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- Updated 25/08/2017

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Weather

Rainfall: August 2017:
1983 - 2017 1.2mm
   
Temps:
1992 - 2017
Max: 34°C
Min: 07°C
   
7/14 Day forecast - Ingwelala

Conservation

15/09/2017

From the August 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

 

Alien plant eradication

  • 163 Opunita plants (Prickly Pear) treated this month, please map below indicating where the plants were treated.

  • 90% of the plants monitored after last month’s treatments are dead.

Veld Rehabilitation

The mopane trial site on Goedehoop is work in progress. A tractor was used to break off all the small branches from the main stems of the trees thinned out. The main stems were then collected and carefully packed in drainage lines that are showing signs of potential gully erosion. These structures will assist with decelerating water run-off, thereby trapping silt and aiding sedimentation.

Erosion Control  


Before tractor use (to trample thin branches)

After tractor use

Branches packed into drainage lines/gullies

Notice very sparse ground cover in general

 

Umbabat

  • A new security service provider, Noctuam, was appointed to the Umbabat, following Ntomeni Rangers Services (NRS) serving notice.

  • Thank you to NRS for its dedicated service over the years. Wishing the NRS team every success with its future ventures.

From the July 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

 

Alien plant eradication - Report by Marke Shaw

This past month the conservation team focused on an important aspect of initial herbicide treatment on established stands of Opuntia spp. (prickly pear). As mentioned in previous Reserve Reports, a new method of herbicide application to Opuntia was carried out on a trial basis to monitor the effectiveness of foliar spray vs foliar injection.

The observations showed that the folio application of MSMA on Prickly pears was very effective, suggesting we continue with this spray methodology. Absorption rate by the plant is high, the effects can be seen when comparing the two pictures below.


Day of folia Application of MSMA

Same plant three days later

Please note that the number displayed on the map below is the number of entries into C-More, not the actual number of plants treated, i.e. one entry on C-More may include several plants that make up a local plant community.112 plants (Opuntia spp.) treated this month, please see map below referencing the location of treated plants.

1707 conservation 01
Heat map generated from the on-line C-More GIS programme mapping treated Opuntia

 

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Please click here for the latest progress report

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • The perimeter firebreak with KNP is 100% complete (grading).

From the June 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated (folio spray) X6 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide in Camp.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Nil

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • The perimeter firebreak with KNP is 40% complete (grading).

From the May 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 5 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Argyle.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Grewia spp. clearing (50 hectares) was completed on Buffelsbed in the block between Eastern River Road and Mopani Drive. This also included very selective mopane clearing. Results will be monitored closely and reported on in future monthly reports.
  • 400 square metres of Grewia spp. cleared around Bird Hide

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • Technology Show Case of latest anti-poaching equipment presented by the CSIR, hosted by the South African Wildlife College.
  • One GKEPF Security Meeting (Network).
  • A presentation by ASU (Arizona State University) on a decision-making software programme.

From the April 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 30 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Buffelsbed

Veld Rehabilitation

A total of six hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) has been cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.

A further two hectares of Mopane was cleared on the identified trial site on Goedehoop, this brings the total area cleared so far to four hectares. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopane Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation.

Grewia spp. clearing commenced on Buffelsbed in the block between Eastern River Road and Mopani Drive. This also includes very selective mopane clearing.

In the Lowveld Grewia spp. (raisin bush) is considered an indigenous problem plant. It grows prolifically under ideal environmental conditions that favour the plant. This is apparent in our general area since the 2012 floods. Traditionally Ingwelala has cleared Grewia by means of a string of chain attached to a tractor and the trailing end of the chain is wrapped around the base of the plant and the tractor then pulls the plant out. The field assistant then unwraps the chain and selects a new plant. This practice is limited to the rainy season when the soils are soft enough to ensure that most of the roots are extracted with the plant. As soil conditions get drier, the roots snap off and this leads to plant coppice needing follow up treatment, either by pulling the next season or foliage spray with herbicide. In a good month, we probably manage five hectares of clearing at most.

1705 bush thinning“Bush Thinning Solutions” is the service provider/contractor Ingwelala has sourced. Remember that in the conservation industry there are service providers who specialise in bush thinning. Bush Thinning Solutions designed a machine that is easily transportable, easily operated, highly robust and highly manoeuvrable to tackle the task of bush thinning or bush clearing. Bush thinning tends to be selective, whereas bush clearing is non-selective.

The machine itself is designed to have a large circular saw that cuts the plant off about 80mm above natural ground level. Its three-wheel design makes it highly manoeuvrable. Its steel frames and welded mesh frames protect the operator from protruding branches.

Depending on plant density and thinning vs clearing, it can clear as much as 10 hectares in a day. Two field assistants track the machine and spray herbicide onto the cut stumps left behind. This is known as “cut stump treatment”. A dye is used in the herbicide mix so the field assistants can see which stumps have been treated to avoid duplication. The herbicide used is called Access, and an agent called Actipron is added to the mix to aid absorption.

Follow up treatment occurs in the next growth season when the thinned/cleared sites are inspected/monitored for any sign of coppice from the roots that remained after initial treatment. You seldom, if ever, achieve 100% kill rate from initial treatment therefore follow treatments are necessary. This coppice is then sprayed/treated and is known as “foliar spray treatment”. 

This veld rehabilitation is undertaken with the objective of reducing these dense stands and promoting a better mix of woodies and grass swards, which in turn maintains a higher level of biodiversity.

Erosion Control  

  • Minor erosion control work carried out at The Platform to slow down water run-off.
Umbabat
  • One incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat, without any poaching success.
  • One APNR Management Meeting attended by the Chairs and Warden.
  • One Nkorho Exco Meeting and one Nkorho Wardens Committee Meeting held during April.

From the March 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 40 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Argyle.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • A total of six hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) has been cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.
  • A total of two hectares of Mopani has been cleared on the identified trial site on Goedehoop. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopani Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation. Currently the method is labour intensive, with the future objective of contracting a specialist service provider, using specially adapted machinery to clear areas of meaningful volumes. Quotations from service providers are in hand and being reviewed for selection.

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reporting period.

From the February 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 45 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River on Argyle and Buffelsbed. A new method of mist spraying the herbicide onto the established Opuntia stands is being applied.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Four hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.
  • One hectare of Mopani cleared on an identified trial site on Goedehoop. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopani Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation. Currently the method is labour intensive, with the future objective of contracting a specialist service provider, using specially adapted machinery to clear areas of meaningful volumes.

Erosion Control  

  • The sodic site near Leopard Rock on Goedehoop suffered erosion damage in the main gully after heavy rainfall. Damage to existing rock packings were repaired and two new rock gabions (baskets) fitted in this main channel. It is very interesting to monitor and understand the dynamics of this rehabilitation site.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reporting period.

From the January 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 30 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River on Buffelsbed. Thank you to Members who assist Mark Shaw by recording in the sightings register where prickly pear is found on the Reserve.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Two hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared along Eastern River Road on Buffelsbed.
  • Two hectares of follow up treatment on Grewia coppice carried out at the junction of Route 1 and River Road on Argyle.

Erosion Control  

  • Nil.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reported period.
  • One old male lion was euthenased, his body condition was very poor. The post mortem revealed chronic Bovine TB infection with lesions

From the December 2016 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff have treated 20 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River on Buffelsbed.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Two hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared along Eastern River Road on Buffelsbed.

Erosion Control  

  • Soil contours were cut in the clearings in front of Sibon Camp and shaped along the drainage line that runs east to the Serengeti Plains area. The objective is to lead as much water as possible over the plains for plant absorption.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reported period.

From the November 2016 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff have treated 50 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Three hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared along Eastern River Road on Buffelsbed.
  • 500 bundles of old thatch grass were packed out at Old Farmhouse on Argyle.

Erosion Control  

  • Several rock packings in drainage lines serviced and repaired after the rains, and several the rock packings were raised to be more efficient.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reported period.
  • Neighbouring Houtboschrandt Section in KNP had excellent success with poacher arrests and no known rhino losses from poaching.

From the October 2016 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff have treated 60 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • 1000 bundles of old thatch grass were packed out at Old Farmhouse.

Erosion Control  

  • One new stone gabion constructed in a drainage line along Dassie Road in Camp.
  • Exposed building rubble, historically used for erosion control in dongas, replaced with natural rock in the drainage line visible from Wildebeest Road on Buffelsbed. This project is ongoing and is 50 % complete.
    1610 gabion 01
    Natural rock used to replace old building rubble in drainage line on Wildebeest Road
Umbabat
  • One incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat, with no loss.
  • One APNR Management Meeting attended by Mark Shaw.

From the September 2016 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff have treated 10 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide in Ingwelala Camp.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • 1000 bundles of thatch were packed between bungalows #37, #38 and #39. 50,000 bundles’ were packed on the plains around Farm House Crossing, and 10,000 bundles packed on the bare areas between Whalberg’s crossing and Paul’s Gate. This is in preparation for the rains to slow down and catch water run off.
  • The sodic site on Op Goedhoop was revisited. The rocks in the erosion gullies were re-packed and repaired. Extra rocks were added to increase the height of the stone walls.
  • The rock packing on Kingfisher drive, before the river crossing was also repaired. Extra rocks were placed there as this seems to have a very good effect on stabilizing the road where it crosses the sodic site. The gullies are starting to stabilize.
  • Shallow contours shaped on Serengeti (Buffelsbed) for water and seed retention, 100% complete. Shallow contours have also been 100% completed by the Conservation team on Whalberg’s clearings and in front of Sibon Camp.

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat
  • One lioness was reported by the Jubula Camp attendant, to be in very bad condition. The lioness was treated and monitored. She is now back with the pride and has been seen eating again.
  • Our neighbours to the east in Houtbosrand have been very successful with their counter poaching efforts and having lost only 2 rhinos this month to poaching and 1 natural death. A total of 3 rhinos, this with having recorded 4 incursions. They had 1 contact with poachers and managed to arrest 3 poachers during the month. They also recovered 1 x .458 rifle.

Umbabat Census:

The yearly Umbabat census took place in the beginning of September. The weather was favourable for a successful count.
Elephant, Buffalo and Impala numbers have been consistent in the past 3 years, despite this dry season.
Below are the figures for the 2016 count, with the yearly figures for comparison.

2016 game census


From the August 2016 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Shallow contours shaped on Serengeti (Buffelsbed) for water and seed retention, 65% complete. These contours are prepared in order to slow down and catch water run-off. It will trap sedimentation and seeds suspended in water run-off.

    Example of shallow contour 

    Multiple contours

Erosion Control  

  • One gabion constructed in a natural drainage line on Serengeti (Buffelsbed).
  • One gabion constructed on the service road to the offices.

Umbabat
  • One adult white rhino bull was treated for suspected gunshot wounds, and moved to a local rehabilitation centre, but was subsequently euthanased due to semi paralysis. The post mortem results showed the injuries were natural (from territorial fighting) and not from suspected poaching.