Crocworld Conservation Centre’s Horace the Cape Vulture is preening his feathers, as he welcomes his new girlfriend, Cites, who is also of the same species. The Cape Vulture is on the endangered species list, and plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Centre Manager, Martin Rodrigues said, “Vultures are on the endangered species list, and we would like to do everything possible to encourage their survival.” Both Horace and Cites are part of Crocworld Conservation Centre’s conservation and breeding Vulture Programme, which was launched earlier this year. Due to the high conservation importance of Vultures, Crocworld Conservation Centre has built an enclosure specifically to house the Cape Vulture which is endangered and the African White Backed Vulture which is on the critically endangered list. Similar to Horace’s story, Cites, a juvenile female vulture, was recovered within the Oribi Gorge area in February this year, after colliding with a power line. She was badly injured, with her left wing having several open fractures. The damage was extremely severe, thus prompting a decision to amputate the wing rather than euthanizing the bird, due to its endangered conservation status. Rodrigues said that Cites is now fully recovered and he hopes that she will play a vital role in the breeding programme, whereby healthy offspring will be released back into the wild. “Cites has settled incredibly well within her new home and although she has adapted very quickly with the help of Horace, there is still a very long road ahead before they could potentially breed,” added Rodrigues. Rodrigues is optimistic regarding the long term success of the vulture breeding and conservation project which the Centre has established. The project is a shared vision between Crocworld Conservation Centre and the Raptor Rescue Rehabilitation Centre in Pietermaritzburg. The Raptor Rescue Rehabilitation Centre rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured, ill and distressed birds of . . .
6 May 2017 - Former zoo lion, Nelson, and confiscated ‘exotic pet’, Ciam, are today starting new lives in their ancestral home of Africa. Nelson and Ciam travelled from their temporary home in Belgium - via Germany - to Port Elizabeth, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, where they were this morning introduced into their spacious, safe and enriching accommodation at the award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve. With them every step of the way on their more than 10,000km journey was Born Free Foundation Co-Founder and actress, Virginia McKenna OBE, who watched with delight as Nelson and Ciam explored their new surroundings. Virginia said: "The lyric goes 'life is worth living when you're born free' but for the two lions, Nelson and Ciam, who were not born free and never lived free, life is now, at last, worth living. Nelson, after 14 years of imprisonment and about two years at the Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre in Belgium, and Ciam, bought from a terrible circus by someone who kept him illegally in his back yard, will now have a new life at the Born Free sanctuary at Shamwari. Seeing them take their first steps into their huge natural enclosures was utterly joyful. At last they are free to live where lions belong and will be treated with the care and respect they deserve. How lucky I was to be there to share the moment." The two lions started their journey from Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre, Belgium, on Thursday 4th May. Born Free Celebrity Patrons, comedian Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) and his wife – model and actress Nancy Sorrell - helped carefully prepare Nelson and Ciam for their journey and have been closely following their progress. They said: “It was wonderful to meet the magnificent Nelson and Ciam at Natuurhulpcentrum and to help the Born Free team prepare them for their journey to Shamwari Game Reserve. Nelson and Ciam highlight the plight of captive wild animals worldwide that are still kept in zoos and circuses or as ‘exotic pets’ just for the . . .
(Port Elizabeth) – As the water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay and the surrounding region deepens, various Working for Water (WfW) projects are playing an increasingly critical role in squeezing out precious run-off to swell the rivers that feed the major supply dams. Now, the additional water being harvested thanks to the various projects is proving a lifeline to the Eastern Cape’s major cities and towns as their supply dam levels dwindle fast. Implemented across the Eastern Cape by Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) and funded by the national Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the WfW projects focus chiefly on alien vegetation clearance and wetlands rehabilitation, while providing much-needed employment opportunities in rural communities. According to GIB’s area manager for the western region, Edwill Moore, although there is not enough scientifically verifiable data to support claims of increased water flow, anecdotal evidence suggests a major improvement as a result of clearing activities. “Numerous landowners will testify that after their property was cleared and maintained, the water flow increased dramatically, even during very dry periods,” said Moore. First rolled out by GIB in 1999, the Kouga and Kromme River projects in particular are among the oldest in the DEA’s Working for Water programme. However, their role in increasing the flow to the Kouga, Churchill and Impofu dams has become even more critical as water levels reach crisis point. In the Kouga catchment area, Moore said their primary focus was on alien vegetation clearing, with 12 teams from local communities – comprising 14 members each – working to clear mainly Black Wattle (90% of the workload), Pine, Eucalyptus, Hakea and other less common species. The 282 000-hectare project extends from Haarlem in the west to Kouga Dam in the east, with the Kouga and Tsitsikamma mountains forming the northern and southern boundary respectively. “To put it in perspective, that’s . . .
Drought and hot, dry weather effects our gardens far more than we realise. And the effects take their toll for years, especially on trees and large shrubs. We cannot control or prevent drought, however, there are ways to minimize the effects. “Hot and dry conditions affect our gardens negatively,” explains Mimi Rupp, founder of Stone etc. “Some plants will simply wilt, while others may lose their leaves, or at worst, die. Leaves can turn brown or curl up, plants will grow slower or even stop. “Droughts can also make plants weaker, which means they can become more susceptible to disease and insect attacks. Even after a drought, it will take a while for plants to recover, and may even take years for trees.” Plants still require water during drought, and the best advice for gardeners is to give water less often, even skipping a week or two, but watering slightly more when watering. “If the ground gets moisture on a deeper level, it encourages deeper roots as opposed to a smaller, more superficial root system.” Using mulch also have several benefits in drought, the biggest advantage being that it keeps the soil cooler as it prevents direct sunlight on the soil, preventing evaporation from the soil. “Bark, woodchips, and pebbles are also useful as a form of protection,” adds Rupp. Be sure to weed your garden too, as well as de-heading your flowers. “The small amount of water available should not go to weeds or having your plants spending unnecessary energy into producing seeds,” advises Rupp. During drought, it is not recommended to fertilize. The reason being, fertilizing encourages your garden to grow, which requires water. And a salt build up in the soil can be detrimental to plants in times of insufficient water if you do fertilize. When it comes to your lawn, it is advisable to leave your grass a little longer. The extra length protects the roots as well as keeping the soil cooler and preventing unnecessary moisture loss. Certain areas of grass can also be . . .
Polyflor SA has recycled more than 4 tonnes of vinyl floor off-cuts since it launched the initiative at the end of last year, thereby allowing the local PVC industry to move forward with its sustainability goals as set out in SAVA’s (Southern African Vinyls Association) Product Stewardship Commitment. According to Tandy Coleman, CEO of Polyflor SA, the company’s initiative to recycle off cuts generated during the installation of vinyl floors, has been widely welcomed and well-supported by installers. “Diverting these off-cuts from landfill and sending them off to recyclers for use in the manufacture of rigid and flexible products such as pipes, cables, shoe soles and car mats, is of great environmental significance. Good quality, clean materials that are void of any glues or substances can now be used to create new products with a useful service life instead of ending up in landfill or polluting the atmosphere,” Coleman says. According to SAVA CEO, Delanie Bezuidenhout, PVC manufacturers and consumers increasingly aim for the sustainable use of the product through all stages of its life cycle. “The promulgation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act has placed great emphasis on recycling and the reduction of materials to landfill. To this end, SAVA and its members endeavour to create and participate in many community, industry and government programmes which are designed to ensure appropriate management of PVC products at the end-of-life. We applaud this initiative of Polyflor that not only helps to increase the awareness of the fact that PVC is recyclable, but also delivers tangible and impressive result in a very short time frame when it comes to collecting and recycling end-of-life PVC,” she says. Polyflor contractors receive specially branded bags for their vinyl floor off-cuts, which are then returned to the Polyflor SA head office for weighing and collection by recyclers. “Our aim is to increase our recycling rate by 100% by the end of . . .
A major new residential development, the Evergreen Noordhoek Lifestyle Village, has attracted significant interest among retirees looking to move into retirement lifestyle accommodation. At a recent launch event to prospective buyers on the Evergreen Lifestyle waiting list, well over half the units in the first phase of the construction project were reserved. “The quick take-up of units we saw at this initial launch reflects the pressing need for more accommodation for the retired community,” comments Arthur Case, CEO of Evergreen Lifestyle. “In addition, the enthusiasm we saw at the launch event confirms our expectation that this lifestyle village will be particularly attractive to the market. Set on a huge site of over 16 hectares, large enough to allow us to include plenty of private open space and walking trails, and with amazing views across the Atlantic Ocean towards Chapmans Peak, this lifestyle village has so much to offer prospective residents.” The village, with its sophisticated security systems and fibre-to-home internet, will consist of 150 houses and 200 apartments, set on a sloping hillside site located near both Noordhoek and Fish Hoek. In addition to the housing units, a Lifestyle Centre is planned. The facilities included in this Centre will provide what any resident will need: a gym, a heated pool, a care centre offering primary healthcare services and frail care, and various recreational services. An on-site bowling green and tennis court will also be available. According to Case, “The location is perfect for the needs of residents, since all facilities will either be available on-site or close by in Fish Hoek, a well-established, sizeable town.” Being set in an increasingly popular residential part of Cape Town, which has seen property prices rise significantly in recent years, one may expect that the development is suitable only for the super-wealthy. However, costs compare favourably with the average house prices for the area, which . . .
FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a fast-spreading pest that has been damaging essential food crops in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Russell IPM has responded to the demand for an effective monitoring system for FAW infestations. In February, trials were conducted in Africa in order to optimise the company’s pheromone blend targeting the devastating pest. Six different formulations of the FAW pheromone were tested in Zambia and South Africa. According to Dr Al-Zaidi, Russell IPM’s Managing Director, an effective monitoring solution has been identified. “The trial results show that the highest trap catches were achieved by Russell IPM’s four-components lure. This formulation, which is specific to the fall armyworm species currently present in Africa, showed the highest efficacy. The lure and traps are commercially available from our distributors in Africa”. The lure is compatible with Russell’s Mothcatcher trap, and can be used as part of an IPM strategy to combat the invasions in Africa. Dr Nayem Hassan, Head of Research and Development at Russell IPM, recommends the following programme of treatment: “For preventative FAW control, our microbial plant booster and soil enhancer, Recharge, can be mixed with the irrigation water and applied to the soil around the plant roots. FAW pupae will not emerge from the soil. For tackling larvae at first detection and before they bore into the stem of the host plant, farmers can alternate foliar applications of Biotrine, a microbial extract, and Antario, a synergised Bacillus thuringiensis formulation. Biotrine’s action is translaminar, so the active ingredient is absorbed only into the upper foliar surface. It targets larvae coming into contact with treated leaves, but the plant itself will show no pesticide residue.” Headquartered in Flintshire, United Kingdom, Russell IPM designs, manufactures, supplies and consults on innovative biorational solutions for pest monitoring and control in agriculture and . . .
The Plastics|SA Clean-Up crews were once again in action at this year’s SA Navy Festival that took place at the Simonstown harbour from the 17th to the 19th of March. According to John Kieser, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager and coordinator of the clean-up crews, each year close to 50 000 people visit this event daily for the chance to see some of the country’s biggest naval ships and exhibitions on display. “This is a very popular festival that is always very well attended by members of the public. As a result, we find that it also produces the biggest variety of waste,” Kieser says. Large volumes of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), aluminium cooldrink cans and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) were sent away for recycling, whilst organic waste was sent away for composting to Noordhoek. “We managed to collect approximately 35 large bags of good quality polystyrene that were discarded in the form of take-away containers, but also protective packaging that was used around the ammunition and valuable items that were on display,” Kieser said. This material was delivered to a Cape Town based recycler who uses the post-consumer polystyrene in lightweight concrete used for building and construction applications. “Our sincere gratitude goes to the Plastics|SA Sustainability Council for the excellent work they are doing on the ground at these events by working closely with the clean-up crews, but also in manning the exhibition stands where they educate members of the public about the importance of recycling. Through their on-going, consistent and visible efforts, they bolster the recycling efforts of the various material recovery organisations (MROs) and help us to divert tons of valuable material from our country’s landfills,” says Adri Spangenberg, Director of the Polystyrene Packaging Council (PSPC). The final big sporting and spectator event on the Plastics|SA Clean-Up crew’s agenda for this month is the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon that will be taking . . .
Over 2 billion PET plastic bottles were recycled in South Africa last year. Plastic bottle recycled tonnage in SA has grown by over 800% since 2005. PETCO* has announced their 2016 recycling figures. These indicate that the annual PET recycling rate has grown from 52% of post-consumer bottle PET in 2015, to 55% in 2016, exceeding their expected target. PETCO recycled an additional 22% of post-consumer bottles in comparison to the previous year, with the total PET market growing by 14.8% to 241 269 tonnes. PETCO CEO, Cheri Scholtz, commented, “PETCO is delighted with the latest figures. Through the remarkable network of people, companies and organisations we work with, 2 billion PET bottles were collected for recycling across South Africa during the course of 2016, creating some 62 000 income opportunities for small and micro-collectors, and changing their lives and those of their families in immeasurable ways.” The voluntary recycling fee paid annually by PETCO members on every tonne of raw material purchased has enabled the payment of a total of R1.9 billion by our contracted recyclers to collectors for baled bottles since the inception of PETCO in 2004, ensuring the collection of PET bottles for recycling is sustained, and resulting in almost 800 000 tonnes of carbon and over 3 million m3 of landfill space saved to date. Casper Durandt, Chairman of PETCO and Senior Technical Operations Manager Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa, also commented “While this is an extremely proud accomplishment for PETCO, we could not have achieved this without the dedicated partners we work with that have made extraordinary contributions to the recycling of post-consumer PET in South Africa, thereby enabling PETCO to expand our collection network, build relationships with recyclers, seek new opportunities to develop and support entrepreneurs, and ultimately grow our recycling tonnages.” Adds Chandru Wadhwani, Joint Managing Director of Extrupet (Pty) Ltd. and PETCO . . .
MARCH 2017 - A SUSTAINABLE BENGUELA Current ecosystem is the lifeblood of the ‘Ocean Economy’ on South Africa’s West Coast – supporting fisheries, tourism and recreation, and thousands of jobs. Like any living system it needs regular health check-ups, and the best way to do this will be examined in Cape Town this week (22 and 23 March, 2017). Scientists, government officials, business and civil society representatives will consider linkages between the diverse “ecosystem services” provided by the ocean and coastal environment, and how best to measure and monitor both their economic value and environmental health. The workshop forms part of a project by the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) to strengthen the ability of member states – Namibia, Angola and South Africa – to monitor the health of the Benguela Current ecosystem in their own countries, as well as implementing an integrated approach to sustainable ecosystem management across national boundaries. The workshop will also aim to identify gaps in current monitoring activities and data, capacity and resource needs, and how to resolve potential conflicting uses in future. “This is vital to maintaining the sustainability of the economic and social benefits to the people who rely on the ecosystem. For South Africa, this is particularly important, given the focus on developing the maritime economy through Operation Phakisa, which has earmarked a number of diverse projects for the West Coast,” project leader Dr Samantha Petersen said. The productive waters of the Benguela Current support the largest portion of South Africa’s commercial fisheries, with increasing activity in small-scale fishing and aquaculture. The West Coast is also a hub of off-shore oil and gas exploration, a focus area for redevelopment of small harbours and coastal tourism, and home to the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. It also has a number of significant conservation areas, provides shelter for migratory bird . . .