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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:17 pm 
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What an amazing CV! Talk about qualified. Nice guy to have in your corner if youre fighting an infectious disease outbreak :D


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Anthrax.

Some information regarding anthrax the most dreaded of all disease.

Some experts on anthrax believed it was the 5th plague in Egypt as mentioned in Genesis in the old Testament of the Holy Bible
The area between the Limpopo and Levubu Rivers are the most fertile breeding ground endemic in Pafuri region.

During the anthrax epidemy raging in the period 1959 – 1962, 1540 game animals were reported killed, larger antelope particularly were affected. Anthrax is a great threat to the rarer species being: Eland, Nyala and Sable, 84 Roan Antelope out of a total population of 240 died as a result of anthrax. The whole of the Kloppersfontein population was wiped out. An animal dies within hours after being affected by this terrible disease. This terrible killer is not easily eradicated once established.

Anthrax bacillus is excreted by the body, in ideal conditions, spores are formed, and remain dormant for up to 20 years. A predator feasting on the carcass of an infected animal becomes a source of infection itself.

Water run off concentrates the spores into pools during the dry season it is then concentrated and causes havoc.

Anthrax is also spread by vultures and other scavengers, including flies and bluebottles.

Affected carcasses found in the veldt are destroyed by burning them. Suspect water holes are closed off with thorn branches.

All in a days work for the Rangers and Veterinarians of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Dr. Freek Venter Part 1.

Freek Venter was born in Kenya. He attended the Church School at Eldoret where he stayed in the hostel during the school terms. He did not like hostel life and just loved being on the farm with the wide expanses and all the wild and domestic animals, and of course his family.

They lived through the Mau-Mau period mid to late fifties. They decided to move to South Africa during 1961. They sold their belongings and then set off with many other South Africans on a thirteen day road journey during 1962, under the leadership of Oom Lang Hendrik van Rensburg, settling in the Ermelo district where his father started a transport business. Young Freek completed his schooling at Ermelo again staying in the hostel, at least now he could return home during week ends and not only during school holidays as in Eldoret.

Always being a boy of the veldt he decided to seek further education in that field. Freek applied for admission to the Potchefstroom University for High Christian Education, he was accepted and studied Botany and Geology.

The Potch. University students often went on study excursions to the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, while on these excursions Freek decided that this was the place for him to spend his working life. After completing his Bsc. Freek did his Hons.

Soon after completing his Hons. He received a phone call from Willem Gertenbach who enquired whether he would be interested in a post as Technician.

Of course he was interested.

With a glint in his eye Freek remarked that possibly attending to Willems’ thirst around a camp fire after a hard days work in the bush, may have reminded Willem about this youngster at Potch.

It was a dream come true for Freek when he started as a Technician at SKUKUZA in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK during May 1978.

Freek and Dr. Willem Gertenbach spent many months mapping the Botany, Soil and Geology of the KRUGER PARK.

Field work was just too wonderful for this young freshly graduated Technician, far away from the hustle and bustle in the dusty peace and quiet of the AFRICAN bush, only interrupted by the noises of the children of the Great Mother.

Freek enjoyed being a member of a team doing important scientific research. Much research was done during the early 1980s on the effects of the droughts on the perennial and seasonal rivers of the KRUGER PARK.

Even as late as 1987 very little information was available regarding the ecological requirements of the mentioned rivers. All soon realised that there were no quick fixes or quick answers. Four consulting companies were appointed during 1988 to assist in this field. However things were going much to slow to the liking of Willem and Freek and the decision of using students to assist in this field of research was made and soon momentum started increasing with information flowing in. This became part of a fourteen year research project with very many people involved. Now for the first time scientists, ecologists and other really started knowing what it was all about.

Knowledge gained from this research assisted Freek and Willem and a few others in assisting in the

Knowledge gain through this research assisted Willem and Freek and a few others in compiling the Water Laws of the RSA. This is a very good law; however the implementation thereof remains a huge problem.

The Venter household was moved to Phalaborwa, where Freek could do his research work on his own and unhindered. The Venters returned to SKUKUZA after six years when the research project was concluded. The research work could now be put into practise and many advantageous results later were forthcoming when old less informed practises were changed.

A much more flexible management policy was implemented.

The veldt fire policy was revised, artificial water points were managed, of which many were closed. Due to the availability of artificial watering points the animals stopped following their natural migratory patterns, the congregation of large herds during dry seasons or periods of drought, overgrazed the veldt and the surrounding earth was trampled to dust.

These large congregations in turn caused an unnatural high density of predators at the water holes. This has a very negative effect on the population of the rare animal species, which includes Tsessebe, Sable Antelope and Roan Antelope, even the Jackal population is badly affected.

The Zebra population will increase during dry periods as they prefer short grass and their digestive system can handle dry vegetation and extract sufficient sustainable nutrition even during periods of drought; this explains why Zebras always seem to be in a good condition.

Blue Wildebeest unlike Zebras cannot handle grass with a low nutritional value and therefore suffer severely during periods of low rainfall or drought.

Periods of drought are beneficial to the whole system in the long run as it balances the populations by a natural culling process which ensures the survival of the fittest and therefore ensuring the survival of the species – animals and plants.

Freek expressed a great concern about the water quality in the dams and rivers and streams of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK as well as all the others of our country, the storage of water leads to the increase of the Hippopotamus population which then enriches the water which has a negative impact on the water quality and the eco-system as a whole.

Polluted water ends up in rivers and streams upstream of the KRUGER PARK, the effect pollution has on the river system is evident to anyone viewing the Olifants River.

The poor flow of water results in the build of waste residue, as the waste is now no longer washed away and is therefore deposited on the river bed; during periods of reduced flow this waste concentration is increased.

Their research has indicated that the flow of the Letaba River has improved, which is the exception as all the other perenial rivers have been negatively impacted on.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Dr. Freek Venter Part 2.

Freek mentioned that conditions on the Mozambican side in the Limpopo Transfrontier Park have greatly improved. The Transfrontier Park will increase the ranges of the migrating game animals and would be very advantageous to the whole eco-system.

Should animals not be allowed to migrate to Mozambique, other animals may be brought in from other areas causing the purity of a species to be ruined by the interbreeding of sub-species. It is a well known fact that Blue Wildebeest and Black Wildebeest do interbreed, resulting in a mongrelled specie which has no place in nature.

Hunting in Mozambique was raised by me and Freek replied that it is a concern and is therefore also under scrutiny, should the hunting be well controlled it would be advantageous to the ecology as is all other hunting under controlled conditions.

According to ecological studies, the effect of trophy hunting should have a lesser effect on nature than a mass inflow of tourism and its required and resultant infrastructures. The shooting of a trophy animal, or the removal thereof or the relocation or hunting of an animal and the consumption thereof all has the same effect on the area – but it has to be ably managed and controlled.

A policy of sustainable use/consumption has to be followed.

In conclusion Freek mentioned that one has to realise that due to climatic conditions hunting in Mozambique can only be carried out for a period of three to four months per annum. He also mentioned that SANPARKS see it as their duty to ensure that uncontrolled hunting will not be allowed on animals migrating from the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. Hunting will also in accordance with the National Parks Law, will not be permitted within the South African National Parks.

The growing White Rhino population is becoming a headache as the increase is exponential and currently at between 80 and 100 animals per annum.

On the matter of bovine tuberculoses in Buffalo Freek mentioned that the prevalence in the southern part (the area most affected) of the KRUGER PARK has now reduced from 60% to 30% it appears that the animals have developed a natural resistance to this terrible disease. He is also of opinion that bovine tuberculoses has been part of the AFRICAN Continent for very many centuries

The matter of the effect of bovine TB on the Lion population of KRUGER was raised and Freek remarked that yes there are affected Lions in the KRUGER PARK but that it does not appear to be reducing their numbers, thin Lions are frequently spotted but there has always been thin Lions. We should keep in mind that less than 2% of the KRUGER PARK is visible from the tourist roads, there are very many and much more that we never observe from our motor vehicles.

Freek mentioned that during a similar epidemic in Australia, more that 200 000 Water Buffalo were destroyed SANPARKS could never do that to our animals.

Freek mentioned that the population of Warthogs is steadily increasing after their decline during the drought periods.

He mentioned that once he was very saddened while he and his family went camping in their caravan at a little pan far away from everything, in the KRUGER PARK during the height of a drought. They were sitting outside and noticed a thin Warthog approaching the little pan. He went to do something and when he returned he noticed that the Warthog had disappeared. He enquired about the whereabouts of the poor animal but nobody saw it drink from the muddy pan. Later on the they strolled down to the pan to see from the spoor what animals made use of the little available water and then to his shock he saw the poor animal – dead there less than twenty meters from the water which it needed so desperately. They all quietly returned to their caravan saddened by the death of this thirsty animal.

He mentions that the current policy of minimum interference into nature seems the best as the cycles of wet and dry seem to take care of the balance of most. More than 50% of the Buffalo population diminished during the 1983 drought. However it sometimes may be necessary to mimic nature and assist where artificial conditions are difficult to be handled by nature on its own e.g. the current growing Elephant population which is now exceeding the carrying capacity of the PARK, very soon there will be one Elephant for every square kilometre of KRUGER PARK surface. Managing nature seems to have a lagging effect and only becomes evident after a long period, e.g. the work done on the Sable Antelope population a few years ago only now seems to bearing any obvious results as the population of this graceful animal is steadily on the increase.

Managing nature is a tremendous challenge and there is a tremendous difference between “Managing Nature and Interfering with Nature” one has to always keep this in mind. Manipulating nature must always be the absolute last resort.

The matter of visitors to, contractors and employees of KRUGER PARK who contravene the laws and rules was raised by me, Freek replied that they are aware of the problem, it is receiving attention. He also mentioned that they are also well aware that it is causing much frustration to law abiding visitors. Here we agreed to disagree that much more is to be done with much more vigilance to ensure that the Laws and Rules are abided by all.

Freek mentioned that they appreciate criticism and comments and is definitely not disregarded by management.

When I asked why they do not broadcast their successes and efforts and programmes, he replied that much is on the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK website blog of the Department of Nature Conservation.

Freek mentioned that he is from AFRICA and will remain from AFRICA, he loves this CONTINENT and this COUNTRY and will remain here and never leave, he has already left a place he loved once. One must ensure that you can get whatever you can, but then one must also put back whatever one possibly can.

Dr. Freek Venter is now the Manager of Nature Conservation in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, amongst others heading the Rangers of the Park.

This soft spoken friendly gentleman says that no one will ever know and never realise what a privilege it is for him and his dear family to be associated with and employed in this wonderland, he will always be thankful to Willem Gertenbach for making that one telephone call that gave him this grand opportunity and marked his career path.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:10 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Oom Hans Meyer.

Oom Hans Meyer – Mapunala to his fellow employees, joined the KRUGER PARK staff during 1961.

He was trained in the maintenance and building of heavy construction vehicles at the then Department of Agricultural Engineering services.

Young Hans Meyer loved the AFRICAN bush, his dream was to be able to work in the veldt, he realised that it would be tough but that was of lesser importance.

He applied for the position in the heavy vehicle maintenance team at SKUKUZA, after an interview with Mr. Albert Kuschke, then Parks Engineer, he was appointed.

Hans Meyer was soon appointed as Roads Construction Foreman, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

There was a lot be done as there were very few roads in the KRUGER PARK during those years and few of them could really be called good roads. At that stage the Rangers were responsible for road building and maintenance additional to all their other responsibilities.

Talk of tarred roads commenced in the very early 1960s, many discussions were held, many of them ended in heated arguments. Ranger Gus Adendorff of the Letaba area was one of the ringleaders against tarred roads in “his wildlife sanctuary”. Eventually sense prevailed and experiments commenced.

Roads that were badly planned or poorly drained would in a surprisingly short time lead to serious erosion and degradation of the habitat.

Roads in National Parks are often also constructed as firebreaks.

Gravel pits dug along the roads and left uncovered are not only unsightly and may have a detrimental effect. Some of these excavations may hold rain water for a considerable period of time and act as unwanted reservoirs in traditional summer grazing areas.

Steep embankments along roads lead to the separation of young animals from their parents like Ostriches, Warthogs and Elephants. This separation would be fatal to very young animals.

Heavy tourist movement along certain roads would definitely be a limiting factor to the daily routine of the more timid species and breeding herds. This may cause the animals to move to less suitable areas or to areas which are already heavily utilised by resident herds.

Much planning had therefore be put into the new roads project and had to be done with the closest co operation of the Conservation Staff, in view of their extensive knowledge of the local conditions. The main aim in the KRUGER PARK was at all times to be was to restrict disturbance during road construction to an absolute minimum.

Much time was spent by the Engineers, Conservation Staff and other Technical Services Staff in the planning and building of new roads in the Park.

Once the project was approved the major operation would start, a mobile workshop was set up in the bush where the servicing and maintenance of the heavy earthmoving vehicles could be carried out by three or four mechanics and their assistants.

Oom Hans was involved in the construction of the following roads.

1961/1962, Letaba River loop gravel road, as well as the gravel road along the Olifants River to the new Olifants Rest Camp.

1962/1963 The Nhlanguleni road

Many experiments on tarring the KRUGER PARK roads were carried out.

The road between SKUKUZA and the Sabie River low water bridge was tarred during 1963/1964 this proved successful and R995000 was granted by the Transport Commission to the Board for a three year road tarring project.

The standards for tarred roads were laid down and had to be strictly adhered to, they were: width - 22 feet, shoulder width – 6 feet, side slope 18 inches.

The Napi tarred road was completed during 1966.
The Skukuza - Lower Sabie tarred road was completed during 1969.
The Lower Sabie – Crocodile Bridge tarred road was completed in 1970.
The Skukuza – Tshokwane tarred road was completed during 1970.
The Tsokwane – Satara tarred road was completed during 1972
The Satara – Olifants tarred road was completed during 1974.

Many firebreak roads were also built and in the meantime the old dirt roads had to be gravelled and maintained.

Oom Hans enjoyed his job; many nights were spent out in the AFRICAN bush, where he wanted to be, gazing at the stars while listening to sounds of the AFRICAN nights.

They often had close shaves with stubborn Elephants who did not seem to realise that road graders were also big and strong, their tree climbing abilities were regularly tested by some angry Buffalo and sometimes even by the King himself r maybe another member of the royal feline family.

Of course life was not only work, there was also time for rest and relaxation. Oom Hans ha all his life been a keen cricketer, he is still the President of the SKUKUZA Cricket Club.

He mentions that the first cricket pitch was hand made and quite dangerous to play on – nothing to do with the fact that often the spectators were of the four legged variety.

A decision was made to construct a decent safe cricket field. Fortunately it was also at the same time decided to extend the roads of the Park. New road building equipment had to be built and the operators had to be trained. Obviously new Caterpillars and lorries had be used close to SKUKUZA where they could be serviced and run in and what better training could one expect in digging up and compacting and levelling techniques than in an area within the confines of the SKUKUZA staff village. The Roads Foreman Hans Meyer was instrumental to the construction of the SKUKUZA Cricket Field.

Many good matches were played here. It was also a place where many of the then Springbok Cricket Team came to prepare before going on tour or just for a visit. Oom Hans befriended many of them e.g. Trevor Goddard, Johnny Waite, Neil Adcock, Peter Heine, Graeme Pollock, Ali Bacher, Dennis Lindsay, Athol McKinnon to just name a few.

Oom Hans was a spin bowler and he says he was a much improved spin bowler after being coached by Athol McKinnon.

He tells the story of once during a visit by some of the previous and older Springboks, two teams were made up and he and Denis Lindsay were in the same team. Peter Heine was in the other. Anyone remembering this feared fast bowler would also know that he was very handy and often quite destructive with the bat. Meyer was bowling and Peter hit the ball, Oom Hans mentions that ball really started gaining height as it went over the pavilion roof. Dennis who was keeping wicket walked up to the bowler and told him not to worry as Peter would be out before the end of the next over. Oom Hans again bowled and Peter missed and then again missed and to the bowler’s astonishment the bails were off. Hans obviously was quite thrilled. The Scorecard read Heine bowled Meyer. Later while having a beer Dennis and Hans went into deep but quiet discussion and Hans was told by the Springbok wicket keeper that he had just shifted his hands slightly backwards in the ‘keepers gloves and when Heine missed, he just touched the bails. This was a very close kept secret afterwards.

After his retirement in 1994, Mapunala still worked as a contractor to the SANPARKS until 2001.

He is now enjoying his well deserved retirement in Nelspruit and still often visits the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, where he still sometimes meets of his fellow workers where they then talk and share a laugh about their times together.

Of the workers still say that Mapunala has not changed very much, he still has a bald head.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:17 pm 
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A M Brynard.

Andrew Murray Brynard grew up on a sheep farm in the Calvinia District in the Karoo, Cape Province.

He always loved the veld, his main interest was the plants of the South African veld, it came as no surprise when studied Botany and later earned his M.Sc. degree from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education – his thesis was about a poisonous invasive plant in the Eastern Cape Senecio retrorsus. This species was extremely active in the depleted and overgrazed grasslands of the Eastern Cape.

Andrew Brynard started his career with the National Parks Board in 1952 when he was appointed as Botanist commissioned to study the ecology of all the then Cape national Parks, being the Mountain Zebra Park where he was stationed, the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, the Addo Elephant National Park and the Bontebok National Park. One of his first tasks as being the first appointed Botanist for this large area was to collect a representative herbarium of this exceptionally large and very interesting group of plant species. With a biome ranging roaming from the Karoo to the Dry Valley Bushveld to the Fynbos and cape flowers to the other extreme the dry harsh Kalahari semi-desert.

Duplicates of the collected specimens were sent to the Pretoria University (TUKS).

Andrew Brynard was given leave in 1955 to further his studies at the Aberdeen University in Scotland.

He began his doctoral studies on the comparative ecology of the Erica tetralix and Erica cinerea species under the supervision of James Mathews and Charles Gimmingham. He finished his research and practical fieldwork for his Ph.D. by 1957 and returned to South Africa to take up the post of Chief Biologist in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, where he continued his work and in his spare time wrote up his thesis.

He took leave at the end of 1958 to finish the write up and finalise the work. Having completed his work he returned to the KRUGER PARK, on the way he and his wife stopped at a restaurant for refreshments. Returning to the car he discovered that it had been broken into – his briefcase containing the completed manuscripts and all his back up notes and document had been stolen.

The police found the bunt remains of three and half years hard work in an area frequented by criminals a few days later.

Despite this setback costing him his doctorate, Dolf as he was called by his friends built a successful career as a researcher through his work in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

As Chief Biologist his main function was to oversee and coordinate all research conducted in the Park by staff and visitors. He also carried out his research and published many articles and read many papers. Andrew Brynard did much work on the influence of veld-burning in the KRUGER PARK. He campaigned for the restarting of the veld-burning programmes when he realised that unpalatable species soon overgrows large areas And only fire then corrects the balance and that selective grazing soon results in overgrazing with the veld deteriorating and a resultant reduction of carrying capacity of the land

Dolf Brynard’s career as a researcher effectively came to an end when he succeeded Lou Steyn as Nature Conservator (previously Park Warden) in 1961, a position he held until 1970.

Dolf Brynard outlined the credo and priorities of a National Park as:

The first fact that we have to accept is that by the proclamation of a national park, the animal life and the vegetation is the sine qua non of the park. Any thought or deed which ignores this is doomed to fail the test of time.

The second to be accepted is that a national park initially created for the protection of nature, has no right to its existence if it is not maintained for the enjoyment of and is not accessible to the nation. This statement is in fact quite in keeping with the London Convention of 1933.

The third fact on which a National park must be founded is that somewhere the two conflicting poles of Nature Conservation and Human enjoyment, a course of compromise must be followed on condition that a healthy balance is maintained. For this it is important, to accept that “nature conservation” does not imply that man, where it is necessary, may not intervene, just as “human enjoyment” does mean exploitation.

He cautioned that in any future planning and expansion of tourist facilities, the maintenance of an acceptable balance should receive priority.

He made strong pleas for the expansion of information and interpretive facilities and services.

He did not object to the expansion of tourist roads, provided they were judiciously planned to harmonise with ecological conditions and would not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of visitors.

He also said that the future may be approached with great confidence as long as the Park is conserved primarily for its cultural, aesthetic and scientific values. However attractive it may seem, financial considerations may never receive precedence at the cost of these values. We would otherwise be responsible to the nation for having exploited its greatest single cultural heritage.

Mr. Dolf Brynard was promoted to Deputy Chief Director of the National Parks Board in 1970, a position he held until 1979, when he became Chief Director of the National Parks Board, a position he held until his retirement in 1987. Mr. Andrew Murray Brynard was a major role player in the development of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK during the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s.

During his tenure he represented the National parks Board and South Africa at general assemblies of the IUCN and meetings of the WWF an served on the boards and councils of a number of organizations and on several commissions of enquiry in South Africa. He was an official advisor to the Lesotho government on the establishment and management of national parks. He was also nominated to serve on the Board of Directors of the Ecological Institute, established by the Commission at Potchefstroom University to provide suitable plant material and seeds for rehabilitating the different regions where road building was being done.

Oom Dolf as he is affectionally called by his fellow ex employees of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK is still in good health and enjoying his retirement in Pretoria.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:01 pm 
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G.A. Robinson Part 1.

Dr. GA Robinson a qualified Marine Biologist, commenced his services with the National Parks Board as a Ranger in the Tsitsikama Coastal National Park during 1966; the Park from the Groot Rivier in the east to the Groot Rivier in the east stretching over an area of 80 kilometres. The western boundary is fringed by the placid lagoon of Natures Valley and a beautiful stretch of beach.

His dream came true when the Otter Trail along the Coast from Storms River to Natures Valley – his brain child became a reality, after many years of planning and exploring – his dream has given many hard walking trailists the satisfaction of a great achievement after four days of hard slog.

During 1974 he described the sea as the last of earth’s undiscovered realms. Man has explored the continents, climbed the highest mountains, traversed deserts and icy polar wastes and penetrated tropical forests in his conquest of the landmasses of the earth. Only the sea remains, the last frontier of exploration as a challenge quite similar as to outer space and offering greater rewards in terms of human life and progress.

In a world where the population explosion places an ever increasing strain on the resources of the land to feed its inhabitants, the sea offers a virtually untapped reservoir of food. Considering that the oceans sea occupy just over seventy percent of the earth’s surface, their enormous potential could hardly be appreciated.

He further said that this potential cannot be developed until we know more than we do about the oceans and the life they harbour, for science has long neglected the marine world. In recent years some of the riches of our oceans are ruthlessly exploited instead of cultivated and conserved. Coast lines are ravaged by man and his works; shores are spoiled by speculative development, coastal waters are polluted by industrial effluents and the rock mercilessly stripped of marine life.

Robbie as he was called by his friends, became Head of the Coastal Parks and then Head of Coastal Parks.

Dr. GA Robinson became Assistant Chief Director of National Parks and eventually Chief Director of National Parks in 1991 when he succeeded Dr. U de V Pienaar.

During his tenure he was responsible for the proclamation of the following National Parks:
Vaalbos -
West Coast -
Table Mountain.

As well as the extension of the
Addo -
Richtersveld -
Karoo -
Aughrabies National Parks.

Dr. Robinson not only defended his ideas from the podium but also very often he did it in his personal capacity.

It was due his campaigning and hard work that the Saldanha Steel Project was eventually moved to a less sensitive area.

Dr. Robinson was heavily opposed against the road through the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK as he was of opinion that the industrialists and others of the Gaza Province of Mozambique could misuse and exploit this road through a pristine wilderness area. He stated that it would only make the northern areas more accessible to traffic from South Africa. It would be of very little use to the residents of South Africa and serve no good purpose what so ever to the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. The only beneficiaries would be the Mozambicans.

Dr. Robinson said that warfare and the lack of money as well as the population explosion is a dangerous threat to Parks and its wildlife. Dr. Robinson was a leading campaigner against the Transfrontier Parks bordering KRUGER. He stated that although the restricting bordering fences would be removed and the game could migrate up to the East Coast and further northwards and southwards it would be very beneficial to Mozambique and Zimbabwe and not so for Kruger or South Africa. He stated that over a very long period KRUGER was developed into one of the most sophisticated and well managed National Parks in the world – it may better to cull them when numbers exceed the carrying capacity of the land than to let them “free” only to be hunted and killed in a ruthless and blood thirsty fashion by people who only seek financial gain - greed.

When the Mozambican authorities mentioned that the KRUGER Elephants were from Mozambique, he stated that they had fled to KRUGER due to heavy hunting in the area and of course by the raging war. Here in KRUGER they found safe custody.

He stated that the Mozambican authorities had to first prove that the necessary infrastructure was in place and that they could effectively manage the extended National park before even considering the removing of the fences. The Mozambican authorities mentioned that the area is slightly populated less than 5 people per square kilometre. The Gaza Governor stated that they had progressed far in the proclamation of the National park exceeding 1500000 hectares in size, on the eastern boundaries of KRUGER. The area is also dry as less than 600 mm of rain is registered on average per annum. Cash was also readily available from the World Bank for the structuring of such a National asset. The Ghona re Zhou area in Zimbabwe could be linked to the Transfrontier Park by corridors.

He was also of opinion that National Parks should be governed by the National Government due to its contribution to tourism our country. However Government Concerns and Tourism pressure cannot be managed without conflict, which can be managed.

He also often said that population welfare is very closely linked to cultural heritage. The National Parks should be accessible to the, and appreciated by whole of the Community.

Conservation has to be linked to development; therefore the communities bordering KRUGER should also partake in the development of the Park.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:04 pm 
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G.A. Robinson Part 2.

Dr. Robinson clearly stated that he could not the support the appointment of a Commercial Director, heading a new strategy to improve standards and tourism facilities as this would lead to unnecessary conflict, he could not see his way clear by dividing the Parks Board into separate Conservation and Tourism Divisions. Wherever this had happened it resulted into the over exploitation of National Parks and a split within the Parks. A typical example of this is the failure of the American National Parks as wilderness areas – they have all been transformed into tourist attractions. This should never be allowed to happen in South Africa.

Dr. Robinson often expressed his concern about the reigning conflict between Government and Provincial managed parks.

Dr. Robinson was identified by the Public Communications Institute of South Africa as the Communicator of the year during a function held in October 1994.

Dr, Robinson was awarded the Fred Packard award by the World Commission on Protected Areas here below is some detail concerning this award:

The Packard Award is now made to individuals or groups to recognize outstanding service to protected areas. This award is made by IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) activities and recognizes both protected area professionals and organizations. The award includes a certificate. Cash prizes are issued in certain circumstances. Nominations can be accepted for any individual (or group of individuals) who has carried out his/her duties in the service of protected areas above and beyond the call of duty.
Criteria for selection:
• Outstanding contribution to protected areas
• Multiplier Effect – has his/her work made a difference beyond his/her agency/country
• Level of regional and global contribution to protected areas
• Contribution to conservation efforts in other sectors beyond protected areas
Process for selection
• Awarded at the WCPA Full Members Meeting at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Also awarded at WCPA Regional and other meetings, at the discretion of the Chair
• Nominations called prior to meetings and are invited from WCPA Members and others involved with protected areas. Each nomination has to be accompanied by a draft citation of no more than 250 awards which highlights the achievements of the nominated person in relation to protected areas. Additional material which supports the nomination is also welcome.
• Selection is made by Chair WCPA and Head IUCN Programme on Protected Areas, based on the criteria above.

The Justification for the award is here below:

1994

CNPPA Working Session at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Dr Robbie Robinson, Republic of South Africa
Presently Chief Executive of the National Parks Board of South Africa, has been a pacesetter throughout his career. Coming from a scientific background, with a doctorate in marine biology, he has led the organization into new fields and to new endeavors. Among many innovations was his development of the now famous Otter Trail, a pioneering concept 25 years ago. As he moved up through the ranks he continued to make major contributions in many fields of research and management. In the transition to a democratic society, Dr. Robinson has played a crucial role in developing appropriate policies to ensure that the National Parks of South Africa are relevant to the lives of all its people, and especially to those previously excluded and alienated from those areas.


Dr. Robinson also received awards from the IUCN and CRIPPA as reward for work done for something he so dearly believed in.

He very diplomatically, knowledgably and convincingly defended the National parks Board policy of Elephant culling.

He often stated that the welfare humankind is irrevocably linked to the welfare of plants and wild animals.

Dr. Robinson’s period as Chief Director was during the turbulent years of change and transformation. He had to manage staff, who were opposed to the changes, Many newcomers were heftily opposed to old ideas and styles, things had to change and very rapidly so.

Dr. GA Robinson resigned from the South African National Parks during March 1996, after thirty years of dedicated service of which 6 were as Head of our National Parks. He stated that he did not resign due to political reasons; however Dr. John Ledger said that it was a pity that Dr. Robinson became the victim of change and that he could not see through the changes of SANPARKS.

Many spokesmen mentioned that Dr. Robinson resigned due to his high regard for the unity within the South African National Parks Board.

He believed that nature could not look after itself alone anymore, due to outside pressure; it has to be managed in such a way that it is not harmed in any way. He firmly believed that sustainable use of KRUGER resources was just not possible and should never be allowed. All Departments should be integrated for one common goal – preserving our National Parks as parts of Nature for the generations still to come.

Dr. GA Robinson was indeed the watchdog for the Environment within the National Parks Board and later within the South African National Parks boardrooms and corridors.

This neat man who truly cared, did not always receive all the credit he deserved – decide for yourself, you may agree with my statement.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:46 pm 
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I agree with his beliefs , particularly regarding the welfare of humankind being linked to the welfare of plants & animals , also his opinion regarding tourism in national parks .

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:39 pm 
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Tertius Minnie part 1.

After qualifying as an Engineer Tertius Minnie, worked on road building. His lifelong ambition was to find a job in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. After eighteen months he applied for a position. He was informed that although they had a vacancy he was not suitably qualified as he needed to have 3 years experience as a Roads Engineer before he could be considered; he said that he knew how to build roads and asked for an interview. A few days later he received a call from Mr. Jan Bosch the Head of Administration, who invited him for an interview with Mr. Albert Kuschke the Parks Chief Engineer.

During the interview Tertius was asked where he had heard about the position as the previous Roads Engineer had only resigned the previous week, the reply was that it may have just been “my good luck”. The interview was successful and Tertius was appointed Roads Engineer in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

This was while the tarring of the KRUGER PARK roads was still in the planning and development stage.

Tertius together with the previously mentioned Oom Hand Meyer and Koos Krugel as his roads foremen formed a formidable team and soon got stuck into their task. He also herd from them that he was now the fourth Roads Engineer appointed in four years.

The first road planned was that between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge. And then thereafter further north up to the Letaba River. The roads further north were built and maintained by the Transvaal Roads Department.

Tertius served as Roads Engineer for a few years.

He was later appointed Assistant Parks Engineer a position he held for two years, when Albert Kuschke resigned to go farming he was appointed Chief Engineer.

Tertius was later succeeded by Schoeman Rossouw and then Frans Laubscher.

Frans was employed by a group of Consulting Engineers in Pretoria was at that stage a Water Engineer; working on the South African border close to Komatipoort. He was interested in a position with the National Parks Board and was advised to phone Pretoria, which he did and fortunately was successful and got a position as a Roads Engineer.

One day Frans Laubscher and one of his fellow workers went off to do a job along the Lebombos, that evening Tertius awaited their return and eventually at about 22:00 went to investigate the matter after 24:00 he arrived at the site and found the missing two up a tree, upon enquiring what the problem was, they were told that their vehicle got stuck in the mud. While collecting wood to place under the vehicle wheels, a group of Hyaenas arrived and chased them up the tree.
Tertius tells that the most challenging task he was given was the erection of the granite Paul Kruger head at the Kruger Gate.

Coert Steynberg the sculptor completed the task at SKUKUZA. After completion this huge work had to be moved to its final position. It was decided that the KRUGERPARK Engineering Department would undertake this task.

Albert Kuschke called in Tertius and told about the task and told him to get on with it and not to make a mess of this. Albert had decided to take leave and spend some time in Switzerland and expected to see the head correctly placed and in an undamaged condition upon his return.

Tertius set out and had a look at the sculpted head of the man who started it all.

After many alternatives Tertius decided to drill a hole down the depth of the sculptured head and to put a steel cable down the hole, then to lift it by crane onto a low bed and then transport it to the site and then lower it onto the prepared plinth. He tried to discuss his plan with many but got very little assistance for fear of failure.

He then decided to carry out his plan. The hole drilled and the preparatory work done D Day was approaching. This whole project was for fear of failure kept a very close secret. Tertius ordered a huge overhead crane to do the lifting and lowering of the granite colossus. On D Day everything was ready and upon arrival at the erection site found the whole of the South African Press Society on site to view and photograph and report on the historic moment – the erection of the sculptured head of the founder of the KRUGER NATONAL PARK. None of the Senior Management were in attendance for fear of failure.

Fortunately all went well and when the sculptor Coert Stenberg arrived on the site a few days and after removing the large black canvas from the head said that he does not know how it had been done but that could not have done a better job himself, he only had praise for Tertius and his men, little knowing of the anguish they gone through. Tertius remarked to the sculptor that it was all in a days work for an Engineer.

Tertius tells of when an Elephant proof fence had to be erected in a hurry from the Komati up to the Limpopo River, he was called in and told to get going, when he asked for the specifications he was told that there were no specifications- he had to do the design and get on with the job.

He designed a fence consisting of railway tracks and steel cable. All production at the Haggie Steel Rope factory was stopped with the assistance of Pik Botha the then Minister of Foreign Affairs for a while, while the required cables for the Elephant proof fence were manufactured.


The tracks of the Selati railway line were removed and cut into standards for the Elephant proof fence, very often the workers and their equipment were flown into inaccessible areas by SAAF Puma helicopters, mixed concrete was often flown in by helicopter before the rail tracks could be planted.

Tertius also tells of the sisal planting project, plants were fetched from Swaziland, Natal and the Northern Transvaal. They were planted a meter apart ten meters wide over a distance of two hundred and fifty kilometres, the vehicles used were white painted SADF vehicles fitted with Post Office number plates. He tells wit a glint in the eye while planting the sisal border a Portuguese arrived on the scene and remarked ‘ you plant – Elephant take, you put put put and Elephant he take take take”.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:46 am 
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Tertius Minnie part 2.

After a prolonged drought; Management decided to build two dams, one at SKUKUZA and the other at LOWER SABIE to ensure a continued water supply to the two mentioned camps. The dam at SKUKUZA was just completed and there was a huge rain storm resulting in the Sabie River overflowing and quickly filling up the newly completed dam.

The design engineer being Tertius was very concerned about a possible wash away, he spent most of the afternoon and all of the night at the dam very concerned about his design being washed away, next morning the river subsided and the dam was named- today many a peaceful hour is spent in the hide of Lake Panic.

The other dam was named Sunset Dam, where many hours are spent by the tourists of the LOWER SABIE area watching the game come to drink and watching the sun set another very appropriate name for one of Tertius and his staff’s excellent designs. The mentioned flooding of the Sabie River was the highest ever recorded prior to the 2000 floods.

No one at that stage realised that the Hippos would inhabit the Sunset Dam to such an extent that it would cause such an eutrophication problem as is clearly visible today, maybe the storm water exit from the dam underneath the road to the Sabie River is not functioning as well as it should.

Tertius mentioned that all technical work was done in all National Parks by the Technical Department from SKUKUZA. Everything had to be done in accordance with the Knobel philosophy being “keep it clean and hygienically”.

Washed away roads were temporarily closed and then immediately repaired.

They were not allowed to remove or disturb plants; they had to work around them. Very often they had to do a two meter excavation in order to not disturb a tree.

Quality work was the order of the day, trowel marks on walls were unthinkable, and all work was thoroughly inspected by the responsible Engineer and Foreman before handing it over to final user. A policy of everything being tested and neat and found correct was meticulously followed, without exception.

Anything that had to be repaired had to be repaired – immediately.

Tertius remarked that here at KRUGER he only realised the meaning of something his father often used to say – “the eye of the owner, fattens the horse”.

The Technical Staff all dreaded a visit from Herman v/d Veen the Admin and Tourism Manager after a job somewhere had been done; they all knew that if it weren’t to his satisfaction – big trouble.

All shoulders of all roads were graded immediately after the first rains had fallen to prevent bush encroachment onto the roads.

The Technical staff worked very close with the Architects Ken Richardson and Willem v/d Riet.

Tertius smiled when he once had to erect a building; arriving on site he found that the carefully drawn landscape plans were different from the actual vegetation on site.

The responsible Architect was called to site to explain what was going on. It was later found that the design was done using the AutoCAD programme, somehow or the other some of the meticulously measured plant positions who were entered onto the map were erased. Needless to say the whole design had to be redone – no trees were to be damaged or removed.

Later on an Architects Office was run at the offices of the SKUKUZA Technical Department.

All technical work involving the design and maintenance of roads, electricity supply, buildings, sewerage, water supply, bridges, dam walls, fences, radio communication, workshops, runways, water for game as well as any large construction projects etc. were the responsibility of the Parks Engineer and his staff.

Tertius also mentions that no matter where anyone worked or what his designation or colour was, all were in the very first instance Nature Conservators, much time was spent during the induction of new employees and also later on during their service period on aspects of Nature Conservation – no wonder they all cared and took pride in where they were and what they done.

Tertius mentions that he is very pleased to have spent his first years as a greenhorn Engineer here and also with the people there, it really taught him the true perspective of life and in his profession.

Tertius Minnie resigned as Chief Engineer from the employment of the National Parks Board at the age of thirty five years after twelve years service. He loved being outside and his job was now becoming more and more office bound. Building roads and bridges is what he wanted to do, not supervising or managing from an office.

He left as he realised that he had although at a very early age reached his employment ceiling, the next possible senior position was that of Nature Conservator which was reserved for those very special people - those qualified in Zoology, Botany and Geology.

This friendly gentleman today enjoys his semi retirement in Pinetown and still loves visiting the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, especially going on the Trails of the place he loves so dearly, at night time he often lets his mind wander off into those days . . . . When driving along the roads today, he realises that there is very much more to KRUGER than just the 0,2% visible from the tourist roads. To him and his family it will always be regarded as a privilege to have been able to spend twelve years with the National Parks Board and its people.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Ben Lamprecht – Part 1.

Ben Lamprecht was born on the border area between South Africa and Botswana on 21 July 1937. Young Ben spent most of his time in the bush, where he was happy and lived the life many young boys could only dream of. He started his schooling at Swartrivier and completed it in Pretoria.

After completing his schooling he joined the South African Police where he served for ten years. He was transferred to many stations amongst others at Otjiwarongo in Namibia; however his ambition was to become a Game Ranger where he could be in Nature and not working with humans

Ben became aware of a vacancy in the Transvaal Department of Nature Conservation (the old Fauna and Flora) he applied for it and was successful. His first posting was at Klaserie where he enjoyed it, here he came in close contact with the Kruger Park Rangers and he envied them from the start. Ben applied for a position as Ranger in Kruger but was not successful, Mr. Lou Steyn the then Warden told him that he was one of six hundred and eighty four applicants.

Ben and Vanessa got married on 2 March 1962 and the newly wedded couple spent their honeymoon in the Kruger Park. The new Mrs. Lamprecht took to the bush life like a duck to water – disproving Ben’s mother who asked him how he could expect a Johannesburg girl to live in the bush far away from civilized life.

The Lamprecht couple were later transferred to Sibasa where they also enjoyed their posting, here he was even more in contact and in close association with the Kruger Park Rangers, how he envied them.

Ben often applied for a position in the Kruger Park but was not successful.

Then a few days before Christmas 1970 Ben got a telephone call from Skukuza and he was asked whether he was still interested in a position of Ranger, if he was he could come to Skukuza with Mr. Don Lowe the then Chief Warden. Of course he was interested and an appointment was made.

Arriving at Skukuza he was introduced to the Chief Warden who nearly crunched his hand (remember Oom Don had no neck, his head grew out of his shoulders, matching his powerful body). An interview was held with Messrs. Lowe and Dolf Brynard the then Warden.

Ben did not think that the interview went to well and was told to go and pass a bit of time and he would be called in later the day. He was not very optimistic about being given a job by this impressive man.

Later in the afternoon Oom Don called him in and told him that he was successful. Ben was quite surprised at the offer – he says it was his best Christmas gift ever; he was to start at Kingfisherspruit on 1 January 1971.

Ben resigned from the TPA Nature Conservation and the couple moved to their dream posting Kingfisherspruit. They were heartily welcomed to their new post by the staff and their belongings were soon in place, that evening there was a commotion outside and when Ranger Lamprecht went to inspect he found that a Hyaena had caught a Kudu bull on the front lawn which was a few square meters big as it was in a dry spell with no water being available for gardening.

Ben was out in the veldt and Mrs. Lamprecht spent all her time transforming their little thatched house into a home while Ben was out in the veldt, they enjoyed the peace and quiet as the Kruger Park north of the Sabie River, was then closed for tourists.

The couple two eldest children were born at the Heather Lucas Memorial Hospital at Acornhoek son Leon and daughter Marinda. Their daughter was the last white child to be born at Heather Lucas.

Ben was then transferred to Crocodile Bridge Rangers Post, while moving their third child also a boy, was born in Johannesburg. The eldest two always told the youngest when something went wrong for him that he was disadvantaged as he was born in a city hospital.

The children always promised to write a book of their happy times in Kruger – maybe one day this will come true and we can all read about their experiences and what they saw through the windows of the Rangers House.

The Rhodesian Parks Board offered twelve Black Rhino to the South African Parks Board during 1972 and Ben fellow Ranger Dirk Swart were tasked to assist with the capturing and caring of the Rhino in the Matusadona and Chirara Area at Lake Kariba. The Rhino were to be kept in quarantine for thirty days prior to being sent to Kruger a total excursion which lasted seventy two days.

Contact with home was limited to radio contact in the early evening as then atmospheric interference was then at its minimum.

The radios used were old SADF hand me downs.

Ben mentioned that it seemed a long way from home especially when his wife one evening in August informed him that there was a huge veldt fire approaching. Ben told his wife to instruct Corporal Max and the veldt staff to burn a fire break, and then the communication faded . . . . . Louis Olivier who was then in charge of Game capturing at Skukuza was sent out with a team to assist with the back burn. Fortunately the fire was put out in time no damage and no one was harmed.

Normal radio contact with Skukuza was between 06:00 and 07:00 when reports were made and instructions received. The rest of the day there was peace and quiet as they were out in the veldt.

After their return the Black Rhino were kept in the bomas and later released, maybe some of the Black Rhino we sight today are ex Rhodies.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:42 pm 
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Ben Lamprecht – Part 2.

Life at Crocodile Bridge was different from Kingfisherspruit. There was a town (Komatipoort) close by but . . . . . there were many poachers and many farmers adjoining the Kruger Park and many Buffalo, Elephant and predators often crossed the border and then big trouble.

Many of these animals returned to Kruger wounded and then had to be found in the shrub and reeds and then had to destroyed, something Ben and all Rangers hated, killing was not their function taking care and protecting as was indicated on the green and gold epaulettes with the Kudu head and the scroll underneath which they so proudly wore and was also displayed on the badge this special breed of men whore – CUSTOS NATURAE.

After a short while Ben was offered the position of Park Warden at Aughrabies, he accepted the position. Here at Aughrabies he spent much of his time collecting samples and identifying birds.

Ben mentioned that here at Aughrabies he inherited the tame Klipspringer (Bokkie) from Pieter Engelbrecht, his predecessor, Perhaps some old timers like myself will remember this dainty little beauty neatly standing on a rock in the garden with shiny little eyes and the four little hooves close together and the little shiny black horns being proudly displayed carefully watching the inquisitive tourists with huge shiny eyes and long eye lashes, I also still remember the shiny wet little nose testing the air, maybe you would be a lucky one to be allowed to be allowed a close approach and if you were really , be allowed to stroke its head or pat the quaint little body. This memory goes back to June 1973. Please forgive my nostalgia, I cannot help it.

During these years Aughrabies was undeveloped, just the falls, no fences, no game, Ben started planning the development and submitted a budget for the reintroduction of game animals and the fencing of the Park, R76000 was required.

The budget was approved and Ben could continue.

A holding camp was built in the meantime some Springbok, Gemsbok and Eland were brought from the then Kalaharie Gemsbok Park with the kind assistance of Elias and Stoffel le Riche and Johan van Graan.

During his tenure there a huge study was being done on the migratory habits of the game in the Kalahari between the Park and Botswana under the guidance of Dr. Peet v/d Walt, Oom Peet as he was always affectionately by his friends even while he was still in no way a Oom, he was still much to young.

They had a fixed wing aircraft at their disposal which was flown by Elias and a helicopter from Skukuza.

Their modus operandi was to locate a herd and then send in a ground team who would catch and mark of the animals and then immediately set them free for later detection and recording.

This was done from Unions End to Twee Rivieren, Auob to Nossob.

The first Springbok were translocated to Aughrabies with the assistance of Isak Meyer the then Ranger at Mata.

Ben mentioned that it was a good rainfall period and the Molopo dammed up against the dunes at Nunieputs and covered the roads up to Andriesvale.

Upon their arrival at Aughrabies the Springbok had little respect for the carefully constructed holding camp and very soon all escaped and disappeared in the Aughrabies veldt.

Ben mentions that they regularly visited the Kalahari Gemsbok Park, very often twice a year, they just love the place. When questioned when was the best time to visit the KGP he immediately said not in winter – it is too cold for him, he enjoys the heat, they often used to visit the Park during January and February they enjoyed the spectacular displays of thunder and lightning and then the wonderful cool and life after the rain. Ben said to them the best time was April and May. He mentioned that they did not only go for the game they went for the total experience.

A few days after the rain the barren wasteland would spring to life, the red would turn to green and then the Devils Thorn would be the first to produce its magnificent yellow flowers and then the others would follow and soon the red would be covered Gemsbok cucumber and Tsammas and Maramba bean and Wild cucumbers and later the Gansogies (everlastings) a relative of the Fynbos “sewejaartjies”.

Times were financially very difficult, and a meeting was scheduled to be held at Aughrabies. Members of the Board and Dr. Tol Pienaar were in attendance, here Ben was requested to economise wherever possible and was also told that the budget for the fencing of the Park and the relocation of the game had been withdrawn.

Ben looked at the situation and then decided that the largest saving would be if he left Aughrabies, he was made aware that the legendary Ranger Oom Gus Adendorff at Letaba would be retiring soon and Ben was offered the post of Ranger at Letaba, something new to him a large camp, he accepted the offer and the Lamprecht family subsequently moved to Letaba.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:49 pm 
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Ben Lamprecht – Part 3.

Arriving at Letaba most was different; it was a big camp with many tourists with a lot of activity. He loved the Mopani veld with all the Elephant and other animals, all being quite different from the barren quiet of Aughrabies.

Ben tells of an instance where the Senior Ranger at Letaba was humbled during 1983.

One of the large Elephant bulls roaming the area was aptly named Letaba, he also had to habit of strolling into the Rest camp, much to the annoyance of Joe the gate guard, Letaba would graze in the area of the gate and then casually enter ignoring all Joe’s efforts to stop him, he would sometimes shake his head or wave his trunk indicating who was in charge and then start feeding from the shrubs and leaving a few landmines.

Joe then would set off and call Ben the Senior Ranger, Ben would arrive and then with much calling names and arm waving and hand clapping, chase Letaba back through the gate into the veldt, there usually was plenty of onlookers watching the goings on. Once Letaba was out things would return to normal.

One Saturday afternoon a repeat of what was described above happened. The Sunday afternoon Letaba again visited Letaba, entering through the gate and Joe went to call Ben.

Arriving at the camp Letaba was nowhere to be found and no one had seen him leave. Ben and Joe started a search; Letaba was nowhere to be seen. Eventually two young boys enquired about what they were doing Ben told them that they were looking for an Elephant. The boys then enquired about whether it was the same Elephant as the day before. The reply was yes why, the answer, we were watching you yesterday and now this afternoon noticed the Elephant and then followed your example and chased him out. Ben did not quite believe the story as no one had seen the Elephant leave through the gate.

The boys then said that they chased him and he then crossed the Camp fence. Ben asked where and he was taken to the spot – and there the Senior Ranger saw the marks on the 1.3 metre fence where Letaba had crossed the fence. He was too taken aback to tell the boys about the possible danger they were in or that tourists were not permitted to take part in such activities. He just thanked the boys and returned home.

A while later Letaba was joined by three friends and they often raided the rest camp gardens and casually fed off the shrubs and trees, crossing the fence, this eventually became a much more regular routine – them entering and then him having to chase them out at the pace determined by the group of grey tusked animals. The possible danger to tourists then resulted into the electrification of the surrounding fence.

Letaba and his Askaris soon learnt that fence had been changed and after a few stings stayed away and was still regularly seen in the riverbed drinking or feeding in the reeds.

While at Letaba there were many incidents of poaching from the Mozambican border area and many days were spent in the dry hot veldt of the northern area of Kruger in ambushes and stake outs for these despicable cruel people, many were apprehended, very often there were shootouts, fortunately none of the field staff were injured. Many poachers were arrested trialled and spent time in the government hotel.

After twelve years the Lamprechts were transferred to Woodlands a Ranger section on the banks of the Shingwedzi River along the road to Bateleur Bush Camp. Here he built a deck leading from the garden overlooking the great river. Many late afternoons were spent here by the Lamprecht family, enjoying the cool of the sunset, listening to the sounds of the bush and watching animals coming down to slake their thirst in the cool waters of the Shingwedzi. This deck was washed away during the 2000 floods.

While at Woodlands Mac Mc Donald who was then managing Bateleur Camp contacted him and informed him that there is an angry Buffalo in the camp. Ben and two of his field rangers set out to chase it out, youngest son Chris joined, upon reaching Bateleur Mac joined and they went to find the intruder, Chris was told to stand on a large ant heap and watch.

The group went to drop the fence for the Buffalo to cross but it had other ideas, it charged and one of the field rangers let off a shot into the air to scare it off, the Buffalo then charged towards the compound with the Rangers in pursuit. Marc indicated that the animal was behind a huge ant hill in the tall grass. Ben quietly approached and then all of a sudden the grass in front of him and all he saw was dark huge set of horns. Time to lift 458 was not his luxury, Ben had to shoot from the hip, the animal swiped and Ben fell next to the dead Buffalo.

Ben mentioned that he always preferred the 458 H&H to the 375 H&H magnum for its greater stopping power although the 375 had much better penetration.

He told of once well at Crocodile Bridge, he was informed about two old Buffalo bulls in the reeds of which one was supposedly wounded. He took his rifle, called Ratel and two Field rangers and crossed the low water bridge.

They entered the reed bushes and one old Dhagga boy snorted and gave way, next moment his companion charged and Ben Raised the 375 H&H and shot right through the skull it dropped, he went closer and gave it the “just in case shot”.

Upon getting home wife Vanessa remarked that he must have missed one shot as she had heard two, with the shooting taking place quite close to their house overlooking the Crocodile River. Ben tried to explain but was not quite sure whether he was believed.

Ben also tells the story about one of his staff at Woodlands mentioning a huge Mamba in the store room. He took his little .22 shotgun and set off. Reaching the store room they opened the door and went inside and there in the dim light he could just make out the shape of the snake, it fled and Ben had just enough time to take pot shot. The snake dropped from the beams and the attendant said “hau die oubaas hy kan nog skiet nê” – “gosh the old chap can still shoot well”. Ben just smiled.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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