Category Archives: Nature

Open Letter: Aussies Stop Killing The Great White Shark

South African great white shark
The endangered great white migrates to Australian waters where a culling operation is now in progress. As top-level predators, sharks regulate the marine life they feed on by removing the sick, weak and injured – click to enlarge

Open Letter to the Honorable Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Colin Barnett:

Dear Mr. Premier,

I’m writing to you about the Australian Shark Cull Policy, which targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. This policy was initiated late last year following a spate of fatal attacks in 2011. Despite widespread criticism in Australia, you have refused to back down, claiming your catch-and-kill policy is justified.

South Africa is a world leader in shark research and the killing of great white sharks is prohibited in South African waters.

Australia should not be allowed to make unilateral policy decisions that affect the global ocean environment. Furthermore, the Australian cull policy violates international laws. It targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. An independent study has found that there is no proof that this initiative will reduce attacks and shows that it would probably have an adverse effect on the environment. Continue reading

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Wild Horses of the Bot River: New Kid On The Block

Bot River Wild Stallions are challening for leadership after “White Diamond” returns to the herd with his mare and a two-week-old foal. Watch for the kick at 48 seconds!

“Size for size, this 100 000 hectare UNESCO registered Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is home to the most complex biodiversity on our planet! Here we have some 1880 different plant species… the next richest is the South American rainforest with just 420 species per 10000 square kilometres!” — Cape Nature website

The Bot River Estuary lies on the Southern tip of Africa and is home to a magnificent herd of wild horses. It’s now low tide on the estuary with the river mouth in the background. These magnificent creatures are decended from cavalry stock released by the British administration after WWII.

Wild Horses now peacefully roam the pristine banks of the Bot River Estuary, on the eastern border of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (see 7 Images or click here for Flickr slideshow).
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5 Fishing Tips For The Eco-Friendly Fisherman

Make your next fishing trip an eco-friendly one
Make your next fishing trip an eco-friendly one

If you’re reading this, it can be assumed that you love to fish. But perhaps this is the first time you’ve stopped to consider that you can do it in a way that’s kinder to the environment.

“Keep an eye out for sensitive flora and other natural elements”

If this is the case, then please continue to find out how you can make your next fishing trip an eco-friendly one.

Fishing gear
Your fishing trip starts by packing your tackle box and it is here where your eco-friendly efforts should start as well. Get rid of all – or most – of your lead equipment and purchase biodegradable bait and line products instead. If your search for these proves unsuccessful, opt for fishing gear made from tin.
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Sunset on The Bot River Estuary #6

sunset on the Bot River Estuary
The sun dips behind the Kogelberg mountains at sunset on the Bot River Estuary – click to enlarge

It’s 17:53pm as the sun dips behind the Kogelberg mountain range.

The windless and warm conditions and the absolute silence magnify the beauty of the Bot River Estuary.

This estuarine system lies on the eastern border of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve on the Southern tip of Africa.

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Dramatic Changes On The Banks Of The Bot River Estuary

Bot River Estuary
Looking North over the Bot River Estuary, the renowned Arabella Estate is visible at centre on the opposite bank. In the middle distance, just left of centre, a group of four pelicans is feeding in the shallows – click to enlarge.

It’s amazing to see the changes that have taken place in the last six months, on the the Bot River Estuary.

Everywhere the banks of the estuary are taking on a more beach-like appearance. On clean white sand, sea shells, sea weed, red-bait and cuttlefish are in evidence.

The water tastes salty and it’s not unusual to see large shoals of tiny fish being preyed upon by diving sea birds, kestrels and duikers.

In the middle of August 2012, the mouth of the Bot River Estuary was artificially breached. This was done after consulting with the Bot River Estuary Forum (BREF), and estuarine specialists (9 Images, click here for Flickr slideshow).

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Sunset On The Bot River Estuary

Sunset on the Bot River Estuary
Sunset on the Bot River Estuary – click to enlarge

Just minutes after sunset and two hours after high tide, the skiff in the middle distance lies in shallow water about 50 meters (165 feet) off the shore line.

The estuary mouth is on the horizon to the left. Another beautiful sunset in paradise!

The Bot River Estuary lies on the southern coast of South Africa, in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, 160 kilometers (100 miles) north-east of Cape Town.

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Can South Africa Win Gold Again At The 2012 Chelsea Flower Show?

Model of South Africa's 2012 Exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in London
Model of South Africa's 2012 Exhibit to be created at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. With members of the Kirstenbosch team, from left to right: Sarah Struys; David Davidson; Kuphumla Zenze and Alison Pekeur -- click to enlarge

For the 37th year South Africa’s National Biodiversity Institute will exhibit at the famous Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, taking place in London from 22 to 26 May.

“We wanted to give people the sense of an arrival at a destination. We have to come up with a new way of representing the country every year. This year, each scene is a different place in South Africa.”
— David Davidson, Designer.

Chances are good that South Africa will win gold again — for the 33rd time.

Designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson have come up with an innovative and exciting concept which is designed to showcase South Africa’s rich floral heritage on the one hand, and on the other, South Africa’s cultural “Rainbow Nation” diversity.
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Gold In The Sky At Sunset On The Bot River Estuary

Sunset On The Bot River Estuary
Sunset On The Bot River Estuary -- click to enlarge

Here on the southern tip of Africa it’s 7:50pm and the sun is sinking on the beautiful Bot River Estuary.

One can just make out the estuary mouth at extreme left on the horizon.

The estuary mouth remains closed to the sea for long periods, sometimes years, before it opens naturally to start a new breeding cycle for the many species of fish that populate the estuary.

Image: John L Bradfield

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Rhino Horn Poaching Massacre Reaches Record Levels

The African white rhino
The African white rhino adults in this photo appear to have been de-horned as a protective measure --click to enlarge

The number of rhino poached in South Africa increased to more than 400 in the 2010-11 financial year, according to the South African National Parks.

In a 22 percent increase on the 2010 figure, the tally of rhino killed for their horns has risen to 405. A staggering 229 rhino were killed in the Kruger National Park alone. The Kruger is one of the worlds largest game parks, roughly the size of Israel. The open borders of the park link reserve areas in Zimbabwe and Mozambique to form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Poachers can enter and leave with ease.

More than 90% of the worlds white rhino are found in South Africa. White rhino are more numerous than the black rhino. There is no colour difference between the two species. The Dutch named the white rhino the “Weid mond rhino”, meaning “wide-mouth rhino”. The English interpreted “weid” to mean “white”, and thus the modern name is due to a simple misinterpretation of the Dutch name.
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World Heading For Population Of 7 Billion — Really?

Street scene in Kowloon, Hong Kong
Street scene in Kowloon, Hong Kong -- click to enlarge

The latest global population projections, published by the United Nations a few weeks ago, predict that the world will be teeming with 10.1 billion people by 2100. This is a billion more than previously estimated. Once again, there’s talk of a ticking population time bomb. No one knows if the world can sustain that many people.

Not everyone agrees with this scenario. The United States Census Bureau, which also employs sophisticated mechanisms to predict population levels, forecasts that the seven billion mark won’t be reached till next year, on the 12th of March, 2012.

So why did the UN estimate choose October 31, 2011? Why does their projection differ from the other available predictions? The truth is that a closer look at the assumptions behind the UN calculations shows that there may be perverse and contradictory reasons to blame. Many believe that it looks more like a political construct than a scientific analysis.
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