FoBCA Newsletter 2019 No. 4

iNaturalist Global City Nature Challenge

You will recall that in the last Newsletter we urged you to participate in the iNaturalist challenge on 26-29 April 2019. Well, some very good news! Cape Town won the competition on the categories that (we think) count:

  • the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4 145 – nearly 1 000 more than our closest rivals, Hong Kong!
  • the most observations - an astounding 6 787 - more than La Paz, our closest competitor, from super biodiverse South America.

 
Gigi Laidler from SANBI (Kirstenbosch) thanked everyone involved in her email:
‘A huge thank you to every one of you who made this achievement possible by participating in the Challenge of taking pictures and uploading them on iNaturalist, and then tackling the mammoth task of doing all the identifications. There are many unsung heros among you who went to great lengths to get those rare and unusual observations, often travelling to really remote parts of the City’s reserves to get one or two species, and those who burnt the midnight oil slogging away at the identifications, helping us reach our goals and making most (74%) of our species Research Grade.

And a special note of encouragement to the novices among you who dared venture into untested waters of using the App for the first time, and others who uploaded their images to iNaturalist on their computers for the first time – you did great, and some of you excelled with posting lots of fantastic observations. We could not have reached the heights we did without you. 

Granted, some observations do leave room for improvement, but only by doing, and practicing, and learning from mistakes, can your observations get better. So take heart, and take more and better pictures, and start practicing now for the next challenge when we get another chance to prove to the world that the Mother City is the best place to be. Even if we no longer have elephants, rhinos and lions roaming our wild areas, we still have a lot of very special wildlife to love and to protect, and you can only protect something if it is known, and that comes from sharing your observations on iNaturalist!

So, now that more of you are aware of the wonders of iNaturalist, please do take photos of the plants (and animals) you see in the undeveloped areas around you and post them on iNaturalist. Every contribution helps improve our understanding of the precarious status of our biodiversity.’

Our FoBCA CREW team also participated, and so did many of our FoBCA members. Of the FoBCA CREW group, Jan Wicht posted the most observations (276) and species (229). In total the CREW team contributed at least 887 observations, 501 species and helped provide 1748 identifications to the competition. 

Go to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019 to read more about this exciting challenge. It is very easy to participate, so please involve your family, friends and children in downloading the app and start using it. The only category Cape Town did not win was the number of participants category. Let’s see what we can do in 2020! FoBCA 2019 AGM

The FoBCA’s AGM was held on Sat 1 June. It was a misty morning, but it did not dampen the spirit and we had a good attendance of 35 members! 

Click here to find the Chairman’s and Portfolio reports. Please read through the reports and realise how many aspects of the BCA we are involved in, and the work that the FoBCA does through its committee and members. Did you for instance know that our alien hacking team worked 541 man hours in the last year to clear and maintain the alien vegetation, or that our Event posts on Facebook reach 37 000 people (well, that is what they say!)? The financial statements can be requested from our Treasurer Pat Titmuss if you are interested.

The committee was elected unanimously again, except for the role of Secretary. Our long-standing Secretary Cindy Welch resigned, and we want to give her a heartfelt thank you to her for the many years that she served the FoBCA. She was involved from the inception of the FoBCA and will be sorely missed. On this note – we need a new Secretary and if you are interested, please contact our Chairman Stephanie Muller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a discussion about what the role entails.

The highlight of the AGM was the talk by Ian van Oordt called ‘An analysis of two Paintings of the Battle Of Blaauwberg – Ian Van Oordt’. Ian is an expert on the Battle of Blaauwberg, and has conducted extensive research on the topic. He could apply this knowledge to the minute detail of the paintings to come to a hypothesis of who the artist was. Many questions were posed to Ian and it was clear that most attendees found it a fascinating analysis.

The AGM also gave the FoBCA the opportunity to say goodbye to Jacques Kuyler, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve manager of the last 10 years. Jacques gave an interesting overview of his years as manager and the challenges he faced. He transferred from Tygerberg (a Renosterveld reserve), to the BBNR (a marine reserve), and within a few weeks of his new position in 2009 had to face the acid test of having to deal with the Turkish ship Seli 1 that lost its anchor and stranded at Bloubergstrand. Roy Fuller-Gee presented Jacques with a photo collage of his years at the Reserve and some heart-warming family photos.

Eye of the Pangolin Screening

Tuesday 30 July, 19:00

Erin Hall, Rondebosch
Co-hosted by WESSA Western Cape Membership and Pangolin.Africa

Eye of the Pangolin is the story of two South African filmmakers who travel the continent to find the elusive African pangolin, the most trafficked mammal on earth. As they travel the continent to learn more about those caring for and studying pangolins they are captivated by these strange, secretive creatures and document the race to save them from being poached to extinction. From the co-director of the 2015 award-winning documentary Blood Lions.

The 45 minute film will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker Bruce Young, along with Helena Atkinson & Catherine Ritchie from film production partner and conservation NGO Pangolin.Africa

pangolin

Please invite friends and family! 
Entrance: Free, but donations will go towards the distribution of the film to schools across Africa.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

To watch the trailer of Eye of the Pangolin, click the image below.

Forthcoming FoBCA events

  • 6 July Sat - Botanical Walk along the Coastal Trail starting at Eerste Steen 9am. Please SMS Petra on 079 776 3701 for more details
  • 27 July, 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.
  • 3 Aug 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....

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Remember that our very handy Flower Guide is available at Starke Ayres Garden Centre (please ask at the information counter - only 2 left in stock here), 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. Bring your copy with you when you join the FoBCA CREW team on the Coastal Trail Botanical Walks the first Saturday of every month. See the events calendar for details.

Membership Renewals 

31 March marked the end of the FoBCA membership year. If your membership has lapsed this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving. See at the botttom of this newsletter for your expiry date. (Very recent renewals handed in at Eerste Steen or those paid directly into the FoBCA account without sending a proof of payment, may not yet be reflected in our records.) Please email any queries to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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 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 Membership form here, 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.