FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 2

 

March 2019

  • It was great to see those of you who came to touch base at our FoBCA Get-Together on Saturday, 2 Feb.  Thank you to our braai-ers - the boerie rolls went down very well. If you couldn't make it, don't worry, this sort of casual gathering/braai was so enjoyable it could easily become a regular thing.
  • The Big Friends Group we co-hosted with WESSA at Atlantic Beach Estate on 16 Feb was a huge success.  The pre-meeting guided walk through the estate, led by Ruan Janse van Rensburg and Dale Slabbert, was a pleasant stroll with stops to impart the trials of having a residential golf estate in a nature reserve.  Between the presentations, MC, Phil McLean slotted in some speakers who briefly discussed the Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB (see below); the degradation of biodiversity along our West Coast; and the upcoming Global City Nature Challenge (see below); etc.  Afterwards, guests could enjoy a delicious lunch provided by the Atlantic Beach Country Club kitchen. Take a look at these photos from the event:  

Ruan gives an overview at the clubhouseRuan gives an overview at the clubhouse

 

MC of the day, Phil McLean

 

...and presenters: Gary Avery, Margo and Prof George Branch, Dale Slabbert and Roy Fuller-Gee

 

Other speakers included:

 

Evanne Rothwell (SANCCOB)                     Prof Eugene Moll (botanist)                Dr Tony Rebelo (SANBI)           Natania Botha (WESSA National Membership)    
      

FoBCA and FoR displays outside at the lovely venue

    
During the breaks guests were able to purchase a range of botanical and zoological books, cards, print and magazines.
 
The last presentation of the day - Roy speaking passionately to an audience of 100 people about being the first implementer of WESSA's Green Coast project and the importance of this status.

Public Participation – role of FoBCA
 
The mission of the Friends of BCA, is to conserve, protect and enhance the unique, natural, historical and cultural resources of the West Coast region of Cape Town for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations.
 
It is therefore one of the FoBCA’s duties to comment on developments or other matters in the area that affect the natural, historical and cultural environment.  Members can imagine that with the pace of growth in Cape Town, that the FoBCA is kept very busy with this aspect of conservation.  Here are the matters and developments that we are currently involved in:
 
No Item
1 Proposed mixed-use development on a portion of Erf 1694, Melkbosstrand
2 Support of the motion to parliament to ban public fireworks
3 Cultural Building behind Blue Peter (Highclere Cottage)
4 Cape Nature Call for Comment: Dassen Coastal Complex Management Plan
5 Proposed Boreholes and associated infrastructure on Remainder of Farm 33 and 152, Melkbosstrand
6 Additional storey on Erf 10967 – 9 Shell Road, Table View
7 Proposed mixed-use development on Farm 1, Grootte Springfontein
 
In most cases, the FoBCA gets involved upfront in the formal public participation process by registering as an Interested and Affected party (IAAP), and is from then on considered a stake-holder in the development. 
 
If FoBCA members want to become involved in any of these items and contribute to either the heritage, botanical, cultural or environmental commentary, please contact Roy Fuller-Gee at @This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If members become aware of any items that SHOULD be addressed, then contact Roy as well.
Media release - Prescribed ecological burn at Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

The City of Cape Town’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve plans to conduct a prescribed ecological burn between February and April 2019. Read more below:

Approximately 40 ha will be burned on the eastern slope, on the Blaauwberg Hill side of the reserve. The actual date of the burn is dependent on weather conditions.  Staff from the City’s nature reserves, assisted by the City’s Fire and Rescue Services section, will manage the burn.  Blaauwberg Nature Reserve staff will ensure that the procedure is conducted efficiently and safely. Fire breaks have been maintained and widened where necessary, and firefighting equipment including fire hydrants have been tested to make sure that everything is in working order.

An application has been made to obtain the required burning permit from both City Health’s Air Pollution Control Section and City Fire and Rescue Services. Comments or objections should be sent to: Air Quality Management, 246 Voortrekker Rd, Vasco, 7460, Tel: 021 590 5200, Fax 021 590 5215, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For safety reasons, the Reserve will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and surrounding residents are advised to keep their windows shut while the burn takes place.  Flammable items, such as gas canisters, should be removed from outside areas and laundry should be taken off washing lines to prevent odour contamination from smoke.

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve conserves one of the largest remaining areas of critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Cape Flats sand fynbos. Prescribed ecological burns are crucial for the management of these highly threatened vegetation types and fire plays a fundamental role in its lifecycle.  Swartland Shale Renosterveld should burn every five to 10 years. By removing the canopy created by the mature vegetation, sunlight is allowed to penetrate at ground level, which helps with seed germination. Fires that take place frequently can lead to a decline in slow-growing species, whereas fires that are too infrequent (over 20 years) lead to the domination of mature plants. Carefully managed burns are therefore necessary to obtain maximum species diversity. Another advantage of burning old vegetation is that it reduces fuel loads which in turn reduces the risk of wild fires.

Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is one of many nature reserves and natural areas managed by the City of Cape Town. The nature reserve is renowned for its diversity of plant life, and the 1 445 ha reserve boasts 620 recorded plant species and new species are continually being discovered.

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve management thanks residents in the area for their understanding and cooperation.

For further information, please contact Blaauwberg Nature Reserve on Tel: 021 444 0454 or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town 17 January 2019
 

Trail Running Group

FoBCA members who enjoy trail running can join the group of WCAC trail runners who meet on certain Thursdays at 5.45pm at Table Bay Mall to run in the Reserve for an hour of challenging terrain.  Please let us know if you'd like to be added to the mailing list/WhatsApp group in order to receive details.

Friends of BCA and Friends of Rietvlei team up to host presentation
 

A deep, geological and archaeological history of the Cape

Presented by Professor John Compton, Emeritus Associate Professor at the Dept of Geological Sciences, UCT

The Cape has a deep history that stretches back millions of years. This deep history can be read from the rocks exposed in the area, which tell of the many events leading up to the landscape that we see today. The breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, uplift and erosion, changes in climate, changes in sea level, these all played key roles in understanding the deep geological past. The Cape has also been home to our ancestors for the better part of the last one million years. Stone tools scattered over the landscape and cave sites tell us about human evolution from Homo erectus to modern Homo sapiens.

This talk will include some of the major events recorded at the Cape in the evolution of our species, in particular the role of changes in climate and sea level.

Professor John Compton is an associate professor (emeritus) in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town where he has been since 1996. He has written over 60 scientific papers on the West Coast and is the author of two popular science books: 'The Rocks & Mountains of Cape Town' and 'Human Origins, How diet, climate and landscape shaped us’. Copies of his books will be available for purchase at the talk (R150 and R300, respectively, or both for R400, cash sales only). Visit his website: johnscompton.com for more information.
 
Venue: TBNR Boma, Table Bay Nature Reserve, 10 Sandpiper Crescent, Flamingo Vlei, Table View (Boma is adjacent to the TBNR admin buildings - Friends of Rietvlei will erect banners so you won't get lost.)
Date: Thu 28 Mar 2019
Time: 19h30 for 20h00
Visitors are welcome.  For more information contact Dave Honour on 082 906 4875.
iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

For the first time, Cape Town will be taking part in the annual Global City Nature Challenge, where cities from the around the world compete to record the most observations of local planet and animals over four days.

The City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member of Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, is encouraging locals and tourists to get involved in the competition.  “We are extremely proud to participate in this globally-important biodiversity competition and look forward to this exciting challenge. We are inviting all Capetonians to ‘bioblitz’ our nature reserves and natural open areas to record everything alive over those four days,” she says.

Running from 26-29 April 2019, the challenge is open to residents and tourists of all ages. It is the first year African cities are taking part, and these include Cape Town, Nairobi and Port Harcourt.

Activities will be held in conservation areas and reserves around Cape Town.  Anyone who is interested in recording and mapping species of flora and fauna and would like to take part in the challenge can head to these reserves.  Tours and ‘bioblitzes’ of the reserves will take place during the challenge. These will be headed by local experts and managers.

Nieuwoudt says the event will encourage locals to get out and about in the city’s abundant nature.  “With over 150 cities taking part, we know this challenge will be no small task for Cape Town. Our city is incredibly blessed with vast nature reserves and many natural open areas, but it is now up to us to showcase and display our fauna and flora. This challenge will provide residents and visitors with a fun opportunity to get outside and actually look for nature in this beautiful city.”

Participants can record any animal, plant, fungi, slime, mold, or evidence of life such as scat, feathers, tracks and shells they find in Cape Town.

How to get involved: 
Participants can register for the challenge on iNaturalist and upload all of their findings. The iNaturalist app can be downloaded here

Article written by Ishani Chetty for cape{town}etc February 26 2019
 

With all the wonderful different species of flora and fauna around us, WE CAN DO THIS!  Quote from ecological burn article above: "The nature reserve is renowned for its diversity of plant life, and the 1 445 ha reserve boasts 620 recorded plant species and new species are continually being discovered."  The FoBCA would love ALL members and non-members to get involved.  Check out the event on Facebook here. Also, we will keep you posted about a repeat of last year's iNaturalist workshop presented by the very capable Tony Rebelo.  In the meantime diarise those dates: 26 - 29 April 2019.
 
World Pangolin Day

The day of the BFG, 16 February 2019 was also World Pangolin Day and attendees were shown a very disturbing trailer to the film being made to highlight the pangolin's plight.

Most people never see a pangolin, let alone understand the critical need to save them from becoming extinct - which could likely happen in our lifetimes.  Conservationists estimate that one pangolin is taken from the wild every five minutes due to the huge demand from the African and Asian traditional medicine markets.  

Conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa is currently making a film to tell the world about pangolins and the challenges they face.  You might be interested to know that two of the people behind Pangolin.Africa are Helena Atkinson and Catherine Ritchie, who previously held the positions of WESSA conservation manager and communications manager respectively. 

Helena and Catherine are working with award-winning filmmaker Bruce Young - who co-directed the 2015 documentary Bloodlions that exposed the canned lion hunting industry in South Africa.  Bruce, along with cameraman Johan Vermeulen, has been travelling across the African continent for almost a year to track down all four pangolin species and to learn from those caring for and studying them. 

Their goal is to make The Eye of the Pangolin film the most watched wildlife documentary ever.  Therefore, rather than approaching specific networks or broadcasters, the film will be made freely available as an open-source documentary.  In this way it will be accessible for viewing by millions of people around the world via online platforms, through educational establishments and at screenings supported by international and local conservation organisations, including WESSA.  There is also an outreach plan which includes screening translated versions of the film to youth in rural communities in high-poaching areas across Africa. 

The full film is due for release on World Endangered Species Day on Friday 17 May 2019.
 
(Published for WESSA W Cape-FoBCA BFG 16 February 2019)

Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks at SANCCOB
 
As SANCCOB are close neighbours of ours, we thought you may like to help with donations in your personal capacity. 

These requests were posted 4 and 7 March respectively on their Facebook page
  
"This is not a yolk! We use 450 free range egg yolks per day for feeding formula given to the #FlamingoChicks. We are reaching out for donations once again please. If you can assist then please drop off at 22 Pentz Drive in Table View. We’ll have to gauge expiry dates so let us know of your intended support by calling 021 557 6155."  

 

"This fellow is referred to as 'Gigantor'! It's the first one to reach the 1kg mark of the 94 strong Lesser #FlamingoChicks in our care. Feeding regimes have been adjusted over the last couple of weeks as they are feeding themselves more often and we are so proud to see them develop. Thank you for the continued support. At an average of R250 per chick per day for the next 2 months, we need all the help we can garner. They are growing tall & the new daytime enclosure on the premises is apt for their exercising. (Photo credit: Chloe Garland)
For more info & to donate to their care, please visit 
https://sanccob.co.za/#savesflamingos #kamfersdamflamingo #conservation #wildlife"


Other news relating to the Kamfers Dam chicks was reported in the Cape Argus 4 March:  
Flamingo chicks not to be relocated

Forthcoming FoBCA events
  • 28 March, Thurs - Brunsvigia and Bulbs Walk and Talk: A walk led by our botanist and CREW coordinator Petra Broddle to look at the Brunsvigia in the area, followed by a talk on bulbs at 11am.  Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701
  • 28 March, Thurs - Presentation by Professor John Compton at Rietvlei Education Centre, TBNR, 10 Sandpiper Crescent, Flamingo Vlei at 19h30 for 20h00.  Visitors are welcome.  For more information contact Dave Honour on 082 906 4875.  (See article above.)
  • 30 March, Sat - Two Hills Walk in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. To participate in the walk, contact Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or SMS 083 679 4642.
  • 26 - 29 April - Global City Nature Challenge  Further details of an iNaturalist workshop to follow
  • 27 April, Sat - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk.  Dave Honour, FoBCA registered tour guide and also an expert on KZN battle sites, is the leader.  For more information or to book your attendance, please call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 4 May, Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am.  Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details.
 
The calendar of events is always available on the Home page of our website, as well as on our Facebook page.
What to see now in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve....
 
Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter), at Plants on 6th Nursery, Melkbosstrand and at Eerste Steen for purchase at still only R100 each.

At the back of the book is a Quick Guide - get your copy, look up what is flowering at this time of the year.  Brush up your knowledge in preparation for the Global City Nature Challenge and before the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks start in May.

New Membership Year approaching

Please be reminded that 31 March is the end of the FoBCA membership year - keep an eye on your inbox for your renewal notice.  See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date.

New fees with effect from 1 April 2019:
    1 year / 5 years / 10 years                                       
     R30 / R150 / R300        - Youth (under 18 or dependant student)/ Pensioner (60 or over)       
     R80 / R400 / R800        - Individual
     R100 / R500 / R1000    - Family (2 adults plus 2 children under 18)
     R400 / R2000 / R4000  - Corporate (4 cards issued for 4 adults per card)
 
In conclusion....
Please continue to spread the word about the FoBCA and its purpose.  If anyone shows an interest in joining the FoBCA, you can always send them this   folder brochure , which explains all the benefits of being a Friend, and the value of their contribution to nature conservation and preservation when they become a member. 
Kind regards
Jackie Potgieter
FoBCA Membership Communication

P.S. - Have any friends who'd like to join?  Print a copy of the new spreadsheet Membership form here (339 KB) , have them complete and email with proof of payment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have their membership processed.