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KLASERIE September 2011 no. 18


The man in green Sad news about the Ross pride YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING!


Operation rhino ...3 | A day in the life of a researcher ...6 | MTA volunteers visit Seganyane School ...10 | Wired and wireless hyenas ...17 | A great safari ... 18

photo: Janke Strauss

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Klaserie Private Nature Reserve: Annual General Meeting 2011


KEYBOARD Hi there! When I read Vanessa’s letter, I felt a sense of wellbeing for suddenly all the hard work, the rushing around makes sense – CET is really part of this ‘nameless movement’ trying to make a difference. This is all thanks to you, our loyal supporters and donors. Thank you for all the wonderful and interesting articles we received. We were quite overwhelmed by all the amazing stories and sightings. We could not publish all of them now, but look out for our next edition. Already working on it! Asseblief ons wil so graag ook Afrikaanse artikels en stories publiseer, maar julle is stil! Skryf net ietsie of bel en ons sal skryf. Dankie ook vir al julle ondersteuning en inloer wanneer ons besig is met die werkswinkels by die HK. Kit-a-Kid lok wye reaksie uit en ons beplan om weer groot te gaan die jaar, met julle hulp natuurlik. We are focusing on rhino conservation and trying our utmost to educate the young ones by all means possible. This is our way of supporting this very crucial issue. ‘We teach our children about Rhino some of dem thy no Rhino bt some they dn’t no Rhino bt nw all of dem thy no Rhino.’ SMS feedback received from our Support-a-School staff. I had wonderful support from the CET team and without their help we could not have done as much. Our annual report, of which we are very proud, has already been printed and you can contact me if you are interested in receiving one. Until next time! Zani

The day of the KPNR Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 9 July started with clear blue skies and calm conditions. No sooner had everyone settled than an icy breeze began to blow. It intensified and kept the deliberations short, brief and to the point. The AGM once more proved to be a successful event. The main topics of interest on the agenda were the habitat reclamation project, the new Commercialisation Policy, progress with the development of the reserve’s website and the de-proclamation of the road to Incheni Gate. The executive committee elected for 2011/12, is as follows: Mr Mike Myers Mr Tommy Bach Mr Mike Anderson Mr Adrian Anderson Ms Jenny Howson Mr Deon Huysamer Mr Fred Ruest Mr John Braithwaite Mr Dave Crookes Mr Chris Rossouw Exco will elect a chairman and vice-chairman at their next meeting.

Klaserie Private Nature Reserve

KLASERIE CHRONICLE / KRONIEK TEAM Editor: Zani Kunz Advertising: Laura Craig Proofing: Littcor Layout and design: Lynette Strauss Contributors: Colin Rowles, Anton Nel, Lyndsay Finney, Winky Mokgope, Rhulani Mathonsi, Ivan Gillat, Zenta Nel, Pieter Dreyer, Lee-Anne Detert, Jason Fleischer, Zena Baxter-Fleischer, Andy Matthews, Sieglinde Rode , Kate Meares, Vanessa vd Heyde, Caryn Myers, Jess Mayes, Karen Randall, Zani Kunz, Lynette Strauss

The Klaserie Chronicle is published quarterly and distributed to KPNR owners, as well as CET donors, partners and Chronicle advertisers. If you would like to send a contribution, please forward to or fax: 086 628 8733

Goods donated by Pick n Pay, wrapped in attractive hamper boxes and very successfully used as incentive for the hard work of preparing and planting their vegetable gardens.

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t daybreak on Thursday 12 August, a small group of highly qualified veterinarians, law enforcement officers and management staff gathered at headquarters to prepare for an intensive three day programme that entailed the capture of all previously unmarked rhino in the reserve. Items were checked and immobilizing darts prepared with carefully calculated quantities of Etorphine hydrochloride or M99. DNA sampling kits, restraining ropes, containers of water, tool boxes, specialist equipment and drums of helicopter fuel were loaded onto two Land Cruisers. Minutes later a turbine helicopter settled on the helipad in a cloud of dust. The team assembled in the warden’s office for a briefing. Ground to air communications, an extremely important contributor to the success of the operation, was discussed and radio frequencies confirmed. The ground team travelled to a pre-arranged assembly point, while the reserve warden, pilot and vet commenced with a helicopter search for target animals. All unmarked rhino were darted from the air. Once the immobilizing drug had taken effect, the ground team was called

in via radio. As soon as the animal had been stabilized, it was ascribed the next sequential number and the associated ear notch pattern clipped into edges of the ears. Identification devices were inserted into the horns and into the body of the animal. DNA samples were collected by a team member who had the necessary qualification to conduct this important component of the operation. The DNA profiles of each of the captured animals will be included in the national data base. After the collection and marking procedures the various horn dimensions were recorded together with other standard information. When all tasks had been attended to, the area was cleared and the antidote administered to bring about the recovery of the animal. The operation proved to be extremely successful, with all unmarked rhino processed. It will be of immense value for future monitoring of these animals, and will contribute greatly towards their protection. My sincere gratitude to Dr Pete Rodgers and his team from ProVet wildlife services for the professional manner in which they performed their tasks and Mike Pingo, of Sunrise Aviation, for his exceptional flying skills. Sunrise Aviation and ProVet also cosponsored the capture operation through the reduced rates that they offered.

photos: Colin Rowles

“HELPING TO BUILD LASTING WEALTH” l Equity Portfolios l Balanced Portfolio l Absolute Return Portfolios l Treasury Management Contact Danie Berrange on (011) 375 4780 or (021) 882 9374


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CET proud of trainers R euben Motloutsi won the first peer evaluation prize sponsored by Hoedspruit Spar. The teachers evaluate themselves, are evaluated by their peers and facilitators on their performance. Without the dedication and willingness of the teachers, the CET

workshops cannot function as well. They are all employees in the KPNR and it is the goodwill of the owners who allow them to volunteer as teachers to the programme. They do not receive any extra remuneration for this task. In the end both the employer and

employee benefit. As a result of the training and experience they receive as trainers they have upskilled themselves and even improved their literacy levels. They have been promoted in their job situations as they are better equipped to take on more responsibilities.

Deon Huysamer, CET Board Chairman, handing over the SPAR Voucher to Reuben Motloutsi.

KPNR STAFF AWARDS The Chairman and Mr Colin Rowles presented the following awards to KPNR staff members: FIREARM TRAINING COURSE • Charles Mabika • Fanny Ngomane FIELD RANGER UNARMED AND ARMED COURSE • Aubrey Ndlovu HOUSEKEEPING COURSE • Nomsa Cubai FIRE FIGHTING, ABATTOIR AND CONSERVATION COURSES • Nelson Molamodi • Hendrick Mnisi • Abel Matjie (3 awards) • Eckson Malebe (3 awards) • David Ndubane (3 awards) • Kimbily Ngwenya (3 awards) • Freddy Manyike (3 awards) • Rulph Mathebula (3 awards) • Sipho Mokoena (3 awards) • Mandla Mathonsi (2 awards) • Newman Mahatlane (3 awards) LONG SERVICE AWARDS • Ruth Ntoma – 10 years • Colin Rowles – 20 years

Welcome Kate at the Ground Hornbill Project


graduated 2007 with my Master’s in Biological and Conservation Science at the University of KwaZuluNatal, Pietermaritzburg. After graduating I worked as a field assistant abroad, studying Mouse lemurs in Madagascar and Honeyeaters in Australia. Then in 2010 I joined the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project for a short period as project manager before coming across to the APNR Hornbill Project. If anyone has any sightings to report or anything of interest relating to Ground Hornbills, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Project.

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SIGHTINGS Zena Baxter Fleischer, On a game drive with my husband Jason, our guests had a great sighting of two sub adult leopard. One was in a tree eating impala meat and the other on the ground curiously watching a black mamba. Luckily the mamba moved away and nothing happened, but the other leopard lost its meat to a hyena! The hyena patiently waited until the booty fell from the tree. The young leopard tried to retrieve it, but realised it was no match for the hyena and climbed back up the tree. Lucky hyena! Photos: Andy Matthews

Sad news about the Ross pride Jason Fleischer


n the morning of 31 August 2011, I woke early and joined Africa on Foot to do a bush walk. Lately, there had been too many signs of lion plus a huge herd of buffalo. It was not safe to walk. We decided to rather do a drive and had good sightings of the buffalo herd, a male lion mating and part of our Ross lion pride. We saw six females, two eightmonth-old cubs, two six-month-old cubs and one eight-week-old cub. We also recognized the lioness we call Patches. She is the mother of the white cub and two tawny cubs, which we had regular great sightings of over the past few weeks (“Africa on Foot”, “Gomo Gomo” and “Baobab Ridge”). The white cub and one of its tawny siblings have most probably not survived. I saw them last about six days before. Patches had brought the remaining tawny cub into the pride two days before, at the normal approximate age of eight weeks. The lionesses and older cubs started following the buffalo (all but the tiny cub and a female in poor condition with the broken back leg who could not keep up). The injured lioness took the cub in her mouth, placed it under thick bushes and

proceeded to eat the cub. Patches heard the cub crying and ran back, but by the time she got there the crying was over and she thought everything was fine and went back after the buffalo. The lioness proceeded to devour the cub in front of our eyes. We are questioning her role in the deaths of the other two cubs as one quietly went missing each week. Her injuries must have played a role in this abnormal behaviour. We left the sighting. It was a very sad morning, but unfortunately, such is nature.

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The auditor who counted on more than he bargained for Anton Nel


usk was setting in quickly around the three men and the Land Cruiser on the sandy river bed of the Klaserie River. The autumn weather was still warm, but already they could feel a nibble from the approaching winter cold as the sun disappeared behind the tree-horizon in the west. “Go to Hoedspruit,” they said. “Go count the money on hand and the stock in the shop,” they said. “It is a nice trip to the bush,” they said. These thoughts swirled in Gerhard’s head as he vigilantly scrutinised the vegetation expecting to see a pair of yellow eyes and four fangs, surrounded by a mane of hair, staring back at him. Gerhard is an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Pretoria and was assigned this task at Klaserie Private Nature Reserve on the date of the financial year-end, an easy enough job if everything goes according to plan. Late afternoon Gerhard was bundled into the old Land Cruiser. Accompanied by Anton and Eric, the team headed for Xikankaneni Gate and then on to Incheni Gate. Everything was going according to

plan until they had to cross the Klaserie River along the southern border. Locking the differential and engaging the fourwheel-drive low gear, Eric drove down the river bank. About ten metres into the sand the left rear wheel of the Cruiser dropped into an old tyre track, and refused to come out again! The Cruiser was axle-deep in trouble and with it, the three pen pushers as well! Gerhard assumed the observing role and scanned the river and bush for lions, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, werewolves, vampires and any other nasty species. Eric started to look for rocks to push under the wheel and Anton knelt down to pray... uhhhh ... rather to dig the sand away from the buried wheel. After a few attempts and with the torch batteries running low, Anton hit water! When the hole around the wheel started to fill with underground water, Anton thought about his employment contract. He was quite certain that there was no clause in it regarding well-digging. It was at that moment he realised that he was out of his depth. Reason overcame pride. “Six Zero, Six Zero, Four Five” and five minutes later, thanks to the two-way radio, the warden arranged for the rangers to go and assist the stranded bean counters. It was quite dark by then. Suppressing giggles and jokes, Lamson and his team unceremoniously towed the white Cruiser out. An hour later the auditor and his two admin clients were safely back at HQ, having counted with trembling fingers the Incheni gate money along the way. It is uncertain, at this stage, whether Gerhard will do the cash verification at the end of the next financial year...

A day in the life of a researcher Sieglinde Rode


ften I get asked what it is I do for a living and my response is, “I’m a researcher”. Most people probably know what this means, but what does a working day in the life of a field researcher actually look like? Well, for one, one day is never exactly the same as the next, but this is common for anyone working with animals. However repetitive the methodology that one uses is, the animals always manage to bring some excitement or surprise to your day. More recently I was assisting a student with vegetation surveys. We had only a few encounters with the ‘big’ animals, but a lasting memory for me will be an encounter with a forktailed drongo. We were at a sampling point, and this small bird flew up to us and perched on a branch just above my head. We could move around and it would just stay there waiting for us to chase up the insects, and then it flew in between us catching whatever it could. I’ve read about this behaviour of drongos, and seen them follow monkeys and antelope around to catch insects, but I never thought that it would do that with humans. So we admired the little bird, finished up our sampling point, and made our way to the next point which was about 500m away, and sure enough the little drongo followed us and spent another 20 minutes with us catching whatever insects it could get. It’s often when one pays attention to the small things that they can almost be the most rewarding.

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The man in green Colin Rowles


hino continue to be brutally slaughtered for their horns, dying either a slow and agonizing death by strangulation in a cable snare or in a burst of automatic fire from an AK 47 or perhaps if they are lucky enough, by a well placed bullet to the brain from a heavy calibre rifle. We tend to focus on the savagery of the event as images of rhino with their horns hacked off, surrounded by pools of blood, appear more and more frequently in the media. We forget the men on the front line, honoured to be the protectors of these magnificent creatures. They are men who face danger in the execution of their duties, who return from their daily patrols with scuffed boots and sweatstained shirts; men who have been paramilitary trained in combat drills, who spend days on the shooting range in the scorching sun, perfecting their musketry skills, and long freezing nights lying in ambush for poachers. Times have changed. The traditional game guard of yesteryear, armed with handcuffs and a knobkerrie has gone. His replacement is a tough, passionate

and totally dedicated man dressed in a green uniform, wearing combat webbing and carrying an automatic assault rifle. He is a man who has learnt his survival skills, not from the pages of a book, but from physical experience gained from years of sharing the game paths with the creatures that inhabit his world. The man in green is selected, handpicked for his discipline, dedication and physical endurance. He is a man without a watch. He is not aware of weekends and public holidays. He is the first to respond to the burst of automatic gun fire in the dead of night, and who challenges the well armed and ruthless poacher. He is fired upon, and allows his training to command his action − in defence of his life, squeezes the trigger to take a life. He is the man who stands alone in the court house dock, and faces the ruthless onslaught of the public prosecutor. He is the one we entrust with the protection of our precious natural heritage. He is the man in green. The next time you encounter a man in green, who stares through you and into the wilderness beyond; spare a moment

for what he is up against, and what his life is all about. Commend him for what he does to ensure the protection of the creatures of our earth.

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Rhino calf stomps fun into facts Lynette Strauss


benezer Shabangu was scared, but she was not letting go of the branch. She could see the black rhino’s lip curl around the twigs and edge closer and closer to her fingers. “It’s only a calf,” but her friends’ faces around her echoed her apprehension. In the past few weeks they learned so much about rhino and yet, meeting one face to face asked her to dig deep for the courage to reach out and touch the thick skin, plastered with patches of grey dried mud. At the other end of the half circle of broken branches held at arm’s length, Desire Mathebula could not wait for the 19-month old calf to eat her way round. She wanted to see the horns – even if they were still small. Ebenezer and Desire are two of 190 Grade 6 and 7 pupils from Matikinya Primary School in Hluvukani near Acornhoek that visited the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre as part of a rhino awareness campaign run by the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve’s Children’s Eco-Training (CET). Great North Transport sponsored the buses. For the past few weeks, Ebenezer, Desire and their classmates, as well as the Grade 6s and 7s at Seganyane Primary School in Green Valley, Acornhoek mastered the difference between Africa’s black and white rhino, its natural and cultural significance and touched on the present poaching attack on the country’s rhino population. However, seeing is believing, and the black rhino at Moholoholo seemed to have stomped the ‘did you knows’ into ‘will never forgets’. The rhino awareness campaign, with the theme “Love Rhino, Love Life” culminated in a rhino festival at the two schools on Rhino Awareness Day and Heritage Day. Photos: Karen Randall

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Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 18 | 9



he dry season proved difficult as always with getting visual sightings of the chicks from the previous breeding season. Thus far we only know of eight chicks that are still alive, and are hoping to get more sightings as we approach the new breeding season. The advanced satellite tracking data has also taken a major blow this dry season. In the second week of August I received the satellite data, and it showed that the Yankee dam transmitter had been stationary for a few days. This is always bad news as it either means that the bird is dead or that the transmitter has fallen off. The first problem was that it was one of the old transmitters, and didn’t come armed with what we call a ‘dead-man’s’ radio signal. The new transmitters all have this capability where the VHF signal switches on if the transmitter has been stationary for a certain period. The second problem was that the solar panel on the transmitter wasn’t charging anymore and therefore the battery of the transmitter was flat. Then thirdly, the accuracy of transmitters always varies as it depends on signal strength and this can mean the data could be accurate to two metres or out by as much as 100m, which makes relocating it very difficult. So I set off with the help of Zani to go and track down the transmitter. We set off rather naively, thinking it would be a quick exercise, taking no water or anything with us. We got to the spot where the last data point was and started our search. We went back and forth looking in the grass, under bushes and

in the trees, but to no avail. After a few hours we decided to give up the search and come back later with a bigger team to help. So two days later I had a new team; Anton, Zenta and I. But this time we went prepared. Sunscreen, hats, water, snacks and mentally preparing everyone for a long day out in the bush looking for a transmitter, we set off. We decided we needed a strategy. We were going to take a radius of 100m from the point, divide it into quarters and then start looking in each quarter. And would you believe it, this time we found it within the first 10 minutes. I was absolutely stunned that it was no further than 20m from the point, and we had spent so much time previously there, and had not seen it. Unfortunately this was not the last incident with the satellite transmitters. A few days later I once again saw that another transmitter was stationary. This

time it was from the Keer Keer group. So the process started again and I set off to go and relocate this transmitter. It was, however, one of the new transmitters. I was very sad to see that this time the bird was in fact dead. Unfortunately the carcass was already quite decomposed and there was no way of determining the cause of death. I could see that something had eaten the leg of the bird, but I’m unsure if it was predated or scavenged on. We are therefore unfortunately left with only three transmitters and will be attempting to deploy more within the next few weeks. The project will also undergo staff changes. I will be leaving in mid September and will be handing over to Kate Meares, who has previously worked at the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project. I would like to thank each and everyone for the support to me and the project over the years.

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Seen off by lioness with cubs Ivan Gillat


Above and below: Matikiti Middle: The dipping tank on Kent Far right: The van mentioned in the article

am taking you back to our trip to Northampton in July 1947. The trip up from Renishaw had been uneventful. We overnighted in Ermelo. The next day we reached the Klaserie and visited Pump Willis. We then proceeded to Northampton, arriving at about 4pm. In those days, lion hunting was one of the activities on a trip to the bush as lions were regarded as ‘problem animals’ by the authorities. No permit was required to hunt them. During the night we heard lions roaring and hyenas and jackal calling, so we knew we were really in the bush. One of the loops went down to the old disused cattle dip, a relic from the days when Kent was a cattle farm. A Shangaan known as Matikiti, used to come down when we were in camp and join us as a casual tracker. He had worked as a herd boy on Kent in his youth and knew the farm well. He was fearless when it came to lions. Dad (Freddie Gillatt) shot a zebra which we set up in the vicinity of the dipping tank to visit early in the morning, and then track whatever had visited it during the night. One morning we found that the lions had been there during the night. The spoor showed that a lioness with three sub-adult cubs had been part of the pride. The last thing we wanted to do was to shoot a lioness with cubs. There were three of us; Dad, Lionel Daddy (a family friend) and I, accompanied by Matikiti and a

couple of other trackers. The excitement of the moment got the better of us, and we set off to track the lions. We were very mindful of the mother lioness and her cubs. We followed the spoor through the reeds across the river and into some tall thatch type grass on the other side, ideal lion cover. We were all on high alert. I was in the lead. We were going down in single file following a path leading across the thicketlined creek. Suddenly there was a deep growl from the thicket, not twenty paces away. It clearly said, “Don’t you dare come any closer!” We froze in our tracks and backed off. Meanwhile Matikiti was beside himself with excitement and became incoherent. We had no Shangaan and his broken Zulu became an unintelligible jabber! He had seen a male lion crossing an open glade to our right. We picked up the lion spoor − no cubs. We continued to follow the spoor to the east onto Elgin (now part of Charloscar) to a wild koppie (above where Bateleur’s Nest camp now stands). Lion spoor from the koppie went in all directions − we had spooked them. On top of the koppie there were ‘isikundlas’ where the lions had been lying up for the day. We headed for the river, backtracking the spoor of the lioness and her cubs. We were more relaxed and came to where she had growled at us − a lovely morning sunning spot. Our excitement over for the day, we went to camp for a late breakfast.

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You are brilliant, and the Earth is hiring!

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you

aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. – Paul Hawken



t the beginning of this year I started a postgraduate degree in Sustainable Development at the University of Stellenbosch. It has taken me on the most fascinating journey. Not only have I been learning about sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, corporate social investment, and the political economy, but I also learned a lot about myself and the steps that I as an individual am willing to take to bring about the change we need in the world and in South Africa. There are millions of people on the planet who are already trying to bring about the necessary change, and if you know the book “Blessed Unrest” by renowned environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, then you will know about this nameless movement, which addresses social and environmental crimes and injustices, gaining momentum throughout the world, The movement is made up of

organizations that are working toward ecological sustainability and social justice, of which Paul Hawken estimates there to be over one million small and large organizations all over the world. One of these organizations is in the heart of the South African bushveld and is called Children’s Eco Training. As part of the introductory course to my degree I had to do an assignment consisting of a literature review, and a case study. I chose to do my case study on Children’s Eco Training because the argument I made, and would still wholeheartedly defend, is that education is one of the most powerful tools to shape behaviour and bring about the change we want to see in the world. If we educate children at a young age to care not only for each other, but for the environment as well, we are preparing them to face the challenges that are awaiting them, and empowering them to find innovative solutions to these challenges. That is why I see huge

potential and power in what Children’s Eco Training has set out to accomplish. It is not an easy road, I am sure, but as Paul Hawken says, the most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. So the message I would like to bring is that we need to accept that South Africa is facing a social and environmental crisis, just like the rest of the world. But instead of brooding over it or trying to ignore it, let’s find ways to make amends, to change those behaviour patterns that have a negative impact on the Earth and on other people, and to prepare future generations for the obstacles they face just like Children’s Eco Training is doing. And if the children ask “why?” then tell them: Because you are brilliant and the Earth is hiring. Nature beckons you to be on her side and you couldn’t ask for a better boss! Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. THIS IS YOUR CENTURY! Take it and run as if your life depends on it!

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he habitat reclamation project had its origins at the strategic planning session held in October 2010, and has progressed to the implementation phase. Various environmental management issues will be addressed by the project. The table below lists the various management issues for attention under the heading “Work Step�. The yellow shaded section depicts the planning phase of the project, which has been completed. The green area highlights the operational phase and our current position in time. As soil is the foundation on which all terrestrial life depends, it would receive priority attention. Members were requested to advise the warden of any erosion sites that they were aware of and concerned about. The information was mapped together with the existing erosion data. A field assessment was conducted of each of the sites. Those which displayed signs of aggressive, active erosion due to man’s interventions were listed as priority for reclamation or stabilization. Not all sites were considered, as soil

erosion is a natural process that has provided the earth with its valleys, rivers and mountains over the millennia. The natural process of erosion also contributes to the diversity of a conservation area. Sheet eroded areas provide suitable sites for ground nesting birds such as thick knees, lap wings and coursers who utilize areas devoid of cover. Donga walls provide breeding habitats for some of the Kingfishers and Bee-eaters. In order for the operational phase to be implemented additional, short-term contract workers supervised by Mr Mandla Mathonsi were employed for the duration of the project. The first phase, reclamation of four large donga systems in the south east of the reserve, will be completed by the end of winter, before the first rains in October. We shall experiment with various reclamation techniques. Deep dongas will be remedied through the construction of Nic-point shoots placed at the donga heads. These block and mortar structures will control the water entry point preventing head ward erosion and the elongation and widening of the donga system. Soil retention walls with lowered centres will be constructed across the donga bed; these will allow

for the pooling of water in the system, allowing for the deposition of silt, nutrient and grass seeds, which will facilitate the stabilization and reclamation of the donga or gully. We are also looking at experimenting with bales of veldt grass to construct similar structures as described above. The advantage of bales is that they are expected to biodegrade in time to further nutrient enrich the soil that is reclaimed. As progress is made, I shall keep readers advised of this and of the results of the experimental work.

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MTA volunteers visit Seganyane School Lyndsay Finney and Winky Mokgope


eaningful Travel Abroad (MTA) is a tour company catering for young international people wishing to travel abroad to do community work in underdeveloped regions of the world. MTA contacted Children’s Eco Training (CET) to ask if they could assist with community work in the area. MTA’s only criteria being, they must be able to walk away saying they had left “something meaningful behind”. CET is a keen advocate of sustainability and is constantly looking for ways to develop this concept at the schools and in the surrounding community. CET invited the MTA Volunteer group to join them in their Keyhole Vegetable Garden Project which was to be introduced to Seganyane Primary School. The two teams joined together from 15 – 17 July 2011 for the three-day building project. The MTA volunteers were welcomed

by the learners with song and dance. CET staff members, Lyndsay Finney, Winky Mokgope and Rhulani Mathonsi also welcomed the group, gave a brief introduction and explanation as to how the keyhole gardens worked. The learners and visitors were then divided into their working groups. The individual groups were given various tasks to complete to ensure the quick and organised building of the Keyhole gardens. Some painted the bricks which bordered the gardens, others built and filled the central “composting basket” while another group marked out the ‘keyhole’ shape of the gardens. The Grade 6 and 7 learners, Julius Letsoalo, volunteer teacher and community volunteer, Teira Mohlolo worked very hard to ensure the success of the project. After a very busy morning the groups took a well-deserved lunch break which

was followed by a fun-filled game of soccer. On the Saturday the groups spent the morning carefully planting their vegetable seedlings which had been kindly donated by Parma Nursery. When all the planting was complete, the four gardens looked beautiful and reflected the hard work that each and every person had put into them. The international volunteers and the owner of MTA were all very pleased with the outcome. They thanked Lyndsay, Winky and Rhulani for their hard work and for putting together such a well organised project. As the Senganyane children were fascinated by the different accents of the travellers, the MTA students each agreed to give a quick overview of their lives – where they came from, what sports they played, what food they ate and an account of a typical day in their lives. The Seganyane learners really enjoyed their time with the MTA group.

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WHERE’S THE RHINO? Jess Mayes (15-years) There they were Tall and proud With weapons of death they shot so loud A single blow A moments thought Left the poachers one And rhinos naught A gruesome tale A fallen beast A wiped out species To say the least No look of guilt Upon their face Just shouts of joy And a warm embrace “Have u no shame?” I would have said Your money hunt Has left them dead Your stricken face Would bring me joy To see that gun Is not a toy You need to know What you’ve done Brought down your country With your fun Childish games Is what you know What will you do When the curtains close No backup plan No fairytale Just iron bars And good old jail No family To run home to They’ve gone away Because of you… This life you have Could’ve been One of love And tranquility But “ no cigar” As they say You have chose To live this way… “ Where’s the rhino?” My kids will say “ Honey… they’re dead And gone away…



roudly South African was the theme of the workshop during the July holidays. After the Soccer World Cup it was time to prepare Klaserie Eco Kidz for the unique challenges of our multicultural country. One is never too young to learn about respect, empathy for and knowledge of the other cultures of this rainbow nation. The anthem was explained so that they understood what they were singing. Afterwards they sang it from the heart. The joyful sounds reverberated through the bush, strengthening a fierce pride of being South African in each one. The children had to build a traditional village with all the tribal elements being made of clay e.g. huts, pots, people in traditional clothes, chickens, cattle, dogs, chairs and a kraal with animals. Careful planning went into it before the actual village could be built. It needed team work, and different tasks were allocated so that each one was responsible for making something. The clay had to be fetched from the river and manipulated before it could be used – not an easy task, but great fun. Karen Randall of BushyTales wrote a story about how all the animals together made a “rainbow”. Afterwards they completed a workbook about the cultural dress of the 11 language groups, provinces and national symbols of SA. They also had to locate SA on a world map and Limpopo/ Mpumalanga on a South African map. The highlight of the day was the cultural dances they had to perform with Letsatsi Ramonyai. True to the multicultural message of the day, there were gumboot dances, the pantsula, etc.

They kicked up quite a dust storm! There were many interesting and interested visitors that day that helped and donated various things, contributing much to the success of the day. Sarie Mommsen, Community development officer, brought the children (11-16 age group) of Gorutha holiday care centre to join the workshop. She was also accompanied by volunteers, Aria Simmons from Australia, Nick Verano at Seeds of Light, Katie Moyes of Peace Corps, Fransina Masete of Gorutha Centre and driver Phineas Sekgodi . Annie Osbourne brought with her colourful cultural and animal print fabric, clay, powder paint and leather scraps. Lisl Bennet joined in all the activities and especially enjoyed the cultural dancing. Noeleen Mullett of Eco-act Environment Awareness Programme, Johannesburg was also a special guest that day. Workshop facilitator and logistics manager: Caron McDonald and Zani Kunz Trainers: Reuben Motloutsi, Catherine Letsoalo, Thabo Mhangane, Elvis Mathebula Students: Robert Wiggill, a Gr 12 student doing his community service for Uplands. Trico Chiloane and Keith Ndlovu are both ex-students of the Klaserie Eco Kidz programme.

Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 18 | 15

Successful rhino microchip insertions Zena Baxter Fleischer


n 3 September 2011 BAOBAB RIDGE had the pleasure of hosting a conservation event in the KPNR. The guests were accommodated at BAOBAB RIDGE, which lies within the Klaserie, and the event was arranged by WILDCON SAFARIS and EVENTS, Colin Rowles of the KPNR and Dr Peter Rogers of Provet Wildlife Services. Three additional white rhino females’ horns and humps have successful microchip insertions to deter poaching, and ear notches had been made for visual identification purposes. Within a few minutes the three rhino were all safely up and about again. Now over 80 rhino have had microchips inserted. This will enable the KPNR to determine when a rhino horn is confiscated, whether it came from the KPNR and from which animal. WILDCON arranges unique group

events to assist in wildlife research and conservation by facilitating these unique group events. This gives clients an exclusive bush experience, while also facilitating their involvement, financially and physically, in a necessary wildlife research and conservation exercise. Companies and groups have the opportunity to understand and see exactly where their money is going, and what good it is doing, while offering them the humbling opportunity to physically partake in the work required. They do not interfere with wildlife in any way other than for ethical and justifiable research and conservation purposes. Emphasis is placed on both animal and guest safety, and all of the events are conducted with professional wildlife veterinarians and specialised helicopter pilots. They carefully encourage and supervise the clients’ involvement. The

event was unique and rewarding for all parties involved. With all such events, environmental education of group members about wildlife conservation and its needs for research are explained. All groups are briefed prior to each event, and specific tasks are assigned to individuals within the group for the duration of the event. While conducting these tasks, the group and the individuals concerned are always under the watchful supervision of qualified veterinarians and guides for safety reasons. BAOBAB RIDGE looks forward to continue working with WILDCON to enable the rest of the KPNR rhino population to be micro-chipped, and hopefully to work on other conservation projects within the reserve. A huge thank you to all parties involved, not only was this an incredible experience, it was handled with great professionalism.

16 | Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 18

BOOK REVIEW Title: Ecological Intelligence Author: Ian McCallum Publisher: Africa Geographic Publication Date: 2006 ISBN: 0-620-33650-1 Pages: 243 Anton Nel


here exists a human/ nature split as a result of humans having turned a blind eye to the fact that we are a part of Nature’s great diversity and having placed ourselves at the apex of creation. Ian McCallum uses the image and legend of the Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo Thorn or Blinkblaar Wag-’n-Bietjie) tree’s two thorns to explain the importance of looking ahead to the future while remembering our past, as a possible healing and reconciliation process. The first section of the book deals with our past, as far back as 4.5 million years ago when our planet came into existence. McCallum uses science and psychology to describe our link with nature. It also deals with our dark side and shortcomings. The second section deals with the future. McCallum warns against man’s inherent fear of change, but sees the environmental pressures of our time as a possible trigger to force humankind to relook at its place in, and interaction with nature. Despite its philosophical perspective, the book is easy to read and thought-provoking.

June school holiday activities at Matikinya and Seganyane schools Winky Mokgope and Rhulani Mathonsi


uring the June school holidays, Winky Mokgope and Rhulani Mathonsi, the two project assistants working for Children’s Eco Training (CET), visited both Matikinya and Seganyane schools twice each week. They organised fun holiday activities and supplied a hearty lunch for the children each day. The Grade 6 and 7 learners are encouraged to come to school during the holidays to tend to the gardens they planted during the term. A daily attendance register was taken and Winky and Rhulani found they had over 200 learners to keep occupied and organized. Both ladies were very grateful for the help they received from educator, Julias Letsoalo, community member Teira Mohlolo and general workers, Golden Chiloane and Nakie Maatjie, who agreed to come and assist during the holiday programme. The four CET bursary children, currently at Southern Cross Schools, Dikgetho

Mametja, Mashudu Mutshaeni, Zandi Mathebula and Samkelo Mahlalela also attended the holiday programme in order to do their required community service hours. The bursary children were a great help and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the other children. The main activity was to keep the vegetable gardens watered, weeded and productive during the holiday break. The group also prepared new compost heaps for the coming season, while watering and tending the heaps currently in use. New flowerbeds were marked out and planted within the schoolyard. While also seeing to the general upkeep and cleanliness of the school, Winky and Rhulani managed to fit in a few fun games as well. The children definitely seemed to enjoy the holiday activities and they all worked hard and had fun together. The time spent with the learners was very productive. The register showed that there was a marked increase in the numbers of children who attended this holiday period compared to previous holidays.

Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 18| 17

Wired and Wireless Hyenas Anton Nel


t was late afternoon when the warden asked the accountant if he wanted to go with him that evening to try and trap a hyena with a snare around its neck. That sounded much more interesting than balancing the petty cash, so it was an easy decision. At 17:00 everyone boarded the warden’s Land Cruiser. The accountant was on the back with a field ranger. About one kilometre outside the HQ gate the warden suddenly stopped, grabbed his rifle and shot an Impala ram that was grazing close to the road. The accountant was still open-mouthed trying to determine what had happened when the ranger jumped off the Cruiser with a huge knife in his hand and ran towards the impala. Fearlessly the accountant followed suit (but without a knife and no clue what to do, but it looked like the right thing to do!). The ranger sliced through the impala’s throat (the animal was technically dead already) just to make sure there was no doubt about it. Still in a bit of a daze, the accountant grabbed two of the impala’s legs and the ranger the other two legs and they loaded it onto the Cruiser. Off they went again – the ranger and accountant boot-sole deep in impala’s blood! About 45 minutes later they arrived at the farm where the hyena had been seen the previous week. Pieter, the person who reported seeing the snared hyena, was there with his wife – they live close by. The other Land Cruiser and the rest

of the field rangers were also there with a steel cage. The cage was offloaded and positioned near the road. The Impala was cut open and the stomach removed. Half of the carcass was positioned inside the cage, attached to a piece of string that would make the trapdoor snap shut if the carcass was pulled. The other Cruiser then towed the stomach for a few hundred metres on the access road as bait. The accountant did not offer a hand with that specific activity! The warden then set up a tape recorder and speaker system playing some mean sounds of a buffalo in distress (technically being eaten alive by a pride of lions) and the calls, yelps

and laughs of hyenas joining the feast. That was to attract the hyena(s). The accountant could not help but think that there had to be something seriously wrong with you if you were attracted to such noises! Thus it happened – 20 minutes later a pride of seven lions rocked up, hot, aggressive and ready to participate in the buffalo kill. Close on their heels, six or seven hyenas arrived as well. By then everyone was sitting in or on top of the vehicles. Of course there was no buffalo so the animals started to look around for other things to nibble on – like soft meaty accountants! The lions also chased the hyenas around a bit. The warden decided that he did not want to capture a lion, so he and the accountant drove to the cage, and with some effort the fearless accountant managed to close the trap door from the back of the vehicle before anything could enter the cage. Unfortunately none of the hyenas was the snared guy, so from that perspective the evening was unsuccessful. The warden then decided to abandon the effort as there were too many “wrong” animals that could be trapped in the process. Once again the brave accountant played a critical role by throwing the other half of the impala carcass from the Cruiser onto the ground, in the process also painting the top of his boots with fresh impala blood! The lions soon found the “uncaged” half and quickly snacked on it. Eventually everyone lost interest and left. The snared hyena was unfortunately not seen again.

Highlights of a great SAFARI

18 | Klaserie Chronicle Kroniek no. 17

Pieter Dreyer


uring July we hosted guests originally from Singapore, at Nzumba Lodge. It was their daughter’s first ever visit to the African bush and she had no idea what to expect! On our way to the lodge we had sightings of kudu, giraffe and zebra which contributed to the build up of excitement and expectations. After lunch on our first game drive we managed to find elephants, buffalo, plenty of game and a sighting of a male leopard. The following morning we tracked fresh rhino spoor leading to and from the Balule waterhole. Suddenly we heard two male lions roaring quite close by! We jumped onto the Landy and drove towards them. They were on the move, but we managed to locate one of them before he bolted down the valley towards the Olifants River. Seemingly from nowhere, four other male lions came roaring and charging after the first one we had seen. That was when I realized that the two males we heard were actually nomads, invading the

territory of the four males hot on their heels. Following the unfamiliar road network of the Balule, we caught up with the four male lions lying in the shade of a Weeping Wattle catching their breaths. After a while we headed for Struwig Camp and came across the other two male lions resting in the shade. During the afternoon drive we saw a rhino and two elephant bulls; both sightings were close to the road and provided great opportunity for taking photos. The last day we saw a beautiful female leopard in the riverbed of the Klaserie River. Then it posed long enough to be captured on camera. After our coffee break, we saw more elephants and buffalo. On our way back to the lodge around 11h00, my tracker, Wiseman, spotted a young pangolin next to the road going about its business without even noticing our presence. It was my first sighting of one! We took photos before it fell asleep under a couple of raisin bushes. It was a fitting end to an amazing day.

Pack of wild dogs in the north Lee-Anne Detert


or the past month we have had frequent and awesome sightings of the pack of 13 wild dogs that move throughout the reserve. The pack comprises of adults and pups (close to full-grown). We have mostly seen them in

the Nzumba/Dundee/Thompsons area, but in the past two weeks, they have been frequenting the area of Kitara. On Monday night Don and our guests saw the pack of wild dogs in the Wild Dog dam area, whilst viewing a large herd of buffalo. Feeling very bold, four of the dogs chased the large herd of buffalo causing a huge dust cloud and lots of noise, only to realize they were out of their league. The pack then moved down to Wild Dog Dam for a drink and ran off. Right after that two hyenas came down to drink, smelt the dogs and ran after them. The following morning on a drive, Don and our guests heard the dogs kill and saw them feeding on a small antelope. A couple of hours later, I was alerted

by our camp attendant that the dogs had killed an impala “close to camp”. In great excitement I found out it was literally right in front of Kitara by the retainer wall. Initially it was only two dogs that looked quite nervous with us peering at them, and soon ran off. Don was sure they were running off to get the rest of the pack. Correctly predicted, about 15 minutes later, they returned with the rest of the pack. From the deck of one of our rooms, Steve Beal, his guests and I enjoyed viewing the feeding frenzy that took all of five minutes. What an incredible sighting and experience! It is great to see the pack frequenting our area on a regular basis.

For account and delivery queries, please call us on (015) 793 0482 or e-mail us on

Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 17 | 19


Elephant workshop


he initial training for the CET workshop on elephants took place at Save the Elephants South Africa base at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati. Facilitator Caron McDonald and trainers Reuben Motloutsi, Catherine Letsoalo, Thabo Mhangane, Elvis Mathebula and Jimmy Mathebula received firsthand knowledge from the experts at Tanda Tula project manager and researcher, Michelle Henley and field worker Prince Nkuna. They informed the group how they monitored the elephants and used the data. Nkuna then shared his experiences. The role that technology plays in conservation added a new dimension to the education of the trainers. At the actual workshop the children watched elephant video clips which they found very interesting. They made

masks that were used in group plays on African tales about elephants, completed a workbook on elephants (e.g. habitat, habits, difference between African and Asian elephant, etc.). The children were then taken on a game drive to show the natural habitat of the elephant, find spoor and signs of elephant activity. Unfortunately no elephants were actually seen. During the workshop there was an elephant hunt scheduled as part of the sustainable resource utilization programme of the KPNR. This is a very necessary income generating activity, the proceeds of which are used to further conserve the environment. The children had the opportunity to view some of the trophies being prepared at the KPNR abattoir. The ear was skinned and the children could see the vein network which enabled them to understand the concept of how the ears keep the elephants cool. Students Ben Collinson, Robyn McDonald and Kyle McDonald attended the workshop as part of their community work. SPAR donated Easter eggs to hand out to the children, a wonderful reminder of the spirit of Easter. Logistics manager: Zani Kunz.

Zenta Nel snapped this slippery visitor sneaking a snack in her backyard.

Zena Baxter Fleischer On a game drive at Baobab Ridge, we came across an unusual and interesting sighting. A snouted cobra was about to eat a rock monitor on the side of the road! Owing to our vehicle being there it changed its mind and decided to pull the monitor lizard into the bush and out of sight. It must have killed the monitor just before we arrived! Because of the size of the snake, we did not try to follow it into the bush to get pictures of the monitor being eaten, but we still got some great pictures! Photographs: Zena Baxter Fleischer


20 | Klaserie Chronicle/Kroniek no. 18

SANTA SHOEBOX PROJECT We nee d your help!


his year Children’s Eco Training and the Gorutha centre partnered with the Santa Shoebox Project. We would like to give a Santa Shoebox to 680 children each in the Hoedspruit/ Acornhoek area. • Contact me, Zani Kunz (e-mail or call) if you want to get involved • I shall do the registration for you. • Forward the following information: name, e-mail address/telephone number, choose boy/girl, choose age. • Tell people about us – spread the news! • Collect shoe boxes, wrapping paper and items on the list – we might have to wrap the boxes. Very important to have all the required items in your box. ENSURE YOUR BOX CONTAINS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS: 1. Tooth paste AND a tooth brush 2. Soap AND a wash cloth 3. Educational supplies 4. An outfit of clothing 5. A toy (young boys love cars!) 6. Some sweets (chocolates do melt) 7. Anything extra if you wish

Please use a medium sized shoe box, wrap the box and lid separately, decorate the box, secure the lid with a strong elastic band, stick the label you have been emailed on the top right hand corner of the lid. We would like to invite you to be part of the handing over ceremony at the various facilities in our region. Zani will be in contact with you for the Klaserie Kidz, and Sarie/Fia for the Gorutha Centre. BACKGROUND • The number of boxes done from 2006 till 2010 was a total of 58 000. • This year we will be delivering 70 000 boxes. • We are represented in every province in South Africa. • R10m will be spent on making up Santa Shoeboxes • If you stack the boxes on top of each other they stand way higher than Mt Everest! • Is that amazing or what? • The best part is - YOU are contributing to this achievement. THANK YOU!

Kit-a-Kid 2011 •

• • •

Donate R250.00 to clothe one child in a complete school uniform. Uniform consists of: shirt, shorts/skirt/dress, socks, shoes and a jersey. There are 300 learners in the 5-16 age group without a uniform. The children work hard at school and at CET trainings to earn a uniform. Please tell friends and family to support this initiative. You will receive a photo of the child/children you supported. A uniform gives confidence and fosters pride.

contact Zani @ 082 713 8778 or

banking details Children’s Eco Training STANDARD BANK Acc No.: 013253611 Hatfield Branch: 011545IBAN: 011545 SWIFT CODE: SBZAZAJJ

r! Next month’s covepala

im owcase this year ’s We would like to sh help. ur yo ed cover and ne lambs on the next s best . rk wo ait rtr ur pics! Po Please send us yo



• • •

3 – 6 October Holiday Workshop, Children 3 – 4 December Winners’ Excursion

12 October 26 October 09 November

• • •

23 November 14 December 28 December

6 – 7 December Holiday Workshop, Trainers 12 – 15 December Holiday Workshop, Children

Klaserie Chronicle No 18  

Klaserie Chronicle No 18

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