Finally! The Pompom meets its match!
In 2005 a tiny thrips, Liothrips tractabilis, was imported from Argentina, placed in quarantine at the Agricultural Research Council at Cedara and tested for damage to Pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum).
“Walking through the veld with experts who have in-depth knowledge of the grasses and flowers is a real eye-opener," said an intrepid nature enthusiast on the walk on 9 February. "Reading your veld: Learning how to care for one of your key assets" was part of the Events Calendar arranged by the Crocodile River Reserve.
“What a stink!” A Doornrandje resident was at the end of her tether. “My neighbour seems to have built what could only be described as an incinerator - burning plastic, paper, tins, anything. Some of this is done at night, from 11pm until 1am. The smell is obnoxious.”
On 14 January a dead leopard was discovered in a snare in the Hartbeeshoek area. Poaching is becoming a major problem and while some landowners are actively checking and removing snares on a regular basis, much more vigilance is needed.
“This is Dizzy,” wrote 10 year-old Erin Bergh from Kalkheuvel West. “She is a Spotted Thick-knee, also known as a Dikkop. They are omnivorous birds that live in grasslands and on beaches.
“This little bird was taken to Broederstroom Veterinary Clinic on 27 December. I was asked to take care of her and named her Dizzy. We sometimes call her ‘Chicken’, though.
"The Gauteng agriculture department needs to prioritise the problem of the invasive plant species such as Pompom before it is too late," said DA Gauteng agriculture and rural development spokesman Thomas Walters. He quoted the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) website, stating that Pompom was "rapidly becoming the most serious threat to the conservation of grasslands in South Africa."