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 Open Letter: Aussies Stop Killing The Great White Shark

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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).
Continue reading Wild Horses of the Bot River: New Kid On The Block

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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.
Continue reading 5 Fishing Tips For The Eco-Friendly Fisherman

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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).

Continue reading Dramatic Changes On The Banks Of The Bot River Estuary

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

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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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Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach

Southern Right Whale placenta washed up on the beach
This Southern Right Whale placenta was washed up on the beach on the Southern Coast of Africa near Hermanus -- click any photo to enlarge

One beautiful sunny morning, a few days ago, while walking the long stretch of beach named Grotto Beach near Voëlklip on the Hermanus coastline, I came across this amazing sight — the after-birth of a Southern Right Whale, washed up on the beach. At least, that’s what I think it was.

The whale that is seen most often in Walker Bay is the Southern Right Whale, so my assumption is that it once belonged to a Southern Right. However, other species do make an appearance occasionally so one can’t be certain.

I didn’t know what this was at first. It looked alien lying there half buried in the sand. I took these photographs and it was only a few days later, after doing some on-line research that it finally dawned on me — it was a whale’s placenta.

You can get an idea of the size (once you’ve gotten over the gross factor) by comparing the footprint in the sand on the next photograph. At about 3 meters (10 feet) long it’s huge (3 Photographs).
Continue reading Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach

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Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

Fishing in the Bot River Estuary
Fishing in the Bot River Estuary is not what it seems . .

It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.

This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.

Conventional wisdom, and experience, has it that garrik, steenies and large mullet are the most likely catches. These along with leervis, steenbras and elf are popular angling and table fish. Continue reading Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

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