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 Seringveld, north of Cullinan
 
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    SAVING OUR BIODIVERSITY OUR RESPONSIBILITY
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Conservancies in the News
 
 

PLEASE DO NOT BUY FAUNA AND FLORA FROM STREET VENDORS   

It is most disturbing to see these plants being sold on the side of the road. This was seen on the corner of Voortrekker and Hennie Alberts Road in Alberton on Saturday the 15th of February. We are pleading with people not to buy these plants as this is encouraging the destruction of our Biodiversity. We suspect that these plants are being  stripped from  the veld in the Magaliesberg Biosphere.

Aloe_marlothii Aloe_marlothii

Some Facts regarding the plant: Aloe marlothii national tree number  29.5, It can grow 2 to 4 m High but occasionally up to 6m or more, flowering time from May to September occurs in vast numbers and is not Threatened yet, but if this wanton removal of our indigenous plants carries on they will also become threatened. The plants that were seen could be between 50 and 100 years old!  

 

VM_Project

Dear Conservancies

We at the Animal Demography Unit are a conservation organisation with the goal of promoting an appreciation of nature and biodiversity in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.

Our purpose is to provide a platform for all South Africans, and people from other African countries, to contribute to conservation projects (Citizen Science Projects)
by taking photographs of animals and plants in the wild and submitting them to our Virtual Museum (http://vmus.adu.org.za/).

 

These records help us to understand the distributions of species, how they are impacted by humans, and what actions are needed to protect them. 
We have produced some of the most important publications for the conservation of birds, frogs, butterflies and other animals in the country.
Our portfolio of projects is growing (see the project logo banner below), and we would like to extend the reach of these projects to as many people as possible. 

 

One of the ways we would like to promote our projects is through the conservation and tourism industry.
Our natural heritage is one of our most important assets for tourism. We would like to ask if you would be willing to forward this email
to your network of contacts to ask if they would be interested in learning more about us and contributing to our projects. Or you could print out the poster 1 and poster 2
and put it up in your office or on a noticeboard. If you would like to become involved that would be fantastic!
Here is an easy to follow slideshow that shows you step-by-step how to register with the ADU and start uploading photos to our Virtual Museum:
http://www.slideshare.net/meganloftieeaton/how-to-submit-records-to-the-animal-demography-units-virtual-museums-28710898

You can also visit the ADU website, http://www.adu.org.za/, or Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/animal.demography.unit
and have a look at the Virtual Museum website at http://vmus.adu.org.za/
We look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,
Megan Loftie-Eaton
LepiMAP Project Coordinator (Butterfly & Moth Mapping Project)
VM-Lepimap
Animal Demography Unit (ADU) - Department of Biological Sciences
University of Cape Town - 7707 - South Africa

 

VM_Poster

VM_Poster

 

 

 

 

The Greater Kyalami Conservancy (GEKCO)
made this film to raise awareness about the destruction a proposed provincial road (K56) would have in the area.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX0UwbrI7mc

 

 

The Conservancy Crusade - Country Life

June 2013

Country Life Magazine

St Dunstan's College - City Times

May 2013

 

St Dunstens
St Dunstens
St Dunstans

 

 

Perdeberg Mountain Provisionally Declared a Provincial Heritage Site

October 2012

 

Earlier this year the Drumblade Conservancy applied to the Provincial Heritage Society - Gauteng to have Perdeberg Mountain declared a Provincial Heritage Site.

 

We have waited for the affected property owners to submit their support / objections to PHARG before making the outcome public knowledge.

 

PHARG provisionally declared the mountain a protected site in terms of sections 27 and 29 of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) 25 : 1999 on the 6th June 2012.  This protection will be valid for two years while various presentations and other investigations are carried out.

 

The Drumblade Conservancy believes the mountain is of great historical, geological and social importance and it is therefore imperative to protect the mountain ridge and cap from potentially damaging developments and possible mining in the future.

 

The protection of the mountain should not interfere with the current land owners and the use of their properties – unless they also wished to change the “land use” to high density development, or in any way remove or disturb the iron-age / stone-age / Boer war ruins, in which case they would have to follow the same procedures as any other developer would for their intended development in our area.  In addition, PHARG would have to approve the application as well.

 

Perdeberg Mountain


 Beeld_logo

’n Avontuurwedloop in die natuurlike habitat van die Seringveld-bewarea naby Pretoria is ’n lekker wegbreekkans vir veldlopers.
Marzahn Botha 27/07/2010

Leonardo_dicaprio

Die Amerikaanse rolprentster Leonardo Di Caprio het onlangs met die leeuwelpies gespeel toe hy Horseback Africa besoek het.  Die sosiale vlinder Paris Hilton het ook hier ’n perderit meegemaak. Foto: Theonie Macrae

 

Twee avontuursport-entoesiaste, Christiaan Greyling en sy vriendin, Landi Visser, se liefde vir veldlope het hulle aangespoor om die Seringveld Diamond Dash-avontuurdag in die Seringveld-bewarea noordoos van Pretoria aan te bied.  Die Seringveld-bewarea is ongeveer 20 km buite Pretoria en 15 km noordwes van die dorp Cullinan.  Dit dek sowat 18 000 ha in die Dinokeng-gebied.

Avontuurwedloopspanne wat uit twee of drie lede bestaan, moes oor ’n ruwe terrein van punt tot punt met kompasse en kaarte navigeer.

Deelnemers kon inskryf vir ’n avontuurwedloop oor 30 km of 50 km, ’n bergfietswedren oor 30 km of ’n tweekamp oor 12 km.

Kontak Jan Visser – taem@lantic.net of 012 732 0034

 

Seringveld_diamond_dash

Die veldlopers wat deelgeneem het aan die Seringveld Diamond Dash-avontuurdag naby Pretoria

Seringveld_diamond_dash

Bergfietsryers wys hul slag in die Sering-bewarea noord van Pretoria

 

beeld_logo

Groot lastereis moet wag
Hettiën Strauss (Apr 23 2009)

’n Vier jaar lange hofgeding waarin R170 miljoen van omgewingsaktiviste geëis word, is vir nog ’n jaar uitgestel.  Die maatskappy Wraypex, wat aan Robbie Wray behoort, is die applikant in die hofgeding, wat in die Pretoriase hooggeregshof uitgestel is.

Wraypex beweer lede van die Renosterspruit-bewarea het hulle skuldig gemaak aan naamskending omdat hulle glo sê die “ontwikkelingsregte” vir die Blair Atholl-gholflandgoed naby die Lanseria-lughawe is “onwettig”.

Dié gholflandgoed van 600 ha is noordwes van Johannesburg, tussen die Wieg van die Mensdom, die Renosterspruit-bewarea en die Lanseria-lughawe geleë.  Die grond het voorheen aan die gholflegende Gary Player behoort. Hy het ook die gholfbaan op die landgoed ontwerp.

Die verweerders is die vier komiteelede van die Renosterspruit-bewarea. Die voorsitter van die bewarea, Helen Duigan, sê:  “Ons hou voet by stuk dat dié ontwikkelaar nie die nodige prosesse wat deur die wet voorgeskryf word, gevolg het nie. Waarom is sy ontwikkeling dan ’n tyd lank deur die departement van omgewingsake gestaak?

“Ons het genoeg dokumentêre bewyse van die departement om ons verweer te staaf. “Die afgelope vyf jaar was daar al 22 aansoeke vir ontwikkelings, groot en klein, in en langs die bewarea.”

Duigan sê hulle benader elke aansoek deur te registreer as ’n geaffekteerde party en dit van die begin tot die einde te monitor. “Ons is al deur diep waters, maar ons wil nie hê ons omgewing moet vernietig word nie.”

Mervyn Gayland, ’n chemiese ingenieur en lid van die bewarea, sê hy het verlede week drie dae in die hof deurgebring. “Geen vordering is gemaak nie. Die sage sloer al van 2005 en veroorsaak vir ons baie frustrasie.”

Wray sê elke mens het die reg op ’n mening en hy respekteer dit.

“Ons voer die hofstryd omdat ons reeds in 2005 die wettige regte verkry het om met die ontwikkeling voort te gaan.  “Ten spyte daarvan het die omgewingsaktiviste ons met ’n hofbevel probeer keer.”  Die bevel is nie toegestaan nie.

“Die omgewingsgroep maak nog sekere aantygings teen ons en oor die rekord van beslissing (RoD) wat glo in ons guns verander moes word. Hulle sit kwansuis met die bewyse.  “Die aantygings is van alle waarheid ontbloot.”

Wray sê sy maatskappy het niks om weg te steek nie. Hulle is baie trots op dié ontwikke-ling.  “Die gholfbaan is verlede jaar aangewys as die naasbeste gholfbaan in die land

 

Saturday_star

Vet’s unique operation gives injured bullfrog a new lease on life

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anne_mearns

Anne Mearns, who has been working in conservation since 1981, is rehabilitating this giant bullfrog, estimated to be about 25 years old, at her home in Benoni.  A vet put a pin in the bullfrog’s leg after it was bitten by a dog and it seems to be healing well.
Picture: Cara Viereckl

By Sheree Béga (March 14th 2009)

 

A RARE giant bullfrog has been given the chance to hop again after a Benoni vet inserted a steel pin into its broken leg during a unusual operation.   The leg was hurt when the frog was attacked by a dog.

The amphibian, believed to be about 25 years old, would have died from his injuries if the “amazing procedure” had not been performed, says conservationist Anne Mearns, who has spent two months nursing the frog back to health. “Someone had left the frog at our vet’s surgery,” explains Mearns from her Benoni plot.

“He took X-rays and saw that the frog’s leg had been broken.  The vet had contacted Onderstepoort for advice. “He rubbed a drop of the anesthetic that they use for cats and dogs, that had been very diluted, on to the frog’s skin. “It went to sleep for three days. The vet put a steel pin in the right hind leg of the frog.

“I’ve never heard of a frog going through this kind of operation. The vet was amazing to connect two broken pieces of leg, put a pin in and stitch it back up again,” she says, of the operation.

Mearns, a recipient of the UN Environmental Global 500 Role of Honour for her work on wetlands, has devoted her life to protecting giant bullfrogs on Gauteng’s East Rand, spending the past year leading a frog awareness campaign in conjunction with the Gauteng Conservancy Association.

But it is through nurturing this injured bullfrog that Mearns has gleaned the most insight into the behaviour of these colossal, carnivorous amphibians, which are threatened by rampant urban development.

“I looked for insects for him to eat on our plot and write down everything that he eats every day. He loves dung beetles, termites, crickets, flies and moths. Dung worms are his favourite and he has eaten 900 so far.

“I let him go out for little jumps so he gets some exercise,” Mearns says. “He does trust me. He eats out of all of our hands. He is really quite something.”

Giant bullfrogs spend most of the year underground hibernating and only emerge to breed and feed with the first spring rains. Mearns’s frog is keen to hibernate now “The frog has been back to the vet, who said that the leg had been connected to the part that was broken. It was split in halt “He still has stitches in his leg and we’re waiting for those to dissolve before we can put him into hibernation in a special container.

“He will be released into the wild by the end of the year.  “We’ll put him into one of our conservancies and implant a monitor to see where he goes at the end of the year, when he comes out of hibernation,” Mearns adds.

Contact Anne Mearns on 073 210 3340 or a.mearns@mtnloaded.co.za with any information about frogs in your region.

 

MeyertonSter

Mountridge Conservancy

 

Saturday Star

The bullfrog tannie

By Sheree Béga (September 13, 2008)

Anne Mearns remembers her childhood spent playing in the wetlands on Gauteng's East Rand, surrounded by her "living friends" - frogs. But today most of those wetlands have vanished along with their gentle, croaking inhabitants.

"Many of the wetlands are built up into roads and cluster homes," says Mearns from her Benoni plot.

"These wetlands were the treasure fields of birds, animals, mammals, fish, amphibians and many species of plants that are gone."

Now Mearns, a recipient of the UN Environmental Global 500 Role of Honour for her work on wetlands, is leading a one-year frog identification and awareness campaign with the Gauteng Conservancy Association, which hopes to gather data on the status of frogs across South Africa.

"For this frog identification census we want information on all kinds of frogs, where they occur, what type, what numbers, from all over the country. Call it a national frog count," explains Mearns, adding three-quarters of SA's 110 species are dependant on disappearing wetlands.

The initiative started in March. But frogs have spent the past few months in hibernation and will start to emerge to breed and feed only with the first spring rains.

Mearns is urging residents to identify frogs in their gardens and in local wetlands and grasslands, and report back to the project. She has already received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails. "There's a very big awakening about frogs. We started as a provincial project but people all over South Africa are involved. This is a way to make people aware that there's a place for nature - and for frogs too," says Mearns, who is compiling information booklets on frogs for nursery, primary and high schools, to be delivered within weeks.

In the late 1990s Mearns led a wetland count in the Benoni region that identified about 135. Few remain. Mearns reserves her scorn for property developers destroying the region's wetlands, and questions the authorities who continue to approve development in sensitive areas.

"These people couldn't care less about wetlands or frogs. It's all about money. I've had developers chase me out of their developments, or who laugh at me and call me the 'old bullfrog tannie'. But if you take out a wetland, you destroy so many different kinds of life."

Frogs are vital indicators of the health of ecosystems. "Our water is so polluted, and if frogs are no longer there, it's a sign of how bad it is. I've put myself in the place of these thousands of frogs. If my home is polluted, I have to leave." Mearns is enamoured by the area's giant bullfrogs that live and breed in the surrounding Bullfrog Pan and Sand Pan, which is increasingly encircled by housing developments and major roads. "If you pick up a dead adult giant bullfrog that has been driven over, it's very sad. It can live for 30 years. Last [rainy] season, we rescued 105 adult bullfrogs. We're so happy when we find them because it means they're still around.

"When the first rains come I know I'm going to be so busy. Last year, people arrived at our plot with hundreds of frogs in their car boots that they rescued from being squashed on roads, and we reintroduced them to the wetlands in Benoni."

Conservationists declared 2008 the Year of the Frog because, globally, one in three of the 6 000 known amphibian species, including frogs, toads and salamanders, faces extinction from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, pesticides and invasive species.

A deadly parasitic fungus called amphibian chytrid, believed to have originated from the export of African clawed frogs in SA for use in pregnancy tests abroad, is having a catastrophic effect on global frog populations.

Martin John van Rooyen, an aquarist at Johannesburg Zoo, which is running a breeding programme for local frog species, says places like Boksburg used to be "frog country". "It's amazing how habitat destruction and development have not only changed the life of frogs but also that of birds like the blue crane, which used to be in the wetlands in Midrand. We need to protect these places and invest in our future."

Contact Mearns on 073-210-3340 or a.mearns@mtnloaded.co.za

This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on September 13, 2008

 

City Press

Jozi to get its own green thumb

A planned conservancy along Joburgs southern edge will link the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve with the hills of Roodepoort, writes Lucille Davie 21/06/2008

JOZI’s distinctive ridges are to be the links for a huge conservancy that could connect Ekurhuleni’s green spaces in the east to the tall koppies of Roodepoort in the west.

The initiative is being driven by development consultant Andrew Barker and Clem Kourie, the honorary chairperson of the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve Association (KNRA), together with Johannesburg City Parks.

“The KNRA, City Parks and other interested parties believe that the rural nature of the south should be preserved. To do this, landowners around the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve will be enticed to register their properties as conservancies,” Kourie says.

This project will include the stretch of land from the N12 southern bypass to the Klip River in the south and from the N1 in the west to the R59 and the Vereeniging highway in the east. In total the area is approximately 150km².

A conservancy is a registered voluntary association between land users and landowners who wish to cooperate to manage their natural resources in an environmentally-friendly manner without changing the land use of their properties.

“The establishment of conservancies gives the ordinary member of a community the opportunity to get involved in the conservation and management of the local environment,” says the KNRA’s website.

There are 32 conservancies in the province registered with the Gauteng agriculture, conservation and environment department.

Kourie says residents of the southern suburbs, including Glenanda, Glenvista, Mulbarton, Mondeor and Kibler Park “appreciate living around and among the large open tracts of unspoilt land” in their suburbs.

“A critical component of this proposal is the sustainable promotion and development of the natural environmental resources and rehabilitation of areas located along the Klip River through Soweto and the environmental corridor of the Klip River and Klipriviersberg ridges located in the southern areas of Johannesburg,” says Barker.

The conservancy will focus on the 680ha nature reserve south of Mondeor. Game has recently been introduced to the reserve, making it possible for residents to hike and watch game just 10km from the city centre.

“The area is rich in natural resources, varying from the beautiful wooded Klipriviersberg range of hills to grasslands and wetlands and to prolific birdlife along the Klip River, a tributary of the Vaal River,” explains Kourie.

“It contains red-data species as well as numerous heritage sites such as the ruins of the dwellings of Sotho and Tswana people who lived there 300 and more years ago, an old Voortrekker farmstead, Boer War fortifications and sites of interest from the goldrush days.”

Kourie says the wider area has “considerable tourism, recreational, cultural, educational and developmental potential”.

The initiative has the backing of many of the players in the area. The South of Johannesburg (Sojo) Business and Tourism Forum has also said it is keen to be involved.

Sojo’s main aim is to promote business, tourism and the environment across the southern side of the city.

The Sojo Development Band, established in 2001, is a key focus in Region F’s spatial development framework. The aim is to maximise the value of existing economic and tourism nodes to enhance job creation and investment in the south.

This will incorporate business, tourism and heritage facilities in Soweto, including tourism drawcards such as the Regina Mundi Church, the Mandela House Museum, the Hector Pieterson Museum, the Soweto Shebeen Route and restaurants.

This initiative is to be called the Sojo Business, Tourism and Recreation Loop and will benefit from the establishment of the conservancy.

The nearby Afrisam quarry and the Calvary Christian College, private landowners to the west of the reserve, are also interested in being involved. Other plot owners in the immediate west of the reserve also want to be included.

The conservancy will also include the Soweto wetlands and the Klip River, extending through to the ridges of Roodepoort.

To the east is the Rietvlei Zoo Farm, the Thaba Ya Batswana and Stonerivers Arches developments, Rand Water property and, further east, the wetlands and pristine hillsides of Ekurhuleni. The estates across Meyersdal to the east will be a valuable addition. All these parties are interested in the new development.

To the north, the Mondeor and Ridgeway hills will also be part of the conservancy and various residential and agricultural holdings will be included.

These areas have valuable recreation facilities already in place. These include cycling, mountain biking, golf and canoeing and extend to micro-lighting and model airplane activities, says Barker.

The agriculture department and City Parks are helping to push the process. City Parks’ conservation specialist, Kenneth Mabila, has been driving the initiative on behalf of the city.

He says the conservancy ties in with the city’s grasslands project and Klip River clean-up.

The grasslands project entails the preservation of the biodiversity in the Klip River and Kyalami and Roodepoort areas. It is part of the national grasslands programme of the South African National Botanical Institute, under the auspices of the national environmental affairs and tourism department.

The conservancy has been incorporated into the city’s integrated development plan and spatial development framework. Once established, it will be the city’s second conservancy.

A conservancy was launched in March 2007 in the northern reaches of Joburg. Called Gekco or the Greater Kyalami Conservancy, it encompasses 4 500ha of mostly agricultural land west of the N1 in Midrand.

Its goal is to “conserve, sustain and share the ecology and natural character of the greater Kyalami area”, says the Gekco website.

Close to a thousand landowners are members of the conservancy and their activities have so far included cleaning up the Jukskei River, planting indigenous trees and removing alien species, keeping an eye on irregular developments and monitoring cellphone tower erections, the rehabilitation of three wetlands in the area, and caring for endangered fauna and flora red-data species.

They are working on creating an eco-trail that includes cycling, hiking and horse paths.

The area contains a major equine industry which creates thousands of jobs. Gekco aims to protect this industry and the main open spaces in the conservancy.

The first public meeting to take the southern conservancy proposal forward was held on Wednesday at the Klipriviersberg Recreation Centre in Kibler Park.

Johannesburg City Parks, the Gauteng Conservancy Association, and the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve Association both gave presentations. – Johannesburg News Agency

 

Beeld

Uitroeiers van indringerplant ‘nie xenofobies’

Die “Slag van Lantana-laagte” is die naweek geveg toe sowat 30 inwoners van die Seringveld Bewaria, noord van Pretoria, meer as 400 van dié indringerplante uitgekap en -gegrawe het.

Elise Tempelhoff Jun 12 2008

Die “Slag van Lantana-laagte” is die naweek geveg toe sowat 30 inwoners van die Seringveld Bewaria, noord van Pretoria, meer as 400 van dié indringerplante uitgekap en -gegrawe het.

Volgens mnr. Jan Visser het 12 grondeienaars en helpers besluit om dít te doen omdat lan-tanas (Lantana camara) die hele gebied inneem en inheemse plantegroei “dooddruk.”

Volgens dr. Alan Urban van die Landbounavorsingsraad (LNR) se instituut vir plantbeskerming, en lantana-kenner, is dié struik een van die mees geharde indringers wat die meeste skade, veral aan weiding, aanrig.

Urban het gesê as al die lantana in die land “skouer aan skouer” staan, sal dit ’n gebied van 70 000 ha beslaan.

Op plekke waar lantana dig bymekaar groei, is die gebied ondeurdringbaar omdat hulle dorings met mekaar ineenvleg.

Die Seringveld Bewarea het die lantana-oorlog die naweek gevoer op die Boekenhoutkloof-grondpad se padreserwe en 1,2 km pad skoongemaak.

Volgens Visser is die struike afgekap en die stamme daarna met ’n goedgekeurde gif geverf.

Visser het vertel toe hy 20 jaar gelede in die Seringveld Bewarea kom woon het, was daar nie ’n enkele lantana op sy grond nie en hy het toe nie geweet wat dit is nie. Hy het wel op ’n dag een struik op ’n buurplaas raakgeloop. Iemand het toe aan hom gesê dit is lantana.

“As ek vandag op my grond loop, trap ek heeltyd op lantanas of loop teen hulle vas.”

Visser meen die pes het sedert die laat jare tagtig in dié omgewing vertwintigvoudig.

Urban het gesê ’n lantana is ’n hibried wat ontstaan het weens die kruising van twee verwante spesies. Die moeder- en vaderplante kom oorspronklik van Sentraal- en Suid-Amerika. Iemand het in die 1700’s die twee verwante spesies na Europa geneem en dit gekruis.

“Daar is tans 650 lantana-hibriede en hulle is wêreldwyd vervuil. Feitlik die hele wêreld voer tans ’n stryd om van hulle ontslae te raak,” vertel Urban.

Hy het gesê in die 1800’s was dit mode om ’n lantana in jou tuin te hê en die (hibriede-)plante is opsetlik wêreldwyd versprei.

“Vandag voer ons ’n stryd teen die lantana omdat hy ons inheemse plante verdring en beeste van weiding ontneem.

“Ons is dus nie xenofobies nie en voer nie ’n stryd teen alles wat vreemd is nie, maar hierdie plant bedreig ons eie veld en plante se voortbestaan,” het Urban gesê.

Die LNR het al sowat 12 natuurlike agente vir die biokontrole van lantana landwyd vrygelaat. Dié biokontrole is suksesvol aan die kus van KwaZulu-Natal, maar in die res van die binneland is nog min welslae behaal. As deel van ’n aanvoorprojek is ’n snuitkewer wat sy hele lewensiklus in die lantana se blaarstingel voer en die plant se natuurlike vyand is, asook ’n siekte wat die plant se wortels aanval, in Richardbaai en Nelspruit losgelaat.

eliset@beeld.com

 

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