Tuesday 12 March 2013

Industry News- 12 March 2013

By: Megan Balouza (Impi)

KZN Sharks Board

In order to protect swimmers we need to reduce the environmental impact of nets. Sharks play an important role as apex predators in regulating the numbers of animals on which they prey. Nets are not only harmful to sharks but also catch Rays, Dolphins, Turtles and other sea life. The Sharks Board has worked for some time on solutions to reduce the number of nets, including drumlines, a research project with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to determine the efficacy of dolphin deterrent devices and discretionary bathing. This discretionary bathing has allowed them to keep nets out of the water for as long as two months, minimizing the chances of large-scale mortalities especially during the annual Sardine Run. In a more recent project they are investigating using its patented waveform in a shark repellent cable that would surround a bathing area with an electrical field. Physicists and electrical engineers were contracted for this research in 2010 which has since commenced.
Wideside Magazine, 1 of 4, 2012
Further information: Tel 031 566 0400

Fish conditioning lead to later danger?

As the controversy over chumming for sharks and cage diving rages on there is always a nagging doubt that we are supporting something that could lead to later danger. It is rare for a diver to be attacked by a shark unless: they are in a bait ball, in the wrong place at the wrong time or acting foolishly and dive operators who offer these extreme experiences say they have never felt in any danger. Theoretically, anything that changes the behaviour of a creature in its natural habitat is unwarranted interference, however the test of stress in a creature is whether it continues to live, eat and breed in the area and the evidence of stress-free fish is everywhere. So is it a bad thing for fish to become conditioned to the presence of divers in their private domain? Maybe as we learn about them, they learn about us and judging by behaviour once they know us, they don’t seem to mind us.
Divestyle Magazine, Nov/Dec, 2012
Further information: divestyle.co.za
Article by: Jill Holloway

Dune forest rehab in Richards Bay

Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) mines mineral sands on sensitive sub-tropical remnant coastal dunes. High standards of rehabilitation have always been a top priority for the company and restoration began when mining began on mostly bare, degraded dunes in 1977.The objective was to restore natural forest values to mined dunes. Although it takes between 18 and 24 years to re-establish the same sort of vegetation evident in the surviving forest remnants nearby, results in Richards Bay to date have been outstanding. Restoration was achieved in a 3 stage successional development. First ground cover and grasses were established on reshaped dunes, then acacia forest moved in and finally mature forest species appeared .As predicted native fauna also re-established overtime. The plant and animal life found there now form a dune forest similar to other indigenous forests along the coast. The Richards Bay experience is an object lesson – particularly the benefits that flow from progressive rehabilitation and the value of long term monitoring and research. Truly understanding and re-establishing a complex local ecosystem is a journey, it takes experience, commitment and time.
Wildside Magazine, 3 of 4, 20012
Further information: www.rbm.co.za
Email: communication@rbm.co.za

Ex- Student: Julian Parson

By: Julian Parson

After completing a year working as an overland guide I decided to further my guiding and complete my FGASA level 1 qualification. Choosing a training institute was really not tough as I have a love for the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline and had my heart set on moving up to Zululand.

Regrettably I only completed a one month, Level 1, course with Bhejane Nature Training but wish I could have stayed longer. I was really surprised about the amount of knowledge I was able to obtain in such a short period of time and the bonus was that it was not only knowledge of bush that I obtained it was also the knowledge of what to expect, and what is expected from you, once in a working situation, and how to go about your everyday duties.

Picture taken by Julian Parsons of Muzi Pan
Once I had obtained my Level 1 certificate I managed to land a dream job as a tiger fishing guide on Lake Jozini with the help from Ryan Tippett (Bhejane's head instructor), who had worked at that particular lodge as a head guide for many years. I spent a year at Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge before searching for greener pastures a little closer to my friends at Bhejane Nature Training. I now work at Hluhluwe River Lodge as the head guide and I specialize in birding and wildlife photography. When I am not running after my little feathered friends with camera in hand, I conduct big 5 game drives into the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park where I have seen some spectacular sightings, like kills by lion, wild dog and cheetah. But I think my favourite sighting to date, was on the Hluhluwe River floodplain, whilst out photographing Collard Pratincoles in flight. There was an insect hatch above a small fresh water pan which set the Pratincoles, as well as copious numbers of bats, into a feeding frenzy. They were later joined by a pair of Marsh Owls who began to catch the bats in full flight! This was the first and last time I have seen such a spectacle, and also the first time I had ever seen a Marsh Owl! Within the next year I am planning to complete my bird specialist course followed by my FGASA Level 2. Within the next 5 years I would like to have completed my FGASA Level 3 as well as my SKS birding. I also plan to start up my own photographic safaris so that I can pass on the knowledge and skills that I have obtained as a photographer as well as add to the experience with my knowledge of the bush. 
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