MAY 2010 No 15
Cat fight ends in sadness
Buffeljag of Wimpy?
Death of a matriarch
KPNR Annual General Meeting.... 3 * Water distribution ....4 * A close call... 7 Drifter elephant and elephantâ€™s drift... 8 photo: Des Jacobs
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Front page photo: Des Jacobs I visit the Klaserie frequently as my father-in-law owns land in the South called “Sark”. I am a keen wildlife and landscape photographer and love doing landscapes and especially photos for coffee table books and websites etc. You will find more of Des’s work on his website at www.desjacobsphotography.co.za. Cell 076 858 6317
Key board ‘Joie de vivre!’ this is what the Chronicle is about, joy of life. I do hope you experience this when you read this jampacked edition of interesting anecdotes, true-life dramas and amazing achievements. We are so grateful for all the contributions that led to a 20-page instead of a 16-page newspaper. You will enjoy every one of them and there are still more out there! Dankie vir al die lekker stories – dit help dat ons nie net oor werk praat nie. Ons sien uit na julle bydraes. Ons is dankbaar vir KPNR, eienaars en die gemeenskap wat bygedra het tot die sukses van al CET se projekte. Ons maak staat op julle ondersteuning. Kit-a-Kid staan einde se kant toe so ons vra asseblief nog donasies vir skool uniforms. World Cup Soccer 2010 was here, in the bush, in the Klaserie and what fun we had. CET even had a Mini World Cup Soccer which broadened the children’s horizons and they realise there is a very big world out there. Just ask, “Where is Spain?” Have a lovely spring and enjoy life. Plant trees. They give us two of the most crucial elements for our survival: oxygen and books. A Whitney Brown
Erik en Alice met hulle kinders, Lynette Hansen, Michelle de Klerk, en Natasha Britz.
Farewell dinner for Eric
xco members recently attended a dinner to say farewell to Erik van Niekerk after 25 years of service to Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. Eric is leaving due to additional responsibilities at UNISA and even more financial and administrative duties at headquarters. It was also decided to re-allocate this function at KPNR. Hopefully we will continue to see Erik and Alice regularly in the KPNR. Part of his farewell gift is the usage of the guest cottage. He was also presented with a brass and wooden plaque to commemorate his commitment and dedication to KPNR. In this day and age it is unusual for someone to have spent so many years with one organization, which bears testimony to his passion for his work and love of the bush. Over the years Erik had worked with several wardens and chairmen and assisted KPNR in getting through the good and bad times. The quality of our annual financial statements over the past years has been a direct result of Erik’s input. At one time Eric was also the accountant of CET, and they want to thank him for his dedication and valuable contribution. We wish Erik and Alice every success in their future endeavours, and look forward to welcoming them in the KPNR as our guests. By Mike Myers
Klaserie Chronicle Kroniek Team Editor: Zani Kunz Consulting Editor: Lynette Strauss Advertising: Nelly Ledwaba Proofing: Littcor Layout and design: Lynette Strauss Contributors: Colin Rowles, Janice Rowles, Gustav Roux, Judy Meeser, Zani Kunz, Madi van Staden, Jessica Mayes, Winky Mokgope, Brad Black, Anton Nel, Christine du Preez, Lynette Strauss, Des Jacobs, Luci Crookes, Rosmarie Ruest and Erik Manyike. The Klaserie Chronicle is published quarterly and distributed to KPNR owners, as well as CET donors, partners and Chronicle advertisers.
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Klaserie Private Nature Reserve holds 41st annual general meeting
aturday, 10 July 2010, heralded the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve’s 41st Annual General Meeting. The sun slowly rose above the horizon on Saturday morning, a perfect day on which to hold an AGM in the African Bushveld. Before the AGM commenced, members enjoyed refreshments to sustain them through the meeting. Once the business part of the meeting had been taken care of, the Chairman, Mike Myers, handed out certificates to the Klaserie Nature Reserve staff in recognition and appreciation for their long service. The following certificates were awarded:
• • • •
Six staff members a certificate and gift voucher each for loyal service. Four staff members for twenty years of service. Two staff members for ten years of service. Five staff members for short courses completed. Two staff members for completing an adult basic education and training (ABET) course. One staff member for a homebased care course through Hlokomela. Two staff members for completing a basic field ranger training
course – unarmed, at The Southern African Wildlife College. After a short break, guest speaker Dr Izak Smith from SanParks, gave an informative talk on the background and development of water points in the Kruger Park. After the meeting, approximately 110 Klaserie members sat down to enjoy a sumptuous four course luncheon at tables vibrantly decorated in the colours of the South African flag, in keeping with the historic and momentous occasion of South Africa hosting the Soccer World Cup. Story and photos by Janice Rowles
“helping to build lasting wealth” l Equity Portfolios l Balanced Portfolio l Absolute Return Portfolios l Treasury Management Contact: Danie Berrange (011) 375 4780 or Andre Combrinck (021) 882 9374
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r Izak Smit, a South African National Parks research scientist, presented an extremely interesting and thought-provoking presentation at the reserve’s AGM recently. His presentation centred on the evolution of the SANparks water distribution policy. He emphasised that the current water distribution policy was not based on the multitude of issues that surround such a controversial matter, but rather a systems-based approach. By this it is implied that water should be distributed across the landscape in such a fashion that it replicates the natural distribution as close as possible. He added that in the past water was provided in the vicinity of tourist roads in order to enhance the game-viewing experiences of the tourists.
However, current thinking wants to take the tourists to the water. To achieve this, new access roads to natural water sources have to be created. Dr Smit summarised his presentation by displaying a map which depicted the current distribution of active boreholes in the KPNR. For comparison purposes, Mr Rowles took Dr Smit’s map, and drew to the same scale the KPNR and its current distribution of water. It should be evident to all readers that in
order to contribute to conservation of the larger open system, they would have to revise the present water distribution. By Colin Rowles
One week free access to national parks According to South African National Parks [SANParks] the official opening of the 2010 South African National Parks Week will take place on Monday, 13 September 2010 at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape. The week-long campaign, giving free access to the national parks, will take place from 13-17 September 2010 and will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park. The objective of SA National Parks Week is to cultivate a sense of understanding and pride in South Africans, of their natural, cultural and historical heritage which is the basis for the established theme “Know Your National Parks”.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Klaserie Private Nature Reserve Rainfall distribution 2009/2010
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Klaserie Chronicle Kroniek no 15 | 5
a really close call
uring late May this year, a three-man patrol was on a routine patrol in the south west of the reserve. Their patrol route took them in the same direction that the buffalo herd had taken a few hours earlier. At the edge of an Acacia thicket they paused, having heard the alarm call of some oxpeckers ahead. Peering through the undergrowth they saw a lone buffalo cow already aware of the rangers’ approach. Limson, a member of the patrol, shouted a warning to Ruben, who was concentrating on the Cyber tracker in his hand, that the buffalo cow had lowered her head and was bearing down on him. Realizing that he was about to be steamrollered, Ruben threw the handful of electronics aside, cocked his rifle. He raised it to his shoulder, stepped back to steady himself, and fell backwards over a fallen log. The rifle went flying through the air and Ruben found himself falling with a buffalo horn in each hand. As he fell, almost in slow motion, he pushed the enraged cow’s head to the side and directed her charge into the ground next to him. She stumbled, fell,
regained her footing and charged off. Ruben took stock of himself, dusted himself off and gathered his equipment. In response to the call I arrived at the scene and was relieved to see that Ruben had emerged unscathed. After receiving a detailed account of the incident, I set off to locate the culprit. Upon tracking her down, I was shocked at her poor condition, suspecting it was TB I decided to terminate her. A veterinary autopsy confirmed my suspicion, that she was severely infected. This unfortunate cow had no doubt experienced difficulty in keeping up with the herd and had lagged behind, when the rangers encountered her.
Her behaviour in attacking the ranger patrol was stimulated by her diseased and vulnerable status. A healthy animal would in all likelihood have run off. Field rangers, in the line of duty, face numerous dangers deep in the African wilderness. Being mostly on foot they often encounter dangerous occupants of this wild continent. During most confrontations they rely on evasive tactics and skills that they have learnt during many years of patrol work. Things, however, do not always work out well. By Colin Rowles
Thank you to CET donors’ ongoing support Donated items/discount received from: Aqua IT Consulting CC, Engela van Staden, Fred and Manuella Crabbia, Ilonka Craukamp, Jenna van Belkum, Mika, Parma Nursery, Print@ Brooklands, Rosmarie Ruest, Wouter and Annamarie de Vos.
Main Donors for annual contribution: GBE, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, MAD, Mary Slack and Daughters Foundation, Mygr8 Safaris.
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staff excellence Five Klaserie staff members received certificates from Klaserie Chairman Mike Myers at the AGM for ABET, Hlokomela and the Southern African wildlife College.
elly Ledwaba, new Finance Administrator at CET, is orig-
Elias Mnisi (ABET), Gladys Mgwena (Home Base Care, Hlokomela), Charles Mabika (Basic Field ranger training course, Southern African Wildlife College), Reuben Motloutsi (ABET), Fanie Ngomana (Basic Field ranger training course, Southern African Wildlife College).
At this years AGM six Klaserie Staff members where handed long service certificates and gift vouchers. Four staff members were awarded certificates for twenty years of long service, and two were awarded certificates for ten years long service.
Eric Manyike (2O years), George Mnisi (20 year), Lamson Monareng (20 Years), Kimbily Ngwenya (20 years), Nelson Molamodi (10 years), not in photo Freddy Manyike (10 years).
inally from Polokwane and relocated to Hoedspruit in 2008. She has four children, three daughters and a boy. Her eldest daughter is married with two children. She was previously employed in both the public and private sector, holding positions such as Administration Officer, Accountant, Senior Accountant and Payroll Administrator. She also has several Certificates in Public and Municipal Finance Management and Budgeting, etc. Her love of nature contributed to her coming to Hoedspruit, and when she was appointed at Children’s Eco Training, it was a dream come true. She has a passion for children and prayed that one day she could somehow be involved with children. “I feel blessed to be part of CET and hope I will contribute positively to the lives of our children by being a second mother and mentor to them,” said Nelly. She has been with CET for two months now, and has proved to be an enthusiastic, compassionate and efficient member of the team.
Buffeljag of Wimpy?
m in gure weer buffels te jag is mens se kanse beter om ’n buffel langs die Wimpy te kry! As goeie en opregte gids, het ek die jagters vertel, maar soos met alle leke, wou hul nie instem nie. Dit was koud, dit was nat, en om dinge nog slegter te maak, het die wind gewaai. Nou ek weet al die mense van sogenaamde koue plekke dink dat ons hier in die laeveld nie koue verstaan nie. Vir hulle sal ek graag ‘n uitnodiging stuur vir ‘n bosvakansie in Februarie, sonder lugversorgers en waaiers. Toe ek die oggend opstaan het ek geweet, die enigste plek waar ons buffels sal skiet, gaan in Hoedspruit, langs die Wimpy wees. Almal in die groep was egter nie gelukkig met die weer wat afgelewer is nie, so daar is besluit om die buffeltaak so gou moontlik af te handel. Die sterk wind was ten minste in ons guns. ‘n Paar uur later gewaar ons die eerste buffels. Die fyn beplande bekruip het begin, maar so gou as dit begin het, so gou het ons die buffeltrop hoor weghardloop. Vir die res van die dag het ons ‘n gedetailleerde studie van die agterkant van die Suid Afrikaanse Kaapse buffel gedoen, en ook lukraak notas gemaak oor die hardloopaksies van hierdie spesie. Laat middag het ons die eerste keer weer die voorkant van buffels gesien. Alhoewel ek vele sulke voorbeelde het, was die laaste jag slegs ‘n week gelede weer ‘n klinkklare bewys. Die aand voor die jag, omstreeks 2100, het die wind in die laeveld begin waai, en toe reeds ruik ek die geur van Wimpy koffie! Behalwe dat ek ‘n goeie gids en wetenskaplike is, is ek ook ’n mensekenner en het ek nie hierdie keer die Winpy opsie vir die jagters genoem nie; dit sou op dowe ore val (Soos die geval in die Bybel met die Fariseers wat nie kon hoor of sien nie, al was die oplossing voor hulle). Die wind het gewaai, erg gewaai en dit was bewolk. Ek het die positiewe raak gesien, sterk wind is goed en min sonlig beteken die buffels kan ons nie sien nie. Ek het vergeet dat die teenoorgestelde ook geld; ons kon hulle ook nie so lekker sien nie. Ons het op vars spore begin stap, maar
soos die noodlot dit wou hê, het hulle ons eerste gesien. Ek soek altyd die positiewe, en ons het daardie dag gefokus op die suksesvolle hardloop aksie van die Suid Afrikaanse Kaapse buffel, en ‘n hoofstuk begin oor buffelmis patrone. Om af te sluit, ‘n opsomming. In gure weersomstandighede, swak lig, sterk wind, bied dit uitstekende toestande vir die jagter, pathera leo, beter bekend as die leeu. Hierdie manne hou die buffels besig, en teen die tyd dat mense hulle vind en probeer jag, is die buffeltroppe redelik ontsteld en lekker opgewarm vir hardloop. Die kans om dan ‘n buffel suksesvol te jag met ‘n geweer is 25%, die kanse om ‘n buffel by die Wimpy in die dorp te vind, is 50%. Luister na u gids! Deur Gustav Roux Foto: Lynette Strauss
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Drifter elephant at Elephants Drift (Diepkloof)
owards the end of June, we were awoken in the middle of the night by strange noises and a dark shadow moving around the camp. The calls were somewhat eerie as it lurked in the dark. When it finally stepped into the light, a little dazed and confused, we could not believe our eyes! A tiny little elephant calf (about three weeks old, we guess) was walking around the camp all alone. It was very weird that such a tiny little elephant would be all on its own. We listened carefully for any movement of the herd nearby, but the night was still. We scanned the area carefully for lions, which we thought might have singled out the tiny ellie and in that way separated it from the herd. But again, nothing… It was clearly tired and a little disorientated, but other than that, in great nick! There were no bite marks or claw marks on it anywhere – no external injuries at all. Once we approached it, it immediately relaxed around us and clearly felt comforted in our presence. We tried to convince the little lady (we think) to
leave the confines of the camp, but there was no way she was leaving. She followed us like a puppy around the camp, but when it came to actually going through the gate, she would not budge. After an hour or two of us sitting on the veranda with the tiny pachyderm, inspecting every aspect of her, we decided that all we could do was go to bed and hope that the herd would somehow return to collect it. It was difficult for all of us to leave it alone, as it walked around the camp for a while longer before finally falling asleep on the veranda. We were all very anxious for the day to break so that we could see if the little ellie had survived the night all alone especially because we heard hyenas close to camp after going to bed. A search around the camp revealed that the ellie was gone. The last tracks we could find were at our camp waterhole. After spotting the three hyenas that we heard in the night quite close to camp, our hearts were in our mouths. However, after getting a bit closer, it was clear that the hyenas had not eaten in a while.
We searched the area carefully for days afterwards and there was no sign of a carcass anywhere. It was very, very strange that such a little elephant could be separated from its herd without the herd becoming frantic in their search for it. Our only conclusion regarding this mystery was that it somehow became separated from the herd when they crossed the Olifants River. It roamed around for a few hours, before the herd returned for it in the early hours of the morning. Probably just in time to save it from the salivating mouths of the hyenas. This was without a doubt, an amazing experience, a once-in-a lifetime experience - one which we will never forget!! Words cannot describe how wonderful it was to be so close to a wild baby elephant, to be able to smell it, touch it and care for it for a short while. For a few short hours Elephants Drift became the sanctuary for a ‘drifter elephant’ and the experience was truly magical. By Brad Black, Manager, Elephants Drift
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Death of a matriarch O
n 14 June, Chris from Makumu came across the carcass of a prominent and well-known elephant cow. The elephant was partially submerged in the Klaserie River, but she was easily recognizable by her single, exceptionally long right tusk. When I met Chris at the scene, a few elephants were milling around. At the body of the fallen cow, motionless, with head hanging low, stood her calf. A highly distressed young bull, his temporal glands weeping profusely, approached the cow. He walked into the water and circled the carcass touching it gently with his trunk. He went down on his knees and with immense effort, using his tusks, he tried to raise her to her feet. With each failed effort the determined bull would utter loud rumbling growls and squeals almost in an effort to muster support from his comrades that appeared to be totally uninterested. All the time the calf stood by in silent remembrance of his mother, the matriarch who had led the herd, and who had been the architect of his young life. As the sun set and the herd moved on, leaving the young bull and the calf behind, we too departed to return in the morning. The following morning when we arrived, the elephants were gone. An old
cantankerous buffalo bull peered at us through the dew-laden reeds as he grazed along the bank. All was quiet, save for the sound of the water bubbling across some shallow rocks nearby. We were about to investigate the cause of death of the cow, when the young elephant bull showed up. He strutted around with head raised high and ears spread, adopting a threatening posture in defense of his dead leader. However, our presence was too much for him; he turned and ran off with tail raised. With some effort, we dragged the carcass from the river. There were no clear indications of anything untoward, and it was concluded that she had died from natural causes. By Colin Rowles photos: Colin Rowles and Jessica Mayes
A GREAT lossâ€Ś
Â Unfortunately a few weeks ago, an elephant on our farm died of unknown causes.As we looked on, the herd was not in a rush to leave her behind! The youngster, possibly the calf of the dead female, nudged its mother and also climbed on her back! Another sub-adult youngster got on top of the dead female, and used its tusks to try and get her back on her feet, but with no obvious success. The next day Colin and some of the field rangers came to investigate the reasons for her death and, take the tusk, while a lone bull continued to look on and give the rangers some revs!! The vultures hung around for a while, and got a bit irritated with the hyenas trying to steal their meal! The best was watching a jackal try and cross the river, a small bit of water was enough to keep him away! And especially watching the vultures trying to get too clever with the hyenas! Thatâ€™s always a great laugh! Great sightings =) By Jessica Mayes (14 years)
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uring the June/July 2010 quarterly holiday workshop, the children of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve employees celebrated the Fifa Soccer World Cup with the rest of the world at the reserveâ€™s headquarters and soccer field. The workshop was attended by 240 children, the highest number ever to attend. Children had the opportunity to wear their favourite soccer teamâ€™s shirts/clothes or colours. On arrival they each received a booklet with interesting soccer trivia, games, flag templates, world maps, etc. The Fifa World Cup soccer teams were identified: their flags were matched to the teams and their locations indicated on the world map. The activities were based on skills/information taught at the schools, so that they could put into practice what they had learnt. During the afternoon the children battled it out on the soccer field. Boys and girls were divided into teams according to age and every day after the games the best boy and girl player of each team were identified and received a soccer ball and certificate. Forty balls were handed out during the course of the tournament. It was a fun day and enjoyed by all. Soccer fever ran high and many discussions ensued speculating on who would be the winning team. However, Bafana Bafana remained the favourite team. Three children of Southern Cross Schools, Amber, Robyn and Robert volunteered to assist with the trainings while simultaneously completing their compulsory community service hours.
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Holiday programme at schools
he holiday programme, funded by CET, was from 14 June to 09 July 2010 at Seganyane, Matikinya and Mawuvana Primary Schools. There were 120 learners in total, who attended. CET realized that the vegetables would die if the learners spent the long holidays at home. Purpose of this programme: • • •
To beautify the school. To tend the vegetables. To keep the children away from the streets and mischief.
To teach the children how to take responsibility. To sell the vegetables.
Goals achieved: • • • • •
Four drums/dustbins painted at Seganyane and Mawuvana. Dumping place destroyed at Seganyane Primary School. Decoration done at all school entrances. Soil erosion fixed at Seganyane Primary School.
Water harvesting done at all schools and the purpose of it taught. Bricks lying all around the schoolyard removed at Seganyane Primary School. Frames next to Grade R class and planks removed to a safe place. Vegetables sold in the neighbourhood. Children could keep 10% of the profit, which proved to be a hands-on learning process.
By Winky Mokgope
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A bird’s eye view “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” Marshall McLuhan
n 27 June 2010 CET’s volunteer teachers, Zenta Nel, photographer and CET staff were taken on an excursion in an Oryx helicopter of 19th Squadron, air force base in Hoedspruit. The purpose of the outing was to celebrate the international year of biodiversity, and to give thanks and recognition to the staff of CET and the volunteer teachers of the holiday programmes in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.Hoedspruit Air Force agreed to CET’s request for an excursion in an Oryx. The CET staff and teachers were treated to an hour and a half flight. It was an unforgettable and magical experience! The Oryx headed for Swadini, where it circled over the dam and then towards Graskop through the Blyde Canyon. The crew performed some “exercises” throughout the flight, for example landing on rock surfaces next to a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall in the plantations. They flew over Graskop, went down the cliffs of the mountain and hovered next to the waterfalls on the panoramic route. From the air, the true concept of what biodiversity encompasses was much clearer and led to a deeper understanding of the responsibility each one has regarding conservation. Forestry, agriculture, town, nature reserves and protected areas, villages and rural areas were all visible, all part of the bigger picture. Thank you to 19th Squadron, for an unforgettable experience.
Any monetary donations, however big or small, assist us in making a difference to people’s lives. Please donate now. Children’s Eco Training, Acc nr: 013 253 611, STANDARD BANK, Hatfield Branch, Branch nr: 01-15-45, Swift code: SBZAZAJJ, Cheque account, ref: your surname and send proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 086 628 8733
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Lapdesks for N’wamacingele and Mawuvana Primary Schools
hemical Services Limited in Johannesburg donated 500 lap desks, which amounted to R58 140. These desks were handed over to N’wamacingele and Mawuvana Primary Schools in Acornhoek on 20 July 2010. Children’s Eco Training (CET), Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, who initiated and facilitated the project, per-
formed the handover. Learners, being taught underneath the trees on the school premises, did not have desks and had to work on their legs or the ground. When lack of infrastructure hampers quality education, action needs to be taken. The desk project was launched to improve the challenging circumstances at the schools
for CET strives to spread the environmental message to as many children as possible through their “support-aschool” programme. These are only two of the many schools where the infrastructure is not conducive to quality learning. If anyone wants to get involved in making a difference, please contact Zani.
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Aids Conference 2010 in Vienna
uring July three Hoedspruiters who are involved with Hlokomela, Hoedspruit’s leading HIV and AIDS programme, had the opportunity to attend the 18th International AIDS conference held in Vienna to confer with the rest of the world about this modern pandemic. Hlokomela wants to thank Klaserie Private Nature Reserve for their generous gift of R5 000 which contributed to showcase the project in Vienna. South Africa, and more specifically Hoedspruit, featured not only in one, but two of the presentations at the conference, which proved that Hlokomela is widely acknowledged in international circles. “I was proud to be a South African,” says Christine du Preez from Hlokomela.
“Our Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe’s speeches, tackled the core issues head-on and made me realise South Africa could really be proud of its efforts to address HIV and AIDS. They gave the world an accurate perspective of what the true situation in SA is and made the delegates sit up and take notice.” Thousands of HIV/AIDS advocates, gathered for the International Aids Conference 2010, marched through Vienna’s city centre on 17 July, demanding more respect for human rights in the fight against HIV. Hlokomela currently operates on more than 60 farms and is at the cutting edge of success in the field of addressing HIV, AIDS and various related gender problems. We did our region proud!
Kit-a-Kid You can make it happen
For just R250 we can kit-a-kid in a school uniform for the year! A uniform makes an enormous difference to a child’s school life... ...they gain self confidence, work harder and achieve more! A complete uniform consists of a shirt, shorts/dress, jersey, shoes and socks. Thanks to the generous support we received for this project last year 220 children received a complete uniform plus an extra school shirt. To receive a uniform the children have to work hard and attend the CET trainings during the holidays, and at our adopted Acornhoek schools the committed and enthusiastic learners who participate in the various CET projects also have a chance to qualify for a uniform. The children need YOU to make a difference .... Children’s Eco Training, Acc nr: 013 253 611, STANDARD BANK, Hatfield Branch, Branch nr: 01-15-45, Swift code: SBZAZAJJ, Cheque account, ref: your surname and send proof of payment to email@example.com or fax 086 628 8733. See our website for more. www.ecochildren.co.za
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Conservation Success in the Arabian Desert
hen one thinks of Dubai, it is of towering sky scrapers that defy gravity, fabulously tempting shopping malls and manmade snow in the desert. However, recently there has been a new emerging and gratifying facet to this particular emirate. The government recognised the need to preserve the unique desert habitat, and set aside a large tract of land in Dubai to be the first ever National Park in the UAE. After extensive research into a sustainable conservation project, the DDCR was proclaimed in 2003. The reserve needed to be representative of all the desert habitats, the shifting sand dunes, the sensitive and life-giving gravel beds and have extensive views of the endless desert. With 225 square kilometres of desert the DDCR has it all, as well as being located on far-
reaching subterranean water reserves at the depths of just 30 odd metres. Six thousand two hundred indigenous tree and shrubs were planted, initially under irrigation. These trees and shrubs have completely transformed the desert and provide food and shelter for a spectrum of desert animals, and serve as a seed bank that will germinate naturally to provide sustainable flora for the reserve. The iconic Arabian Oryx has come to symbolise the success of conservation in Dubai. This once widespread antelope was extensively over-hunted and the last Oryx in the wild (before reintroduction) died in 1972. In DDCR they now number somewhere between three and four hundred - yet another indicator of the triumph the reserve has attained in a relatively short period of time. It is successfully breeding the in-
digenous Arabian Gazelles that were all but extinct. These dainty antelope now roam free in the desert as they did many years ago. Other enthralling mammal species include desert foxes, wild cats, gazelles, hedgehogs and various gerbils. The reptiles are fascinating with noticeable adaptations for desert life like the brightly coloured sand-fish, geckos and various well-camouflaged vipers. Some of the species of birds bear a close resemblance to ours with a range of adaptations. While we were visiting, sightings of a golden eagle once again reaffirmed the success of the rehabilitation of the Arabian Desert. The eagle was resident for a week or so and was obviously getting enough to eat. By Judy Meeser
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BOOK REVIEW Title: Elephants: Facts & Fables Author: Rudi J van Aarde Publisher: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Pages: 48 This little book is quite informative and addresses most of the burning issues around elephant management in the wild. Some of the issues discussed are: water as a resource, elephant numbers, is the elephant endangered, impact on vegetation and trees, culling, contraception, birth and death rates. Readers should not expect a scientific or academic book. It is a booklet aimed at the layman and the issues are discussed in short paragraphs. However, a very valuable CD is included that contains peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subjects highlighted in the book, for those readers who are interested in a more in-depth analysis. The book is printed on high quality paper and contains excellent photographs of elephants, taken by the author himself. It is not a pamphlet to read and recycle – it will stand proud on any bookshelf or should preferable be shared with others who are interested in the subject. It is available from IFAW (www.ifaw. org) at no cost, although the right thing to do is to donate a few Rand towards this institution’s good work. The book was published in partnership with the Conservation Ecology Research Unit (CERU) of the University of Pretoria. This reviewer recommends this book with no reservation, especially for those who wants to know what the issues are around elephants and those who needs a short introduction to elephant management before taking on an in depth study of this very important subject in a critical stage of South Africa’s ecological evolvement. By Anton Nel
fter all the necessary environmental authorizations and departmental approvals had been obtained, the construction of the new Klaserie abattoir commenced in March this year, to be completed by end of July. The new abattoir is the first rural game abattoir to be constructed in the Mpumalanga province in accordance with new regulations regarding trading in cloven hoofed animal bi-products. The upgrading of the abattoir, the last item of infrastructure that required upgrading, will complement the other facilities that have been upgraded at the reserve headquarters complex during the past few years. The unconventional design encompassed numerous prescribed specifications, which proved very challenging as they had to be mastered by the appointed contractor during construction.
The new abattoir has been built in order for the reserve to conform to legislation. Through an approved, registered facility we will be able to move raw cloven hoofed animal meat out of the Foot and Mouth (FMD) control zone on a commercial basis. This unfortunately excludes buffalo and warthog meat. Buffalo meat will have to be transformed into break dry biltong. It is envisaged that biltong will be manufactured in the future as part of the abattoir operation. The new facility will maximize the sale of game bi-products accumulated from hunting and culling. Before the abattoir is commissioned and become operational, a staff training programme will be conducted as there are numerous hygiene-related procedures. Specific prescribed uniforms will also have to be worn by the appointed staff. Story and photos: Colin Rowles
Klaserie Chronicle Kroniek no 15 | 17
Cat fight ends in sadness I s a w your M a y e ditio n of the K l a serie Chronicle and thought that you might be interested in something we came across last week in the Klaserie. My wife Belinda, our two daughters and I were on an early morning game drive in the southern part of the Klaserie (Sark) on 13 July 2010. We came across a pride of lions near the southern fence, but could only see three lionesses lying in the grass. We sat there for about half an hour when they suddenly started moving again. It looked as if they were hearing something. Nearby
some impala were clearly alerted by the lions’ presence. We followed them again for about 200 m where we lost them and could not see or hear them anymore. We had to leave for Hoedspruit as we were waiting for friends coming to visit from Richards Bay, and thought that we would go and look for the lions again later that afternoon. That same afternoon at about 14:30, accompanied by our friends, we went back to look for the lions. After a short while we found the same lions close to the place where we had seen them in the morning. As we drove closer to them we came across a dead cheetah in the grass. The lions moved away, out of sight, and I got off the vehicle to have a closer look. It was clear that the cheetah had been in a fight with the lions. There were bite
marks all over the body and on the throat as well. After a few minutes we heard the noise of the patrolling quad bike. It was James patrolling the fence and he contacted HQ for further instructions. We waited for the vehicle from HQ and they came to pick up the cheetah. They also confirmed that lions had killed the cheetah and they could see that there were impala droppings and blood close to the cheetah. They suspected that the cheetah had killed an impala that morning and the lions interrupted and had a fight with the cheetah for the impala. If only we had waited a while longer that morning we could have witnessed the kill. A sad day for the cheetah, but as they say: “That is the course of nature”. By Des Jacobs
Day tours to CET schools
nother initiative of CET is to encourage visits to the schools so that people who are interested can become involved. MYGR8 Tourism Services offer this as one of their day tours after site inspections of the schools with CET. People who are interested are taken to the schools to meet and interact with the children. It is not a sightseeing tour, but one where visitors are expected to become involved in one way or another. They can either physically do something or donate plants, paint, books or anything else that can improve circumstances at the schools. A couple from Singapore worked in the nursery, for instance. MYGR8 also compiles a personalized “Bush Passport” to assist clients in choosing from the activities offered. Each travelling passenger will be presented with his/her own personally addressed passport. Clients can either enjoy MYGR8’s Exclusive Chardonnay Canyon Cruise during which every breathtaking aspect of the Blyde River Canyon can be experienced or capture the spirit and embrace the beauty of the
Northern Drakensberg Escarpment in a helicopter. Possibly the option of a round of golf may be the client’s desire. Whatever the choice MYGR8 will ensure the most memorable experience to their clients providing services of the highest standards. Contact person is Belinda at (+27) 015 793 3000.
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Matikinya visits Parma Nursery
n 4 June 2010, 180 children and teachers paid a surprise visit to Parma Nursery where they were met by Desiree Potgieter, Liesl Ross and Abraham Maseema. The reason for the visit to Parma Nursery was to thank them for the donation of all the vegetable seedlings. Mr Mdluli handed over fresh produce from the garden as a token of gratitude. Matikinya Primary School did not have a drop of water and through a CET project, a borehole was sunk and a water system installed. In return the school had to embark
on a greening programme and Parma Nursery provided the seedlings to get the project off the ground. The vegetable garden now nearly comprises the size of a soccer field. Thereafter the children were taken on a short tour to witness the sowing process of the vegetables and then they were escorted to the tomato green houses where Abraham gave them more information. It was a very profitable day.
Klip innie bos Die slagting onder Suid Afrika se renosters neem skrikwekkend toe. Van Januarie tot nou is meer as 150 stroopverwante renosterkarkasse landwyd gevind, waarvan 66 in die Kruger Nasionale Wildtuin. Die stropers is hoogs georganiseerd en baie goed toegerus - gewere, kruisboë, verdowingspyle en selfs helikopters word gebruik. Die polisie en SANParks se teenstroperseenheid werk dag en nag om die aanslag te keer, maar dis asof daar iewers oopseisoen op die land se sowat 19 500 renosters verklaar is. Dis ‘n wrede, grusame geveg. Niks word ontsien om daai horing te verwyder nie. Maar die gevaar strek wyer. As ons nie ons renosters kan oppas nie, wat van die res van ons wild, ons plante, ons mense? Suid Afrika is nie ‘n muis op die wêreldverhoog van bewaring nie, maar elke bebloede horinglose renosterkarkas kan die vraag laat onstaan of ons mans genoeg is vir hierdie oorlog. Die manne op die grond is, hulle skroom nie om selfs hulle lewens op die spel te plaas nie. Maar hulle kan niks teen die kop van die slang doen nie. Dis ‘n ander front van die geveg. Een waarvan ons dalk nie altyd alles weet nie, maar wat ek hoop met dieselfde oorgawe en toewyding baklei word. Dis duidelik dat die kriminele deurentyd hulle smokkel en handelsnetwerke aanpas en verfyn. So hoekom net by renosterhoring bly? ‘n Mens kan dan nie anders om te wonder of dit net ‘n kwessie van tyd is tot ‘n ander kommoditeit, soos ons kinders, of dwelms of wapens langs hierdie weë die kriminele geldkas moet voller maak nie. deur Lynette Strauss
Klaserie Chronicle Kroniek no 15 | 19
he Annual Camp was hosted by Outward Bound at Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. The main aim of the camp was personal growth and leadership development. During this time the teams were encouraged to work on communication skills to support the goals. The participants were also challenged to think about how to apply the learningâ€™s in their daily lives. Enduring the tough life of camping and surviving without the normal comforts they were presented with a cell phone each, sponsored by Smartcom and a soccer shirt to get the spirits up for the world cup. Dikgetho, Mashudu, Zandi and Samkelo travelled there by air and slept over in a hotel, sponsored by MAD. Although the camp was not without the extra challenges it was a good experience. A letter written by one of the beneficiaries, Mashudu, is a good reflection of the camp. Zandi Mathabula selected by MAD, is in Grade 5. She wants to become a doctor and excels in tennis. She is also a talented performer on stage. By Madi van Staden
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world cup klaserie
he Chairman and Exco unanimously agreed that the Klaserie Nature Reserve would be celebrating the World Cup final at headquarters. Chairman, Mike Myers, made arrangements for a Big Screen TV to be transported and installed at headquarters, complete with large speakers, so no one would miss out on the game.
All members, Klaserie staff and camp guards were invited to attend the final exciting match. As this occasion was to be a bring and braai we got to work arranging long lines of fires, salads, pap and sous, tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery. Although the air was chilly that night, it was as if we had joined the crowds in the stadium to watch Netherlands and Spain battle out the final; and battle they did. Just when we thought we could not stand the tension any longer, Spain finally scored a winning goal. It was such a unifying experience here at headquarters. Olé Spain! Olé Klaserie!
Dear Mrs. Rowles Speaking on behalf of the Klaserie staff as well as the camp guards, I received few comments from them like they were happy and enjoyed it a lot. I would like to add my comments • • • • •
that the evening began very well with great hope that Netherlands would win the game, but our minds quickly changed when we saw the wonderful experience of Spain as they were leading the game very well. The first goal made us believe that the World Cup Arena was in Klaserie and we felt it, as if it was here. We became more excited and happy to have a fantastic paradise in Klaserie as it lodged many people and the food managed to feed us all . That night made us believe that for sure Mr. Rowles is a true leader who care about his people as he came with this wonderful big screen plan that made us feel happy. That happiness changed our lives as we feel healthy today, our minds and bodies feel very fresh and strong to carry forward with good life. The braai was excellent, as wethank Mrs . Rowles for arranging that for us. There is a lot to say, but my time is limited. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rowles for taking care of us as that was good history . Regards, Eric Story and photos by Janice Rowles, Eric Manyike, Luci Crookes and Rosmarie Ruest
Chauffeur-guided transfers to and from Nelspruit Airport (private lounge facility available) Chauffeur-guided transfers to and from Hoedspruit Airport Chauffeur-guided tours Activities and adventures Tailor-made hospitality services
For bookings and enquiries, please contact reservations on: (+27) 015 793 3000 (Hoedspruit) (+27) 013 750 0521 (KMI Airport) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mygr8.net