Breaking news as new Riverine Rabbit population found in Baviaanskloof

Presentation1

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.

IMG-20190525-WA0007

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

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

NBBN header

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.”

End

 

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Inaugural African linear infrastructure and ecology conference

EWT_ESKOM logo 2018

A30603 Image 7

15 March 2019

Start

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.

 

ACLIE group pic
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.

End

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

 

End

 

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creating a conservation haven in the magical Soutpansberg Mountains

 

EWT logo landscape+ TAG

1. medike_landscape

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

 

Ends

 

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

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment