Help The Park Count Its Carnivores
The Kruger National Park is appealing for more entries in the Cheetah and Wild Dog census. Launched in October last year, the census uses the carnivores’ individual coat markings to count the number of animals in the park.
The public are encouraged to send in any photos of Wild Dogs or Cheetahs taken in the Kruger National Park and adjoining private nature reserves.
The three entries most useful to the scientists will be rewarded with two night’s stay at one of three luxury lodges, and nine other entrants will receive photographic hampers.
To date, almost 160 entries have been received, the majority of which are wild dog photos. According to Lucy Kemp, who is coordinating the census, they are especially looking for cheetah photos and photos taken in the far north of the park. She says that they have a single report of a pack of 20 wild dogs, seen by the Vlakteplaas ranger just before Christmas, that they are hoping to be able to identify from public photographs.
The dogs are believed to have entered the park from Mozambique. Packs are also known from the Phalaborwa and Letaba regions, and more images of these would be helpful. But Kemp adds that all photographs can be useful. “Send whatever you’ve got.
” Even partial photos can sometimes help confirm the identity of individual animals, and the prizes are being awarded not for the most beautiful images, but those that help the scientists the most. Videos are also extremely helpful to the scientists, as they will often show both sides of animal. This is the second cheetah census carried out in the park and the fifth wild dog census.
Digital entries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, while photos, slides and videos can be sent to the “Wild Dog and Cheetah Project” P O Box 10, Skukuza, 1350.
The competition closes at the end of April. Entry forms and brochures with more information are available at rest camps and gates.
Gospel singers get back to nature
The soccer stadium at Skukuza resounded with joyful praise on February 13, 2005 when Gospel Gold, SABC 1’s flagship gospel music programme, held a concert there. Over 2,000 people watched gospel stars Deborah, Incadweni, Izimbongi ZikaJehovah and Sipho Makhabane sing their hearts out. Several local groups also joined in the concert.
At least four programmes of Gospel Gold will be recorded in the Kruger National Park, and are due to be screened on SABC1 on Sunday mornings next month. According to the producer of the show, Tennysen Legethe, “Going to Kruger is in line with our commitment to take the programme to the communities.
In the past few months we have been to the Cape, Durban, Free State and now we are in Mpumalanga.” KNP executive director Dr Bandile Mkhize said, “I believe the Kruger National Park provides the perfect setting for those people who want to discover themselves and take their rightful place among all the natural wonders of God’s Creation.” The Kruger episodes are due to be the beginning of a new campaign for the show, “Back to God, Back to Nature.”
Silt Impact Study
The site inspection for the proposed study of the effect that the silt in the Phalaborwa barrage is having on the Olifants River attracted 12 consultants on February 14, 2005. They were debriefed on the scope of work and taken on a trip to the barrage to inspect the sediment in the dam. It was agreed that although the published date for tender documents to be submitted was set for March 7, this should be extended to April 7, 2005.
According to Dr Thomas Gyedu-Ababio, river manager for the Kruger National Park, the study should help to produce a proper management plan for the barrage that will improve the health of the river. He hopes that the proposed study will be of sufficient length to cover the river flow in all seasons, from heavy summer flows to drier winters.
Proposed name changes: Requests were made to the Limpopo Provincial Geographical Names Committee to change names in Limpopo:
- Olifants river to Lepelle Rivier
- Nyl river to Mogalakwena River
- Hout river to Mowadi River
- Bloed river to Molaudzi Rivier
- Sand river to Polokwane River
- Blyde river to Mutlatse River
Comments can be addressed to Enoch Mathabatha, Department of Sport, Art and Culture, Private Bag X 9485, PIETERSBURG, 0700