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17/05/2019

From the May 2019 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The planned follow up spray on the 56-ha trial site on Buffelsbed has been further delayed due to availability challenges with the service provider

Umbabat

  • Nil.

From the April 2019 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The planned follow up spray on the 56-ha trial site on Buffelsbed has been further delayed due to availability challenges with the service provider

Umbabat

  • The Nkorho Exco met on 27 April 2019.

From the March 2019 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The follow up spray on the 56-ha trial site on Buffelsbed is postponed until after Easter.

Umbabat

  • An Umbabat security and information meeting was attended by Chris Mayes in early March.
  • The threat of shot hole borer to protected areas in the Lowveld is under urgent discussion. A workshop to formulate strategy in minimising further risk is planned for mid-April. The outcome will be advised in due course.
    “Polyphageous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is an ambrosia beetle that attacks living trees. The beetle creates tunnels, deep within the tree, where it breeds and eats fusarium fungus. The fungus spreads outwards from the tunnels into the tree, blocking the trees’ vascular system. The tree branches begin to dry up, they lose their leaves and with time the tree may die”. Click here for additional information:

From the February 2019 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil.

Veld rehabilitation

  • Feedback from Theresa MacDonald regarding the new product for folio spray has been very positive. A follow up spray on the rehabilitated site on Buffels will commence towards end – March.

Umbabat

  • Nil.

From the January 2019 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • X6 Opuntia spp. plants treated in the vicinity of Bird Hide.

Veld rehabilitation

  • Theresa MacDonald, who assisted us with the first follow-up coppice treatment on the 56-ha Buffelsbed plot, assessed the success rate of herbicide application in mid-January. A final treatment is planned to take place in February which should amount to more than seven days field work for a team of two.

Erosion Control

  • The drainage line in the vicinity of Bungalows # 66 and # 69 was serviced to curb lateral soil erosion.

Umbabat

  • The Nkorho Exco meeting was held at Ingwelala on Saturday the 26th of January.

From the December 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • X 15 Opuntia plants were treated on the eastern bank of the Nhlaralumi River in the vicinity of Mermaid Crossing.
  • X1 Opuntia plant treated near Bungalow #170.

Veld rehabilitation

  • A second follow up treatment is planned for January 2019 on the 56-ha plot on Buffelsbed, targeting any mopane coppice.
  • The scrap metal, including old car bodies, were removed from the veld in the vicinity of Bird Hide. These items were visible from the air (due to the lack of ground cover) during the 2018 annual game census.

Erosion Control

  • Nil.

Umbabat

  • Our sincere condolences to the Warden, Bryan Havemann, and his family over the passing of his father in December.

From the November 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil

Veld rehabilitation

  • The green flush in the new growth season has allowed the Conservation Team to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the clearing of Grewia and Mopane done in the winter months. Overall it was very successful, there are individual plants showing some minor coppice which can be expected.

Erosion Control

  • Nil.

Umbabat

  • Nil

From the October 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • The Mexican poppy (Argemone mexicana) which established itself in all the river systems post the 2012 floods will need attending to. This is a suitable project for Members interested in joining the volunteer “work parties” to assist the Conservation Team.

Veld rehabilitation

  • With the arrival of the first decent downpour of rain at the time of writing, we are awaiting the first green flush of plant growth to evaluate fully the effectiveness of the follow up treatment done on the Buffelsbed Eastern River Road in June and July. Initial indications are that there will be some minor follow up work required.

Erosion Control

  • Nil.

Umbabat

  • 2018 Annual Umbabat Game Census
    The annual Umbabat Game Census was carried out in the second week of September. The census is done by means of a helicopter, with a team consisting of the pilot, two counters and a recorder. Transects are flown over the entire reserve, all sightings are recorded, meaning it is a total count.

    With an annual census that is a “once off” count on one particular day in the year, the numbers counted and recorded must be considered in that light. It is an open ecological system where animals have free movement in and out of the various Reserves and KNP. Its rather like a person taking a snap shot of their bank balance on one particular day, the number will be very different on pay day compared to month end!

    Its therefore useful to look at the numbers for the species over a longer term, in this case the numbers provided are over the past decade. There are no long-term trends in any one species that raise any alarms.

    1811 annual games census
  • The removal of the redundant Telkom poles commenced on the Ingwelala portions of Argyle Road. A total of 52 poles were identified for removal. The method involved cutting the cable with a bolt cutter and then removing the pole by pushing it over with a tractor. Interestingly, 60% of the poles removed were rotten in the centre core.
  • After the repairs to the Causeway were completed, the service provider involved was requested to return to implement full a clean-up and site rehabilitation to our satisfaction. The on-site TLB was also used to level the Hammerkop River site where river sand is harvested for the maintenance of building purposes.
  • A security meeting was held at Ndlopfu in the later part of October. The meeting was very productive and informative, various topics and challenges were discussed in detail.

From the September 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • The Conservation Team treated the following Opuntia spp with herbicide:
    - X 9 Plants on Nhlaralumi River bank, east of Argyle Boma.
    - X 2 Plants between Bungalows #84 and # 85
    - X 1 Plant at Bungalow #86
  • An experiment was done with a small group of plants at Bungalow #197, sprayed with MSMA. Initial observations show that the spray was 100% effective.
  • Monitoring and inspecting the plants treated with herbicide the previous month revealed a 100% strike rate

Veld rehabilitation

  • Nil

Erosion Control

  • The access road and associated storm water drainage to Bungalow # 14 was reshaped and repaired.

Umbabat

  • The designated Umbabat Chairman role will rotate from 01 October when Theo van Wyk will take over the Chairmanship from Lenny Willson, who will be the designated Vice Chairman. These appointments are two-year terms.
  • A meeting was held with a Telkom representative regarding the poles and lines on the Ingwelala properties. Verbal approval was obtained to commence with the removal of this obsolete equipment on the condition that all cabling and associated fittings are transported to the Hoedspruit Depot. This work will commence in October.
  • The Umbabat annual game census was carried out in the second week of September. Once all the data is captured and processed, the results will be published.

From the August 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Monitoring and inspecting the plants treated with herbicide the previous month revealed a 100% strike rate.

Veld rehabilitation

  • Robin Cook from Elephants Alive visited the proposed tree control site on Argyle on 13 August. This study is being conducted to determine elephant impact and the usefulness of the deterrents we already have in place in the form of rock packing and cement cones/pyramids.

    This site will be visited periodically to determine any changes. Therefore, it will monitor trees already packed/protected versus trees not packed/protected, growing in the same general area. Any findings will be communicated in future Reserve Reports.

Erosion Control

  • The access road to Bungalow # 16 was reshaped and repaired.

Umbabat

  • Nil.

From the July 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Various individual stands of prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) were treated during the reporting period in the following areas:
    Elephant Pan Hide – 5 plants
    Bird Hide Road – 1 plant
    Argyle Lookout – 1 plant
    Fence Road – 2 plants
    Camp Area – 2 plants
    Monitoring on follow up treatment on previously treated plants has shown a 100% success rate.
  • Members' continued contribution to recording occurrences (location) of prickly pear in the Reception sightings register is much appreciated.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The initial follow up treatment on the Grewia and Mopane coppice on the trail site adjacent to Eastern River Road was completed in late July. The trial site will continue to be monitored for any further signs of coppice during the upcoming growth season.

Erosion Control

  • Nil.

Umbabat

  • Nil.

From the June 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Opunita spp were treated in the following areas:
    Elephant Pan road – 3 plants
    Bird Hide road – 6 plants
    Argyle Lookout – 2 plants.
    Follow up inspections on the effectiveness of herbicide sprayed is 14 days.
  • Members contribution by recording occurrences (location) of prickly pear in the Reception sightings register is much appreciated.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The follow up on the Grewia and Mopane coppice on the Buffelsbed Eastern River Road (trial plot) progressed well during the reporting period. Approximately 31 of the estimated 40 hectares is completed. The quality of work is very pleasing.

Erosion Control

  • Nil.

Umbabat

  • Three trophy hunts took place in the Umbabat; buffalo, elephant and lion.

From the May 2018 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • X 1 Mature stand of Opuntia spp treated neat Timbavati Picnic Site. The treatment was 100% successful.

Veld rehabilitation

  • The late rains in April and May have resulted in a welcome “green flush” in the veld. This has produced some degree of late season growth.

    This is important on the 55-ha Buffelsbed trial block where Grewia spp was targeted for selective clearing in June 2018. The initial follow-up treatment on any coppice growth is underway:
  • Results on the 2-ha mopane trial on Goedehoop are most pleasing, with very little coppice currently showing.
  • Areas selectively cleared of Grewia south of Wahlberg’s Plain are being closely monitored for any follow up action.

Erosion Control

  • Three large mitre drains and four drainage humps were constructed in the steep and challenging access road to Bungalow # 202/3.

Umbabat

  • The permitted elephant hunt that took place in May was abandoned because the correct age and weight class, in terms of the APNR Hunting Protocol could not be found.

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