Conservation

For up-to-date news, activities and calendar of events please visit www.crocodileriverreserve.co.za  

This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Conservation

Activities in and around the RNC that illustrate conservation efforts. 

New herbicide for pompom weed

FOLIAR APPLICATION of Plenum to Pompom weed

  • Use only on actively growing plants with full leaf cover
  • Apply as a full cover spray to leaves and stems to the point of spray solution run-off.
  • Do not apply to foliage wet from rain or dew etc.
  • Avoid spray drift onto non-target plants.
  • Avoid fine droplet size. Use a knapsack sprayer with a solid cone nozzle (eg. Spraying systems TG-1, Delavan CE 1 or equivalent type) that will ensure an even coverage ofthe target area. Maintain a constant pressure of between 200 – 250 kPa. Maintain a distance of approximately 50 cm from the target for best coverage.
  • Rain 3 hours after application will have no effect on efficacy provided the spray has dried on the target plants.
  • Prevent drift of spray mist onto desirable plants.
  • Apply to actively growing plants. Apply until the point of run-off.
  • Plants too high for a good cover spray should be slashed and the regrowth sprayed when not less than 0,5 m high.
  • In the event of any regrowth after application, a follow-up spray should be carried out.

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There is no better time to deal with Pom Pom

We have had a good soaking rain.  And large parts of the landscape burned during the winter.  The pom pom is already growing, and can easily be spotted in the burnt veld - so grab the opportunity and get NOW, well before the flowers start.

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Report to DWIP on Initiatives to Control Alien Invasive Plants

To date the RNC has focussed almost exclusively on Pompom and Verbena. Other alien invasive pants like Seringa, Lantana, and invasive Cacti are present but have not been addressed in any meaningful way. The RNC controls Pompon and Verbena infestation at the same time, both alien plants have a strong foothold in the conservancy; they are often found together, have overlapping seasons and can be controlled with the same pesticides.

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Found in the Veld

 

Jaco Etsebeth, Hills and Dales

While driving home recently I was confronted by a magnificent snouted cobra.  It stood swaying in the middle of the track, seeming to challenge me as I stopped to grab my camera.  Then it suddenly shot off into the long grass and to my surprise, another cobra slithered over the road after it.

Cobra-from-Jaco-resized

Andrew Kock, Kyalami
I regularly cycle through the Schurveberg area and found these clear tracks in a patch of dried clay.  After asking verious experts, they concur that these are brown hyena tracks “due to the difference in size of the front and back spoor”. My cell gives an indication of size.  What is really amazing is that the location of these tracks is within 700m of the first house in a suburb of Erasmia.

Editor's note:  The brown hyena spotted by Lee Dormer in Doornrandje (VeldTalk 51) was found dead next to the R511 on 23 July.  It must have been hit by a vehicle.

Hyena tracks in Schurveberg

Eileen, Hills and Dales
I found this fascinating pattern on the trunk of a Karee tree severely burnt in a veld fire.  Karees are hardy and this one will probably survive but the damage done by fires every year is heart-breaking.

Fires and burnt karee trunks

Annelize de Klerk, Crystal Mist, Doornrandje
Hierdie yslike groot skilpad het naby ons huis oor die pad geloop.  Nog ’n bewys van die wonderlike natuur en die verskeidenheid van diere en inseklewe om ons.  Gelukkig is daar min verkeer op ons pad maar watter kans het sulke skilpaaie wanneer ons velde so brand in die winter?

Editor's note: The winter veld fires hit the Conservancy hard this year.  While some fires got out of hand when fire-breaking was attempted during the day, others were deliberately set alight at night.  Those residents who regularly respond to fight fires report a considerable cost in cut tyres, damaged vehicles and firegreens.

Skilpad found by Annelize

Sourced from VeldTalk, the official newsletter of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy

Students take to the Veld

If rocks could talk, the Conservancy would be an entire encyclopaedia.  A Rockipedia!  The local rock formations have fascinated academics, gold diggers, stone masons and ordinary citizens for decades.

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Scorpion Walk - 2/5/2010

The very entertaining scorpion fundi, Jonathan Leeming, will lead another scorpion walk in the Conservancy on Sunday 2 May. 
Jonathan's accounts of his life with scorpions are very funny and for those who don't care about a closer encounter with these creatures, it's worth joining the walk just to hear Jonathan's stories!

On top of that, Professor Pink and the Knock Knock TV team will be filming again.  The Knock Knock programme on our Spider Walk was screened twice this week on SABC3.

Date: 2 May 2010
Time: 8:30 for 9:00
Place: Waaigras, Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy
Bring: A jar, water bottle, camera, binoculars, a picnic lunch for afterwards
Wear: Walking shoes, hat, sunscreen
Cost: R50 for Adults and R20 for children.  Conservancy members: R40
Bookings and Directions:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on 082 657 2120

Events on the Conservation Calendar

NATURE WALK
Fun walk in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy. Learn to identify trees and grasses, discover interesting facts and folklore
Great for kids over 9 years.
Date: Saturday the 19th November 2011
Time: 8h00 to 10h30
Cost: R65.00 per adult and R35.00 per child
Tea, scones and cold drinks to be served afterwards
RSVP:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on 071 471-1062

 

Conservation

Bordering the Cradle of Humankind, north of the Lanseria Airport and with the Magaliesberg Mountain range dominating the northern horizon, find the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy.

The Conservancy lies centrally between Pretoria, Johannesburg and the West Rand, and is a largely unspoilt, natural area. The region, including the Cradle of Humankind, is a valuable link through to the Magaliesberg range, and therefore an important link in a conservation corridor for species migration.

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Egoli Granite Grassland - what is it?

There has been much excitement about Egoli Granite Grassland (EGG) and the opportunity for formal conservation that has opened up in the RNC.  But what is EGG?  Where does it grow? What makes it special?

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A night time visitor

A little fellow came calling in Doornandje...

Doornrandje visitor

Hedgehogs curl up into a tight ball when disturbed.  They are mainly active at night, and sometimes come out in the day at the start of the rainy season.   They hibernate between May and July - seeing this creature in April was fortunate.

They eat insects, millipedes, mice, lizards, earthworms and some fruits.  Many areas have reported a decline in hedgehog numbers, including the Conservancy.  The creatures are often captured by humans.  They are also affected by long periods of drought.

Hedgehogs have a conservation status of "near threatened". That means, close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.

Scorpion Walk

A great outing with the creepy-crawlies was had under the expert eye of one of South Africa's leading experts, Jonathan Leeming.

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Spiders in the RNC

A recent walk in the RNC by the Spider Club caused a stir.  Children were fascinated!

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Doornrandje and HIlls & Dales battle Pom-Pom

A number of residents in Doornrandjes and Hills & Dales have been seen in the veld, tackling our most virulent alien invader - the dreaded Pom-pom weed.

While the country stretches out, sighs deeply and enjoys a brief respite fom the normal pressures, December is flowering time for the Pom-pom.  It works hard to send out further rhizomes, and to form the millions of seeds it will disperse over the grasslands in the weeks to come. 

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Guide to Invader Species - Weeds

December is here, and so are the bright splashes of pink in the veld as the dreaded pom pom flowers.

Pom pom is one of the classified alien invaders that MUST be removed by law. You can - and will - be fined if you take no action against Category One Invaders.

This article explains more about herbicides, classified aliens and your responsibilities.

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Rehabilitation of Wetlands

Extensive progress has been made on the rehabilitation of wetlands in Hills and Dales (Rietfontein). 

The progress comes in spite of delays caused by tangles in the procurement process for materials through Rand Water.

There are four teams of 12 people on the job at different times – each team takes ownership of a specific ‘intervention’ from start to finish.

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Jackal Pups

The joy of observing wild creatures in the RNC is shared by many.  Here are images of young jackal pups resident in Hills and Dales. Dave Muller, the photographer,  shares his concern to maintain the balance between allowing these wild creatures space to hunt and protecting his young lambs. 

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Walks, talks and tours

The RNC’s “Conservation Calendar” has been very popular, with local residents as well as the general public.  Recent events:

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Doctoring a donga

In the late 1970s a water pipeline was laid from Northern Farm to Pelindaba, running through Hills and Dales, Roodekrans and over the Hennops River.

The construction company had no qualms about stripping a nearby property of topsoil, leaving no 65 Hills and Dales looking like a moonscape. Nature tried its best to cover the bare rock bed but big dongas developed down the slope, washing large quantities of sand and silt into the wetland and dams further down.

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Dormant Danger: the pink peril

The summer months found Lynne Clark and a team of warriors tackle the dreaded pink threat - the Pom Pom Weed.

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Just one match!

Fires are started in many ways. 

  • Arson: sheer bloody-mindedness and the thrill of seeing the veld ablaze is one reason. Plus the wilful intent to do damage to property.
  • Well-meant ignorance is a second reason: doing firebreaks during the day, even early morning, when a breeze inevitably starts up and the fire gets out of hand. Almost every new comer has made that mistake. (And old hands who should know better by now…)
  • Stupidity is another. In the past few years major fires were started when rubbish dumps were set alight in the middle of a windy day, causing major damage to neighbouring properties.

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