Celebrating 40 years, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) held their first open day on “Conservation in Action” at Tussen-i-Bome Lodge. Close to the Dinokeng Game Reserve, South Africa’s first free-roaming Big 5 residential game reserve in Gauteng on Saturday 14 September 2013. The one-day programme included presentations from nine of the EWT’s programmes. The EWT were thrilled with the success of the event, and believe it can only get bigger and better next year.
The EWT’s first “Conservation in Action” Open Day was a fun-filled day of conservation in action, with activities for the whole family. Kids had fun in the pool, access to a jumping castle and could take part in many conservation themed games. These included a treasure hunt led by Cameron Tillett, face painting with expert painters from the University of Pretoria, and a bush walk sponsored by SSVE.
Adults attended conservation talks and visited the various interesting conservation themed stands. Also present were local crafts, delicacies, and food stalls. There was even a television at the outdoor lapa for the rugby fans.
Conservation talks took place throughout the day and were very popular with the hall generally packed to capacity. Speakers from the EWT’s conservation programmes informed guests about current and ground-breaking conservation initiatives. Among the presentations was a talk about the work the EWT does around rhino poaching, research into the Vulnerable African Grass Owl, reducing the threat of roadkill – a grossly underestimated threat to our wildlife, living with carnivores such as cheetah, using Livestock Guarding Dogs to protect livestock when farming in areas that have free-roaming predators, the secret lives of cranes, including the Blue Crane, South Africa’s national bird, reducing the threat powerlines pose to our birds as well as the threat wildlife poses to a continuous supply of electricity to our homes, the importance of healthy rivers, and how international treaties and legislation assist us in protecting wildlife.
Mike Perry, one of South Africa’s most renowned herpetologists, was on hand with a live snake handling demonstration, whilst Rox Brummer and Carline van Vliet of Green Dogs Conservation showed how sniffer dogs can be used to detect snares, and help reduce the problem of poaching.
With over 400 people attending the Day, Claire Patterson-Abrolat, manager of the Wildlife & Transport Programme, and the main organiser of the day, said that she “was thrilled that the day was so successful and reached such a wide audience of supporters”. Claire is already in discussions with Isabelle Tillett, our Dinokeng representative, about the “Conservation in Action” Open day 2014.
The day would not have been possible without the support of the Off Road Rescue Unit, Landmark Montana, and Teljoy.