Winter CWAC'ing 5 July 2014

The Winter 2014 CWAC (Coordinated Waterbird Count) at the Botriviervlei and Kleinmond Estuary is due on Saturday, 5 July 2014. Starting time will be at 08h30 at the various starting points. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (prepare for all elements), hat and sunscreen and bring sufficient food and liquids (warm or cold) to keep you going.
There are 5 teams, each counting a different section. For the sake of those who have not participated before, the sections are as follows:
Section A1: Bridge over Bot River to the Benguela Cove office building. This section involves walking all the way (± 5km), and refreshments need to be carried with you.
Section A2: Fisherhaven to the Benguela Cove office building. (Partly easy walking, partly driving)
Section B: Fisherhaven to Meerensee (Partly easy walking, partly driving)
Section C: Arabella Golf estate to quarry towards Rooisand. (Good deal of walking, with driving from one section to another)
Section D: Rooisand Nature reserve (Mostly easy walking)
Section E: Kleinmond Estuary (Easy walking)
Anyone who is interested in joining this fun outing, can contact Mariana Delport on email:

Fynbos features at the 2014 Fynarts Festival


As part of the Hermanus Fynarts programme, there was a series of four illustrated talks on Fynbos: Fynbos Features and Creatures.

Conservation in a massively bio-diverse landscape - natural history, opportunities, challenges, and current approaches in the Western Cape

Dr Donovan Kirkwood
What are the issues and implications for conservation of a massively complex landscape, in a country where social and economic development is critical? What does sustainability mean in this context?
Dr Kirkwood will provide an overview of the natural history of the province, what it means for conservation and ecological goods and services to people. He will then showcase some modern approaches to identifying priority areas and strategies for implementation of conservation.
Dr Donovan Kirkwood works as an independent consultant providing conservation strategy and planning services to government, NGOs and the private sector.

The Overberg Renosterveld
Dr Odette Curtis
Dr Curtis is passionate about renosterveld conservation.
In her talk, Odette will explain the plight of the Overberg’s lowlands, present some interesting and exciting findings from Overberg renosterveld (including the discovery of six new species), discuss the threats to renosterveld and the urgency around addressing these issues. The presentation will be colourful and rich and will take you on a journey into one of world’s most threatened, yet richest and most under-appreciated habitats and will open your eyes to the incredible diversity right on our doorstep.
Dr Odette Curtis is the Director of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust, which she started in 2012. The Trust is dedicated to the conservation of renosterveld and other threatened lowland habitats in the Overberg.

Biological control of invasive aliens
Professor John Hoffmann
Invasive alien plants are a serious problem in South Africa because they displace the fynbos vegetation, use large amounts of water and pose an increased fire hazard. The most viable and sustainable option to control these aliens is to use biological controls.
How are we doing since the introduction of biological controls 100 years ago?
Professor John Hoffmann leads a team of entomologists at the University of Cape Town working on the use of herbivorous insects for biological control of invasive alien plants.

Fynbos and Fire – Friend and Foe
Dr Pat Miller
Fire is usually seen as a disastrous event that destroys vegetation, buildings, crops and often life. This is true where landscapes have been subdued and managed for human benefit, but fire is not a disaster for fynbos. It is rather a keystone factor in its continued survival. Without fire, this wonderfully diverse vegetation would cease to exist.
Dr Pat Miller will explore the fynbos life cycle of destruction, regeneration, maturation and destruction again. Fynbos plants have various strategies of turning fire to their benefit; these will be explained and illustrated through the results of recent fires in the Hermanus area.
Dr Pat Miller is a director of Whale Coast Conservation and a keen botanist.
"Friends are groups of concerned persons who have banded together to work for the conservation of the natural environment of specific areas of their own choice. They are conservationists with a deep respect for nature; their aim is to try to heal the damage done by unsustainable development and utilisation, or to fend it off in the future by encouraging greater public awareness of the value and wise use of these areas for present and future generations."

AGM 2014

The 2014 AGM of The Friends of the Bot River Estuary and Environs (Botfriends) took place at the Lake Marine Yacht and Boat Club in Fisherhaven on Saturday 24 May at 10.30 am.

Notice of meeting and agenda for the Botfriends AGM 24 May 2014
Minutes of AGM May 2013
Newsletter May 2014
Renewal form (membership)

More relevant documentation can be accessed
here. The Chairman’s report etc will be uploaded when available.

Donor's R10k matched and bettered!

Botfriends was made a very generous offer of R10,000 by a Fisherhaven resident who is concerned about the rapid spread of alien vegetation and the resultant degradation of the indigenous fynbos in our area. Our donor is of the opinion that it will take community involvement to successfully contain and eradicate these plants. A condition of this offer is therefore that the community match his offer Rand for Rand. In other words, we need to raise a further R10,000 from our community to qualify for the donors offer; this will give us R 20,000 for the project. 
With the heavy rains experienced last year and the high summer temperatures, the spread of alien vegetation is rampant. Besides the removal of aliens, our intention is also to plant more indigenous shrubs and trees in public open spaces in Fisherhaven (Riverside Drive, Broadway, Protea Drive), and build on the efforts already made by the Fisherhaven Ratepayers Association (FRA) and Botfriends.

We appeal to all members to seriously consider this offer and to make a contribution of whatever amount you can afford, no matter how small. With R20,000 we can make a big difference, so let’s do it!

Our bank details are as follows:
Friends of the Bot River Estuary and Environs
Standard Bank Hermanus
Branch code 050312, account 1855 655 49.

Please state your name and use the word
"hacking" as a reference. If you are unable to make an electronic fund transfer, please contact us and we will arrange collection of your donation.

Veterinary report re filly foal Feb 14

Horse: Filly with eye trauma Date: 13/02/2014
Farm: Fisherhaven Wild horse herd

The filly was observed in February 2014 with a deformity and yellow discharge of the left eye socket. Previous telephonic consultation with

On the 10/02/2014 a team consisting of Cape Nature, myself, and management of the Equestrian Centre Overstrand worked together to locate the mare and foal. The pair were found with relative ease amongst the herd and both were sedated with minimal stress. Upon closer examination it was found that rupture of the globe from previous trauma/pthisus bulbi had occurred. The prognosis for return of vision in the eye was zero and enucleation (removal of the affected eye) was recommended due to the possibility of ongoing infection.

The pair were loaded into a horse box after sedation and transported to the Overstrand Equestrian centre for the surgery on the foal and the subsequent aftercare.

The surgery was successfully performed and recovery of the foal went well.

The foal has been checked daily by myself and administered post operative antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. She had a transient mild diarrhoea on the morning following surgery, however was clinically healthy, bright and alert, and drinking well from the mare. The diarrhoea was treated and subsided within one day. The surgery site is healing well and I am pleased with the progress of the wound. Absorbable suture material was used so the foal may be returned to the herd before the sutures are removed, however if the wound has healed satisfactorily when she is released they may be removed on the day of release – this must be decided by a veterinarian.

The mare appeared relaxed throughout. She did not eat well on the day following the surgery (due to stress I suspect). She was given a multi vitamin injection and the mare and foal were moved to a more secluded camp with shelter, and she has since been eating fresh grass and small amounts of hay.

The foal must continue its’ antibiotic course until Monday – this may be extended if necessary depending on the state of the wound. I unfortunately am going to an equine veterinary congress in Kruger national Park and will not be returning to Hermanus. The Veterinarian continuing on my place, Dr Donald McRae (Cell 0834562704) has been informed of the case in detail and will be attending to the foal on Monday.
The mare and foal may be returned to the herd as soon as the wound is sufficiently healed and the antibiotic course is completed (I have recommended during the course of next week provided that all goes well up to that point). I understand the urgency to return them to the herd but also the need for proper post operative treatment. Once the veterinarian has agreed that they are ready to be released, the mare and foal will need to be sedated for the journey back to the herd and their subsequent release. They should be monitored for the hour after release (and more if necessary) especially because they will have been sedated, and the return may be stressful to both mare and foal and the other members of the herd.

It was a pleasure working with the Cape Nature team, and many thanks to Tarne’ Johannes for organising the operation so efficiently. The whole operation went very smoothly and the surgery went well, thanks to a brilliant team effort.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns, I should have reception at the congress and will return all calls and messages. Dr Mcrae will be arriving on Sunday and will be in charge of all veterinary aspects from then on.

Kind regards,
Anna Bowker BVSc
Cell: 071 923 9093