white rhino zululand conservation isimangaliso

Rhino Poachers Get Jailed

Two Rhino Poachers Get Jailed: Eleven Years Each

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo has issued a statement regarding two Mozambican’s arrested in the Kruger National Park in October 2014.

The pair was discovered by field rangers in the Lower Sabi section of the Kruger National Park. They were armed with a hunting rifle and an axe and were apprehended on the scene and taken into custody, where they were charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition as well as trespassing.

Sentencing was handed down in the White River Magistrates Court on Monday 31 August 2015. Each poacher was sentenced to eleven years for possessing an unlicensed firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, as well as trespassing.

Brigadier Naidoo goes on to say:

Protecting the country’s wildlife is a priority crime for the South African Police Service and this conviction is indicative of how our members work tirelessly to ensure that criminals pay for their crimes.

This conviction will serve as a deterrent to other would-be poachers.

In a statement released by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, there have been 749 rhino poached this year, of which 544 were in the Kruger Park.

Photo Credit: Africa Geographic

Photo Credit: Africa Geographic

While this is indeed good news, clearly something drastic has to be done about the never ending slaughter. In a drastic move, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have started a rhino de-horning programme on the Western Shores section of the park.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis said in a recent interview:

The Park…..has experienced an unprecedented surge in rhino poaching over the last 24 months – often with simultaneous multiple poaching incidents. As a considered response, and after in-depth discussion, reflection and specialist consultation, the iSimangaliso Authority, together with our conservation partners EKZNW, is instigating additional strategies and interventions to bolster rhino security in sections of the park where they are most under threat and vulnerable to rhino poachers.

This week saw the conclusion of the de-horning of black and white rhino on iSimangaliso’s western shores. The task was undertaken by Dr Dave Cooper of EKZN, and was assisted by Dr Mike Kock and his team from the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science at University of Pretoria.

Each procedure takes about 20min, and renders the rhino useless to poachers.

Zaloumis goes on to say:

…the support of conservation-minded local communities has led to significant victories in the struggle against rhino poaching around the park. iSimangaliso and EKZNW will continue to consider all developing strategies that work towards the stopping of this onslaught against defenceless animals and South Africa’s natural heritage. Removing the Western Shores rhinos’ horns has now given them a better chance of survival.

Article Source: africageographic.com

double breach deep sea adventures St Lucia Tours t/a Advantage

Advantage Tours St Lucia

Established in 1991, Advantage Tours St Lucia obtained a permit for boat based whale watching since 1998.

In this year they also launched their Hippo & Croc estuary boat cruises, having been granted an operating permit from KZN Wildlife. As an iSimangaliso Concessionaire in St Lucia ideally places Advantage within the greater iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

They offer Hippo & Croc Tours on the St Lucia Estuary, with 2 hour tours 3 to 4 times daily. Their vessel has high sides for added safety making it child friendly and safe.

On hand is a full cash bar, and there are both ladies and gents toilet facilities available. There is ample room for the avid photographer to move around, with plenty opportunity to capture the magic of the estuary.

The prolific bird life over the St Lucia shores is nothing short of stunning, with over 526 different species counted to date, ranging from the smallest Malachite Kingfisher of between 10-13cm, to the Goliath Heron with it’s wingspan of close to 2.3m…the majesty of the Fish Eagle with his Soul stirring cry…truly the voice of Africa.

There are Hippo’s and Crocs a-plenty, Waterbuck, Kudu, Duiker, Zebras., and should you want to know anything about the animals, birds, or just general info on the estuarine system, the friendly and knowledgeable skipper and guide is on hand to assist.

Special Features:

  • Wheel Chair Friendly
  • Child Safe
  • Cash Bar on Hand

Estuary Cruises run throughout the year, and to avoid disappointment bookings are essential.

Richards Bay Guest House Zululand

eSangweni Guest House Richards Bay

eSangweni Guest House Richards Bay is freshly renovated and offer comfortable and tastefully decorated bedrooms.

Set in the tranquil suburb of Birdswood, you are conveniently only a few minutes from the airport, and a short drive away you have a choice of restaurants and shops in a modern regional shopping mall.

Come enjoy a comfortable and relaxed stay in one of our individually decorated en-suite rooms;

Set up base-camp with us, and explore the sights and sounds that Zululand has to offer - Amanda, owner of eSangweni

The Richards Bay Small Craft Harbour has a vibrant leisure area filled with restaurants and pubs, ideal for long afternoons and evenings relaxing with friends.

The local beach has been declared one of 41 South African beaches and five marinas awarded the international Blue Flag status for excelling in safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and environmental information and management.

Exploring further afield, the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is only 76km away, along with the St Lucia Wetlands World Heritage Site, Cape Vidal and much more just an easy day trip away.

After a busy day exploring, unwind by the swimming pool and relax in their carefully tended garden.



Image Source: Gwynne Howells iSimangaliso

The Ancient Cycle Of Life

The following article is by Gwynne Howells, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

November in iSimangaliso Wetland Park heralds the beginning of one of the most special and awe-inspiring miracles of this world heritage site – the nesting of endangered turtles on the 220km golden shoreline. Annually, between the months of November and March, leatherback and loggerhead turtles haul their massive bodies out of the Indian Ocean and up to the base of the dunes, to lay their eggs.

In this most ancient cycle of life, turtles return with almost magical accuracy to the very same beach where they hatched.

Of the seven species of marine turtles worldwide, iSimangaliso’s protected coastline has five species, and its pristine beaches comprise one of the last significant laying sites in Africa for loggerheads and leatherbacks.

Turtle monitoring has been undertaken in the Park since the 1960’s, with turtles being measured and tagged. The turtles of iSimangaliso have received significant conservation attention, producing a noteworthy increase in the loggerhead turtle population.

“With less than 100 laying females coming ashore each year, iSimangaliso’s leatherback turtles, the most southern population in the world, are rarer than black rhino and critically endangered.

This means they could go extinct in our lifetime. Having survived aeons and ice ages along with rhinos, and at a time when over 1000 biological species are going extinct globally every year, their future survival lies with all of us,” said iSimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis. “As site managers, our challenge is that once they leave our shores and swim across the high seas, they undertake epic journeys, travelling as far as Australia and India.

During these journeys, which occur between nesting periods, the leatherbacks spend their time foraging. They feed on pelagic (open ocean) invertebrates such as jellyfish and this makes them extremely vulnerable to threats such as long line fishing methods and pollution.

Plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish by these feeding animals, ultimately killing the animals that ingest them.”

Summery statistics for Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles nesting in iSimangaliso
Population Size 700 females per season 70 females per season
Population trend Increasing Stable
Size (average shell length) 86cm 160cm
Diet of adult turtles crabs, snails and starfish jellyfish
Age to sexual maturity 36 years 12 years
Breeding frequency (number of years between nesting seasons) 3 years 3 years
Reproductive lifespan (number of years between first and last nesting) 18 years 16 years
Number of eggs per female over a nesting season 390 eggs 700 eggs
Emergence success (percentage eggs that produce viable hatchlings) 80% 70%
Number of hatchlings produced per female per season 300 hatchlings 480 hatchlings
Total hatchlings produced per year 63 000-144 000 36 000-52 000
Article Source: Richard Branson

Animals in Captivity

I’ve instructed Virgin Holidays not to deal with any organisation that do not pledge that they will never again take cetaceans from the sea. We hope other holiday companies will follow suit. – Richards Branson

Virgin Holidays will no longer book with any organisation that won’t guarantee that they won’t display dolphins and whales that are taken from the wild.

This includes any park or aquarium that takes the orcas, belugas, false killer whales, pilot whales, and dolphins caught around the world. Countries such as Cuba, Honduras, Russia, Japan, and the Solomon Islands openly catch dolphins and whales for the display trade, and others such as Mexico are lax in allowing dolphin brokers to get “scientific research” permits for capture.

Branson goes on to say:

Since – I believe – that animals bred in captivity cannot safely be released, we will examine what is best to do with this issue and others in the engagement process. As part of the process I will personally visit some of these facilities around the world.

Article Source: virgin.com

Branson on Google+

Also sourced from: seattle-pi

Malaria Prevention this Summer

With the holiday season nearly upon us, many people will be heading to warm holiday areas in and around South Africa. But warm weather can also bring out the mosquitoes and sometimes the risk of malaria, especially in the hot tropical areas.

If you’re going to be in an area with the risk of malaria, make sure you and your family do what you can to avoid the disease.

Malaria Africa ZululandMalaria is a disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is carried by mosquitoes. If you have travelled to a malaria area, you need to keep a watchful eye afterwards for symptoms and signs of malaria because malaria can make you become very sick and you may even die if you don’t get the right treatment for your condition.

While malaria still occurs in South Africa, it’s preventable and treatable. Not all mosquitoes carry malaria. Keep in mind these five aspects of preventing malaria:

A. Awareness

B. Bite prevention

C. Compliance to chemoprophylaxis medicine as prescribed

D. Detection

E. Effective treatment

Article Source: Discovery Health 

For more information on Malaria and treatments go to National Department of Health


NY Antique Dealer Jailed for Rhino Horn & Ivory Products

This is indeed good news, but sadly still a drop in the ocean. A New York antiques dealer was sentenced on 5 December 2013 for conspiracy to smuggle Asian artefacts made from rhino horns and ivory.

The antiques dealer, Qiang Wang, was sentenced to three years and one month with a further three years supervised release by a United States federal court.

This followed his arrest  in February 2013 as a result of “Operation Crash”, an ongoing nationwide effort led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Justice Department to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

Wang worked with two Chinese nationals to source Asian artifacts made from rhino horn and elephant ivory from auction houses and galleries in the United States for the purpose of smuggling these items to China.

Wang sent these items using the U.S. Postal Service and express mail services. He made false customs declarations, and knowingly exported rhino horn and ivory without USFWS approval or valid CITES export permits.

In a statement released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe:

This slaughter is fueled by illegal trade, including that exposed by Operation Crash.

We will continue to work relentlessly across the United States government and with our international partners to crack down on poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Article Source: Annamiticus

st lucia estuary zululand

iSimangaliso gets clean audit

The 2013 audit for iSimangaliso has been released, and the Auditor-General has given a thumbs up to a clean audit and performance review.

Covering a financial as well as performance review, the audit confirms iSimangaliso has achieved its objectives committed to in its business plan submitted to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and National Parliament.

Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999, the iSimangaliso of today is a far cry from its early beginnings in almost every respect.

The majority of land claims have been settled, eco-systems functioning has been largely restored and thousands of hectares of plantations removed, almost all previously existing species including the ‘Big 5’ have been reintroduced, extensive road and tourism facitlities developed and/or refurbished, and over 350 km of big game fencing erected.

This has been underpinned by significant job creation, skills transfer and above average tourism growth.

— iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

This has been achieved through a careful balance between conservation and development, ensuring the Park’s core universal values of eco systems, biodiversity and natural beauty are honoured.

iSimangaliso has shown us that at a time when conservation budgets are at their lowest, and there are so many other priorities globally, parks can still prevail.

–Dr Ian Player, renowned conservationist

Article Source: iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

dungbeetle iSimangaliso

Dung Beetles Use Milky Way for Navigation

From iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority: Dung beetles are a curious lot – their choice of home and diet may be less than attractive but to watch these incredible architects of faecal matter – nature’s own pooper-scoopers – is enchanting.

They’ve been around for some 40 million years and there are no fewer than 10 000 known species in the world (possibly even three times that number).

iSimangaliso has some 140 of these, doing a tremendous job in dissipating the many tonnes of manure that would otherwise pile up on the landscape.

Imagine a world without them… we’d be knee deep in the stuff. Certain beetles are known to be species-specific and have ‘an exquisite sense of smell’ according to one researcher – they can sniff out the excretions of say a rhino amongst the many other aromas in the air, and hone in their chosen delicacy.

Observers may have wondered how they know where to go with that giant ball of poo and a fascinating discovery published earlier this year by Professor Marcus Byrne and associates from Wits University revealed that dung beetles are the first animals proven to use the Milky Way for orientation.

The dung beetle is now the first animal proven to use the light of the milky way for orientation and navigation.

The vast and dim milky glow of our home galaxy provides a good source of orientation when the Sun or a bright Moon isn’t available.

The dung beetles don’t care which direction they’re going in; they just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile. Professor Marcus Byrne from Wits University.

dungbeetle iSimangaliso

Image Source: iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority