Kruger Park News In Short

Mpumalanga Vaccinates Animals Against Rabies

Nearly 80 000 dogs, cats and other domestic animals have been vaccinated against the potentially fatal rabies disease in Mpumalanga. The provincial department of agriculture and land affairs targeted certain high-risk areas near the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal during November and December for their vaccination campaign. The animals were vaccinated free of charge. (Bua News)

Construction of R142m Coastal Route Begins

Construction of the coastal route between East London and Port Elizabeth has begun in a R142 million project which will see development increase in the Eastern Cape.

The R72 route will provide a vital arterial to the area, said MEC for safety, liaison, roads and transport, Thobile Mhlahlo at the handing over of the construction site to the contractors on Friday. Mhlahlo said the venture was critical in providing not only access to the Eastern Cape during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but tourism to the two cities and Coega.

The coastal road will run through the Ncanarha interchange on the N2 to the Nahoon interchange on the N2 in East London, covering a 30km stretch from the East London Airport to Lilyvale. The R142 million Turnaround Strategy will also include extending the two bridges at Bushman's River and the bridge over Kasouga River to be completed by January 2009.

'The East London Airport, Lilyvale Road is the start of our major rehabilitation programme, an amount of R5 million has been budgeted for the current financial year. 'The rehabilitation of Ncanarha in Fonteinskloof is planned to start in 2008 and completed early in 2010,' said Mr Mhlahlo. (Bua News)

10 billion Fund to Help Curb Global Warming

A five-year $10 billion fund is to help support efforts in developing countries to combat global warming. Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda unveiled the fund, on Saturday, January 19, 2008, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 in Davos, Switzerland, ensuring that top priority is given to climate change.

In addition, Japan aims to create a new multilateral fund with the United States and the United Kingdom to mitigate changes in the earth's climate as a result of global warming, Fukuda said. Calling it the "Cool Earth Partnership", prime minister Fukuda, who will chair the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit later in the year, said Japan will cooperate actively with developing countries' efforts to reduce emissions, such as those to enhance energy efficiency.

The fund, Fukuda said, will start disbursing funds this year and will set aside up to $8 billion for assistance in climate change mitigation and up to $2 billion for grants, aid and technical assistance for countries switching to clean energy. Furthermore he said that Japan will also be investing about $30 billion in research and development in the environment and energy sectors over the next five years. (Bua News)

Fire Research Programme Seeks Volunteers

From April 1 to 31, 2008 the services of three full-time volunteers are required for detailed vegetation surveys along selected transects in the SavFIRE programme in the Satara area of the Kruger National Park. The basis of the work will be looking at the grass species composition and tree species along transects set out in the SavFIRE programme.

This is pre-fire vegetation survey, looking at the effect that the fire treatments have on the vegetation. Amongst the data that will be collected along these transects will be grass biomass using a disk-pasture meter and looking at the characterisation of fuel, such as the presence of logs etc. All of the data collected will be captured using a Cybertracker system.

Volunteers will be trained in advance on the survey method and entering data onto the Cybertracker. Volunteers should be fit and healthy and able to walk in field conditions on uneven terrain and in long grass for up to seven kilometres per day. A working knowledge of different grasses will be an advantage as many grass species will need to be identified during the surveys.

Accommodation will be provided in the form of tents in the Skukuza research camp and volunteers must be prepared to camp with all their own equipment including bedding. Preference will be given to South African graduates with savanna experience. Volunteers who have been selected will be notified by mid March 2008.

Volunteers MUST be able to stay for the FULL MONTH of April as they will be trained in the field survey methods. Only volunteers that can stay for the duration of the survey will be selected. For more information on SavFIRE programme please visit the following website:

Please send a detailed CV and a brief motivation as to why you will be a suitable volunteer for this survey to: Michele Hofmeyr, research manager: science awareness, South African National Parks Scientific Services Private Bag X 402, Skukuza, 1350 or call 013 7354240 (fax 013 7354055).

Mozambican, SA Farmers Partner to Grow Sugarcane

The Mozambican government will donate 29 000 hectares of land to small scale sugarcane farmers in both Mozambique and South Africa over the next three years. Eighty South African farmers in Tonga, near the Mozambican border in Mpumalanga, are being trained by fertiliser company Omnia Hectorspruit in sugarcane production.

Fifty of the farmers have already completed their training and are in Mozambique training smallscale farmers there. 'We also provide full scale training in soil analysis and help them with marketing and management,' said Omnia sales representative Wally Coetzer. Omnia has signed a 10-year contract to supply fertiliser for the project. The project was initiated by the Mozambican farmers in 2001 when they saw the success of the smallscale sugar farming project on the South African side of the border.

At the time, Omnia was training 1 300 small scale farmers in Tonga to grow sugar. The farmers had been given eight hectares of land each by the South African government. The agricultural departments of South Africa and Mozambique then agreed that the Mozambican farmers receive similar support because it was of benefit to both countries. 'Each one of the farmers will be given 100 hectares of land in Mozambique to plant their sugarcane.

We know this is not a lot of land, but imagine being used to planting on eight hectares and suddenly you have 100 hectares of land at your disposal,' Mr Coetzer said. He said the project will be implemented in three phases, starting with 10 000 hectares this year, 10 000 hectares next year and 9 000 hectares when a new dam is built in the area. The farmers will use water from the Corumana Dam to irrigate the 10 000 hectares of land that will be planted in August. (Bua News)

Kruger National Park - South African Safari