Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unsung Hero

By pure fluke I was standing on the banks of the Umgeni today when I noticed a small team of litter collectors. When they finally heaved their bags up the steep embankment I asked who they represented. “I’m just a private citizen” said a modest Craig Dunn.” I got tired of driving by here each day and viewing all the litter. Today I brought three of my staff and in one and a half hours we picked up sixty bags of litter”
Now there’s dedication for you. Well done! ( See "Drowning in Rubbish" below)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bin It?

The Durban Metro has kindly placed these bins for recyled materials on their premier beach. An odd place one would think as who comes to the beach with their spare cardboard plastic and tins. Although they are clearly marked it appears that many people remain illiterate. If one takes a peek in the bins each one is filled with the same gooey mixture of polystyrene fast food cartons, tin cans, plastic bottles and other unmentionables. A strange world we live in indeed

Friday, May 16, 2008

Snakes Alive

Durban's Fitzsimons Snake Park has been around for seventy years. As a young boy growing up in the Eastern Cape I used to catch snakes and send them by train to the park for pocket money. This week the Sherrif of the court issued them with an eviction notice. Apparently the city had warned the owners a year ago that the building would be demolished as part of the beacfront renewal plan. For some reason this was not communicated to the staff running the park. They now have three days to relocate four thousand animals from mice to pythons and crocs. I wonder if the adjoining beach will retain the Snake Park name. What a shame the beautiful wall mural pictured above will probably end up on a landfill site. "The times they certainly are a changing! "

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where's Polly Gone

The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus)is in trouble. Trouble is there are only about 1 000 of these wild birds left in the entire world. So each year a dedicated band of bird lovers go out in the freezing cold and attempt to count what's left of these rare birds. This year I joined these happy campers and went in search of this noisy bird. The main problem is as usual loss of habitat. Our pioneering forefathers were probably singing a version of Monty Pythons "I'm a Lumberjack song when they decimated massive forests of yellow wood trees so the gentile folk of towns like Pietermaritzburg could have nice wooden floors and furniture. Cape Parrots only nest and feed in old yellow wood trees. Hundreds more were captured for collectors to keep in cages around the world. Today a breeding pair can easily fetch R120 000. We eventually found a small flock (50-60) of these birds feasting on exotic pecan nut trees in the Bulwer area of South Africa. Filming them was no easy task but with patience and much strain on the old neck muscles we got the shots. Hopefully the numbers are stable for now but the day that endangered "tick" is removed from their species is a long way off.
(One week Later)
IOL Myrtle Ryan May 18 2008
Six men who cut down 86 yellowwood trees - some as old as 500 years - in the Gongqo-Gongqo State Forest near Umzimkulu in 2001, were given stiff jail sentences this week. Victor Terblanche, 65, and his sons Morne, 35, and Pierre, 39, were sentenced to an effective eight years' imprisonment, while their accomplices, Chief Wilson Ntlabathi, 66, Eric Sithole, 58, and Siphiwe Satywa, 68, received effective five-year jail terms. Chairperson of the KZN Wildlife Crime Working Group Rod Potter said "This case is the first of its kind in the country, both in the magnitude of the offence and seriousness of the damage to the forest, comparable to environmental rape" .