Don't read on. These little critters are exceptionally flexible and the combination of their soft skulls and voracious gnawing ability mean they can squeeze themselves through virtually any opening...even one the size of a ballpoint pen!
Six millimetres is all it takes to get a mouse into your house. Even if you've battened down the hatches, you've got to take into account that they can swim, travel vertically and even jump up to 46cm. Best not to ask who moved your cheese, then. You already know. Daily Maverick
Arranged by the Crocodile River Reserve
Sunday 12 October
Talk to the Trees!
Members of the Tree Society takes us on a walk from the banks of the Jukskei River and up and around World's View Hill. Stunning views across the grassveld, over Rhenosterkop and the Schurveberg, Witwatersberg and the Magaliesberg to the north. Bring your cameras! In this area there are more tree species in a few hundred hectares than in the whole of the British Isles.
Meeting point in Vlakfontein: Owlscreek on the Jukskei. Directions available.
Cost: R60 pp. R30 for kids under 12.
Saturday 18 October
Ceramic plate decorating workshop
Bring out your creative side and come and decorate a bisqueware plate or mug for kiln-firing. Siobhan Carter-Brown will show you how to create something very special. Kit supplied: a plate/mug, underglaze paints, brushes and design ideas. Your article will be glazed by Siobhan and returned as a finished work of art. Light refreshments, tea, coffee and juices served. Additional plates will be available to purchase and decorate at R45 each.
Also available: Packed lunch for R25 (ordered by 15 October).
Date: 18 October
Time: 08:30 for 09:00
Cost: R120 pp.
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road, Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy. Directions here
To book: www.crocodileriverreserve.co.za.
Saturday 25 October
Artists in the Sun!
A relaxing day for seasoned as well as budding artists - with the Schurveberg and the sweeping grasslands to inspire stunning works of art.
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the RNC (directions)
Cost: R60 pp; R30 for kids under 12. Also available: packed lunch for R25 (ordered by 20 October).
Info and cost: www.crocodileriverreserve.co.za
Sunday 2 November
Glorious grasses and spring flowers.
A leisurely walk through the veld with experts Alan Short and Antoinette Eyssell to point out the gems at our feet.
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the RNC (directions)
Cost: R60 pp and R30 for kids under 12. Refreshments included.
The Dalene Laing Community Library is now located at no 76, Doornrandje just past Laezonia (ex-Bathabile) School. The library, started and staffed by a group of pensioners from Doornrandje, Laezonia and Hennops, is open from 09h00 -13h00 on Saturdays, or by arrangement on any other day. Lifetime membership is R20 pp, R30 for a couple or R40 for an entire family. Tea and coffee are available for a donation towards requisites. Call Mary on 083 654 4769 for more info.
An identification and conservation course, Flight for Birders, will be held on 25 and 26 September at the NG Church Hall, Petronella, Pretoria. Novices and more experienced birders are welcome, also owners and staff members of lodges, B&Bs and guest farms, For info go to: http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/overberg/events/453/flight_for_birders_course_north_of_pretoria .
September 21. The largest climate change mobilisation in history took place all over the world, organized by international lobby group, Avaaz, which has 38 million members. Nearly 2 500 events worldwide were held to highlight climate change and to give an ultimatum to world leaders meeting at the UN climate summit
Several events were held in South Africa to support this historic demonstration.
August 19. By this date humanity had exhausted nature’s budget for this year. We are all living on borrowed assets. For the rest of the year, we are drawing down our ecological assets. This was the approximate date humanity’s annual demand on nature had exceeded what the Earth can renew this year. Ecological deficit spending is made possible by our rapid depletion of fish stocks, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste.
The earth first went into overshoot mode in 1986, when Earth Overshoot Day fell on 31 December. By 1996, humanity was using 15 per cent more resources than the planet could supply, and Earth Overshoot Day fell in late November. Projections are that by 2050 Earth Overlshoot Day will occur on 1 July.
There are countless fatal collisions on our roads between vehicles and wildlife or domestic livestock,” says Wendy Collinson of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
“Thousands of animals are killed every year and many South African road users are injured or killed as a result of collisions. Almost R1.4 billion worth of damage is caused annually to vehicles from these incidents,” she says.
Animals most at risk are tortoises, chameleons, snakes, hares, many antelope and nocturnal species such as owls.
The EWT Transport Programme (EWT-WTP) needs help recording roadkill data. They have launched the Roadwatch South Africa app to make participation in the Roadkill Research and Mitigation Project easier. Visit the South African iTunes store and search for “Road Watch” and download to your iPhone. To take part, type this link into the Safari browser on your Android platform phone:
The EWT-WTP will use the data in their work to reduce the impacts on our wildlife.
The Kingdom of the White Lion Park adjacent to the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy has become known the world over because of amazing footage of the ‘Lion Whisperer’, Kevin Richardson, playing with full grown lions and entire prides in a manner that seems to indicate they consider him part of the family.
Kevin is on a conservation mission using film productions to make the public aware of the impact of South Africa’s ‘canned lion’ hunting industry, and to save the rapidly dwindling lion populations in Southern Africa.
Google the Lion Whisperer for footage of Kevin and the lions.
Mirdia Snyman is doing research on Black-backed Jackal in the area stretching from the Kingdom of the White Lion in Kalkheuvel, near Broederstroom, and further south into the Oori Private Game Reserve.
The survey started in June and involves determining the number moving through the area, analysing their diet - what they feed on and the variations from winter to summer - and assessing what effect they have on other animal species, eg juvenile antelope.
"Six jackals have been captured and fitted with GPS collars with a range of 8km in direct line of sight," says Mirdia, who is studying for a master’s degree in Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology. The GPS points are downloaded every two hours.
Mirdia’s colleague, Nkyaniso Dlamini, is currently doing his B-tech in Nature Conservation through Mangosuthu University of Technology. A vet assisted with drawing blood samples and releasing the jackals safely.
“The black-backed jackal usually mates during June/July and the gestation period is about two months,” explained Mirdia. “They are monogamous - a male and female jackal mate for life. When the pups arrive the male and female and usually a helper (one of last year’s pups) will help raise the new pups. The helpers not only regurgitate food for the pups, but also for the mother. They guard the pups when the parents go out to hunt and play with them, groom them and teach them to hunt.
“One day we spotted a jackal standing on a termite hill, staring straight at us,” she recalls. “We stopped to take a GPS point and then spotted a blesbok coming at speed from behind the jackal, chasing it up and over the hill!” A blesbok with a score to settle, no doubt.
The jackals’ diet will be analysed in detail from the scat collected. “We have seen some worrying signs however, such as scat consisting entirely of plastic. Open dustbins, skips and rubbish thrown into holes in the ground contribute to it. All the jackals also had hookworm.”
“We have little appreciation for what lies under our feet, until someone with knowledge opens one’s eyes for the treasures we just walk over,” said an impressed visitor on the Geology Walk on 24 August.
Dr Adam Bumby of the University of Pretoria has that knack for “opening one’s eyes”. Over the past few years he has led walks over the dolomites and granites of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, unlocking a wealth of information.
The blue-green streak in this rock is copper that caught the eye of would-be miners
“Totally flummoxed!” exclaimed Ian Wyethe of Doornrandje. “On Saturday 6 September we went for a walk in the veld with our dogs. When we called them to go home our male German Shepherd returned with a tiny fluffy, baby animal in its mouth.
“We could not figure out what it was and, not being able to find any other animals in that area, we took it home. We contacted the Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park and they identified it as a female Brown Hyena!
“She will be raised in the Park, but sadly, because of our interference with nature, she will probably never be able to return to the wild. I just hope this can raise awareness of how sensitive our beautiful area is.”
Ed: For help with injured or abandoned wild creatures FreeMe can also be contacted: tel: 011 807 6993 and cell: 083 558 5658 a/h.