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.

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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

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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.

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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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The Endangered Wildlife Trust releases integrated report for 2017/2018

2018 Integrated Report - print ready 2

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has released its 2017/2018 integrated report, which for the first time is supplemented by additional digital content about the organisation’s work. CEO, Yolan Friedmann, has penned an insightful opener, addressing the issues surrounding illegal wildlife trade:

“The illegal wildlife trade is nothing new, and has appeared among some of humanity’s worst traits for centuries. In 2017 and 2018, this issue featured more strongly in the rhetoric of politicians, global media, and the public, as we began to face the very real possibility of losing a number of species if serious action is not taken.

Human beings have been trading for around 300,000 years. Evidence from Middle Stone Age sites in southern Kenya suggests that hominins were exchanging goods with others, as weapons uncovered at these sites are made of materials not locally found. The ancient Grecians had Hermes as their god of trade and the Roman god Mercurius was their god of merchants. Given the human propensity for breaking laws as soon as they are established, one can assume that human beings have also been trading illegally for as long as there have been laws to regulate trade. So why the increasing fuss around Illegal Wildlife Trade? It is not a new issue and rather, is one that conservationists have been grappling with for decades.

So what has changed? On the upside, many countries and cultures that previously engaged in enormous volumes of wildlife trade have decreased their consumptive use of wildlife. In several countries, there is a strong awareness that many wildlife species cannot sustain large volumes of trade; that the trade is often cruel and unethical; and that better alternatives for their uses (fashion, medicinals, and so on) are available for less money. In some cultures, the use and trade in wildlife has even become stigmatised. On the downside, the consumption of wildlife and their products has increased in many parts of the world, due to increasing wealth, popular beliefs, financial speculation and ‘investment’, and ease of access to illicit markets. Coupled with the decline in many species and the associated increasing value of their body parts; the free flow of illicit goods via established black markets; the ease of access for buyers and sellers to social networks and the “Dark Web”; the escalation in corruption globally, and its impact on law enforcement; and the dynamic nature of illicit trade flows, it is little wonder that several species now face a very real extinction risk. Or may already have succumbed. South Africa has, although not many people know this, already lost three cycad species to illegal trade in the past decade and several others face a similar future.

Around 100 elephants and three rhinos are poached every day across our continent. One need only do the maths to estimate how long populations of around 415,000 elephants and 29,000 rhinos will persist. Much has been said about various solutions and those that are attached to their favourite solution will go to great lengths to slate alternative options. But before we can propose conservation-oriented solutions, we need to consider a few contributing factors, most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with the conservation sector or even what we do or say.

  1. There are more than 7.6 billion people on the planet. This is roughly double the number of people alive in 1970. There are too many sensitivities around talking about the human population. One has to tread carefully and politicians, religious leaders, and social activists shy away from risking their futures to ever suggest that there are too many of us. Sociologists believe that there are not in fact too many humans, and many technocentrists believe that with enough clever technology, billions more of us could still eat, drink, and live meaningful lives. This is simply not rational. With more and more people, there is less quality education for all, fewer jobs, less space for housing, and less materials for building. Less food, less water, less cheap mass transport solutions, and simply put: less space. There is more competition for resources, more urbanisation, more pressure on the planet, and more demand for finite resources that simply cannot sustain the energy demands of an exploding human race. Human beings have been successful in reducing infant mortality by over 15% in the last decade, and extending human lives by almost double in the last two centuries. This domination of human life over other species has come at a great cost to almost all other forms of life on the planet, most of which are in sharp decline. There are too many of us and this has to be addressed if the conservation of any other lifeform is to be successful.
  2. We are selfish. Human beings need to justify the existence and persistence of almost every other lifeform on Earth in terms of what it can do for us. We have coined phrases like “if it pays it stays” and we need to motivate our conservation actions or expenditures in terms of why it is important for human life, wellbeing and prosperity. In 2017, the donations made by Americans to charities supporting animal or environmental causes was only 3% of total giving, and in the UK this jumped to only 8%. We only like to support ourselves and what our money can do for our species. It is this same selfish gene that drives the illicit wildlife trade by either the consumer, the trader or the poacher. It is the same selfish gene that drives many of the users of wildlife products, from fashion to claims of increased virility, strength and power.
  3. Education is often cited as the solution. Billions in donor funding is poured into environmental education under the belief that if we teach children to conserve our wildlife, they will change the fate of doomed species in the future. Despite decades of environmental education taking place in the classrooms of private and public schools, from urban centres to rural outposts, the future of our wildlife has never been more bleak. We forget that children become adult humans. They become wealthy and desire more, or they become poorer and have fewer choices. For the rural poor, it is possibly better to invest in education programmes that focus on science, maths and literacy. To equip young people to become employed, economically active, and have options. Evidence has shown that when people are gainfully employed, they make better life decisions, they have smaller family sizes, and they invest and participate in charitable and social causes. Teach our kids but teach them the skills and tools to become future leaders. Get them employed, help them to break the cycle.
  4. After human population, the next taboo for conservationists is corruption. We live in a world where almost everyone is either engaged in, or confronted by, corruption on a daily basis. Corruption spreads, and like a virus, it adapts, infects and destroys systems. It leads to social decay and moral depression. It erodes border controls, and feeds off greed. It is ignited by the selfish-gene and resists simple remedies. And yet it is the single biggest factor in the fight to stamp out the illicit wildlife trade that thrives in a system of corrupt rangers, game ranchers, border control agents, policeman, judges and magistrates, politicians, retailers, consumers and many other who are “hiding in plain sight”. An entire chain of corrupt individuals and actions can render the very good work done by several good people holding the very same positions in society, useless. In this numbers game, the work of several good people can unravel with the action of just one corrupt individual. It takes a chain of people ALL doing the right thing to make a law effective and a system work. And the conservation sector is just one link in this chain.

But the links CAN be fixed and the chain CAN work, when we form cross-sectoral partnerships that work to address the weak links. The EWT has long recognised that we have to address all the weaknesses in the system, even if we only do this one baby step at a time. The EWT has embraced the concept of Population, Health and the Environment (PHE) to address human population and sustainable family sizes. We work with the Department of Health and our partners working on human health and sexual rights. We support several projects that address the broader educational standards in schools in the communities in which we work; and we work with partners who address literacy levels, adult education, and skills development for unemployed people. We work with law enforcement agencies to enhance skills for fighting crime and we support those champions in the criminal justice system to work collaboratively, effectively and with increased knowledge.

The EWT’s 2017/8 Integrated Report is filled with reports on how our passionate staff, friends, and partners have achieved positive gains with measurable impact, across a diversity of species, habitats and issues. We are continually expanding our partnerships to embrace all the challenges facing the future of wildlife on this continent. And we have done this well. The report highlights many exciting successes and remarkable achievements. The Trust delivers on our promises and we are a solid investment option for the generous sponsors who choose the EWT as their partner to deliver on their passion for protecting our African wildlife.

Despite 2017/8 being a year that challenged and tested us, the EWT has achieved some remarkable conservation gains. I am proud and blessed to work alongside some of the continent’s most passionate, committed and talented people, both within the EWT staff as well as in our Trustee Body. I learn from you all every day and I am inspired by your energy and love for our Africa. To the partners and donors who choose the EWT – thank you.”

Yolan Friedmann
Chief Executive Officer
Endangered Wildlife Trust

For the full report, and to learn more about the EWT’s work in the past year, click here, and view additional content here.

Contacts

Belinda Glenn
Marketing and Communications Manager
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
belindag@ewt.org.za 

 

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Civil society organisations welcome new Parliamentary report that calls for a ban on captive lion breeding

Lion in HiP, KZN_Cole du Plessis

The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) have come out strongly in favour of a new Parliamentary report that calls for a ban on captive lion breeding in the country. Entitled Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting and Bone Trade in South Africa, the new report finds:

  1. Captive lion breeding holds no conservation value;
  2. There is no evidence to support the flawed, minority-held, argument that the captive-bred lion industry is “a well-regulated, manageable industry that contributes way more positively to South Africa than negatively”;
  3. The South African government should rethink its policy stance on the captive lion breeding industry, which runs the risk of making the country an “international pariah”;
  4. The increase in the lion bone export quote from 800 in 2017 to 1500 in 2018 is “highly problematic”;
  5. There are ethical, welfare* and brand concerns relating to the captive lion breeding and hunting industries;
  6. The use of lion parts in commercial trade is one of the major emerging threats to wild lions and could facilitate illegal trade;
  7. It is concerning that the current export quotas were not based on scientific evidence and that the 2017 quota was not been adequately managed, resulting in more than 800 skeletons being exported.

The 24-page report – adopted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (PCEA) during a special meeting on 8 November – followed a PCEA colloquium held on 21 and 22 August 2018. It was, reportedly, the longest and best-attended Parliamentary colloquium held in recent years. During the special meeting last week, the PCEA resolved that:

  1. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) should urgently initiate a legislative and policy review of the captive lion breeding industry with a view to putting an end to this practice, and the Minister of Environmental Affairs should report quarterly to the PECA on progress in this regard.
  2. DEA should conduct an audit of captive lion and cheetah breeding facilities to assess legislative compliance.
  3. DEA and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) should present a clear programme and timeframes to deal with welfare* and health issues relating to captive-bred lions. 

“We hope that this is the beginning of a just and equitable system for the management of captive lions and other wild animals bred for commercial use in South Africa, and we look forward to participating in the policy and legislative review of the industry,” said CER attorney, Aadila Agjee.     

EWT CEO, Yolan Friedman, concluded: “We welcome the PCEA’s resolutions and commend the Honourable Chair and Members for their close consideration of this important issue, and the hard work that went into the colloquium and its outcome. The EWT has actively fought against the torrid industry of captive lion breeding, shooting, and bone trade for over a decade. We welcome this report that acknowledges the widely held stance by most South Africans, and all lion biologists and experts, that this industry is nothing but a blight on the conservation pedigree that South Africa should otherwise be able to claim.”

*See the CER and EWT report Fair Game for a comprehensive set of recommendations on improving the legal and practical regulation of the well-being of wild animals. This report was funded by the Lewis Foundation.

 

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Contacts:

Annette Gibbs

Communications Manager

Centre for Environmental Rights

082 467 1295

agibbs@cer.org.za

 

Yolan Friedmann

CEO

Endangered Wildlife Trust

011 372 3600

yolanf@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

011 372 3600

belindag@ewt.org.za

 

 

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Court victory for South Africa’s protected areas in Mabola case

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Today, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the 2016 decisions of former Mineral Resources Minister Zwane and the late Environmental Affairs Minister Molewa to permit a new coal mine to be developed in the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga.


The case was brought by the coalition of eight civil society organisations challenging a range of authorisations that have permitted an underground coal mine in a strategic water source area and a protected area.


The Mabola Protected Environment was declared under the Protected Areas Act in 2014 by the Mpumalanga provincial government as part of the declaration of more than 70 000 hectares of protected area in the Mpumalanga grasslands. This followed years of extensive research and planning by a number of government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency.


In 2016, without public consultation and without notice to the coalition, the two Ministers gave their permission for a large, 15-year coal mine to be built inside the Mabola Protected Environment.


The Court set aside the permission and referred the decision back to the two Ministers for reconsideration on the basis that the Ministers did not take their decisions in an open and transparent manner or in a manner that promoted public participation, and that the decisions were therefore procedurally unfair.


The court criticised the Ministers for relying on the processes followed by other decision-makers instead of exercising their discretion under the Protected Areas Act independently, referring particularly to their failure to apply a cautionary approach when dealing with “sensitive, vulnerable, highly dynamic or stressed ecosystems” as “an impermissible abdication of decision-making authority”.


The court also held that: “A failure to take South Africa’s international responsibilities relation to the environment into account and a failure to take into account that the use and exploitation of non-renewable natural resources must take place in a responsible and equitable manner would not satisfy the ‘higher level of scrutiny’ necessary when considering whether mining activities should be permitted in a protected environment or not. Such failures would constitute a failure by the state of its duties as trustees of vulnerable environment, particularly where it has been stated that ‘most people would agree, when thinking of the tomorrows of unborn people that is it a present moral duty to avoid causing harm to the environment'” (at 11).


The permission for this mine given by Molewa and Zwane was the first in South Africa for a new mine to be permitted in a protected environment. Earthlife Africa, the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA), the Endangered Wildlife Trust, BirdLife South Africa, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD), the Bench Marks Foundation and groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, challenged the late Environmental Affairs’ Minister’s and the former Minerals Minister’s decisions to allow this mine to go ahead.


The court ordered that on reconsideration of the application for permission to mine in the Mabola Protected Environment, the Ministers are directed to:

  • comply with sections 3 and 4 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA);
  • take into account the interests of local communities and the environmental principles refer to in section 2 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) “with a strict measure of scrutiny”;
  • defer their decisions on reconsideration until after the Environmental Management Programme and Water Use Licence appeals have been determined;
  • not grant permission in terms of section 48(1)(b) of NEMPAA unless a management plan for the Mabola Protected Environment has been approved by the MEC in terms of section 39(2) of the Protected Areas Act and the management plan’s zoning of the area in which the intended mining is to take place permits such mining.


The High Court expressed its criticism of “a disturbing feature in the conduct of the Ministers” and endorsed the submission made by counsel for the coalition that “ethical environmental governance and behaviour is enhanced simply by exposing it to the glare of public scrunity”. What resulted was “an unjustifiable and unreasonable departure from the PAJA presripts and lead to procedurally unfair administrative action.” The High Court ordered the Ministers and MEC to pay the coalition’s legal costs on an attorney and client (punitive) scale.


“South Africa has long recognised that the grasslands of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State are incredibly important to South Africa’s natural heritage. The grasslands are important water sources, and home to a range of production sectors that underpin economic development. In the case of Mabola, the Protected Environment falls inside a strategic water source area which feeds some of South Africa’s biggest rivers,” says Yolan Friedmann, Chief Executive Officer of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. “Moreover, protected areas not only help protect our biodiversity – particularly our incredible wildlife – and important natural ecosystems, but are also a key part of South Africa’s reputation as a global tourist destination.”


Mashile Phalane, spokesperson for the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of South Africa (MEJCON-SA) says: “This judgement is a victory for environmental justice. We want to see protected areas actually protected against mining by our government as custodians of the environment on behalf of all South Africans. This custodianship is violated if decisions that have such important consequences are taken behind closed doors. MEJCON-SA is deeply invested in issues of accountability. This judgement reinforces the fundamental importance of fair and transparent decision making.”


Catherine Horsfield, attorney and mining programme head at the Centre for Environmental Rights, welcomed the judgement. “It confirms to government and to all developers proposing heavily polluting projects in environmentally sensitive areas in South Africa that exceptional circumstances must be shown to exist to justify that proposed development. South Africa is a water-stressed country, and the Mabola Protected Environment, where the coal mine would be located, has particular hydrological significance for the country as a whole.


“The judgement also confirms the foundational principles of our law that went awry when the Ministers made their decisions to permit mining here. These are that no decision of this magnitude can be made unless a fair, proper and transparent decision making process has been followed.”


Download a copy of the judgement.

Read more about the campaign.


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The EWT reviews the biodiversity performance of South African companies

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30 October 2018
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The National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN), an initiative of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), has released a report entitled: Invitation to Join the Biodiversity Disclosure Project – A Study of the Biodiversity Performance of South African Companies. The report highlights the low biodiversity performance by South African companies and presents an opportunity for these companies to improve their performance by participating in the Biodiversity Disclosure Project (BDP).

Biodiversity produces a wide variety of goods and services on which businesses depend. Examples include crop pollination, water filtration, flood attenuation, erosion control and raw materials.. Businesses are critically dependent on these ecosystem services to produce their own products and services, and they also  impact on biodiversity through their day-to-day activities, for example, through deforestation for the production of timber or through pollution from the release of waste products. These biodiversity dependencies and impacts create risks but may also present opportunities for South African businesses. At stake are the social and legal licences to operate; their production processes; access to finance; the timing of project delivery, and much more. The reputational damage to companies that blindly ignore these impacts may also be significant.

The NBBN recognises that public and private South African companies are already subject to onerous mandatory and voluntary disclosure requirements which may also include reporting on the impacts of business on our natural world. But this report identified a key a gap in which businesses are currently not disclosing, and reporting on their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity within the broader sustainability agenda.

This report presents the result of a NBBN study, which aimed to assess and compare the biodiversity mainstreaming performance of all Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies and two state-owned enterprises. This assessment was conducted in 2018 using publically available information, including company websites and 2017-18 integrated or sustainability reports. Each company was contacted electronically to offer them the opportunity to review their individual results and share any additional information if warranted.

The results of the study suggest that South African companies are performing poorly in the area of biodiversity mainstreaming. Despite some leadership from a small number of companies, for the majority of the companies assessed, there is generally a need for greater:

  • Recognition of the importance of biodiversity to business and its stakeholders;
  • Understanding of business-biodiversity dependencies and impacts and the associated benefits / assets and costs / liabilities;
  • Knowledge of how to recognise, measure, value, and responsively manage the direct and indirect dependencies and impacts on biodiversity; and
  • Understanding of how to report on corporate biodiversity performance in a structured and standardised manner.
Accordingly, the EWT’s NBBN calls for the private sector to join the growing network of companies that are initiating steps towards addressing biodiversity reporting. Notably, we invite businesses to join us in the development and implementation of the Biodiversity Disclosure Project (BD)P. The BDP will drive broad business action in the area of biodiversity mainstreaming in South Africa within the next three years. To achieve this goal, the BDP team, in collaboration with stakeholders, will develop:
  • A BDP platform, which will provide companies with a practical avenue through which to voluntarily disclose their biodiversity impacts, risks and performance on an annual basis.
  • A Biodiversity Measurement Protocol (BMP), which will enable companies to measure and monitor their biodiversity impacts over time.
  • An Online Mainstreaming Biodiversity Into Business Toolkit, which will build the capacity of businesses to better recognise, measure, value and responsively manage their direct and indirect dependencies and impacts on biodiversity.

The EWT wishes to acknowledge Eskom as a supporter of the development and implementation of the BDP.

For further information or to join the BDP please contact Constant Hoogstad at constanth@ewt.org.za.

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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 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 http://www.ewt.org.za

 
Contacts

Constant Hoogstad

Senior Manager: Industry Partnerships

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: + 27 11 372 3600

constanth@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 11 372 3600

belindag@ewt.org.za

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Eskom/EWT partnership provides blueprint for Australian efforts

Eskom release

29 October 2018

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The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recently helped to make history in Australia when Constant Hoogstad, Senior Manager: Industry Partnerships, travelled to Tasmania to facilitate the formalisation of a partnership between Raptor Refuge, a local raptor rehabilitation centre, and Tasmania’s electricity company, TasNetworks.

The Eskom/EWT strategic partnership is an example of what can be achieved when industries and conservationists work towards a common goal, and has been addressing electricity infrastructure impacts in South Africa for the last 22 years. The partnership started working with Raptor Refuge when Craig Webb, founder, reached out to Constant in 2016, sharing his concerns around the electrocution of Endangered Wedge-tailed Eagles in Tasmania. Craig later travelled to South Africa to learn more about the successful partnership first hand, and discover how it could be implemented in Australia.

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This highly successful and globally unique model was used as the blueprint to formulate a system to address raptor electrocutions in Tasmania. The South African team provided insight and guidance around solutions to the problem of raptor electrocutions, sharing information on mitigation methods, products, and raptor-friendly structural designs, and relaying the successes achieved and lessons learnt in South Africa through the Eskom/EWT partnership. Nearly two years after the initial contact, Raptor Refuge has officially launched a toll free hotline, allowing members of the public to report incidents in Tasmania, and has signed a formal partnership memorandum of understanding with TasNetworks, modelled on the Eskom/EWT partnership in South Africa.

Information collected about dead raptors will increase the understanding of the threats they face and how they might be prevented. The Australian Minister for Environment, Elise Archer, was in attendance to officially launch the new hotline at Raptor Refuge, following the commitment by TasNetworks to fund the initiative. Raptor Refuge founder, Craig Webb, said, “Meeting the senior environmental advisor, Kishaylin Chetty, from Eskom and Constant Hoogstad and Lourens Leeuwner (Wildlife and Energy Programme Manager) from the EWT, and seeing and feeling how they can work together, gave me great insight and even more determination to make this solution work for our raptors in Tasmania. The support I have received from the EWT is nothing short of outstanding and this had undoubtedly helped forge this partnership. There are 13 birds of prey in Tasmania. Four of these are in decline – the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Grey Goshawk, the White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Tasmanian Masked Owl. All these birds are at risk of succumbing to either collision with power lines or electrocutions. These threatened birds require a comprehensive state-wide action plan to be saved from extinction.”

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Eskom Environmental Manager, Deidre Herbst went on to say, “It is so rewarding to see the work of our partnership going beyond our borders and benefiting other utilities and, of course, our precious wildlife.”

Yolan Friedmann, CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust added, “The EWT has always believed in the power of partnerships and what can be achieved when people cast aside differences and work on finding solutions together. The Eskom/EWT partnership has achieved extraordinary conservation wins over the past 20 years, and being given this opportunity to take these learnings and our combined experience, strengths and knowledge to help other passionate conservationists save their own threatened wildlife, gives up hope for a better world for all.” 

Back in South Africa, the Eskom/EWT partnership is making great strides towards a wildlife-friendly electricity network. The proactive mitigation strategy, whereby Eskom uses species sensitivity maps developed by the EWT to indicate priority areas and where impacts are most likely to occur, is now in its second year. The magnitude of this task was initially quite overwhelming, but the progress has been impressive. To date over 20,000 power line structures have been replaced, insulated or modified to be bird-friendly, and approximately 190 km of power lines have been fitted with bird flight diverters. This unique approach to mitigation has captured the attention of conservationists and authorities in USA, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Namibia, Jordan, Kenya, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia and Swaziland, and the partnership is constantly engaging with stakeholders in these countries and encouraging the replication of the partnership model.

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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

Lourens Leeuwner

Wildlife & Energy Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 72 775 5111

lourensl@ewt.org.za

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398

belindag@ewt.org.za

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ford Wildlife Foundation Supports the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Threatened Amphibian Programme with New Ford Ranger

The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) has handed over a new Ford Ranger to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to support its Threatened Amphibian Programme’s Pickergill’s Reed Frog Recovery Project, which focuses on conservation of the Pickergill’s Reed Frog. The handover forms part of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) commitment to the conservation and preservation of the environment in southern Africa.

Established in 2012, the project is based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and focuses on the Pickersgill’s Reed Frog as a priority species for conservation action. This tiny frog may be only 2.5cm long, but it is an umbrella species for many other wetland-dependent species and has a massive impact on the local communities living in the vicinity of wetlands where it occurs. Only two of the sites at which the species occurs are currently protected, while the rest are at risk of habitat loss and degradation.

“When we started the project, the species was Critically Endangered and known only from a handful of wetland sites through coastal KwaZulu-Natal,” says Jeanne Tarrant, EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme Manager. “Through our work and the discovery of additional localities, the species is now known from 25 sites, and has been down-listed to Endangered. The aim of our project is to implement on-the-ground species-specific conservation work, develop and implement a science-driven management and monitoring plan for the species, secure its threatened habitat, improve climate resilience, and promote positive social change through education, employment and citizen science.”

How Ford Will Support the Project

The new Ford Ranger will help a team of six travel to project sites across rural areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, covering several hundred kilometres per week. This includes overseeing the implementation of wetland restoration through the employment of local community members as well as habitat protection efforts.

“The work requires us to carry out both field work and education outreach in off-road environments, as well as stakeholder engagements and meetings across a wide variety of settings,” says Tarrant.

The locally-built Ford Ranger will be used to enable the project to go further and make a real impact – particularly in the remote locations often associated with conservation and environmental projects.

 

Ford Wildlife Foundation Dedication to Conservation

For the past 30 years, FMCSA has been actively involved in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, FMCSA has invested almost R40 million to support more than 170 conservation projects.

The Ford Wildlife Foundation is unique as it does not provide a cash donation to the conservation projects it supports, instead Ford’s partner organisations are equipped with Ford Rangers. The vehicles provided are used to help project operations, such as transporting field equipment, helping vets reach sick or poached animals, or translocating the animals themselves. The vehicles operating in all Ford Wildlife Foundation projects are monitored and serviced by Ford’s extensive dealer network to ensure they operate at peak efficiency.

 

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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit http://www.corporate.ford.com. For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and video please visit http://www.media.ford.com or http://www.quickpic.co.za, follow at http://www.facebook.com/FordSouthAfrica, http://www.twitter.com/FordSouthAfrica, http://www.instagram.com/FordSouthAfrica or www.youtube.com/FordSouthAfrica

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

Dr Jeanne Tarrant

Threatened Amphibian Programme Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

jeannet@ewt.org.za

 

Belinda Glenn

Marketing and Communications Manager

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Tel: +27 87 021 0398 ext. 110

belindag@ewt.org.za

 

Duduzile Nxele

Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region

Tel: +27 12 842 2337

dnxele@ford.com

Posted in THREATENED AMPHIBIAN PROGRAMME | Leave a comment

Back in the Crane World to Continue Exploring the World of Cranes

I am now part of the African Crane Conservation Programme team once again after a period of five and a half years and I will fulfil the role as the Highveld Grassland field officer. It is a great feeling to be working with such a great team with the goal to conserve cranes and assist communities. My main area of focus is Mpumalanga (in areas such as Chrissiesmeer and Dullstroom) and the northern section of the Free State (Harrismith and Memel areas) and KwaZulu-Natal (Newcastle area). My new role began with a workshop at the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s head office in September and I was able to meet Dr Unjinee Poonan who has recently started with the ACCP. This workshop gave me the opportunity to get up to speed with the amazing work that ACCP has been doing over the last few years.
My first field trip was in Wakkerstroom where Glenn Ramke, who has retired from ACCP, and I could show Claire Mirande, from the International Crane Foundation, and her husband Ray some areas in Wakkerstroom. Fortunately, we were able to see Blue Cranes and Grey Crowned Cranes in areas where they occur in Wakkerstroom.
Dr Unjinee Poonan and I met up with Steven Segang in Chrissiesmeer to discuss the community work in the area and Steven showed us some examples of the fantastic work that he is doing with these communities in Chrissiesmeer and outlying areas such as Lothair. We also managed to see a flock of Grey Crowned Cranes and Blue Cranes during our field trip!

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Dr Unjinee Poonan, Steven Segang and Bradley Gibbons near Chrissiesmeer during the field visit 

Article by Bradley Gibbons

 

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A Census of the Blue Cranes of the Western Cape

Blue Cranes, typically a grassland species, began to increase in the Western Cape in the 1960s, as agriculture expanded, creating artificial grasslands. Blue Cranes in the Western Cape are almost entirely reliant on agricultural fields. These fields, namely planted pastures and cereal crop fields, provide plenty for cranes to forage on. Not to mention the livestock feed troughs that cranes frequent for grain. This high food availability has allowed the Western Cape Blue Cranes to become the largest and most stable population in the country. But being close to human activities means these cranes have high mortality rates. Cranes may be electrocuted on powerlines and collide with wind turbines, their nests may be disturbed by agricultural activities, they may be exposed to chemicals such as pesticides and when farmers experience damage to their crops by cranes or other birds, they may use methods such as poison to mitigate their losses. Given this challenging landscape, the Blue Cranes of the Western Cape need to be closely monitored to ascertain what the population trends are, whether these are sustainable in the long term and how resilient the population will be to changes such as climate change and changes to the landscape. The Blue Crane population of the Western Cape is considered one of the strongholds for the species. Since the Blue Crane is near endemic to South Africa and are considered Vulnerable to extinction according to the global IUCN Redlist, it is vital to monitor their populations closely.

We embarked on two flights, one across the Swartland (north of Cape Town) and one across the Overberg (east of Cape Town) to survey Blue Cranes. Aerial surveys allow for a quick and efficient census of the area. Over the past few weeks we have been very blessed with good rain in the Western Cape, but this meant that finding a good day for the census became a bit of a challenge. When a clear few days were forecast Mark jumped at the opportunity and we chose Saturday the 28th of July and Tuesday the 11th of September to fly. On both days we met early at the Stellenbosch Flying Club, and on take-off marveled at the beautifully clear skies, perfect conditions for surveying Blue Cranes! Blue Cranes, being large and distinctive birds, are easily spotted from the air. Peter Ryan, from the University of Cape Town, designed routes to maximize coverage of the areas.

Blue Cranes have colonized the Swartland more recently than the Overberg, and the population is comparatively smaller. Mark Rule flew Prof Peter Ryan (UCT), Morgan Trimble and Vonica Perold (UCT) from Stellenbosch to survey these cranes. Peter and Morgan took photographs at each sighting, while Vonica recorded the GPS coordinates and other variables. The track went from Stellenbosch and turned around at Piketberg, returning to Stellenbosch mid-afternoon. In total there were 8 crane sightings in flocks of between 2 and 94 birds, spread across fallow fields, early stage crop, open crop and around livestock feeding troughs. In total we counted 200 birds.

The Overberg flight was much busier in comparison! Mark Rule (pilot), Vonica Perold, Roelf Daling and Christie Craig flew from Stellenbosch to Mossel Bay and back. On the first trip we counted 728 Blue Cranes, most of which were using the fallow fields or feeding near livestock troughs. The largest flock we counted was 106 cranes! These large flocks are more common over the winter, in the spring they will begin to pair up and defend a territory for the breeding season. On the trip back to Stellenbosch we saw fewer cranes, a total of 503 birds, some of which were taking the opportunity to drink at farm dams in the midday heat. Overall we had 127 crane sightings, amounting to a total of 1231 Blue Cranes.

These data will prove immensely useful for research and monitoring of this population going forward. Over the next three years, a PhD study (led by Christie Craig in association with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the FitzPatrick Institute and the International Crane Foundation, supported by the Leiden Conservation Fund) will investigate the safety of the Western Cape Blue Crane population. This census data will be used in this research to investigate and predict how safe and resilient our National Bird is to changes in this challenging agricultural landscape.

A big thank you to Mark for flying us for these surveys and to the Bateleurs for supporting these flights!

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Mark and Prof Peter Ryan searching for Blue Cranes during the Swartland flight.

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The Swartland survey team: From left to right – Morgan, Vonica, Mark and Peter

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Much excitement as the team heads out towards the Overberg (fore left: Roelf Daling, fore right: Mark Rule, Back: Christie Craig) 

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Vonica Perold taking the lead on data collection for the Overberg Blue Crane Census

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Renewable energy infrastructure, like wind farms can pose a threat to birds and bats in agricultural landscapes, research is ongoing to investigate how these turbines can be optimally designed and placed to minimize fatalities (Photograph taken near Caledon by Roelf Daling)

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A flock of Blue Cranes taking a drink at a farm dam near Malgas (Photo by Roelf Daling)

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Flocks of Blue Cranes were often sighted in landscapes like these fallow fields, pastures, or early growth crops (Photograph taken near Heidelberg by Roelf Daling)

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A happy team at Stellenbosch Flying Club after a successful mission across the Overberg (From left to right – Roelf, Mark, Vonica, Christie) (Photograph by Roelf Daling)

Article written by   Christie Craig and and Vonica Perold

 

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