Baviaanskloof to ensure that the Riverine Rabbit receives the attention it deserves.

About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog, to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Cobus Theron

Drylands Conservation Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

+27 79 508 2156

cobust@ewt.org.za

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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The EWT and the NCC open consultation on the Biological Diversity Protocol to businesses

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Shareholders are becoming increasingly active in voicing their concerns and expectations of business in relation to environmental matters, as can be seen from the recent activity from the RAITH Foundation, Theo Botha and Just Share and their drive in influencing the disclosure practices of Standard Bank.

Biodiversity forms an integral part of this move toward greater accountability and transparency. The recent landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) calls for more effective business action, across sectors, towards the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.

To do so requires a better understanding of the business dependencies and impacts on biodiversity. While various tools and approaches may be used by some businesses to measure changes in biodiversity across their value chain, the lack of standardised, comparable, credible and unbiased methodology to help them consolidate and report their impacts on biodiversity needs to be addressed.

“To support this drive, the development of the Biological Diversity Protocol (BD Protocol) is being undertaken in close collaboration with a wide range of global stakeholders through an online consultation process.” says Yolan Friedmann, CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).

The BD Protocol is a comprehensive biological diversity accounting and reporting framework that can help businesses produce the credible and unbiased information needed for various biodiversity-related applications, from site management to disclosure. The BD Protocol is an output of the Biodiversity Disclosure Project (BDP), managed by the EWT’s National Biodiversity & Business Network. While the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, which provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organisations preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory, was the benchmark standard for the vision and structure of the BD Protocol, the BD Protocol is aligned to the Natural Capital Protocol. It helps provide biodiversity-specific guidance to measuring changes in the state of natural capital (step 6 of the Natural Capital Protocol), by providing guidance on how to measure change(s) in biodiversity components impacted by business.

The BD Protocol includes guidance on how to:

  • Develop and manage a biodiversity impact inventory according to the appropriate organisational and value chain boundaries;
  • Identify and determine material biodiversity impacts;
  • Assess impacts on biodiversity, considering the nature of the biodiversity components impacted;
  • Account for net changes in biodiversity, in accordance with the impact mitigation hierarchy and the associated equivalency principle;
  • Apply the biodiversity accounting framework to build Statements of Biodiversity Position and Performance and account for biodiversity gains and losses over time;
  • Validate and verify a biodiversity impact assessment;
  • Disclose or report on an organisation’s impacts on biodiversity in a coherent and meaningful manner.

“To ensure that the BD Protocol is robust and widely supported, the EWT is launching a consultation process hosted by the Natural Capital Coalition through Collaborase,” says Friedmann.

Consultation will last for three months until 15 August 2019, after which all comments, questions and contributions will be collated, analysed and summarised in a stakeholder feedback report for public release. The BD Protocol will then be revised accordingly for official publication at a later date, prior the 2020 Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity which will be hosted by China. As part of this consultation process, any commentator may request to be recognised as a co-author or contributor to the BD Protocol.

About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), champion of conservation in Africa, has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog, to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Joel Houdet

Consultant: Biodiversity Disclosure Project

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

joelh-consultant@ewt.org.za

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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Latest attack a stark reminder of the urgent need to end captive carnivore interactions

Captive carnivores

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is shocked and saddened that yet another child has been badly injured while interacting with carnivores at a captive carnivore facility. For over a decade, the EWT has been calling for an end to tourist interactions with captive carnivores and, as recently as May 2018, wrote an open letter to then-Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, lobbying for these kinds of facilities to be closed down. Our concerns include serious welfare issues, that these facilities offer no conservation value, and pose risks to public safety.

Captive breeding does not address any of the key threats carnivores face in the wild, and there is no conservation requirement or recommendation for any captive breeding or keeping of carnivores in South Africa. In 2018, the EWT and the Centre for Environmental Rights published a report funded by the Lewis Foundation, which addressed in detail the flaws in the regulatory system around wildlife wellbeing and welfare. Cruelty cases continue to be opened against captive facilities across South Africa and the EWT will continue to call for the welfare of species in captivity to be properly addressed. In addition to serious flaws in the regulation of captive facilities, the operations of most of these facilities fail to take into account the natural social structures of carnivores (for example, that Lions occur naturally in prides, while Cheetahs are naturally solitary), and fail to provide proper enrichment and living conditions for the captive carnivores. Further, the continuous handling of captive carnivores by multiple people results in stress for the cubs, who should naturally be spending large portions of their days sleeping or playing with their siblings.

shutterstock_714652165Shutterstock image

In addition to the numerous conservation and animal welfare concerns presented by captive carnivore facilities, it remains tragically evident that there are also serious human safety issues to be considered. At the time of our writing to Minister Molewa, in May 2018, at least 40 people had been injured – or worse, killed – at South African captive carnivore facilities since 1996. These incidents have continued unabated over the past year, with the latest case at Weltevrede Lion Farm not being an isolated event. Indeed, despite the facility describing it as a “freak accident” in media reports, it is the second incident at the same facility in the space of just one week. Two sisters were also injured at this lion park in 2010.

Little Dina-Marie de Beer is sadly not the only child to have been injured by captive carnivores. Of the incidents that the EWT is aware of, 11 of the victims have been children, and two of these children have died as a result of their injuries. If our government continues to fail to take action and close these facilities down, the responsible choice is to keep our children safe and stop supporting predator parks or ‘sanctuaries’ that offer captive carnivore interactions.

There is no justifiable rationale for the public to be interacting with carnivores in captivity, risking people’s lives. The EWT once again strongly calls for government to do the right thing and put an end to these activities, and for members of the public to take the Wild ‘n Free pledge and avoid these facilities.

The Wild ‘n Free pledge: “I pledge to keep all carnivores Wild ‘n Free by not petting, walking, feeding or taking selfies with them. I vow to become an ambassador for wild carnivores and to honour their right to live a natural life. I encourage others to do the same.”

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About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog, to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Ashleigh Dore

Wildlife in Trade Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

ashleighd@ewt.org.za

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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Inaugural African linear infrastructure and ecology conference

EWT_ESKOM logo 2018

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15 March 2019

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It is likely that many drivers have, at some point, accidently hit an animal on the road. The consequences? Not only an injured or dead animal, but probably an insurance claim, or a visit to the emergency room for various injuries. At the inaugural African Conference for Linear Infrastructure and Ecology (ACLIE) 2019, which was held this past week in the iconic Kruger National Park, and co-hosted by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Eskom, solutions to prevent wildlife roadkill and improve driver safety were addressed. Work undertaken in Canada, demonstrated in one of the many fascinating presentations at the conference, shows that building wildlife bridges over or under roads effectively helps many animals to cross over the road, while avoiding an interaction with a vehicle. Simple, but effective!

Similarly, the Eskom/EWT Strategic Partnership – an African first – excited international delegates who saw how this unique relationship is directly reducing wildlife interactions with electrical infrastructure and preventing disruption to our power supply.

Centred around linear infrastructure, namely roads and rail, energy, canals, pipelines, and fences, and their impacts on the environment, ACLIE was the first of its kind, not only for Africa, but also in the framework of combining transportation and energy at one forum outlining multiple, common threats to the environment. ACLIE sought to move away from the current international conference framework, which usually focuses on each form of linear infrastructure in isolation (for example, roads only), and introduced a less siloed approach that combined all forms of transportation and energy, since these necessary modes usually co-exist and have multiple negative impacts on biodiversity. Examples include the loss of wildlife due to roadkill and electrocution on power lines. The EWT’s Wildlife and Transport and Wildlife and Energy programmes have been addressing these impacts and developing solutions for years and were the drivers behind this international gathering of experts, to expand the knowledge pool. The impacts are not unique to South Africa, however; they are a threat worldwide.

 

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ACLIE delegates

Presentations ranged from global perspectives to individual country case studies, covering current scientific research, policy, legislation and best practice, and all with the potential to enhance both the project development process and the ecological sustainability of all linear infrastructure modes. A common thread across many presentations was the threat posed by current and future development across Africa. Over the next decade, major developmental projects have been planned for Africa, which will see ‘development corridors’, comprising networks of power lines, roads, railways, pipelines, and ports being constructed to facilitate the movement of commodities. There are over 30 development corridors taking shape across Africa, spanning over 53,000 km in length, and potentially affecting protected areas with high conservation values and multiple threatened species. It is therefore timely that ACLIE was held, in order to better prepare ecologists and sustainability experts for this explosive development. The conference attracted many key players, including the World Bank and USAid (PowerAfrica), and was a golden opportunity to facilitate discussions and influence decision-makers around future developments on the continent.

ACLIE Matt

The EWT’s Matt Pretorius presenting “A power line collision model for Lesser Flamingos in South Africa.”

Case studies of how to prevent Martial Eagles being electrocuted on power lines, or Samango Monkeys being killed on roads in South Africa, to examples from North America on the design of bridges specially constructed over roads to assist wildlife in crossing, and prevent collisions on roads, were just some of the practical illustrations of the significance of this work. Keynote speakers included Yolan Friedmann, the EWT’s CEO, Deidre Herbst, the Environmental Manager from Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, and George Ledec, the lead ecologist with the World Bank.

Wendy Collinson-Jonker, EWT Wildlife and Transport Programme Manager, elaborated, “We were extremely proud to be able to showcase our projects to the rest of the world at ACLIE, as well as share potential solutions for the proposed linear infrastructure developments across the African continent. The challenge will be implementing many of these solutions, but the input and support from experts who attended ACLIE may well assist us in ensuring development that is more resilient and ultimately benefits the economy but conserves the environment.”

Feedback from the conference delegates supports the need for ACLIE to become a regular event on the global calendar – only through bringing together experts from around the world, will we truly address this very real threat to biodiversity.

Rodney van der Ree, an associate professor from the University of Melbourne, said, “The conference was a fantastic opportunity to network and look at innovative solutions to the problems posed by linear infrastructure. It was particularly great to see so many African countries represented her, given the current programme of infrastructure development on the continent – this suggests recognition of the potential threats and ownership of the need to find ways to address them. The opportunities for building sustainable infrastructure in the long-term are an exciting outcome of ACLIE.”

Kishaylin Chetty, Senior Environmental Advisor at the Eskom Biodiversity Centre of Excellence, added, “The ACLIE 2019 conference brought industry and wildlife impacts to a discussion forum where all parties can work towards shared objectives, expanding knowledge, and understanding how to ultimately minimise the threat to wildlife. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity.”

ACLIE 2019 was organised with the assistance of africaMASSIVE, and was supported by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, Road Ecology Center – UC Davies, TRAC N4, EcoKare International, SANPARKS, Balmoral Engineering, Painted Wolf Wines, and Arcus Foundation.

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About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog, to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at http://www.ewt.org.za

Contacts

Wendy Collinson

Wildlife and Transport Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

wendyc@ewt.org.za

 

Lourens Leeuwner

Wildlife and Energy Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

lourensl@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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EWT gets into bed with City Lodge Hotel Group

Cobrand CLHG 2

City Lodge Hotel Group has made available 50 bed nights for the current financial year to team members of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in support of the work the organisation is doing in South Africa and beyond.

 

According to Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, COO of City Lodge Hotel Group, “Environmental sustainability is a shared passion and part of a broader effort to conduct business in an environmentally friendly and responsible way. We believe that every day is Earth Day and have developed and implemented policies, practices and targets to reduce and limit our impact on the environment and continually encourage our stakeholders to do the same.”

 

Specific sustainability focus areas include energy consumption, renewable energy, water consumption, and waste and recycling. The aim is to maintain and further reduce energy and water consumption.

 

EWT CEO, Yolan Friedmann, says: “With team members frequently needing to travel throughout South Africa, and beyond, the EWT is greatly appreciative of the support we receive from the City Lodge Hotel Group. It is also a pleasure for the EWT to work closely with a hotel group that prides itself on sustainability.”

Following the opening of City Lodge Dar es Salaam in November 2018, the City Lodge Hotel Group now has 60 properties in five countries across four brands: Courtyard (five hotels), Fairview (one hotel in Kenya), City Lodge (19 hotels), Town Lodge (13 hotels) and Road Lodge (22 hotels). New properties under construction include City Lodge Hotel Maputo, Mozambique and Town Lodge Umhlanga Ridge.

 

Commitment to service excellence from highly motivated and dedicated staff is a common thread throughout the group’s hotels, which have developed a loyal base of regular guests over the years and an ever-growing number of new guests.

 

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About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog, to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

 

Susan Reynard

Communications and PR Consultant

City Lodge Hotel Group

Tel: +27 83 446 0544

sreynard.joburg@gmail.com

 

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Creating a conservation haven in the magical Soutpansberg Mountains

 

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South Africa’s Soutpansberg Mountains contain some of the highest levels of endemic species and unique ecosystems in the world. Forming both core and buffer zones of the UNESCO Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, these mountains include six biomes, covering vegetation types that are found only in the Limpopo Province, or the Soutpansberg Mountains themselves. These mountains are also a strategic water source area (SWSA), part of the eight per cent of our land area that provides more than half of our surface water. They are thus an important water factory, given that South Africa is one of the 30 driest nations on earth and faces the increasing risk of drought and climate change. Protecting regions like the Soutpansberg is vitally important, both for their water production, as well as to conserve their unique biodiversity. Even so, less than one per cent of the Soutpansberg currently receives formal protection, and there is a critical need to formally safeguard more of this unique area.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has embarked on a long-term project to realise the dream of establishing the Soutpansberg Protected Area (SPA), spanning 23,000 hectares. The first step in the journey was the purchase of Medike Nature Reserve. Medike Nature Reserve is in the heart of the western Soutpansberg, in the Sand River gorge. It spans over 1,400 ha, and is a haven for biodiversity. The EWT bought this property in February 2018, with a very generous donation from the Roberts’ Family Trust.

The goal of the SPA is to contribute towards the safeguarding of globally Endangered species through local conservation efforts, while also supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in the western Soutpansberg Mountains, a centre of cultural heritage for many communities. The EWT currently has three projects running in the SPA: the Protected Area Expansion Project, the Anti-Poaching Project, as well as the SPA Water Conservation Project. Additional work includes research and community outreach.

Read more about this conservation haven here:

soutpansberg brochure 2018 final

 

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New hope for threatened cats this International Cheetah Day

Cheetah Day 2018 release

As we prepare to celebrate International Cheetah Day on 4 December 2018, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is thrilled to announce that PwC South Africa has become a valued supporter of our Cheetah Conservation Project.

The EWT launched the Cheetah Conservation Project in 2011, with the aim of increasing Cheetah numbers, and maintaining their welfare and genetic integrity across southern Africa and beyond. Working hand-in-hand with game reserves across the country, we are proud to report that the project has been a great success. This is thanks to many private and state reserves creating safe space for Cheetah populations.

Human pressures threatening Cheetahs include retaliatory killings due to livestock attacks, snaring, poaching for skins, roadkill, and loss of space due to agriculture and urbanisation. These factors have contributed to the global declines in wild Cheetah populations to the extent that Cheetahs have become extinct in 94% of their historical range in the past 13,000 years. It is hard to believe that this species once roamed as far north as the former Soviet Union, and as far east as Myanmar (Burma). Almost a quarter of this global decline has taken place in the past 15 years.

In contrast, since the inception of the EWT’s Cheetah Conservation Project, the population of this charismatic cat has grown from 217 wild Cheetahs on 41 reserves, to 361 Cheetahs on 57 reserves. We have also reintroduced Cheetahs to Malawi and the Free State, where they had previously gone extinct. In fact, South Africa and Malawi are the only African countries with increasing Cheetah populations, thanks to these efforts.

James du Preez, PwC Africa’s Clients and Markets Development Leader said, “In line with our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems, PwC is committed to making a difference where it’s needed most. In sponsoring the EWT’s Cheetah Conservation Project, we’re proud to play a role in contributing to the survival of these beautiful animals on the African continent.”

Thanks to the incredible support of PwC, the EWT looks forward to making even greater strides to help our Cheetahs win the race against extinction.

End

Show your support for Cheetah conservation this International Cheetah Day with an adorable Cheetah fluffy toy for only R250!

About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human-wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Vincent van der Merwe

Cheetah Conservation Project Coordinator

Endangered Wildlife Trust

vincentv@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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Conservation Canine Annie’s ‘marathon’ shift takes out three poachers

EWT logo landscape+ TAGIMG_9482

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Conservation Canine, Annie, and her handler, Colin, have struck again, with their efforts leading to the arrest of three suspected rhino poachers in Balule Private Nature Reserve, Limpopo.

In what may be one of the most exciting anti-poaching follow-ups of the year, Annie and Colin tracked through the night to secure this victory for wildlife. Suspected poacher tracks were found during a late afternoon anti-poaching patrol and Annie and Colin, with assistant, Mervyn and the EWT’s Canine Handler trainee, Shay were soon deployed on the tracks. They followed the tracks through the night and literally completed a marathon in pursuit of the suspects through the darkness.

This was not however, a solo mission, as the whole community assisted with the chase, including the Balule Regional Anti-poaching Units, the South African Police Service, and a large number of Hoedspruit Farm Watch members who closed potential exit routes. The operation was skilfully coordinated by the Balule Operations Room, and by daybreak, the suspects had been successfully contained within the reserve. With sunrise, air support could be brought in, and two fixed wing aircraft (Flying for Rhinos and Game Reserves United), the Wild Skies Aviation chopper, a gyrocopter, and the Hoedspruit Airforce Base’s Oryx helicopter joined the mission. The ground tracking team was joined by the Southern African Wildlife College Dog Unit’s pack hounds. This huge effort culminated in the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of a rifle with silencer and other poaching equipment. The poachers had done everything to try and deter Conservation Canine Annie, including covering their shoes in sponge and continually backtracking and circling to try and confuse her, but to no avail.

AnnieNov2018Branded1

The EWT’s Conservation Canine Fury, who is trained to detect rhino horn, ivory, and ammunition, with the EWT’s Canine Handler trainee, Shay, searched for evidence at key sites. This is a shining example of how a community can stand together against the scourge of rhino poaching facing our country.

EWT Conservation Canine Annie and her team have been responsible for the arrest of no less than 12 suspected poachers this year alone, and her ability to operate at night with her handler is seen as a major step forward in the fight against rhino poaching. Annie is a four-year-old Belgian Malinois dog who is trained to track humans. She has been working with Colin since June 2018 and was trained at the Southern African Wildlife College with financial support of the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust.

The EWT is proud to be associated with such a dedicated team and salutes everyone who was involved in this well-coordinated effort in the dark, in Big Five country.

Conservation Canine Annie’s hander Colin is urgently looking for a chest-mounted GoPro camera in order to record this kind of operation, for training and law enforcement purposes. If you would like to donate one, please contact Ashleigh Dore on AshleighD@ewt.org.za

The EWT Conservation Canine Project is supported by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Royal Canin, MyPlanet Rhino Fund, Relate Trust, SBV, and several generous individuals.

About the Endangered Wildlife Trust

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly for over 45 years to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision of being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. From the smallest frog to the majestic rhino; from sweeping grasslands to arid drylands; from our shorelines to winding rivers: the EWT is working with you, to protect our world.

The EWT’s team of field-based specialists is spread across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human-wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion.

A beacon of hope for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and communities, the EWT is protecting forever, together. Find out more at www.ewt.org.za

 

Contacts

Ashleigh Dore

Wildlife in Trade Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

ashleighd@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

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