1. What is considered as sacred in our area in terms of conservation? Is it a specific species of wildlife or flora or wetlands or……?
The value of all indigenous species, whether plants or animals, is usually measured by its scarcity. Some species are more “valuable” because they are more endangered.In our area, great emphasis is placed on protecting the Oribi. Another critical issue is the protection of our water supplies and in this regard wetlands plays a critical role.
2. What is the difference between “biodiversity”, “habitat” and “ecology”?
Biodiversity is all living things. A habitat is the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism. Ecology is the relationship between living things and the physical environment.
3. What is the biggest sin – owing to a lack of knowledge or experience – that one can do regarding conservation on our properties?
Allowing invasive species to dominate indigenous species.Alien plants are very difficult to control it is an expensive exercise and is very labour intensive. Yet it is the land owner’s responsibility to control these plants. There is as very well written book on Problem plants of South Africa by Clive Bromilouw. This book has photo of the different Alien plants as well as problem indigenous plants of South Africa.
Pertaining to the laws of removal of alien plants please refer to the attached National Environmental Management Act 2004 (Act No.10 of 2004). The Alien and Invasive Species Regulations amended in (2014) provides a list of species that are declared weeds and invader plants.
The Ethekwini Municipality also has very good brochures on alien plants. You can find them on http://www.durban.gov.za/City_Services/development_planning_management/environmental_planning_climate_protection/Publications/Pages/default.aspx
Alien plants are eradicated either by removal, poison or bio-control.
4. We believe that fires are a major issue in our area. Please help with all the rules and regulations.
All legislation regarding fires, is governed by the National Veld and Forest fire Act No. 101 1998. The implementation organization is the Lions River Fire Protection Association they are responsible for protection, prevention, management and extinguishing of veld fires through improved organization and communication among its members. Please visit their website for information www.lionsriverfpa.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.orgAnother source information on fires is at http://www.firestop.co.za/
5. We have seen in your literature that managed fires should be stopped 20 meters from the boundary of our indigenous forests. This seem not to be the practice in the area and can this be fixed?
Yes, we recommend 20 metres. It is very important to create a buffer zone next to the indigenous forest that will ensure that the forest boundary does not shrink over time due to fire. People who break the boundary protection regulations are breaking the law. Read more about the best practises in this regard – click here.
6. Road signs and Midlands Meander signage/boards are not always well maintained. Is it the Conservancies’ job to look after this?
Conservancies have no legal obligation to look after road signs. It is either the responsibility of the local Roads Department or the landowner.Any boards that need to be put up on roads are the Municipality responsibility.But you can volunteer to help – contact you Conservancy in this regard.
7. Litter is always a problem – we do not see boards next to our roads to help combatting this problem.
Yes, this is an ever-ongoing educational process to get all road users not to just dump litter. The bulk of all litter next to our roads, comes from food packaging. Our Conservancy works with the local Municipality to provide more bins and signage, next to our roads. We have had some successes in this regard.
8. If there is for example, Black Wattle on my property and next door on my neighbour’s farm, do we have to eradicate every plant? How come?
In terms of the law (NEMBA) everyone is supposed to eradicate all alien species. In practice this is impossible. The best you can do is control. Set up a management and eradication plan with your neighbours. This can be part of a Conservancy project.
9. Wildlife can damage our garden plants – porcupines and arum lilies for example. What is the solution?
Make a choice: do you want porcupines or arum lilies? In simpler cases, as with moles, it helps to lay down small-hole wire netting 20cm below the surface before planting.
10. If I see a plant that I believe is a weed and should be eradicated, how do I get help in identifying the plant and the way to get rid of it?
Refer to the website address for alien plants (above)and ask your Conservancy for help.
11. We may do our best to get rid of an alien species, e.g. buck weed, and then we may see no attempt is made to eradicate the buck weed in a big plantation. What do we do with our emotions?
Ask the Conservancy to report it to the local DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) office.
12. We see many foreign trees in the area – planted as focus plants – and they create a beautiful and unique ambience. Can we plant more of these?
Almost every alien tree has an indigenous counterpart; plant these instead. Foreign trees may be beautiful but they do not support wildlife.
13. We love the wildlife and would pay to have a duiker drinking water in front of our bedroom every afternoon. Should we provide water and food for any wildlife? Not even the sunbirds?
Unless the situation is absolutely critical (drought) you should never feed wildlife. They are not pets. Feeding of wildlife is thus not recommended but there is a good book about attracting wildlife to your gardens.
This book is also available at uMngeni valley Nature Reserve front office in Howick.
Feeding of monkey is not recommended as this makes them aggressive and they will at a later stage become dangerous and attack people for their food.
Protection and poaching queries please contact Kim Gillings who is the Lions River District Conservation Officer: email her on Kim.Gillings@kznwildlife.com
14. Should we chase away any wildlife from our property/gardens? Including the monkeys that may come into our house?
Animals will only come into your garden for food. Remove the food source, or prevent access to it, and the problem will go away. Never, ever feed monkeys.
15. We see quite a bit of wildlife in the area. What is done to protect these? Is it realistic to expect the wildlife numbers to increase over time?
There are laws that apply to the management of naturally-occurring wildlife on private property. Your Conservancy will help. Numbers can and do increase, sometimes to the point of becoming a problem.
16. We believe poaching of wildlife is a problem. What should we know to assist in combating this?
There are a number of anti-poaching organisations and groups. Ask for advice from KZN Hunters Association: http://www.kznhunters.co.za
17. We see pieces of unused barbed wire fences in the veld – often flat on the ground. This cannot be good for wildlife - what is done to manage this?
This is the responsibility of the landowners. Bring it to their attention and if there is no response ask the Conservancy to take it up with the local Municipality.