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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:51 am 
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Dr. Ian Player Part 2.

The White Rhino was on the Class A Protection List Of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Through the efforts of many members of the Natal Parks in protecting, catching and redistributing these wonderful animals the IUCN was in 1965 to declare that these animals had been saved.

Rhino capture was important as it was important to not have all the animals in one area for fear that disease could wipe them out. There was a steadily increasing invasion by squatters of the unoccupied state-owned land adjoining the Umfolozi Game Reserve. The Umfolozi Game Reserve had been maintained primarily as a sanctuary for the White Rhino. But the increase of other game subsequent to the Tsetse fly extermination campaigns meant that there was less lebensraum for the White Rhino, although the number of Warthog, Zebra and Wildebeest were drastically reduced, there was still a deterioration of soil and vegetation.

Until 1962 there was no fence around the Umfolozi Game Reserve. Fencing was impossible because, except for the western boundary, the Reserve lay between the White and Black Umfolozi Rivers. Their junction being the apex of the triangle.

White Rhino moved freely from the Game Reserve into the adjoining Crown land buffer zones.

Intensive agricultural development, the increase in population, and the invasion of squatters put a stop to the Rhino wanderings. They had become compressed into a smaller area.

The allocation of part of the State owned lands in 1962 meant that fencing could commence.

As soon as a restrictive measure becomes necessary in any wildlife area, a management policy becomes imperative.

When Ian Player first visited the Umfolozi Game Reserve in 1952, it was like a deserted world – there was only silent bush and acres of uncropped grass. During a long walk through the scattered trees and the waving grass – all he saw was a few solitary Duikers. It seemed impossible that there were four hundred White Rhino in this seventy-two thousand acre Game Reserve.

While camping at night no moths or other insects were drawn to the light of the lantern – the aerial spraying with anti-tsetse fly insecticide had been too effective – the bush seemed sterile.

In the morning only a few birds called – Ian became aware of a brooding sombreness.

He saw his first Rhino on the second morning – two bulls appeared out of the early morning mist. Their mouths were square, the nuchal hump bulged prominently. Flies clung to their flanks and steam rose from their backs. They seemed to be creatures of bygone days. They grazed through the grass and then he watched them move through the grey Mthombothi trees into a cluster of Candelabra Aloes and then disappear into the mist.

Ian got the feeling that somehow his life was bound up with those of those prehistoric animals, when a soft wind blew towards him and he got a whiff of their body smell.
The mist lifted a few seconds and he saw the pair now on the crest of a small hill, they had stopped grazing and were looking back towards him, with their heads lifted and their tails curled in characteristic fashion. The mist closed and he was left with just the memory.

That evening he pitched camp near a little near dry pan. More Rhino padded out of the shadows and slowly made their way towards the water. The bulls rumbled at each other, while the cow laid back her ears when they came too close. It was too dark to see properly he moved closer to his camp fire and sat alone . . .

He could think of nothing but the White Rhino, he never ever before been so impressed and at the same time felt so strangely involved with an animal. He then decided that these animals would become a cause to which he would give his life.

The UGR was for twenty years now in the hands of the Dept. of Veterinary Services who were concerned with the elimination of the Tsetse fly. As the Veterinary officer relinquished control – poaching increased. The UGR was to be handed back to the Province and it would be Ian’s job to deal with the situation.

He carried out extended patrols to learn about the Reserve and the surrounding areas. The area was a shoot-by-permit area during the Tsetse control period.

Ian mentioned that it was strange how man could in the name of progress think up excuses to kill in the name of progress.

The destruction of game did not eliminate the Tsetse fly, it took aeroplanes and DDT. Ian often watched how the Tsetse sprayers flew at tree-top height spraying clouds of DDT into the valleys.

White and Black poachers hunted the area unmercifully; he came upon their signs, spent cartridges and snares which ranged from wire and cable to unbelievably cruel spring traps. Many poachers were apprehended and many curs were shot. He realised that poaching could only be brought under control by a big Game Guard force.

Ken Tinley joined Ian in 1955 and the two started recruiting Zulus from the Tribal Reserve. They were trained and drilled extensively; one of the Zulus had a bugle which he used to summon all to the parade ground. A Robin started imitating the bugler often resulting in great confusion.

The Tribal Zulu needed no training in bush work, they also excelled in tracking. Soon the outlaying guard pickets could be reinforced with the newly appointed Game Guards and the controlling of the poaching gangs commenced.

Jim Feely joined the Board’s service he was invaluable as he had a tremendous amount of technical knowledge. Hugh Dent a trained Ex Rhodesian policeman joined the service in 1956 and took over the UGR.

Ken Tinley took charge of the north-eastern Zululand to start his ecological reconnaissance. Jim Feely took charge of Richards Bay and Ian returned to St. Lucia for a year to start the Charters Creek Research Centre.

_________________
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: Sat May 01, 2010 11:52 am 
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Dr. Ian Player Part 3.

Hugh Dent resigned in 1958 to go teaching. Paul Dutton a friend of Ian’s applied for a job with the Board and replaced Ian at St. Lucia when the now married man returned to UGR.

Ian noticed that the poachers had now become more wary and the game much tamer. White Rhino were now seen much more frequently. In the past they would have fled at the sight of man or vehicle; now they would continue grazing peacefully. Baby Rhino trotting in front of their dams became a common sight . . .

One day Ian visited the Nagana Research Centre at the bottom of the Masimba Hill. Two Game Guards were squatting in the shade of a Marula tree – one of them was Magqubu Ntombela, a man who had been in the service of the UGR since 1918, under Vaughan Kirby.. He eventually became Head Game Guard and a close friend of Ian, a close companion and also the greatest teacher of the bush he had ever met.

It was arranged that Ian would the following day join a reconnaissance flight over the UGR, Ian was quite worried as one turn of the aircraft normally resulted into his last meal being spluttered all over the inside.

The pilot gave them maps and explained the procedure, he would do the spotting and they were to map the location and number of Rhinos.

The hot October winds blew, by 10:00 the light plane was being buffeted by the wind and the stench from the DDT spraying tanks and of the high octane fuel, soon had the expected effect on the Game Ranger. The pilot shouted above the roar of the engines “If you spew down my neck, I will give you a ride you’re never likely to forget”. Ian immediately felt better.

They flew at 500 feet, counting every White Rhino they saw. Some moments Ian felt that he dared not speak and merely held up his fingers indicating the number spotted. The pilot watching him carefully and made gestures which left him with no doubt what would happen if he spread his early morning breakfast . . . .

The difference between the White and Black species was quite easy to determine; the first mentioned kept its head close to the ground and moved slowly – hence its Zulu name – Mkhombe, while the latter held its head high and moved fast – uBhejane.

After three days flying, they counted four hundred and thirty seven Rhinos, the next few days Ian spent in camp writing reports and drawing maps and learning. He was told the meaning of “Umfolozi” – a corruption of mfulawozi – “rivers of fibre” a fibrous bush which the Zulus use in mat making a member of the nettle family which grows along the banks of the river.

The Black Umfolozi River was so called as it was deep and narrow and a dangerous river, it could only be crossed by brave people. The White Umfolozi was only a great strength in flood.

The name Mpila means “health” also the name of a little white daisy growing on a range of hills where the same named camp is situated.

Magqubu Ntombela was about five foot seven inches tall with a strong chest and arms. His face seldom showed anger, when it did the other guards were frightened. Rage made him stutter which in turn made him angrier. He was Shembe – a Zulu religious sect and would not drink liquor, eat pork or butter nor would he accept any European medicines. He never told a lie. He would stand up to any man and speak out if he knew he was right.

He loved sitting around the camp fires at night and share his wisdom of the old warriors and the animals, he would stand up and wave his arms and stamp his feet, and he would never lose his dignity or act the clown.

He hated poachers and their hounds, even more, on one of the earlier patrols Ian watched him drop ten curs with ten shots. He often had to fight off poachers but was afraid of nothing.

Ian soon came to realise why so large a British Army was needed to conquer Zululand in 1879.

Ian and Magqubu were together until 1964 when he was promoted to Chief Conservator and his friend decided that it was time to retire.

When Ian moved to Head Office in Pietermaritzburg, he asked Magqubu to join them on the farm in the Karkloof Valley and look after his family was away on long trips – Magqubu agreed and they were together again.

_________________
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: Sat May 01, 2010 11:54 am 
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Dr. Ian Player Part 4.

Jim Feely drew Ian’s attention to literature of Wilderness Trails in America, the more he read about the concept the more he realised that without Wilderness areas, no Game Reserve or National Park would survive. He was convinced that by getting visitors on foot into the wilderness, they would make many more friends for conservation. He was of opinion that tourists in cars never really understood or appreciated a Game Reserve.

The thoughtless actions of many who threw refuse from their cars was evidence of this lack of appreciation.

People who travelled on these trails were different. With few exceptions they appreciated how privileged they were to experience true wilderness.

The idea was advertised in the Sunday newspaper and within a few days there were more than three hundred enquiries asking for more details.

No more proof of interest in the trails was needed. Donkey pack saddles, billy cans, sleeping bags, air mattresses, bivouac tents, tin plate, knives, forks and spoons were purchased and before the month was over Ian and Nick Steele were off on the first trail with Magqubu as their guide.

The guide walked in front, his rifle slung across his shoulders of the group who for the first time slept out in the bush. After a few hours walking in the dehydrating heat the trailists would often collapse onto the sand and gulp up the brownish water of the White Umfolozi. Some streams were crystal clear but often the water was salty, they would run towards the clear pool and splash the water into their mouths and then immediately spit it out, with Magqubu standing watching with a polite smile on his friendly face. He would often mutter in Zulu “you would not believe me if I had told you that the water was salty”.

Once a Lion passed close to the camp and roared loudly. The donkeys bolted and the trailists stood upright in their sleeping bags jumping towards the fire, like children in a sack race. An experience they would never forget and always shared with anyone who was prepared to listen.

On one occasion they made their way to the isivivane, Zulus would never pass an isivivane without picking up a stone, spitting on it and placing it onto the pile - this would ensure a safe journey, Magqubu also told that many warriors who had been killed in action were buried in shallow graves, covered by piles of stones.

Ian told the trailists about one instance when he and his friend were out on a long patrol, it was hot and Ian too tired to add a stone to the nearby isivivane and also too tired to believe in superstitions, they were and thirsty, they stopped and rested in the shade of a Marula tree.

Magqubu stood firm he told Ian that it was important not to ignore the isivivane, it was the law, they stared at each other for a moment, his eyes did not waver.

They would not leave until the required stone had been placed. Eventually Ian relented.

The two started off with Lancer the Ridgeback trotting close by, his long pink tongue covered in white froth. They had walked another mile; Ian was tired to concentrate on anything more than a few feet in front of him. Suddenly between Magqubu and himself he saw the end of a black tail slithering through the grass. It was too late to stop himself and put his foot on the tip. In a flash a Black mamba raised itself above the grass, it seemed to tower over them, probably shoulder height. It mad a tsi-tsi-tsi call and he saw the scales at the back of its head – the Ndlondlo – the almost legendary crested Mamba.

Ian and the snake stared at each other for what seemed an age, and then it dropped and slid off gracefully, practically on top of the grass. Then Lancer saw it, and rushed forward barking. In a flash the Mamba turned and came for the dog, which was now at Ian’s side. Ian froze unable to move. The snake stopped and repeated the tsi-tsi-tsi as it swayed slightly from side to side, the scales raised as hackles now clearly visible. It dropped slowly and moved over the grass to a patch of bush. Ian grabbed Lancer by the collar and held on until the snake had disappeared, the whole incident not taking more than two minutes.

Magqubu turned and with a faint smile said “you see, the isivivane is important, if you had not turned and thrown a stone, the Mamba would have bitten you, you have shown respect and the spirits guarded you”.

It may have been coincidence but Ian never again passed an isivivane without completing the ritual.

Ian took some Matric boys out on a trail in 1957 and then came across the idea of the Wilderness Leadership School, after one had written to him and explained how the experience had changed his life.

He wanted the students to appreciate the importance of every Wildlife Sanctuary and wrong it was that so few of them had been proclaimed.

He hoped that from the young leaders who went out into the wilderness there would one day be some who would hold influential positions, that they would take the initiative and make their communities realize that we had to live with nature, and not exploit it.

The 1957 dream became a reality and now the Wilderness Leadership School is an international movement.

_________________
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: Sat May 01, 2010 11:55 am 
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Dr. Ian Player Part 5.

During a horse ride with Nick Steele in 1957, Ian mentioned that the Rhino population was on the increase and that soon some would have to be captured and translocated to of their former habitats.

Ian had also mentioned this together with the possibility of suitable anaesthesia to Dr. Hans Nel a geologist while on a trail. Who in turn wrote to friends at the Harvard University Mineralogy Department, a professor replied and said that although he had made enquiries he could not get an answer to the “rhinoceros problem”. He concluded that Ian wrote to the Director of the Whipsnade Zoo.

His letter was soon replied to, it mentioned that scientists were working on tranquilizing drugs, but the outcome of it being used on wild animals was uncertain, particularly if a dart gun was used.

The next time Ian saw Col. Vincent of the Board; he mentioned it and was told that Dr. Toni Harthoorn and Dr. Hal Bueechner were working on the problem in Kenya. Ian also came to know about Red Palmer who with a group of Professors of the University of Georgia, had developed an anaesthetic gun which was powered by compressed carbon dioxide gas and fired a hypodermic needle designed to inject controlled quantities of drug.

Co. Vincent went to a conference of the IUCN in Warsaw in 1960, here he met Dr. Harthoorn and discussed the problem; of too many White Rhino in UGR. He invited Dr. Harthoorn to South Africa to experiment with the drugs suitable for White Rhino capture. This meeting changed the course of wild life conservation in South Africa.

On 6 December 1960, Ian was informed that Dr. Harthoorn and Mr. de Burgh Whyte the Natal parks Board PRO had arrived. He was handed a letter by the PRO from Col. Vincent, which eventually became the blueprint for Rhino capture.

It amongst other stated that “you as well as Deane, Carpenter and Clark learn as much as possible in the short time available. Much of Dr. Harthoorn’s information is technical and extremely important. It is therefore imperative that you not only listen carefully but also make copious notes”.

“It had to be remembered that some losses may be incurred. The Board had asked Dr. Harthoorn here because we accept that we are prepared to lose two or three Rhinos – if in the outcome we can know in the future how to deal with the species.” He stressed that the visiting public must not overhear any conversations or see the experiments “because at this stage I do not want publicity or interviews, that can wait until we know what we are doing”.

Dr. Harthoorn was an impressive man, over six feet tall with light brown, greying hair, deep-set eyes and a mouth that suggested a ruthless streak. He was energetic and would keep working until he dropped.

After the cup of tea and a bit of chit-chat they set off, first stopping to pick up Magqubu who gave Dr. Harthoorn a smart salute slapping the butt of his .303 rifle.

They saw a full grown Rhino near the Thobothi Stream, TH asked how much such an animal would weigh, Ian guessed about three tons as he had been told by some “old timers”. TH looked dubious.

Groups of two three and five were regularly seen.

On the way back TH was questioned about the Capchur gun.

It was driven by two siphon CO2 powerlets, which build up a pressure of two thousand pounds per square inch. It seems to shoot better in the heat of day.

The drugs used would be Flaxedil - Gallamine triethiodide on Black Rhino, it was used with John Fothergill during Operation Noah at Lake Kariba and also in the hunting areas of Tanzania.

Scholine - Succinylcholine chloride works on some of the antelope.

Ian could not wait to get home and write down his newly acquired knowledge and of course to share his new wisdom with his fellow Rangers.

After dinner TH told further that he preferred the Capchur gun to the Crossbow as it was not as reliable. The acid loaded darts were difficult to carrying the veld without accidental triggering of the activating mechanism, or creep of the plunger from acid leaking past the brass seal, they could only be carried – needle up, making stalking a bit difficult.

John Page the Parks Board Secretary arrived later that evening to view the first capture in order to give Col. Vincent a firsthand report on the proceedings.

The following Norman Deane and Garth Carpenter arrived from the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, Nick Steele came from the Gome outpost, all were introduced to TH who then showed and explained the intricacies of drugs and darts and Capchur guns.

He gave a demonstration by firing a dart into a straw filled sack.

The two small darts had a maximum effective range of forty five yards with the larger one only twenty five yards. Both are affected by wind.

The dart had an aluminium body with a tufted nylon flight. Inside the body was a carbonate tablet and a piece of split shot, which was separated from the citric acid by a paper seal. On impact the split shot would force the tablet through the paper seal into the acid, a gas is formed, the rubber plunger is forced down the aluminium body and the drug is injected.

The injected drug checks the transmission of the nerve impulse at the neuro-muscular junction. It paralyses the muscles of locomotion causing the animal to lie down.

The dosage would be approximately .85 mg per pound of body weight.

The tranquilizer – Largactil – chlorpromazine hydrochloride, was not to be given intravenously as it often caused a drop in blood pressure. The recovery time would be about twenty minutes and was not to be used in cold weather as it affected the animal’s ability to control its body temperature, which could be fatal.

It was a long day of learning.

The following day they set off early, a beautiful December day. Herds of Reedbuck were in the open patches of patches of green grass.

Soon Magqubu spotted two bulls, slowly making their way towards a little pan and some shade. TH asked the estimated weight of the largest one, all guessed nd he filled a dart with the drug mixture and drove towards the Rhino in the open Landrover.

The animals got agitated, but TH had sufficient time to aim and fire, a clunk was heard from the dart as it struck the shoulder.

The Rhino galloped away, Magqubu muttered that muti was not working, as he clung to the spare wheel of the chasing vehicle. After many bumps and jolts and bruises TH said that it would be of no use following any further as the dosage had been too low and had to be stepped up with the next one.

It was decided that in future the darted animal would be followed on horseback as using a vehicle was neigh impossible.

Back at Mpila Nick immediately set about preparing for the next day.

The excited group again set off quite early the following day. TH had prepared the drug mixture after the next quarry (One Horn) was found, this took about ten minutes. They drove closer, everyone very tensed up, TH indicated Ian to stop, he aimed and fired. The Rhino swung around and bellowed and then ran off Nick and Owen followed on horseback. The Landrover followed the Rhino ran in a circle and stopped close to where it had been darted, showing no visible signs of the drug taking effect. It started grazing, after fifteen minutes TH decided to dart it a second time.

The dart was prepared and the drug mixture injected, the animal was approached on foot, a long shot was taken, the dart went in and the chase was on.

Half an hour later Owen appeared, leading his horse, he said that it kept going until it reached a wallow and that it was lying in the water.

He lead the way and soon they heard Nick’s whistle, they went close an there the animal was, it was breathing fast, the heaving flanks making little ripples on the edge of the pan. It then lumbered to its feet, swaying a bit and then drank long draughts of the dark brown wallow water.

The Rhino flopped down again, still breathing hard, a cloud of flies buzzed overhead, looking for a dry spot to land. The air was filled with the strong smell of mud from the wallow and the dank scent of wet Rhino.

Ian took some photographs of the Rhino and TH looked up from where he was making notes on his leg and remarked that, that was it for the day.

Ian was feeling the excitement and was glad to call it a day.

The following morning the workings of the Capchur gun were again explained and then they set off for a further try.

The Rhino were lying in the thick bush and were hard to find. Eventually Nick sighted a bull. TH poured out six cc of Flaxedil saying that this is more than what they used before. He unscrewed the dart flight and poured acid above the plunger, put the flight back and loaded the gun. They drove towards the bull; it was half past three, still three hours of daylight left. TH aimed and fired and hit the Rhino on the shoulder, it galloped off, followed by the horsemen and the Landrover.

The Rhino disappeared into the thicket; they got out and ran after it. Soon Owen came cantering along telling them to hurry up, the animal was down and seemed to be in a bad way.

The Rhino was lying almost on its back in a small glade of Mthombothi trees.

TH ordered that it be turned onto its brisket. It was an enormous Rhino and very much alive. TH filled a syringe with the antidote Prostignin, moved in behind the Rhino and injected in two places. The movement grew slower and they tried to roll it over. The scent of man seemed to have temporarily revived it as it rolled over and then lay quiet, just breathing.

TH jumped onto the Rhino and jumped on it, saying artificial respiration. He glared at Owen telling him to also get on and get on with it. They all got on and did their bit, Ian glanced at Magqubu and for once he was at a loss for words.

TH yelled that a vein be raised, no one knew how to, they watched closely as TH went to the head and grabbed an ear, someone held on while TH filled his antidote syringe, he put his finger on a vein and as it swelled, he emptied the syringe into it.

He went to the animal’s nostrils and felt and shook his head and said it was useless, the intravenous injection had failed to revive it.

The Rhino lay still a thin trickle of blood running down its ear, now that the chase was over and they had actually touched the animal, they desperately wanted it to live.

TH said that it would not be a wasted death, they would return the following day and weigh every part of it, it had obviously got an overdose.

They all now realised that it was not as simple as just taking a little dart and finding a Rhino and darting it.

The following morning they returned, rigor mortis had set in, the belly was distended, Ian ran his hand across the cold body and was surprised to feel hair, he looked carefully and saw tiny single hairs all over the body. Nick examined the horns and found maggots under the posterior horn – of the Gyrostygma fly and remarked, “no wonder the poor blighters scratch their horns at every opportunity”.

The animal was cut up and weighed. The weight being:
Head 410 lbs.
Pelvis 256 lbs.
Penis 621 lbs.
Nuchal hump and neck 425 lbs.
Stomach 107 lbs.
Small intestines 64 lbs.
Large intestines 708 lbs.
Lungs and heart 90 lbs.
Liver 64 lbs.
Kidneys 20lbs.
Spleen 11 lbs.
Body 818 lbs.
Left foreleg and shoulder 332 lbs.
Right foreleg and shoulder 310 lbs.
Left hind leg 265 lbs.
Right hind leg 283 lbs.
Liquid including estimated loss in evaporation 188 lbs.

_________________
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: Sat May 01, 2010 11:57 am 
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Dr. Ian Player Part 6.

The morning of 10 December which was going to be a long day, they left again full of anticipation.

Along the way a bull was spotted, he was with a female and a large calf, TH remarked “really splendid beats”.

The female was coming in heat, she laid her ears flat when the bull approached too close and bellowed while the bull would then retreat and pretend to be very interested in grazing on the green grass, and then tried to get near again. . . they drove off.

A suitable bull was soon afterwards found with an estimated weight of four thousand pounds, TH mixed the drugs, and Ian checked the Capchur gun, his heart beating a bit faster.

The bull was stalked on foot for five hundred yards until seventy yards away. The horsemen were three hundred yards behind and the Landrover was just visible much further.

It was 09:28, the Rhino was grazing quietly, unaware of any danger. A minute later they were forty paces away – still too far. Ian crawled still closer the animal seemed enormous from his prone position while the chomping of the grass was quire deafening.

The sun was beating down, sweat was running into his eyes and tiny pepper ticks crawled busily up his arm.

Ian wanted to hit the animal on the shoulder; he wiped the sweat from his eyes, rechecked the Capchur gun, loaded it softly and hissed softly. The Rhino swerved around, exposing the shoulder, Ian pulled the trigger, the dart hit the shoulder, the Rhino hesitated and tore off in the opposite direction, it was 09:33.

Magqubu shouted “Ushayile kuhle” you hit it well, while shading his eyes watching the pursuing horsemen disappearing into the patch of yellow flowering Acacia Karroo.

The relief from tension was wonderful.

The Landrover arrived and they followed.

Owen yelled “it is going down”, the Rhino was reached a few minutes later. Nick reported that it went down at 09:40; he also mentioned that he had given it five cc of Prostignin in the hump.

TH quickly injected more antidote into the hams. Norman tagged both ears. The Rhino seemed unaware of what was being done to it.


After about five minutes the Rhino began to sweat, first in the folds of the skin of the nuchal hump, then under the neck and along the back. At 10:30 the animal was back on its feet. The satisfied group stood in a semi-circle at a safe distance while it moved slowly away.

TH said that it seems that the quicker the animal goes down the better the chance of survival.

He told that seven Black Rhino were captured at Kariba without loss. The reason being that it was easier following them on the islands.

It was now getting dark and they had to get back to Mpila.

This was the first of many successes resulting in many of these beautiful huge animals being relocated in the areas in which they had previously roamed before being exterminated by man.

Later on they were captured and kept in bomas until the time came for them to be moved to their new home.

200 White Rhino were relocated in KRUGER during the period 1969 to 1972. The nucleus of the 8000 that now roam the bush in the eastern part of Mpumalanga and the Limpopo Province.

_________________
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 May 12, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Trix Olivier.


Trix Olivier the wife of the legendary Louis (Mandleve); was to some extent an obvious choice to have a female tusker (Matrix) named after her. To all immortalized by the naming one of these magnificent beasts is always regarded as a great honor to them – I know as I have personally been told so by many – Johan Kloppers, Lynn van Rooyen, Pat Adendorff wife of her famous husband Gus, Mike English and . . . . .

Trix icon on the northern region, she is well known and respected by all staff that had worked with or had contact with her.

Her dedication and commitment to the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK has very few equals.

When enquiring about her traditional names in the naming process the name “Gingirikani” came forward, it being the Tsonga name for “Hard worker”, came forward as she was always is always “running/striding” while doing her work.

Trix has had a colorful career in the Kruger National Park, from unofficial assistant ranger in the early days, to receptionist and finally her current position of Admin Officer at Phalaborwa for the regional offices. Being married to the Regional Ranger, Nxanatseni South, Louis Olivier (Mandleve) and (Matrix) has raised her family in the KNP, the dedicated mother to Derik and Bennali both currently residing in Pretoria while completing their tertiary studies.

There are not many women who can be called a true Ranger's wife in the KNP. Such a woman has been the non-official and non-recognized Assistant Ranger to many a Ranger in days gone by. She often is the Ranger's only company with whom he could share his day-to-day communications including his sorrows and triumphs. She often has to make management decisions on his behalf when he is on duty elsewhere. She often was his best veld-fire combatant, first aider, co-driver, administrative assistant and filled numerous other "official" roles with nobody else knowing.

Trix married Louis Olivier, the current Regional Ranger: Nxanatseni Region South in 1977, she is the mother (Ma) of their children, Benneli and Derik. To Louis she has filled this role to the letter at Shangoni, Shingwedzi (twice), Punda Maria, Crocodile Bridge, Skukuza, and Letaba and currently at Phalaborwa. She has also received Awards for outstanding performance at the workplace on several occasions since joining the Nxanatseni work force.

Here is part of the motivation to name Matrix after this very special Lady, Mrs. Trix Olivier, is without a doubt one of the most Dedicated, Hardworking and Loyal people that has served the KNP. She has work by the side of her equally long serving husband Louis 'Mandleve' Olivier for 31 years, and has offered immeasurable support to him in his duties as ranger throughout KNP and currently regional ranger in the Nxanatseni Region. Trix has raised her family in the KNP and is a dedicated mother to Derik and Bennali.

_________________
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 May 12, 2010 4:01 pm 
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H A Schreiber Part 1

Herman Arnoldus Schreiber was born on 20 July 1949 in Harrismith in the Free Sate. Arrie completed his schooling at the Harrismith High School in 1967.

After completion of school in 1967 and compulsory National Service in 1968, Arrie I joined the SA Defence Force as an Infantry soldier serving for ten years before resigning and taking up a position as a Section Ranger at Kingfisherspruit, Kruger National Park (KNP) on the 1 April 1978.

He was promoted to the Head of Wilderness Trails based in Skukuza over the period 1984-1986. During this time Arrie was promoted to Regional Ranger and was transferred in that capacity to Satara as the first Regional Ranger for the newly established Central Region of the KNP.

He was transferred to the Northern Region in 1991, firstly to Phalaborwa and then to Letaba in 1997. From this position he was redeployed during the transformation of the SANParks in 2001 and is currently working in the Environmental Crime Investigations (ECI) from Phalaborwa in Limpopo.

Arrie actively sought new initiatives and implemented several of them with great success. In this regard he became involved in several projects or initiatives in the Greater Phalaborwa Area. He was Chairperson of the Greater Phalaborwa Development Forum and represented the KNP on the Phalaborwa Environmental Forum and the Olifants River Forum. He initiated the current Phalaborwa Gate BPII project, together with FOSKOR Development Trust and also initiated the old Phalaborwa Forum and the present day Hlanganani Forum

Arrie played an instrumental role in the upliftment of Field Rangers, not only improving their equipment, morale and motivation, but also their academic qualifications, he helped in a big way to ensure that poaching, which was serious threat in the 1980`s, was brought under control. The establishment of the present day Corporate Investigation Services of the SANParks was brought about by those initiatives.

Ever since 1991, he proposed several initiatives to apply affirmative action. In fact, he was instrumental in the writing up of a policy document for Conservation Services in the KNP. He also mentored several protégé up to now, many of whom are currently busy with their tertiary qualifications.

Arrie has been redeployed since September 2001 and now residing in the town of Phalaborwa. His new job entails working within the ECI where he is conducting the State of Area Integrity Management effectiveness annual audits in all SANParks as well as managing the Safety and Security Initiative in an effort to improve their services in this regard.

Arrie initiated the establishment of a Conservancy in the Ba-Phalaborwa area. Unfortunately he had to withdraw from this forum although it is still in progress. During this time he presented this concept to Chief Andries Malatji about establishing a Conservancy. The concept was well accepted. He also suggested the development of game farming to him as well and this was also received in a positive light.

Due to his extended involvement with the GRAA he clearly believes that there is a load of expertise in the membership that is still untapped. This expertise can surely be utilized for different projects to enhance the development of conservation projects and also the better use of land.

Arrie believes in training to improve standards and effectiveness and therefore he developed the PAMA process for SANParks in order to establish the quality and standards of area integrity management effectiveness of SANParks focusing on the work of Rangers. This process is currently being rolled out and will result in the improvement of the Ranger Corps; the organization and upliftment of them to in times to come, compete with the best in the world.

During his resignation period from the SADF I was detached to 32 Bn. in the Western Caprivi for training purposes. This was his first exposure to black people in uniform. It was during this short period that he realised their capabilities, something that served him well in the later years.

Arrie became Head of Wilderness Trails based in Skukuza over the period 1984-1986. After which he was appointed Regional Ranger and was transferred in that capacity to Satara as the first Regional Ranger for the newly established Central Region.

He was transferred to the Northern Region in 1991, first to Phalaborwa and then to Letaba in 1997. From here he was redeployed during the transformation of the SANParks and is currently working in the Corporate Investigation Services (ECI) from Phalaborwa in Limpopo.

Arriving at Letaba, there were some serious racial undertones, which were addressed in a fair, democratic, but firm manner and today Letaba can be proud with a happy workforce.

Now employed in the Environmental Crime Investigations since 2001 and among others he assisted in developing the State of Area Integrity Management (SoAIM) auditing initiative – the only one of its kind in the world - and manages Protective Area Safety and Security for SANParks.

Being employed in the ECI of the SANParks and it has all to do with addressing all identified issues that might have a negative impact on the National Park Area integrity. Since this post was conceptualised in July 2004, successful gathering of information has been achieved. This information led to the arrests of certain individuals who stole live game from provincial nature reserves next to the KNP.

However, for clarity sake, on must go back slightly to the year 1997 when he was transferred from Phalaborwa Gate Ranger Station to Letaba Ranger Station in the Northern Business Unit of the KNP.

During that period, integrated management was implemented between Conservation & Tourism. This led to the successful implementation of adventure activities on offer to KRUGER PARK visitors.

Arrie took part in the negotiations between the KNP and the Gaza Province of Mozambique at Mopani and Xai Xai during 1997 regarding the initiation of the TFCA between the two countries. Good relationships were formed during this process.

He represented the SANParks during 1997 at the II International Rangers Federation World Congress in Costa Rica where he presented a talk/slide show on the KNP.

Arrie Schreiber was the Chairperson of the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) between 1999 and 2004 and also served as a member of the Central Committee. The GRAA hosted the II IRF Congress at Berg-en-Dal in the KNP in September 2000. It was at this Congress that the Memorandum of Continental Understanding with the objective to establish Ranger Associations in African countries as part of a capacity building process was accepted.

He was awarded the Norman Dean Award for Excellence as the Game Ranger of the Year at the GRAA AGM in 1996, and in 2004 at the AGM in Botswana the Silver Medal for services rendered.

Arrie was transferred to SKUKUZA at beginning of 1976 to organise the Kruger National Park Commando as part of the mobilisation of rural forces.

_________________
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 May 13, 2010 8:26 am 
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H A Schreiber Part 2.

Major Schreiber successfully applied for the vacant Ranger’s Post at Kingfisherspruit in 1978

Major Schreiber successfully applied for the vacant Section Rangers post at Kingfisherspruit in the beginning of 1978.

He served as Section Ranger during the period 1 April 1978 to January 1984, first as Junior Section Ranger under the watchful eye of District Ranger Ted Whitfield. Tasks included every facet of wildlife management: water for game, fire management, culling of buffalo, elephants, lions & hyena, tracking of illegal immigrants from Mozambique, building of elephant bomas, maintaining fences, liaison with neighbours, handling of customs at the Nwanetsi Gate at the time, locating and recording archaeological sites, training and retraining of all staff, etc.

The “Para Military” training was introduced because of the high incidence of armed poaching from Mozambique. Many of the field staff became members of the local Rural Commando to enable us to obtain equipment and training the SANParks could not afford.

Arrie undertook part in the first armed incident when in 1981 when the KNP suffered heavy losses in the elephant population due to poaching from Mozambique.
Arrie was involved in Wilderness Trails during the period January 1984 to December 1986 – based at SKUKUZA in the position of Senior Ranger and in April 1986 to Regional Ranger.

During this period he was responsible for the general day to day running of the section such as: training and introduction of newly appointed staff, organising and drawing up of short lists for possible appointments, co-ordinating trails, the building of trails camps, budget management, liaison with the public, handling complaints, on the job training of staff such as handling dangerous animals, large calibre rifles, fire-fighting, game capture/culling, etc. It was during this period that he represented the KNP at the 4th World Wilderness Congress in Denver, Colorado, USA. Although other conservation activities like law enforcement also played its role, the main purpose of the job was to maintain the high quality of wilderness exposure to the public that has been achieved in the KNP. During his time with trails he and a few others presented paramilitary training courses and this training formed the very basis of the training still being done today regarding the management of anti-poaching operations.

Arrie Schreiber obtained the National Diploma in Nature Conservation through the Technikon RSA (now Technikon SA) during 1985.

During this period (1995) he achieved the National Higher Diploma in Conservation (Veld & Game Management).

As Regional Ranger of the Central Area, based at Satara Dec 1986 to Aug 1991, his functions included:
Game capture, anti-poaching, co-operation with the SANDF & SAPS, fire management programmes, building of wilderness trails camps, law enforcement, training and re-training of staff, establishing of contact and communications with neighbouring Mozambique. Because of the security situation at that time these communications with Mozambique were not without their difficulties. Water for game and the handling of large numbers of tourists to this region was an everyday occurrence. An anti-erosion programme was also launched in this region with great success.

As Regional Ranger Northern Region Aug 1991 to 30 June 2001at Phalaborwa included the following: He was able to establish contact between the community of the Greater Phalaborwa and the SANParks at an operational level. In the process the Phalaborwa Forum was formed. At the same time contact was established through the then Gazankulu Nature Conservation Department with the northern communities north of the Klein Letaba River that led to the formation of the Hlanganani Forum. Of these two the latter is still functioning successfully and negotiated the development of a buffer zone on the western boundary with the KNP and the community. The Phalaborwa Forum died down due to a lack of interest from the forum members.

Arrie was elected as the Deputy Chairperson of the Greater Phalaborwa Development Forum (GPDF) and also acted as Chairperson. This forum represented all role players or stakeholders in the area. Although this forum was dissolved, it acted as a communication channel between a diversity of political opinions. The role of the GPDF was eventually taken over by the Transitional Local Council in Phalaborwa.

He represented the KNP on the Alien Plant Committee that acted as a sub-forum of the Phalaborwa Environmental Committee. These actions lead to improved co-operation between the formal sectors, industry and the KNP. He also represented the KNP on the Phalaborwa Association for Tourism. This connection lead to the implementation of night drives at Phalaborwa Gate.

Arriving at Phalaborwa in 1991, poaching was a real and serious problem. Through hard work, perseverance and communication with communities, poaching in the Phalaborwa area came to a standstill. Over a period of three years, not one incident took place.

_________________
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 May 13, 2010 8:28 am 
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H A Schreiber Part 3.

Arrie and his team were involved in several armed rhino/ivory anti poaching incidents. It was during one of these incidents that one of our Field Rangers was wounded. He was later awarded with the Kruger Cross for Bravery (Bronze) because of actions that he took in order to save the lives of fellow Field Rangers. Arrie used this case to organise workshops to address the needs concerning anti-poaching operations in the KNP.

These workshops also served to change the views and attitudes of Management towards this phenomena and the subsequent improvement of salaries and assistance regarding equipment, motivation, training, etc. The current ECI was also born out of these actions. Several cases of armed poaching from Mozambique occurred. Counter actions were launched and at the situation was brought under control.

Various successful game capture operations took place, including buffalo, elephant and zebra as well as culling of buffalo and elephant.

Arrie was actively involved with the eradication of Eichornia grassipes in the Letaba River, chemically, mechanically and biologically. The same effort went into eradication of aliens and the training of external staff in this at Phalaborwa.

Arrie is also still also involved in the re-training of Field Rangers together with other Section Rangers. A very high standard of training has to be maintained especially in paramilitary part with armed poaching in mind.

Annual veld assessments of the region, aerial surveys, monitoring aquatic life and the monitoring of pollution in the region but more on the western side of the KNP neighbouring Phalaborwa is all part of the duties..

Erosion control also formed a very important part of his job. During 1995 he was involved with the Technical Services Division of the KNP in an erosion rehabilitation project along the Letaba River in the KNP. Vast sums of money were spent in the process. The effectiveness of these measures after the 1996 and 2000 floods are still visible.

Arrie represented the KNP on the Olifants River Forum addressing the problems around water management.

As part of the transformation processes in the SANParks he was transferred to Letaba in the same region and position in April 1997. The purpose of the job remained the same. However, he became more involved in mentoring processes, normalising tensions amongst the staff, etc. It was also during this time that the TFCA initiative gained momentum.

Arrie became Regional Officer Environmental Crime Investigation Service (ECI) at Phalaborwa on 30 June 2001 – a position he still holds.

This post provides ECI with a liaison capacity that could include the gathering of information, liaison with the media and identified NGO’s, setting up communication with relevant Conservation bodies, Private, Provincial, National and International (TFCA), the SAPS and SANDF where applicable, etc. This is achieved by:
Co-ordinating the prevention of the illegal utilisation of fauna and flora and other illegal activities both within and outside the SANParks.
Managing the collection, evaluation and dissemination of crime related intelligence and information.
Managing and conducting investigations related to illegal utilization of fauna and flora and internal corruption impacting on the SANPARKS.

He is currently involved with the Staten of Area Integrity Management or SoAIM with the objective to assess the quality and standards of area integrity management effectiveness of SANParks Rangers and to introduce the development of a SANParks Strategic Corporate Safety and Security Plan framework to inform the development of park specific management plans including monitoring the effectiveness of area integrity management since 2005 and ongoing.

With a twinkle in his eye Arrie tells the story of the “the Crating incident” captured Elephant calves were kept in the bomas at SKUKUZA, from where they are translocated. One will be very mistaken in thinking that they are all nice and tame and sweet.

All went well with the crating process until one dear little Ellie decide – no ways. No matter how much coaxing would convince him to change his mind/attitude. When he was approached from behind in an effort to chase him into the timber passageway leading to his friends in the waiting crates, he would abruptly turn around and the chasers would scatter in all directions.

A plan was devised and it was decided that Arrie being the youngest and fittest and the most suitable for the job, would go into the boma and when the Ellie charged, Arrie would simply run into the corridor, the Ellie would follow and run into the awaiting crate – what could be more simple than that.

Arrie entered the boma and plan went into action, he headed for the corridor, unfortunately he was not aware of the hole at the entrance which was covered in Elephant dung. The brave Ranger ran like a Rugby player on his way to score a try with the chasing opponent following a few metres behind.

Arrie felt his leg giving way and hit the thickly layered deck and slithered into the awaiting open crate. Fortunately the Ellie also got tripped in the same hole, it got up and went into the far corner.
After a little while they again entered the boma, the Ellie ignored the others and selected the dung covered figure and charged. Arrie tried to jump the fence but unfortunately only got about two thirds of the way up – he was now hanging for dear life onto the cables connecting the top poles. He was just high enough for the Ellie to grab hold of his leg using his trunk, Arrie was holding on and the Elli was pulling from the other side, fortunately Lynn van Rooyen was close by with his whip and the little Ellie lost interest in the dung covered Arrie and turned around paying all its attention to Lynn.

Arrie managed to climb over the boma fence and when he reached safety he felt the bruises and saw the hole in his calf where the tiny tusks had gashed a hole.

Eventually the stubborn Ellie was darted and moved into the awaiting crate.

Arrie concluded that as he limped around for the next few weeks there was always a snigger reminding him of the little Ellie.

Arrie has a son also called Arrie.

He also had a dog called Patrys; the inseparable pair shared everything very often even their food.

While staying at SATARA the eighteen month old Arrie just went missing. The anxious Mrs. Schreiber searched all over with the assistance of all available staff.

All were expecting the worst – Satara being predator world. Eventually small footprints accompanied by those of a dog were found in a dusty footpath, they were anxiously followed in the direction of the Satara-Orpen Road where the youngster was found; peacefully playing in the sand with some stones he had collected and Patrys laying in the shade of a close by bush – interestingly looking 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: Thu May 20, 2010 7:17 am 
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Daniël Mabaza.

Daniël Mabaza. is the Game Guard at the Hippo pool near Crocodile Bridge.

On a recent visit to KRUGER I spent some time chatting to this interesting man. He was born outside the KRUGER PARK near Shangoni 60 years ago. Daniël has spent twenty years as the Guard at the Hippo pool and is retiring at the end of this year.

During these years he has seen many things at the Hippo pools. He tells that the saddest moment to him was when he arrived at his workplace one morning and found that the Bushman paintings had been destructed by some mean thoughtless person, he says that his heart was bleeding but it was too late, the damage had been done.

He tells of Leopards and Elephants and Lions and Hippo and Baboons and various types of Snakes and Rhino, paying him a visit there at the Hippo pool.

He told of times of flooding and of dry stagnant pools, animals digging in the dry sandy bed of the Crocodile River in the hope of finding some cool life giving water.

He also told a bit of his time with Kobus Kruger the then Ranger at Crocodile Bridge.

Daniël was employed at Crocodile Bridge as Camp Security Guard.

Fences often had to be hastily repaired in the early morning after a nocturnal visit by huge grey coloured beast.

Daniël told of how often Elephants had entered the Crocodile Bridge Camp to feed on the Sycamore fruit, they seemed to take great pleasure in sneaking in and feeding and then the climax – ignoring the efforts of the two legged species in khaki or greens trying to chase them out. Eventually fire crackers and thunder flashes seemed to do the job, this big commotion was regularly watched by the amused tourists, what rather annoyed Daniël was when tourists were found throwing oranges at the raiding Elephants, not realizing that Elephants are dangerous and Elephants just love eating oranges.

He also told of how often Leopards used to go into the Camp and often scared the daylights out him while he was doing his rounds, these had to be removed with utmost care and in silence because one never knew what the stupid tourists would do in such a dangerous situation.

Once a Vervet bit a child in the Camp after the parents started feeding the troop, the young child joined in and the result – a yelling child with a bleeding forearm and upset parents.

While on duty at the Hippo pool, early December 1992, Daniël heard a whining of some small animal coming from some bushes under a now dead tree just above the rocks at the pool. Daniël recognized it as being a young cub of some kind of large predator, as per instruction Daniël did not investigate.

Coming off duty he reported the whining to Kobus and the two returned to the pool area. Daniël indicated where the whining was heard earlier the day, soon they heard the calls of a distressed cub to its mother.

Guided by the calls they reached a ledge and when they were reasonably sure that there was no angry mother in the area, went forward and found the little animal – a tiny little Lion cub, only a few days old the umbilical cord still hanging from the little body.

The little animal was shivering and thin.

The two realized that leaving the little bundle of golden fur would only spell its end, Kobus decided to take it home, they would hand rear it.

Daniël tells that Mrs. Kobie took charge of the little animal; he was quite surprised as she was quite afraid of Lions, but possibly this one was different.

Daniël said that he never saw or heard the mother coming to the area to look for her little cub; he could not understand why this was the case as Lionesses make good mothers and will protect their cubs no matter what it takes.

It was against the policy to keep wild animals but Kobus decided to give it a try and got permission from Dr. Willem Gertenbach the Director of Nature Conservation and the Park Warden Dr. Salomon Joubert- his pleas fell on kind ears and permission was granted.

Daniël was quite amazed at the attention this little Lion cub got from the Park official;s all seemed to be interested, the Vet even gave Mrs. Kobie shampoo to wash it with.

The little Lion went through some trying periods, very often at the verge of death but eventually Leo became a happy shining bundle of dark spotted golden fur.

Daniël always felt proud and satisfied that he had reported the meowing from the bushes to Kobus. He was quite sad when the Kruger family moved to Pretoriuskop during 1993, Leo was now gone, he would no longer be ambushed and then tackled by a friendly Lion who owed its life to the Game Guard at the Hippo pool near Crocodile Bridge.

Daniël is now looking forward to his retirement, to be spent with his family at Shangoni. He says he will miss all the wonders of the Park, its plants and its animals and its people, next time you visit the Hippo pool do yourself a favour and spend some time with this man who has spent so many years at the pools and who has quite a lot to share. Next year there will be a new Guard and maybe in another twenty years he will also have much to share.

Image

The man at the Hippo pool near Crocodile Bridge.

_________________
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 Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 9:01 am 
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Hats off to yet another dedicated employee of KNP! He has remained "behind the scenes" but made a difference between 'life and death' for a young one... If that is not going beyond the call of duty - what is???

We applaud you, Daniel! :clap:

Enjoy your retirement!!! :thumbs_up:

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"To be playing a part, no matter how small, in the conservation of our dwindling wildlife is an experience I shall always cherish." - Stuart Hilcove

I SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK!


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 9:19 am 
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To Daniel and many others :clap: :clap: :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:01 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
We had the privilege of his company in March and he is a man of many tales!

He was unhappy about the quality of the bicycle tubes and tyres from Komatipoort, he longed for a steady supply from the city because many mornings he had to repair punctures on his way to the pools. We asked him why he did not replace the tubes with permanent ones. His reply was that they would be to hard to peddle with should he have "run" from charging elephants, they must take great joy in charging him because it seems to happen quite often.

He told us of one morning when he took the shortcut to the pools which is a game path cutting through the velt. Suddenly he saw a lioness leap up right in front of him. He stopped and slowly retreated while telling her to move off, he just wanted to pass. The next thing another one leaped up right beside him and when he scanned around in the still semi dark he was surrounded by the whole pride. "Then what did you do? :shock: " we asked. He replied that he just got back on his bicycle and casually continued on his way. "No" he said "the lions are good but eish.... the elephant!" :lol:

Many times he's watched the crocs taking buffalo and wildebeest on the river edge. He told us that they bite off the lower part of it's legs to prevent the animal from running away before dragging it into the water. Sometimes the hide is too tough for them to tear through while it is fresh so they would drag the carcass to the bank in the daytime and at night back into the water to prevent scavengers getting to it. This goes on for 3 days according to him, until it was sufficiently rotten to eat.

With a wide smile he pointed towards orange trees on the opposite bank of the river which the farmer jealously protects. The baboons are very aware that they would be shot if they trespass and never cross the river to plunder except on Sunday mornings when they cross over in hordes because they know the farmer is at church. :lol:

After our little walk and talk he took up his seat in the shade of the rock overhang and winked at me to come over. Right next to his head there is a wide crack in the rock. He showed me the skin shed by "his" snake which lives there. He pointed towards the top of the rocks above the bushman painting and said that a leopard often suns herself there watching over him as he sits there doing his crossword puzzles.

Thank you for writing about this amazing man, gmlsmit. He is a true lover of nature and a great conservationist! :clap: :clap:

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"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:26 am 
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Jen! :clap: :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 4:35 pm 
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Thanks Jen. :)
Others should also have a chat, they may hear some intersting tales about 20 years at the Hippo Pool.

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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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