Saving South Africa’s wildlife

first_imgIn 1973 Clive Walker, James Clarke and Neville Anderson established the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), dedicated to conserving endangered species and restoring the delicate balance in southern Africa’s ecosystems.The organisation has, since then, played a major role in conserving many of Africa’s unique species.Droughts, floods, poachers and predators make survival for Africa’s wild animals a difficult affair and a growing human population encroaching on their habitats is driving many species to near extinction“We as human beings rely heavily on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems and without them we jeopardise our own wellbeing,” says Nomonde Mxhalisa, communications manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust.“People around the world can no longer ignore the fact that the environment in which we live underpins every single human need.”The EWT has worked to bring issues of conservation to the fore in terms of issues in the way of social and economic development.THE THREATDroughts, floods, poachers and predators make survival for Africa’s wild animals a difficult affair and a growing human population encroaching on their habitats is driving many species to near extinction.The quagga, which used to be a subspecies of the plains zebra or common zebra, once roamed the African landscape in large numbers. But the animal was hunted to extinction in the 1880s, when the last quagga died at the Amsterdam Zoo.Other indigenous African species such as the African wild dog and the black and white rhinoceros face the same fate. To preserve these animals, the EWT has created a number of programmes targeting threats such as poaching, deforestation, disease, traditional migration route interference, and mitigating the impact that human involvement is having on their habitats.The Riverine Rabbit or Vleihaas is South Africa’s second most endangered animal after the De Winton’s Golden Mole. Pictured above is a juvenile Riverine Rabbit. (image: Endangered Wildlife Trust)PROJECTSMost animals are suited to very limited environments; humans however can adapt environments to suit their needs, and with a growing human population needing food and other resources, natural areas are getting smaller and smaller. Animals that lose their habitats often can’t survive this encroachment and can eventually go extinct. Recognising that humans and animals need to share environments the EWT works on programmes to teach communities, like farmers, how to run their farms without driving the animals out.The Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Programme, involving the Livestock Guarding Dog Project aims to reduce this kind of human/animal conflict.“We often deal with a great deal of human/wildlife conflict particularly when it comes to our work with carnivores,” Mxhalisa explains.“We have solved these issues however by introducing mitigation measures such as the livestock guarding dogs that we encourage farmers to use to ward against their livestock being eaten by various carnivores.”The Livestock Guarding Dog Project encourages farmers to use guard dogs to drive predators away, instead of shooting the animals or poisoning them (images: Endangered Wildlife Trust)Livestock farmers need to protect their domestic animals; but these animals are easy prey for carnivores such as lions, leopards, hyenas, wildcats and the now endangered African wild dog and cheetah. The programme encourages farmers to use guard dogs to drive predators away, instead of shooting the animals or poisoning them.The Livestock Guarding Dog Project has, since it was taken over by the EWT in 2008, helped farmers reduce their annual losses from an average of R3.4-million, to about R150 000.“. . . The work we do is literally bringing amazing creatures back from the brink of extinction and that means we’ve bought more time for all people to enjoy these species and to continue to reap the benefits of living in ecosystems that are healthy and thriving,” says Mxhalisa.“Many of the EWT’s staff live and breathe care for the environment.“Many of us are idealists who want to make a difference, to leave a real and positive mark on the world. We believe the work is important and the results and successes we have keep us pushing forward.”Another project, the African Crane Conservation Programme, in partnership with the International Crane Foundation, helps to ensure the sustainability of wetland, grassland and Karoo ecosystems that crane species such as the Blue Crane, South Africa’s national bird, depend on.PLAY YOUR PART“You can make a difference to the environment simply by not littering, not wasting water or electricity, disposing of rubbish and oil correctly and spreading the word that you are forever linked to your environment and without it we will suffer,” says Mxhalisa.The EWT also regularly holds talks “about biodiversity and conservation at the Country Club Johannesburg and events that commemorate the various wildlife and biodiversity days that take place during the year”.Along with individual action, the EWT needs funds to manage and run its programmes; it accepts corporate sponsorships and private donations. Corporate sponsors can contact Debbie Thiart on [email protected] or call her on +27 (0) 11 372 3600.For more information on the organisation’s programmes and lectures, or how to donate, visit its website or call +27 (0) 11 372 3600/1/2/3.last_img read more

Metro of the Month: San Francisco

first_imgTo learn more about San Francisco and other metro economies, please go to:  SHRM Metro Economic Outlooks Health care and tourism are two of the big contributors to the San Francisco area’s economy, and technology giants such as Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn – all headquartered nearby in Silicon Valley – have conducted expansions recently in the San Francisco metro area.  With job creation steady as of late, city officials have set their sights on creating more places for workers to live, led by a plan to build 30,000 new housing units in San Francisco by 2020. One-third of those units would be permanently designated as affordable for low-income residents, and more than half of the new units will be priced for middle-income residents. Some of the Fortune 500 members based in the San Francisco area include Pacific Gas & Electric, clothing retailer Gap Inc. and financial interest Charles Schwab. The San Francisco metro region spans nine counties in Northern California.  In San Francisco alone, the city’s fast-growing technology sector is home to more than 2,200 companies that employ more than 58,000 workers. One of the city’s homegrown tech companies, Salesforce.com, added 1,000 local jobs in 2014, and ride-sharing service Uber is in the midst of building a new, 422,000-square-foot headquarters in the Mission Bay neighborhood. last_img read more

Proposal to Relocate Bus Park in Downtown Kingston

first_imgHis Worship the Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, says a proposal to relocate the bus terminus at Parade, downtown Kingston, is part of plans to facilitate the establishment of a recreational area.Speaking with JIS News, Mayor Williams informed that the beautification of the area, which will be undertaken as part of the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, will complement the numerous historical buildings in the area.“It will add value to the tourism product… and will also increase commerce and add value to the rich history in the space,” he said.Some of the historical buildings downtown include Ward Theatre, Simón Bolίvar Cultural Centre, Coke Memorial Methodist Church, Kingston Parish Church, and the Saint William Grant Park. Other areas include Liberty Hall and the Houses of Parliament.Mayor Williams told JIS News that possible areas for the relocation of the bus terminus include the Darling Street and Pechon Street bus termini.He said the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation is now seeking funding for the project.“I believe we can make that into one very good transport centre and make the parade a space for pedestrians,” Mayor Williams shared.He is also encouraging the Ministries of Transport and Mining, and Tourism, “and all the agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the church to come on board and push the idea of removing the buses from the space”.last_img read more

Gehlot conducts aerial survey of floodhit areas in Rajasthan

first_imgJaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday conducted an aerial survey of flood-hit areas in Kota, Jhalawar, Bundi and Dholpur districts, officials said. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also visited flood-hit areas of Kota and assured people that all possible steps will be taken to provide them relief, they said. Gehlot, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Bhanwar Lal Meghwal and state’s Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal conducted the aerial survey in a helicopter, the officials said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ After the survey, Gehlot told reporters in Kota that the flood situation in Rajasthan is not as grave as that of Assam and Bihar, and assured quick relief and assistance to the affected people. “The aerial survey was undertaken to take stock of the flood situation in Kota, Jhalawar, Bundi and Dholpur and fortunately it is not as grave as that of Bihar and Assam,” he said, adding that his government stands by the people in this hour of need. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The chief minister said rain-related incidents in Rajasthan have so far claimed 54 lives and the rainfall increased 40 per cent above the normal in this season. The discharge of water from overflowing dams in Madhya Pradesh has worsened the situation in Kota, Jhalawar and nearby areas. Gehlot said he contacted Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the ministers concerned, and chief secretaries of both the states are in constant touch to monitor the situation. On the relief package to the flood affected people, Gehlot said the state government is committed to extend support to the victims and if required further assistance will be sought from the Centre. When asked about the 350 students and 50 teachers trapped in a school building in Chittorgarh, the chief minister said possibilities are being examined to airlift the trapped students and teachers by a helicopter. Urban development and housing minister Dhariwal assured rehabilitation of the residents living in low-lying areas near the Chambal river. The minister said the state government is ready to allot land for houses to the people living in low-lying areas but some people are adamant on not leaving their places. As many as 3,600 people have been successfully rehabilitated in Kota, Dhariwal said. Disaster management and relief minister Bhanwar Lal said a survey will be carried out for assessment of loss and damage in the flood affected areas and compensation as per norms will be disbursed to the victims. Nearly 5,000 people have been shifted from low-lying areas to safer places since Saturday by teams of the Army, NDRF and the SDRF. Additional Chief Secretary P K Goyal is camping in Kota and looking after relief work.last_img read more