Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blue Flag status - Blue Flag status

Go to Documents contents   MEDIA RELEASE - 21 South African Beaches Awarded Blue Flag Status

04 May 2007

Media Statement

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

TUESDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2007: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) has today (Tuesday, 30 October 2007) awarded Blue Flag status to 21 beaches at the annual Blue Flag ceremony held at  Wells Estate, north of Port Elizabeth.

A Blue Flag is an international annual award given to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards.

The South African beaches that received Blue Flag status are:

  • Bronze beach, Umhlanga
  • Umhlanga Rocks Main beach
  • North beach, Durban
  • Bay of Plenty, Durban
  • Westbrook beach, north of Durban
  • Addington beach, Durban
  • Margate beach
  • Ramsgate main beach
  • Marina beach, Southbroom
  • Kelly's beach, Port Alfred
  • Wells Estate, Port Elizabeth
  • Humewood beach, Port Elizabeth
  • King's beach, Port Elizabeth
  • Dolphin beach, Jeffrey's Bay
  • Lappiesbaai beach, Stilbaai
  • Grotto beach, Hermanus
  • Kleinmond beach, near Hermanus
  • Hawston beach, near Hermanus
  • Bikini beach, Gordon's Bay
  • Mnandi Beach, Strandfontein Cape Town
  • Clifton 4th beach, Cape Town

Positive news for the Blue Flag programme is that there are currently 21 pilot beaches embarking on plans to achieve full status accreditation in 2008-9.  The growth in the number of Blue Flag beaches augurs well for the future and especially for visitors coming to South Africa for the Soccer World Cup in 2010.  Blue Flag beaches along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, with their warm Indian Ocean waters and 365 day a year swimming conditions, will be ideal places for soccer fans to chill out and relax.

Despite significant damages to many of the Blue Flag beaches as a result of the high seas and stormy conditions over the past few months, South African beaches continue to achieve world-class standards and an ever-increasing number of beaches are now flying the international eco-label, the Blue Flag.  Those Blue Flag beaches that were damaged are all gearing up for the new season of Blue Flag.

Blue Flag is an international annual award given to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management.   The Blue Flag programme is currently run in almost 40 countries globally and interest in the programme continues to grow.  There are now almost 3,500 Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world.  In South Africa, the programme is run by WESSA on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT).  In partnership with participating local authorities, Blue Flag helps to contribute to the aims of the White Paper on Sustainable Coastal Development.

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Hippo on the move

October 29, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

Hippo on the move

Dangerous moves
Huberta, our visiting hippo, spotted in the Mzingazi Canal at Richards Bay while locals continue fishing nearby, unaware of the great danger*

THE adult hippo that spent some time at Alkantstrand beach earlier this month has slowly made its way past Pelican Island and up the Mzingazi Canal.
On Tuesday it was seen by many excited locals near the weir leading to Lake Mzingazi at the old croc farm.
The public is urged to keep at a safe distance and to be on the lookout at night when it might cross the John Ross Highway to get to the lake.
Leonie Berning, her daughter Felicia and boyfriend Cornel were among those who spotted the visiting hippo frolicking in the canal. She seemed a bit agitated and protested at the folks doing some net-fishing not far from where she was lying in the water.
Berning was a bit surprised as the fishermen did not seem to take heed of the hippo's warnings and continued fishing for a while.
Eventually, and luckily for our visitor, the fishermen moved away.

 

 

Zululand Shore Angling Association

October 29, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 
   

 

Zululand Shore Angling Association

Tim Dunk of Blackfin AC releasing his 70kg Dusky shark

Grey shark vs Transkei coast. Results of the Postal round fished 13/14 October

Barry Tedder

WE couldn't have asked for better weather and sea conditions during this competition weekend.
The competitiveness among the Zululand shore association clubs is still good and healthy and has commitment of high status among its members, some clubs running down as far south as Hole in the wall, Transkei coast, and some opting to run far north to the Kosi area.
Some outstanding catches where taken, and some personal bests.
Majority of the catches were Dusky greys up to 70 kilos, some Hammer heads, one or two Raggies and two excellent Cob of 38 and 40 kilos.
Both these Cob where not gaffed and were returned live to the water. Kwambo angling club must be complimented on their non-gaffing approach, taking into consideration the area 'Hole in the wall' they fished and the size fish they caught.
They hooked 18 fish, biggest 59.7 kilo Grey and smallest Hammer of 6.7 kilo giving an average 25 kilo per fish of which only three were gaffed. I have noticed a strange phenomena when clubs opt to fish the Transkei coastline, and always a gamble when making the decision to fish these waters.
What I'm referring to is, I have noticed with the catch returns from those clubs fishing in these areas that you find only one or two anglers doing exceptionally well and the rest of the team catching one fish if they are lucky.
A gamble none the less.
Top club for the competition was Tugela club totaling 515.4 pts for 66 fish. Top angler went to Rob Kyle of Kwambo club scoring 226 pts for 7 fish, biggest being a Dusky Grey shark of 59.7 kilos not gaffed.
Top lady angler went to Heather Tiltman of uMzingazi club on 109.2 pts also catching a magnificent Cob of 40.8 kilos - a possible SA Record, also being the heaviest edible for the competition. Top junior was Carl-Lyle Young of Mtunzini club on 108.4 pts, biggest fish being a Grey of 51.1 kilo also a possible SA record.
Top master angler went to Julian Pybus of Tugela club on 142 pts biggest fish being a Cob of 38.4 kilos. Heaviest Inedible was a Dusky grey of 70kg, taken by Tim Dunk of Blackfin club.

Notes
A reminder that the Zululand seniors will be having their sponsored golf day on the 1st December at the Umfolozi country club Mtubatuba. Your support will be appreciated.

Top 10 anglers for the round
1 R Kyle 226pts Kwambo
2 J Pybus 142.0 Tugela
3 C Singh 139.6 Blackfin
4 H Tiltman (Lady) 109.2 Umzingazi
5 CL Young (Jnr) 108.4 Mtunzini
6 F Sheik Hassan 102.5 Blackfin
7 P Swift 93.9 Mtunzini
8 P Sambiah 92.2 Kwambo
9 B Tedder 80.9 Tugela
10 T Dunk 70.9 Blackfin

Top 10 teams
1 Tugela A 515.4
2 Blackfin A 441.3
3 Kwambo A 419.6
4 Mtunzini A 328.4
5 Umzingazi A 283.1
6 Blackfin B 246.0
7 Umzingazi B 224.1
8 Tugela B 135.0
9 St Lucia A 103.2
10 Kwambo B 92.2

Top 15 anglers on Zululand ladder

1 D Hunter uac 284.38
2 C Hunter uac 267.75
3 M Reddy bac 262.95
4 A Naicker uac 252.87
5 F Sheik Hassan bac 47.23
6 M Vleck bac 223.11
7 B Tedder tac 215.31
8 C Singh bac 206.99
9 N Simmonds tac 198.87
10 R Kyle kac 196.36
11 S Mathura uac 187.47
12 J le Roux kac 184.58
13 E vd Walt (Rooies) mac 174.85
14 D Britz tac 172.48
15 J van Ede uac 159.20

 

 

 

 

 

Not one of our bokke

October 29, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 
 

Not one of our bokke

Keeping afloat after hours in the water*

The Good Samaritan who rescued the tired buck*

Tanya Waterworth

AN email circulating around Zululand, has had residents agog as to the mystery man who rescued a duiker off the Richards Bay coastline.
But EKZN Wildlife have solved the mystery and confirmed that the buck in the picture is not a South African species.
EKZNW Officer, Kevin Green said, 'This animal in the picture looks like the type of buck found in America.
'It is definitely not a duiker, nor any other type of antelope found in South Africa,' he said.

 

 

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Suspension of Wild Abalone Commercial Fishing

Go to Documents contents   Suspension of Wild Abalone Commercial Fishing

25 October 2007

Media Statement

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2007: "Yesterday's tough decision by Cabinet to support the suspension of wild abalone (also known as perlemoen) commercial fishing will ensure the survival of the species and will also ensure that our children and the generations that follow will know what perlemoen is."  These were the words of Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, welcoming the Cabinet decision in this regard.

"To suspend fishing in any fishery is a very difficult decision to take as we are aware that such a decision will have an impact on the livelihoods of many people and families in the industry.  We are unfortunately at a point where the commercial harvesting of wild abalone can no longer be justified because the stock has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinction.  The main causes of the decline in abalone stocks are poaching and the migration of West Coast Rock Lobster into the abalone areas.  Rock Lobsters consume Sea Urchins that provide shelter to juvenile abalone. This in turn subjects the juvenile abalone to increased mortality. Studies further show that unless decisive and immediate action is taken, the resource will collapse completely with little prospect of recovery.

For the past few years the recommendation from our departments managers and researchers has been that the fishery is in crisis and that closure could not be avoided. We are now at the point where the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) reached a record low of 125t for the 2006/7 season. The only responsible option left to me as Minister, is to take the unfortunate decision to suspend fishing in the abalone fishery in terms of Section 16 of the Marine Living Resources Act," the Minister said.

In the early years, catches of abalone were unregulated and landings escalated to a high of nearly 3000 tons in 1965, before declining rapidly to a point in 1970, when the first commercial quotas within a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) were introduced.  The stabilising effect of a TAC managed fishery was apparent, with catches remaining relatively constant at 600t - 700t per year between 1970 and 1995.

Over the past 10 years, due to declining resources, the TAC has had to be reduced annually from 615t in 1995 to a record low of 125t for the 2006/7 season. In 2004, when determining the total global TAC for abalone, the Minister said "I also want, however, today to give notice that if there is not a drastic decline in poaching I will have to apply my mind at the start of the next season as to whether it is perhaps time to consider a complete ban on all Perlemoen harvesting for a period of ten years to allow the resource to recover." In determining the TAC for the previous season the Minister furthermore announced the reduction of the TAC to zero in 3 of the 7 zones.

The Minister added that it is also important to reflect that worldwide, abalone fisheries have either closed or are threatened by commercial extinction, for example the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The North American fisheries have now been closed for more that ten years. It has been suggested that such fisheries are slow to recover because closure was delayed.

"There are currently 302 rights holders (262 individual divers and 40 legal entities in the form of close corporations) operating in the sector with about 800 jobs, including the individual divers. These are the people and families this decision will impact on the most. We have therefore consulted with the Department of Labour and jointly developed a Social Plan to mitigate impacts of suspending Wild Abalone Commercial Fishing. This plan includes our departments commitment to developing a sustainable aquaculture industry and the issuing of additional permits for whale watching and shark cage diving," the Minister concluded.

To ensure that the suspension of harvesting is observed, monitoring and control on the part of the Department will be up scaled. Abalone population dynamics will also be monitored through regular research surveys.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GO AMABHOKOBHOKO GO!

October 19, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

 

GO AMABHOKOBHOKO GO!

Zululand Observer staff, along with the entire nation, have contracted a severe dose of World Cup Rugby fever and are looking forward to Saturday's battle against the English for the William Webb Ellis trophy. May our united spirit lift the men in green and gold to emulate Francois Pienaar's 1995 heroes and play a vital part in nation building



 

Saturday, October 20, 2007

St Lucia mouth closes - Friday 24 August 2007

St Lucia mouth closes

October 15, 2007;

St Lucia Mouth
 
Ricky Taylor
  
The St Lucia mouth closed on Friday 24 August after having been open for 175 days. This closure was expected as much sediment had accumulated in the mouth during the several months prior to closure. The closure was hastened by the windy conditions experienced during the preceding few weeks. Although the mouth is closed there has been overtopping of seawater on each high tide. It is most unlikely that the mouth will breach naturally in the near future.
 
At closure, the catchments areas for St Lucia were in the grip of a most extended and severe drought. As a result almost no freshwater was entering the system via the rivers. The water level in the lake was close to that of the sea. The salt concentration in the water in St Lucia, which had been a little less than that of seawater at closure, had increased to above that of seawater by the start of October when good rains fell in the whole region. Once again the rivers started flowing and hopefully this is an indication that good summer rains will follow.
 
Since the mouth opened in March, recruitment of marine life occurred – mainly of fish, crabs and prawn larvae. EKZNW survey shows this to have been mainly in the Narrows, but not to a great extent in the rest of the estuarine system. The present closure has been too early for the main spring recruitments.
 
However, the St Lucia system, although stressed by the drought that is now in its seventh year, is remarkably resilient. The management strategy of having kept the mouth closed during most of this drought period has shown that the quantity of salt in the system has not become excessively large. The best indicators of the vitality of the ecosystem are the birds. EKZNW counts in May and August showed 17 000 and 15 000 birds respectively. These are both regarded as high counts.
 
At present the management strategy is to allow the St Lucia Mouth to stay closed. The EKZNW will monitor the situation. If this summer brings good rains and the rivers flow strongly; then the freshwater inputs will exceed evaporation losses. Under these conditions the water level will rise and salinity will drop. It is only once the water level has risen to above that of the sea and we are assured that the drought has finally broken, that we will consider breaching the mouth to re-establish the link between St Lucia and the sea.
 
In the past the Umfolozi River and St Lucia shared a common mouth. During droughts this mouth would close, diverting Umfolozi water into St Lucia. Computer models have been developed that show that this would have lessened the impacts of drought to a huge degree. This situation cannot be reinstated at present because canals excavated to support sugar farming in the Umfolozi swampland allow the sediments to pass through what was formerly a swamp filter. Any Umfolozi water entering St Lucia nowadays would carry an unacceptably high sediment load with it. 
 
 R H Taylor
Ecologist: EKZNW
13 October 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 19, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

Warning for N2 road users

Captain Jabulani Mdletshe with the spikes that are being put across the road to lure vulnerable victims

Ronelle Ramsamy

MOTORISTS using the N2 between Mtubatuba and Hluhluwe have been urged to avoid changing a flat tyre on the road, as they could become an easy target for hijackers.
As we approach the festive season, police say many motorists become victims of robbery and hijacking on the highway.
According to the KwaMsane cluster stations ie KwaMsane, KwaMbonambi, Mtubatuba and Hluhluwe SAPS, a number of cases have been reported, whereby hijackers place spikes on the road to lure vulnerable victims fixing a puncture.
The object reportedly has sharp pieces of iron and metal protruding.
When the vehicle crosses the spike, the hijackers wait for the tyre to be fixed before robbing the victim of his/her belongings and stealing the vehicle.
Police have now advised drivers not to stop to fix a puncture but drive to the most convenient and safest place like the nearest gas station or police station.
In addition, police have stepped up patrols along the N2 Highway from the KwaMbonambi crossings to the Hluhluwe river during the festive season.
'The Police Highway patrol cars are also available at all times, as they constantly drive from Empangeni up to Mkuze.
'The police request that anyone who encounters this problem to please phone their nearest police station for any assistance.
'The driver must always make sure they have the police station numbers handy.
'The Toll free number can also be used - 08600 10111,' said Captain Jabulani Mdletshe.


 

 

Huberta rules the waves

October 15, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

 

Huberta rules the waves

Where else but Zululand?! In August it was a croc in the surf at Alkantstrand and last Wednesday and Thursday saw this adult hippo make a surprise appearance at Richards Bay's popular beach. Bathing was banned for safety reasons and the creature, which happily frolicked in the waves, has since pushed off to around Pelican Island. The public is warned that the hippo is extremely dangerous, especially at night when it browses on land



 

Appeal to all South Africans and Springbok Supporters:

Appeal to all South Africans and Springbok Supporters:

This is a patriotic appeal to Springbok supporters and proud South Africans all over the world, and particularly those in London and England. This is a very important message and requires your support to spread the word and make it happen.

This Friday, 19th October, we call upon all South Africans abroad to wear green and gold in public, especially on their way to and from work. Whether it is your Springbok rugby jersey or just a South Africa t-shirt - make sure it's visible. If you are required to wear a suit - wear it over your shirt and tie on your way in to work. If you work casual - wear your green and gold!

This is in response to a similar call made by Thabo Mbeki earlier in the week to South Africans at home, to show our very proud support and solidarity for John Smit and the team as they take on England this Saturday in the Rugby World Cup final.

Let us show the world that we stand as one - 100% behind the men in Green and Gold. Wear your colours not with arrogant pride but with a sense of unity and how far our nation has come!

Most importantly: as a matter of urgency please forward this message by email, SMS or word of mouth to all the South Africans you know. Time is of the essence. Send it back home to family and friends so they can send it on to others abroad. Let's show the world.  


This is not only for a bit of fun - press and other organisations have been informed to capture the day. This show of support will hopefully be broadcast and the boys in France will gain a sense of the immense support behind them.

All the best, and most of all, enjoy the game on Saturday!

Come on Bokke!!!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fishing Report 15 October 2007

Fishing Report 15 October 2007

 

As predicted, it was a great fishing weekend, some grunter came out at the narrows and some at the mouth area. Not many people where fishing.

 

Deep-sea:
The guys where catching nice bottom fish and the hopes are up for Dorado during November. Currently the wind is blowing strong South Westerly and the dirty water is pushed passed Mission Rocks and will only be clear again over the weekend.

 

Best fishing days for the coming week will be from Friday onwards.

 

Rock and Surf:
North of swimming beach… al the way to the slides.
 
 

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wetland Park welcomes rains

October 12, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

Wetland Park welcomes rains

White pelicans at St Lucia

Dave Savides

Although the drought in the region remains severe, the state of the St Lucia Estuary remains healthy.
This despite seawater flowing into the lake system for 175 days after the mouth breached in March following a combination of high seas caused by Cyclone Gamede, strong onshore winds and exceptionally high tides.
The mouth has since closed naturally (45 days ago) preventing more sea water from entering the system.
According to authorities, salinity is fairly stable at 36ppt (36 grams of salt per litre of water) from March to date.
'Water levels have dropped by an estimated 12cm as a result of evaporation,' said Wetland Park Authority media spokesperson - Pontso Pakkies.
'Due to drought and a shortage of rainfall the flow of fresh water into the system from the catchments has been minimal over the last few months.
'This week's downpours have been a bonus, because historical records show that when salinity rises above 55 ppt then the system starts to be stressed.
'Wetland Park management will continue to monitor the ecosystems, especially the salinity of Lake St Lucia and availability of fresh water for game.'
Bird counts in the Wetland Park are regularly undertaken by staff in order to detect changes in waterbird population and wetland conditions.

Bird numbers
'The annual winter water bird count covered 31 wetlands in and adjacent to the Park,' said Pakkies.
'They are part of the winter 2007 African Waterfowl Census whose objectives are to monitor the waterbird populations throughout Africa.
'Due to the drought, six pans are totally dry and five others are in the process of drying up.
'In total, 21 000 birds were counted in this survey across the Wetland Park and adjacent wetlands.
'Of these over 15 088 were counted in the Lake St Lucia Estuary with waders making up the majority at 25% followed by flamingoes at 18% and ducks.
'Also noted during the count was the abundance of white-breasted cormorants at Lake Sibaya, White-fronted Plovers along the seashore between Cape Vidal and Sodwana shoreline with 427 birds being counted on the 72 km beach.
'African Spoonbills, Egyptian Goose, Little Grebe (dabchick), Greenbacked Heron, Hadeda Ibis and African Pied Wagtail, African Fish Eagle, African Jacana and Pied Kingfisher were also spotted.'

Results from the bird count
• Waders (including avocet & stilt) - 5 373
• Ducks - 2 471
• Flamingo - 3 996
• Pelicans - 2 897
• Cormorants - 1 644
• Herons and egrets - 1 779
• Gulls and terns - 1 104
• Storks, ibis & spoonbills -
1 571
• Fish eagle - 27
• Other fishfeeders - 145
• Other birds - 468
TOTAL - 21 475

 

Work From home...

Earn Commission

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Travel Destinations and Holiday Accommodation

National Fishing Report

South Africa
Accommodation
Album Contact Details Fishing Report
Elephant Coast
StLuciaOrgZa News Archives KZN Wildlife

 

 

Fishing Report 10 October 2007

 

Some good old Zululand rain has been experienced since Sunday. We are running into the 100 mm at some places along the Eastern Shores. The end is not in sight yet.

With the iMfolozi River flowing again anglers has made some good catches around this river mouth.

 

People fishing at Cape Vidal where less fortunate. It seems that the bad weather has scared the rock dwellers into deeper waters. No Reports where heard from Mission Rocks.

 

Best Fishing for the next week….

 

Small rods and light tackle along the bay at Cape Vidal and around the sand banks at the Estuary mouth of St. Lucia. See our article about drop shot vs bait.

 

Rock and Surf will be best at the lighthouse South of Cape Vidal and at the river mouth south of St. Lucia Estuary.

 

Ski Boat fishing will be great at the turn of this weather front. This should happen at around Friday.

 

St. Lucia Estuary mouth status:

Currently close….status will only change with human intervention or a cyclone.

There is currently no human intervention planned from the Park Authorities side.

Fresh water levels feeding the lake are healthy and should last this way through the summer rain.
 
Deep Sea fishing can be booked at Harlekyn 082 924 7842
 
Goodluck and happy fishing....
 
Petrus Viviers
083 584 7473

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Captive Wild Animal Workshop

Captive Wild Animal Workshop

October 9, 2007;


 NEWS ITEM No: 2007 - 10 - 09
 
 KZN WILDLIFE TO HOST CAPTIVE WILD ANIMAL WORKSHOP
For immediate release
As part of a public consultation process with regard to formulating draft recommendations on a proposed policy relating to the management of "ex situ" wild animals, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is to hold a public meeting at its head office in the Queen Elizabeth Park, Montrose, Pietermaritzburg on 13 October 2007 starting at 09.30 and finishing at 12.30.
The purpose of this meeting is to allow stakeholders the opportunity to discuss recommendations for the management of "ex situ" animals in KZN for later submission to the KZN MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs , and to discuss areas where norms and standards for such animals are needed.
"Ex situ" animals are deemed to be any wild animals (birds, mammals or reptiles), exotic or indigenous, kept in captivity or out of their natural, wild environment for which control of use and management is provided for in legislation.
In addition, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has arranged a series of four stakeholder workshops to be held at the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve during October and November 2007 to develop norms and standards for various "ex situ" taxonomic groups - ie birds, mammals or reptiles - and/or sectors, ie rehabilitation.
Interested parties and stakeholders are asked to contact Tracey Jacobs telephonically on 031-4670447 or by email on business-services@iafrica.com for further information and to confirm their attendance.
AJG/ MEDIA RELEASE: EX SITU WILD ANIMALS MEETING 04/10/2007
 

 AJG/ News Item No: 2007 - 10 - 09

Monday, October 08, 2007

Traditional Hunting with Dogs

Traditional Hunting with Dogs

A classic example of the old established order clashing with the new democracy. Our new constitution gives every citizen rights, but sometimes how these rights may be utilized is unclear. African people have always hunted with dogs and in the past when these traditions were formed, both land and animals were almost limitless. Enter the colonial period when land is owned, fenced and the hunting of game is strictly regulated. There is immediate conflict and this hunting practice is classified as poaching and severely restricted except in tribal areas. Hunting with dogs goes underground and is practised illegally on private land with regular confrontations between land owners and hunters, usually ending up with the dogs being shot and the hunters being convicted and fined or imprisoned. There is a shift in emphasis in this practice, where the prowess of the individual dogs becomes more important than the hunting of meat and the value of good hunting dogs escalates enormously. C onflict, where very valuable dogs are destroyed by landowners, heightens the resentment of hunters who believe that they have a right to practise this tradition. This must be seen against the use of hunting dogs by white landowners for game and waterfowl shoots, destroying so called vermin with hunt packs and for hunting animals like bush pigs and leopard. All within the law! 1994 and a new South Africa. The rights of all are enshrined in the new constitution, especially African people and their traditions. Hunting with dogs comes out of the closet and there is immediate conflict where these hunts are being conducted with the police and the courts being caught between the hunters and the landowners. Finally, after years of standoffs, meetings, negotiations and studies, a set of guidelines and procedures is produced that recognises both the rights of the hunters and the landowners. Hunts must be well disciplined and organised and the number of hunters and dogs are strictly limited. Hunting with dogs may only take place during the hunting season and subject to the issue of permits by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the landowners written permission. These detailed procedures put the traditional practice of hunting with dogs on the same basis as all other forms of hunting, where it becomes a sport adhering to the principle of 'fair chase' and a viable economic activity for the landowner.

 

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Poo, Droppings, Scats - Signs in the bush!.

Poo, Droppings, Scats - Signs in the bush!.

There is an art to visiting game reserves which once learnt, enormously enhances ones enjoyment of the bush. I am not talking about how you camp or how you braai. Nor about where the best game viewing opportunities are or what to do if confronted by an angry elephant. I am talking about reading the bush news. How many times have you heard people complaining about not seeing any animals. And by animals they mean the 'big five' or certainly the big and hairy. They are driving around as detached observers without really seeing all the pieces of the beautiful and colourful mosaic they are moving through. Every plant, every insect, every pile of droppings tells a story about the things going on in that little patch of bush. Even driving a vehicle allows you to stop where you will and closely examine the things around you with the naked eye or close up with binoculars. Of course on foot you are very much a part of things (and if you do happen to get close to large animals you are v ery conscious of this indeed). You can take the time to examine the minutiae of the bush at close range: plants, insects, birds, tracks and the faecal remains or scats of animals that live there or have passed through. Animal droppings are extremely interesting, especially to other animals, carrying by means of scent a great deal of information about the animal which deposits them — size, status, gender and sexual condition among others. Humans, being olfactorily challenged, cannot decipher much of this, but there is a great deal droppings can tell us in addition to what we can glean from spoor. Droppings are also more easily seen in areas where the ground surface makes it difficult to see spoor. Different animals deposit their droppings in different ways and for different reasons. Many territorial animals leave their droppings in heaps called middens which demarcate their territories — these include rhino, hyena and impala. Although it is the territorial male impala that starts a midden others may also use it which confuses the issue a bit — perhaps they are a sort of bush message board. Civets also deposit their droppings in middens known as civetries which may be used by several individuals. Civets produce quite remarkably large scats, as big as a lion's but easily distinguished by the contents. Although civets belong to the viverrids, considered to be the oldest family of carnivores, they are actually omnivorous; the civetries show that they eat insects, fruit (including figs), various diospyrus species and monkey fingers (Friesodielsia obovata), lizards and shongololos among other things — they are one of the few animals that are able to tolerate the noxious chemicals produced by millipedes. Hippos spray their droppings to mark paths and in a ritual to establish dominance among bulls (although legend has it that this is to prove to the creator that they aren't eating his fish). Many types of droppings provide food for other animals — the obvious example is the dung beetle, which feeds and acts as the bush's sanitary engineer at the same time, ably assisted by termites. They are not alone, however; fish feed on hippo dung and hyenas and hooded vultures eat the scats of lions, leopards and wild dogs. Scrub hares eat their own droppings in a process known as coprophagia, which allows them to digest plant matter more efficiently. Baboons, birds and rodents all recycle undigested seeds from various droppings. Elephants are the number one source for this. Elephants produce large quantities of droppings every few hours and they have a very poor digestive system — even a healthy elephant only digests about 40% of what it eats. One can see by looking at elephant dung exactly what it has been eating, unlike the thoroughly processed droppings of ruminants. Twigs, leaves, and, most importantly, a great many seeds pass through its digestive system virtually untouched, which has profound ecological implications. Most important is the role this plays in the regeneration of plants. The time these seeds spend in the heat of the elephant's stomach helps them to start germinating, and they are then deposited in a very fertile environment. A great deal has been said and written about the damage that elephants do to trees and not very much about how they replace them. One hundred and fifty years ago, when elephants could roam more or less as they pleased, they spent only limited time in any one area before moving on and because they had a virtually unlimited range it was some time before they returned; over time the seeds they dropped made up for the trees they damaged. Because they are being squeezed into ever-smaller areas by human population pressure this can't happen any more. We constantly talk about there being too many elephants and what to do about it, but in fact there are far fewer elephants than there used to be. The problem is not too many elephants but too many people. So the next time you plan to visit a game reserve, make sure you have a working knowledge of the language of the bush. It adds so much more to your pleasure!
With grateful thanks to Roddy Smith and 'The Witness'.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Perreira hooks the winner

October 1, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 
   

 

Perreira hooks the winner

Rick Hansen with Wally Klar

And the winner is.... Paul Perreira!

The rained stayed away at Redding Dam where the annual Kwambo Bass Challenge was held over the weekend. The winner was Paul Perreira with a catch of 2.08kg. Perreira is now the proud owner of a new boat and motor valued at
R80 000. Runner-up was Keith Nicholson with his 1.9kg bass and in third place was Warren Hansen with his 1.88kg catch

 

 

WHALE WATCHING KZN

 
WHALE WATCHING KZN

The KwaZulu Natal Coast is well known for viewing Humpback, Southern Right and Minke whales. Whales can frequently be seen off the KwaZulu-Natal coast from July to November - mainly Humpbacked Whales, and occasionally Southern Right Whales. From July to September the whales are moving north on their way to their breeding grounds off the Mozambique coast to mate, calve and rear their young. From September to November they return, heading for the nutrient-rich waters of Antarctica where supplies of krill are more prolific. The whales travel close to shore on occasion, particularly along the lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal where the continental shelf is close to the land. The Southern Right makes use of extreme coastal waters and sometimes comes as far north as southern KwaZulu-Natal. Boat-based whale-watching, previously only associ ated with the Western Cape, is gaining momentum in the province with a greater variety of species being spotted off the KwaZulu-Natal coast. These include Bottlenose Dolphins which occur all year round in small groups of 30-60 animals. The influx of about 3000 migratory Bottlenose Dolphins following the annual sardine run makes for arguably the most spectacular dolphin viewing in the world. Common Dolphins occur in the winter months with annual migration of the sardines. They can number between 15,000 and 30,000 and can be found in groups of up to 2,000 animals at a time. There are boat-based whale-watching operations in most of our coastal resort towns and whale watching towers at Amatigulu and Umlalazi reserves.
 
 
 
 
For Africa
P.J. Viviers
0835847473

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October 1, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

 

Rhino killed by train

The dead rhino

Ronelle Ramsamy

AN adult white rhinoceros was killed after being knocked over by a train in the Pongola Nature Reserve on Thursday afternoon.
The male rhino suffered two broken back legs and was in severe pain when discovered by Reserve staff members early on Friday morning. According to Conservation Co-ordinator for Northern Zululand - Rob Blok, the Spoornet Control Office had informed the Pongola Nature Reserve of the incident at approximately 5.30pm on Thursday.
'Our staff immediately went to investigate and combed the area. However, poor visibility in the dark forced us to abandon the search.
'The search resumed on Friday morning and the animal was found in a lot of pain,' said Blok.
Unfortunately, the injured rhino had to be put down.
With the railway line cutting through the reserve, as well as the busy main road leading to the Golela border post, many animal losses have been recorded over the years.
Blok told the Zululand Observer that they were currently in discussion with Spoornet regarding the management of the unfenced railway line.
'It is a collective responsibility as there are multiple users in the area. We fully recognise that Spoornet has to use the line.
'Fencing would not be viable, as we would lose out on conservation. We do accept some losses, but this incident is unfortunate and we regret the loss of such an animal,' added Blok. Many smaller animals including kudus and zebras have often fallen victim to road and rail accidents. An elephant was reportedly killed two years ago in a similar incident.

 


 

 

Monday, October 01, 2007

Drop Shot vs Bait

 

Drop Shot vs Bait

 

Many years ago I tried my hand at fly-fishing. Not having much luck choosing between floating, intermediate and sinking lines, leaders and tips, I approached one of the regions most successful fly anglers for some advice. After spending many hours talking to him in an attempt to understand all the techniques, he handed me a tit bit of information.
This was very insignificant to many people, but to me it made all the difference. He said that the most important thing about fly-fishing is the time that your fly spends in the water. Wow…what great piece of advice. My grandfather told me when I was still a wee little boy. " If you want to catch some thing you have to have bait in the water."

So I turned to drop shot…but it was in the early stages of the craze and very little was known about this method. Eventually my drop shot rod got damage en route on a fishing expedition. Out of pure frustration I took my small Shimano Reel and fitted it onto my fly rod, fixed a 25 lb trace leader with a number one Kendal round hook attached to it, I grabbed a sard and of I went.

Steadily I worked the sand banks around The St. Lucia Estuary mouth. It was not long till I bagged two fair sized sand fish and a reasonable sole amongst all the banana fish and glassy. Well not only did I have loads of fun but I had more live bait than one angler could need in a week. That Night the wife and I feasted like royalty on our gourmet dinner.
I was hooked and never have I needed to dream up another expensive way to spend my leisure hours around the fishing waters. I always had fun and more often that none something to eat.
My advice too all the board anglers, spend more time with bait in the water rather than with a sales person in a tackle shop.
 
For Africa
P.J. Viviers
0835847473

Fw: SKI fishing is a popular surf activity

 

September 28, 2007

Zululand
OBSERVER
 

 

On the roll!

SKI fishing is fast gaining ground as a popular surf activity. The Richards Bay Fishing Ski Club will be staging a 'surf launch' on October 6 and everybody is welcome to attend and find out more about the sport.

 

 

Opening Borders to Ease Cross Border Tourism

Opening Borders to Ease Cross Border Tourism and Strengthen Regional Cooperation

27 September 2007

Media Statement

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2007: Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia will officially open the Mata Mata Tourist Access Facility (Port of entry) between South Africa and Namibia on 12 October 2007, within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (TFP). This access facility will enable tourists to travel between the 3 countries via shorter routes and with easier access. It will also see the region benefiting from the 2010 FIFA World Cup by showcasing its unique eco-tourism products and thus foster regional socio-economic development.

Kgalagadi TFP, southern Africa's first transfrontier park, incorporates the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa. It is a popular tourist destination because of its 4 x 4 wilderness trails.

On 16 October 2007, the Ministers of Environment and Tourism and Home Affairs will open the Sendelingsdrift Tourist Access Facility and launch the pontoon that tourists will use to cross the Orange river, which forms the international border between South Africa and Namibia within the Ai/Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

The opening of Mata Mata and Sendelingsdrift Tourist Access Facilities are key to the strategy for desert tourism which explores the natural linkage between Kgalagadi and Ai/Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier parks, South Africa's Augrabies Falls National Park and the soon to be declared Sperregebiet National Park in Namibia.

Media wishing to attend the events can confirm with Lizzy Suping at 012 310 3310 or 083 758 0553.

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VISITORS DIE IN BERG FIRE

Tourists die in RNNP fire

September 26, 2007;

 MEDIA RELEASE No: 11 - 2007
 
 VISITORS DIE IN BERG FIRE
For immediate release
 
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reports that two visitors to the Royal Natal National Park section of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site died when they were caught in the flames of a runaway veld fire that had swept into the Park from across the Tugela River last week.
The two visitors appear to have arrived early at Thendele Camp and while waiting to check in, had gone for a walk along the path to Tiger Falls which lies between Thendele and the Mahai Campsite.
Unbeknown to them a runaway fire, fanned by strong winds, had swept across the nearby Tugela River and was heading towards Thendele.
The fire swept very rapidly up the slope towards the Tiger Falls area, where it apparently engulfed the couple who were at that stage still walking along the path, burning them to death.
Local Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff are working closely with the SAPS to confirm the identity of the two visitors and to determine the chain of events that led to the tragedy.
The fire damaged the thatched roofs of several of the Thendele Camp accommodation units but staff were able to prevent the flames from taking hold, and also entered a nearby indigenous forest  where it penetrated the leaf litter.
Ezevemlo KZN Wildilfe staff battled for three days to extinguish the flames that continuously kept flaring up as wind fanned glowing embers hidden in the forest floor.
Drakensberg veld fires are notoriously dangerous when fanned by high winds as they move extremely rapidly, are intensely hot, and burn over a deep and wide front, the flames skimming swiftly along the grass tops in the front of the fire and then burning down.
Such a "fire-front" can be hundreds of metres wide, is extremely hot and can be tens of metres deep.
 

 AJG/ Media Release No: 11-  2007
Media:

 

Cycad auction

Cycad auction

September 26, 2007;

NEWS ITEM No: 200 7 - 09 - 25
 
 KZN WILDLIFE TO HOLD CYCAD AUCTION
 
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is to hold an auction of various species of cycads in Queen Elizabeth Park, Peter Brown Drive, Montrose, Pietermaritzburg on 6 October 2007 starting at 10.00.
The cycads on offer vary in size from seedlings to mature plants and the various lots include single specimens and groups of Encephalartos ferox, natalensis, lebomboensis, villosus, horridus, dolomiticus, ghellinkii, transvenosus trispinosus and altensteinii.
Potential buyers may get full details from Deon Botha of Omniland Auctioneers on 012 804 2978, cell 082 892 8355, or deon@omniland.co.za.
Buyers and interested parties should follow the signs past the Douglas Mitchell Centre to the auction venue.
Buyers may only remove their purchases from Queen Elizabeth Park after Monday 8 October 2007.
 

 AJG/ News Item No: 2007 - 09 - 25

 
 

 

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