Category Archives: Environment and Nature

Battle against rhino poaching continues


The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has disclosed that 232 suspects have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching during the past year.

The arrested suspects consisted of 194 rhino poachers, 24 receivers of rhino horns, 12 couriers along with two exporters. Absolutely no buyers ended up being arrested.

Deputy Director General on biodiversity and conservation inside the department, Fundisile Mketeni, informed MPs of the fact that crimes relating to rhino poaching and sales of rhino horns was in fact grossing approximately R160 billion annually.

He stated that from 2009 and 2011; 903 reported rhinos were poached and slaughtered . In addition, he forecasted that an estimated 300 rhinos were probably going to be poached this year.

He pointed out the fact that the North West and Limpopo provinces are guilty of the highest numbers of poached rhinos.

Mketeni was speaking during a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs which was attended by over a dozen concerned organisations and individuals.

The organisations highlighted a number of challenges concerning rhino poaching in addition to proposing feasible solutions.

Mketeni revealed that the majority of the poached rhino horns happen to be destined for Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China.

He revealed that South Africa was currently at various stages of signing bilateral agreements with these countries for purposes of combating the crime.


Mtekeni expressed his dissatisfaction with regards to the deficiency of coordination between his department together with its provincial counterparts in addition to other associated departments in dealing with the issue.

He called for his department to be given centralized powers which would permit them to decisively contend with the challenge.

Mtekeni mentioned that the department needs to have its own officers trained along the lines of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

“We are looking for our own intelligence and then use it the way we want,” he was quoted saying, implying that these would be in a position to directly pursue rhino poaching syndicates outside the country.

He said they planned to set up their own officials at ports of entry in addition to train customs officials to assist in the detection of suspects preparing to leave the country.

He called for the Department of Public Works to fix, electrify and insert an electrical detection system on the fence running along the border between the Kruger National Park and Mozambique where rhino poaching activities happen to be numerous.

Committee chairman Advocate Johnny de Lange told Mtekeni that his department could take a number of powers from provincial departments and employ them on a national level.

De Lange declared that measures must be taken to avoid the further killing of rhinos.

For comments and suggestion, contact The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs directly to air your views:

Office of the Minister
Acting Chief of Staff (Head of Ministry): Mr Frans Vilakazi

Tel: 012 336 8729
Fax: 012 336 7817

Media Liaison Officer: Mr Mandla Mathebula

Cell: 083 282 6133

Office of the Deputy Minister
Chief of Staff: Ms Nomxolisi Matyana

Tel: 012 336 6507
Fax: 012 336 8311

Office of the DG
Director-General: Mr Maxwell Sirenya

Tel: 012 336 6696
Fax: 012 336 8850

Acting Director: Ms Constance Molope

Tel: 012 336 8249
Fax: 012 308 3403

Source: BuaNews


Discount on the 88 day FGASA field guide course

                                   SPECIAL OFFER

Antares is offering a 5% discount to anyone who books and pays in full before 31st December to enroll on the 88 day course starting on 9th January 2012. Book now only 5 spaces available.

Antares now offers an 88-day level 1 course on the Balule Nature Reserve. Included in the course fees are all training, board, lodging, level 1 and 2 wilderness first aid training, FGASA registration and first year membership fees, a FGASA level 1 theory exam and practical assessment.


Successful students have the opportunity to be able to register as a SITE guide with DEAT for Kruger Park and surrounding reserves

As of July 2011 the minimum length of a FGASA endorsed course will be set at 60 days plus a further 30 days for other aspects, totaling 90 days. With this in mind, Antares has restructured our programme to ensure that our long-standing endorsement with FGASA is maintained.


The course will still follow the syllabus as set out by FGASA , The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa.

The subjects that will be covered are diverse, covering topics such as astronomy, geology, anything to do with fauna and flora and a host of others. Emphasis will be placed on practical guiding techniques as well as theoretical training. Although only endorsed by FGASA to a level 1 standard, the depth of knowledge taught will be between a level 2 and level 3. The students will spend Monday-Friday learning and have the weekends in which to catch up on any extra revision they require or just to unwind and get themselves ready for the week ahead. With the increase in available time to learn about the various subjects, we will concentrate on encouraging debate and discussion about the topics, exposing students more to practical components and accessing additional media to boost knowledge levels.



To view view full course details and course provider profileclick here


COP17 gets underway in Durban


The much-anticipated COP17 climate change conference, regarded as one of the world’s most significant events, got underway in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started yesterday and ends on 9 December.

The conference has gathered together industry professionals from all over the world to debate strategies to the growing threat of global climate change.

Roughly 20 000 individuals are expected to assemble in Durban to participate in the climate talks, among them heads of state, government representatives, international organisations, entrepreneurs, businessmen, academics, activists and NGOs.


Conference outcomes


The primary goal of the discussions is to move forward the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, in addition to the Bali Action Plan, agreed upon at COP13 in 2007, as well as the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP16 last year.

“We have come a considerable ways since Copenhagen and Cancun. Durban must take us many steps forward towards a resolution that saves tomorrow today,” said President Jacob Zuma, welcoming the delegates to COP17.

A great many anticipate that the Kyoto Protocol is probably going to dominate the talks, as 2012 marks the conclusion of the first commitment period for the agreement which had been signed in 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol at present places legal commitments on nations, except for the US, China, India and Brazil who happen to be non signatories to the treaty, to cut back on greenhouse emissions by 5.2%.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, is positive that governments have arrived in Durban with the understanding of the incredible importance of the Kyoto Protocol.


“For this reason, I strongly believe that there will be an attempt to move into a second commitment period,” Figueres said, talking at a media gathering in Durban in advance of COP17’s opening day.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa stated that the necessity to renew and revise the Kyoto Protocol has grown to be vital.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who concluded a three-kilometre walk along Durban’s beachfront over the past weekend to boost consciousness with regards to rising sea levels, pointed out that South Africa was hoping to secure a legally binding agreement during the COP17 negotiations.

In a statement, Motlanthe asserted that strategies to climate change will need global input.

“The Kyoto Protocol can come to an end and that is certainly a very good reason why there ought to be another endorsement. No single nation can tackle climate change, we require a coordinated effort,” he explained.

President Jacob Zuma stated it was vital for COP17 to make sure that the Cancun Agreements, which included the establishment of a Green Climate Fund, started to be operational.


Essential for Africa


Molewa pointed out that despite the fact that Africa has added the least to the build up of greenhouse gases globally, the negative effects of climate change might possibly be felt most significantly on the continent.

As outlined by Molewa, the average African generates roughly 13 times less greenhouse gases when compared with his equal in North America. In 2007, the continent made up less than 4% of the globe’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Having said that, without mitigation and adaptation measures these statistics could quite possibly increase.



She asserted that Africa requires more sustainable development with new, clean technologies in order to avoid the environmental blunders of the developed world.

“Taking into account that 550-million people in Africa do not have access to electricity, there exists tremendous scope for Africa to become a world leader in alternative energy sources,” she explained.

These types of developments can aid in eliminating the vulnerability of African societies, and in many cases make certain that Africa becomes climate resilient.


Global cooperation and accountability


Molewa declared that a response to climate change demands global cooperation and accountability.

“The South African government acknowledges its position as the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on the continent. We are to blame for 38% of Africa’s total emissions,” she mentioned.

South Africa promises to change this.



The National Climate Change Response White Paper sets out government’s commitment to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 34% below a business as usual trajectory in 2020, and also by 40% in 2025 prior to stabilising emissions in absolute terms, and in the long run reducing them.

The African Union has partnered with South Africa to make certain that the African Pavilion at COP17 effectively presents the issues of climate change that Africa is having difficulties with.

“The effects of climate change know no border, and it has been a motivator for cooperation amongst African governments,” said Molewa.


More climate change consciousness


The UN’s Figueres explained to reporters that there is increasing momentum amongst rich and developing nations to do something to protect against global warming.

Developed countries have passed a lot more legislation and governments as well as businesses are at the same time boosting awareness on the subject of climate change.

Figueres stated it is encouraging to see governments and civil society taking action.

“Durban should mark the next milestone in the climate talks. We anticipate that a great many of the issues that leaders agreed upon in Mexico will find a way of being carried through here,” she said, “and included in this are the Green Climate Fund in addition to other matters.”



Advanced Nature Guiding and Wildlife Conservation

Nature Guiding as a professional career, has evolved steadily over the last two decades, and today is a much sought after career.

The national qualifications that are available for nature guiding are set at relatively low levels when compared to Conservation or Tourism programmes, in order to be accessible to more potential students. The working environment, in which these skills are delivered however, is one that requires guides to be confident, knowledgeable, responsible and well educated leaders. A guide working at a prestigious 5 star Game Lodge has got an enormous amount of responsibility and very high expectations from both his or her employer and paying guests.



The guides that are currently being produced through shorter training programmes, fall short of this requirement and are not viewed as employable by many employers. It is for this reason that many prestigious lodges and reserves put their guides through considerable further internal training programmes to ensure that the right skills and values are transferred before allowing them to start working. There is a clear gap between the requirements of the industry and the ability of current programmes to produce suitably qualified, mature and responsible nature guides and it is this gap that we hope to bridge with this new industry orientated programme.

The Bhejane Nature Training Advanced Nature Guiding and Wildlife Conservation programme is a unique and comprehensive 3 year programme that is the first of a new generation of industry orientated learning programmes. This programme combines the intimately related fields of Professional Nature Guiding, Conservation/Wildlife Management, Monitoring and Research, and Tourism and Hospitality. This enables the student to get a quality academic qualification whilst at the same time living and training in the bush as opposed to attending a short informal bush course with little value, or a lengthy academic programme that still leaves them unemployable.



Many Nature Conservation graduates are aware of the difficulty in finding employment without also having FGASA guiding qualifications, and this often leads to further time and expense on getting all the necessary qualifications to become employable.

Bhejane is in the unique position of being able to offer a 3 year programme that will ensure that the student can now do all of this in one place, gain valuable practical experience and qualify for an industry placement at the same time.

In addition to the benefits stated above, this is the only programme of its kind that prepares the student to work in both terrestrial and marine protected areas.



The college base camp is situated in Northern Zululand and borders the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park. Widely recognised as an area of unrivalled biodiversity, this offers the opportunity to live, study and work in one of the most diverse natural environments in Southern Africa.

The programme is suitable for anyone that is interested in working in Wildlife Tourism and Conservation, either as a Professional Nature Guide, Wildlife Monitor, Research Assistant, Conservation Volunteer Coordinator, Wildlife Manager, or Marine Guide, will benefit from this course. The course caters specifically for students that want more than just an entry level guiding qualification, and is looking for a more practical training approach than what is available through traditional academic qualifications.

Bhejane Nature Training is a fully endorsed FGASA Training Provider. (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa)


Join us today, to become a part of the Zululand Conservation Legacy . . .


View Company Profile and Courseclick here


Table Mountain named new world wonder

Parties erupted at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on Friday night as Table Mountain was provisionally labeled a New 7 Wonder of Nature following a three-year global race to decide on the world’s seven most wonderful natural places.

Amazon in South America


Based on, the Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation released the preliminary results of the competition, in which hundreds of millions of votes were cast throughout the world via mobile and internet platforms, in Zurich, Switzerland.


Halong Bay in Vietnam


The seven provisional winners, in alphabetical order, are: the Amazon in South America; Halong Bay in Vietnam; Iguazu Falls in Argentina; Jeju Island in South Korea; Komodo in Indonesia; Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines; and Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa.

“The final results will now be examined, validated and independently verified,” the New7Wonders Foundation said in a statement.


Iguazu Falls in Argentina


“Once the voting validation process is completed, at the beginning of 2012, New7Wonders will after that work together with the verified winners to arrange the official inauguration events.”

Following three years of intensive campaigning, an unprecedented volume of votes and support from South Africans and visitors alike, Table Mountain will now – pending final verification – take its place in the history books for the wonder that it is.


Jeju Island in South Korea

“This is an extraordinary moment for us,” Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille declared to the crowd gathered at the V&A Waterfront. “Our mountain, which all of us treasure, is now officially acknowledged as one of the marvels of the environment.”

De Lille described Table Mountain as “a symbolic representation of permanence in a world that is full of change. It is a symbol of the heritage that we are fortunate to have. In addition to being a symbol that reminds us that we are privileged enough to live in an incredible country with remarkable assets, providing us hope for the future.”


Komodo in Indonesia

Following a successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, as well as Cape Town having recently been declared World Design Capital 2014, South Africans can be proud of one more outstanding achievement.

Table Mountain Cableway CEO Sabine Lehmann stated it was an incredible feat for South Africa.


Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines


“I would like to give thanks to every person who spent the time to vote for Table Mountain, as well as the celebrity ambassadors – from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Springbok rugby team to every one of the journalists, musicians, comedians, actors, politicians and sports stars who campaigned on our behalf.

“Your voices were heard, and it is because of you that Table Mountain’s natural assets have been acknowledged in this popular election,” Lehmann said.


Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa

Source:, BuaNews