#didyouknow

Find and discuss information on the Honorary Rangers
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Rodney Bell

Did you know that we have a number of bird brood parasites in our National Parks?
#didyouknow
#SANParks
#sanparkshonoraryrangers
It sounds like a crazy concept but did you know that certain bird species have evolved to lay their eggs in another bird species nest and leave it up to the surrogate parent birds to raise their offspring? Crazy, but true.
Certain species of the cuckoo family are probably the best-known brood parasites, but they are joined by species from other bird families such as indigobirds, whydahs and the cuckoo finch.
Why would such an evolutionary process be beneficial to the brood parasite and how does the process work?
- Bird species that are brood parasites can produce more offspring per season versus birds that raise their own young
- Having a host family raise your brood for you means spending less energy on breeding and improves your own chance of survival and therefore your opportunity to breed again
- The rate of development of the brood parasite chick is relatively fast (generally faster than the host) so the brood parasite chick can effectively compete with, or even outcompete, its’ hosts offspring for food
- The gape (mouth) of the brood parasite chick will usually match that of the host chick so surrogate mom & dad will be fooled into feeding it even when it grows and starts to look very different to its siblings or parents
- It has been postulated that arthropod parasites that infect bird chicks and their nests are host specific so the chick of the brood parasite bird fledgling is often not plagued by the arthropod parasites in the hosts’ nest
What is fascinating about brood parasites is that chick of brood parasites will not learn song or behaviour from its host parents – rather, when the brood parasite chick fledges, it knows exactly what species it is and although it has never met its parents, it will still know their songs! In this case, nature is a greater force than nuture.
In the attached photos, a juvenile Diederik Cuckoo (red bill distinguishes juvenile Diederik Cuckoo from the juvenile Klaas’s Cuckoo; the latter has a black bill) is being fed by its surrogate mother, a female weaver. Diederik cuckoos are brood parasites of quite a range of species but seem to focus on bishops, weavers & sparrows.
76DE0918-D7AF-4787-B6C3-590773E342A7.jpeg
7C41D572-56C2-45C2-B94E-75370B3ADF84.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Steve Bouwer

Kruger National Park
Shingwedzi Camp and the S50
#didyouknow #knowyourpark #liveyourwild #SANParks #Sanparksknp
Shingwedzi Camp is situated in the northern part of the Kruger National Park in the heart of mopane country. It is a rustic camp that still carries the essence of the bush and is untouched by modern technology. Accommodation is arranged in two separate circles and there is a lovely camping area. The camp also boasts two entrance/exit gates allowing you to travel in opposite directions depending on where you would most like to explore.
Guided bush walks and game drives in the company of trained field guides are on offer at the camp as well.
The S50 is a very popular scenic game drive along the Shingwedzi River in a south-easterly direction towards the Kanniedood Dam. Nyala, Sharpe’s Grysbok and several other mammal species including the elusive Leopard can be found here and the bird life is prolific. There is also the possibility of witnessing the massive buffalo herds coming down to drink in the drier months who in turn attract the king of beasts and his royal family who are always on the prowl for a meal. The S50 has two hides along the way namely the Kanniedood Bird Hide (located about 7 km east of the camp) and the Nyawutsi Bird Hide (located about 30 km from the camp) Grootvlei dam lies a further few km’s down the road and attracts a large variety of game in the drier months. The Dipene Outpost is also located along the S50 (see images below)
Other rewarding routes accessible from Shingwedzi are the S56 Mphongolo loop, the S52 Redrocks/Tshanga loop and the short S55 to Lamont water hole. If you get an early start you can head up to Pafuri for the day and enjoy your brunch at this wonderful picnic site along the banks of the Levuvu River in amongst some magnificent trees. A scenic drive from there through the Fever Tree forest will land you up at Crook’s Corner where the 3 countries of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe meet. This is also a great place to view some massive crocodiles and some very rare bird species. Babalala picnic site offers an ideal place to stretch your legs and have a cup of coffee on route to (or from) Pafuri.
Information courtesy Sanparks website and personal experience.
All photos: Steve Bouwer
71442B13-2111-4343-B2C6-054C917EC5E3.jpeg
2E841AE4-95E6-40AA-AA6D-A4F98F920BF0.jpeg
6E853AED-761F-4A1D-9226-8C2C571D8194.jpeg
FDC0D928-C84B-45AF-92AB-0D16231F28BB.jpeg
7AB5F10D-4DBB-4CBE-B323-A7D18DCE5903.jpeg
A5C8F82C-9AE9-4EA9-91C0-FC62FECEA74B.jpeg
38968CA4-FB3E-42AB-B140-9339DCBD8E2B.jpeg
F7315572-E591-4F0A-BF80-BF5096760A62.jpeg
2BD18AA3-4524-4386-B384-3F0144A03188.jpeg
7CE9ADCC-B9D0-408D-AC8D-DBCF433BD2C8.jpeg
E3106373-4662-472B-98BC-E31050B481B7.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Tamara Brown

#DidYouKnow The lumbering but lethal - to small animals - southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) has been on the South African endangered species list since 2014. There are numerous threats to its survival, the disappearance of the protection provided by the old belief that they were bringers of rain, loss of habitat (limited nest site availability) poisoning and electrocution are doing their destructive best with this species. This is exacerbated by the fact that they are very slow breeders, with some populations only raising one chick to maturity every 9 years or so. Their reproduction success is heavily influenced by their environment, rainfall, and the size of the group (number of non-breeding helpers to help co-operatively raise the young). Photo Credit:
(Information sourced from: Carstens, K., Kassanjee, R., Little, R., Ryna, P., Hockey, P. (2019). Breeding success and population growth of Southern Ground Hornbills Bucorvus leadbeateri in an area supplemented with nest-boxes. Bird Conservation International; Cambridge Vol. 29, Iss. 4, (Dec 2019): 627-643. DOI:10.1017/S0959270919000108; Koeppel, K.N. & Kemp, L.V. (2015). Lead Toxicosis in a Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri in South Africa, Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, 29(4):340-344 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1647/2014-037; Wilson, G. & Hockey, P.A.R. (2013). Causes of variable reproductive performance by Southern Ground-hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri and implications for management. International Journal of Avian Science, https://doi-org.salford.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/ibi.12042; APNR Southern Ground-Hornbill Research & Conservation Project (apnrgroundhornbillproject.com); Toronto Zoo | Animals; Southern ground-hornbill, facts and photos (nationalgeographic.com))
A22FCB5A-4671-46E2-BAE8-5835AF022041.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Mark Flint

#DidYouKnow
You have a 4x4 and would love to use it a little more for what it was designed. Why not try a “wilderness experience on wheels”
The Lebombo Eco Trail in the Kruger National Park. This 5-day (4 night) 500km outdoor adventure traverses the Park from the South to the North along the Lebombo mountain range on the eastern boundary of the Park.
Experienced, and highly professional guides act as trail leaders and will interpret the various ecozones the trail crosses, at regular intervals. The guides will provide insights into the fauna, flora, geology, history and cultural information along the route. You will learn things that you never knew before and travel places very few others are allowed to travel.
The trail departs from Crocodile Bridge every Sunday and ends at Pafuri on a Thursday during the dry season from the 1st Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, after which the rainy season normally commences. Only 5 vehicles plus the guide’s vehicle are allowed on the trail at any one time, with a maximum of 4 people per vehicle. A Maximum of 20 persons. You bring your own gear, food and drinks and you need to be self-sufficient.
Bookings can be made at central reservations on (012) 426 5111. Please note that the route may be closed completely after heavy rains.
A truly unique experience.
0D8C9938-76E8-4149-A8ED-6050FD01EB72.jpeg
B2CC71A5-24D1-40FC-94E0-C8A3325048E0.jpeg
B762105E-69A2-4F89-BF80-52361DE98F91.jpeg
B243564B-1574-4ABA-8564-C4E9E0C2871C.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Val Stephens

#DidYouKnow
Article compiled by Noel Haydenrych – Honorary Ranger Virtual Region
The SANParks Pafuri Border Camp used to have a very different use to the one it has these days as a tourist camp. From 1926 until 1976 it was a recruitment camp for potential mine workers. It was run by the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association commonly known as WENELA. This name was later changed to The Employment Bureau of Africa or TEBA for short.
The camp housed the recruitment officer, Harold Mockford, his wife Tiny and their children. A doctor lived there too. The new recruits would each stay there in dormitory accommodation for fourteen days of quarantine during which time they were taught the basics of Fanagalo, the Esperanto of the mining industry. They were thoroughly examined by the doctor and inoculated against tuberculosis.
These days the Mockford family home is the Mockford House, the doctor’s place is the Doctor’s House and what was a guest cottage for visitors is the Mockford Cottage. All have been sensitively and stylishly refurbished and furnished in a style reminiscent of their former period of use. Each one can be reserved by visitors to the Kruger National Park as guest accommodation.
The recruits’ dormitories have been repurposed too - as accommodation for the Pafuri field rangers.
A childhood friend of the Mockford children remembers the place fondly. He describes how Tiny collected a menagerie of sick, wounded or orphaned animals including a blind bushbuck called Blind Boy and a Honey Badger called Bags who would go on walks with the family. The children had a pair of pet otters called Roly and Poly and they had endless fun playing with these cute, clever little creatures.
The swimming pool in the middle of the current camp is notoriously deep. The reason being that it was created for the otters first and people second.
The recruits were known as Mafortini (a word adopted from the English ‘fourteen’) because of the 14 days quarantine they underwent. Much further south, near Lower Sabie, is a waterhole called Mafotini in honour of these intrepid men who left their families at home to seek their fortunes on the mines.
During the Mozambique war the buildings were used by rebel soldiers who left behind a lot of graffiti scrawled on the walls of the buildings.
After the war there was a period of tension and negotiations between TEBA, the Makuleke who lived at Pafuri before the recruitment camp was established and the SANParks authorities as to the future use of the camp and its buildings.
Fortunately for visitors wishing to stay overnight in this almost magical, mystical part of the Kruger National Park, the end result of the negotiations has been the creation of the Pafuri Border Camp.
Article Credits:
A Glimpse of Paradise – Christopher Wingfield.
Community Perceptions of a Mine Recruitment Centre at Pafuri - Heidi Hansen.
Photo Credit: SANParks Website
A4BA74DD-5584-4BA2-A140-43C07259504D.jpeg
599AC8E4-95B6-429E-AFBF-2524805B5B61.jpeg
BA2EDFB3-F2C3-4F3A-A3E9-61812E658B19.jpeg
23456E73-A922-482E-80EF-6310EBCFF611.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Tebogo Lukhele

#DidYouKnow
Impalas are the most underrated animals as they are seen everywhere and everytime yet have very beautiful facts associated with them.
Impalas are one of the most popular prey around and only just 50-55% of the impala lambs make it to their breeding age. They are browsers and grazers, which means they eat both leaves and grass. Impalas rely on their numbers for safety and that is why you will find them in large groups of up to around 115 Impalas. Impalas also decide when they want to give birth, and this normally depends on the surrounding environment, rain season etc. They have all round vision, therefore they do not have to turn their head to see sideways.
They have scent glands on their legs, they are the only antelopes that have these glands in SA, they use it as a follow me sign in dangerous situations so other impalas can follow.
-Photo: Tebogo Lukhele
-Article Tebogo Lukhele
D360053B-DDFA-4719-A8CB-78BDE7F3A763.jpeg
0ED385DC-ACF1-46AA-9148-9E86403193C0.jpeg
EB784B84-58BB-4965-8D0A-CF1B674F758E.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Les Morgan

GIRAFFES
#Didyouknow
#Giraffe
#giraffeconservationfoundation
1. Many people first believed the giraffe was a cross between a leopard and a camel, which is reflected in its scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis. A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints. No two individual giraffes have exactly the same pattern.
2. Giraffes are considered to be more threatened than many other species; the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently reclassified giraffes from a species of least concern to one vulnerable of extinction. Giraffe populations in Africa have declined 40% since 1985.
All nine subspecies of giraffe are officially in trouble.
3. There is no shortage of threats – ranging from habitat loss (land conversion to agriculture and cutting of trees for charcoal) to poaching (giraffes are highly desired in the bushmeat trade). It is likely that the continent-wide decline of all giraffe populations will continue, as suitable habitat is consumed by Africa’s fast growing human population.
4. At an average height of around 5 m (16-18 ft.), the giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. Their legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet.
5. The male giraffe is both taller and heavier than the female.
6. Both sexes have skin-covered protrusions, called ossicones, on the top of their heads. Female ossicones are smaller and have a small tuft of fur on top, while male ossicones are bald on the top. These ossicones are used to protect the head when males fight, which involves swinging their necks at each other in a show of strength called “necking.”
7. When giraffes walk, they move both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side, which is unusual. However, they run in a similar style to other mammals, swinging their rear legs and front legs in unison. They can reach 55 km/h (35 mph) at full speed but only in brief spurts, or cruise at 10 mph over longer distances.
8. Their extreme height allows them to eat leaves and shoots located much higher than other animals can reach. In particular, they seek out acacia trees. Their long tongues are helpful in eating because they help pull leaves from the trees. Spending most of the day eating, a full-grown giraffe consumes over 45 kg (100 lb.) of leaves and twigs a day.
9. A giraffe's neck is too short to reach the ground. As a result, it has to awkwardly spread its front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water. Giraffes only need to drink once every few days. Most of their water comes from the plants they eat.
10. An often-quoted fact about Giraffes is that they have the same number of bones (Vertebrae) in their neck as humans.
11. Female giraffes can become pregnant at 5 years old. They carry a baby for 15 months and give birth while standing up. Newborns are about 2 m (6 ft.) tall and weigh 70 kg (150 lb.). The giraffe calf can stand up and walk after about an hour and within a week, it starts to sample vegetation. They live up to 25 years in the wild.
12. Despite the females’ attempts to defend them and stand over their calves, during attacks by lions, spotted hyenas, leopards and African wild dogs, many calves are killed in their first few months.
13. Whilst it was thought that giraffes did not make any sounds, this is now known to be untrue, as giraffes bellow, snort, hiss and make flute-like sounds, as well as low pitch noises beyond the range of human hearing.
14. The IUCN currently recognises one species (Giraffa camelopardalis) and nine subspecies of giraffe, which is historically based on outdated assessments of their morphological features and geographic ranges.
15. However, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), together with its partner Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), has performed the first-ever comprehensive DNA sampling and analysis (genomic, nuclear and mitochondrial) of all major natural populations of giraffe throughout their range in Africa.
16. As a result, an update of the traditional taxonomy now exists.
This study revealed that there are four distinct species of giraffe, and five subspecies.
• The four distinct species are
o Reticulated giraffe (G. reticulata) and
o Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi),
o Northern giraffe (G. camelopardalis),
 Nubian giraffe (G. c. camelopardalis),
• Rothschild’s giraffe is genetically identical to the Nubian giraffe. As the nominate species, Nubian giraffe takes precedence and Rothschild’s giraffe is thus subsumed into it.
 Kordofan giraffe (G. c. antiquorum) and
 West African giraffe (G. c. peralta) are the three subspecies of the Northern giraffe.
o Southern giraffe (G. giraffa).
 The Angolan giraffe (G. g. angolensis) and
 South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa) are the two subspecies of the Southern giraffe.
More information can be obtained via the link below.
https://giraffeconservation.org/giraffe-species/

EB4D5C03-1D93-440C-952E-577F84C30543.jpeg
36571872-CF33-46B2-9857-FF95A77BE164.jpeg
59995769-7DEE-4AEF-A617-9AC68DE138CB.jpeg
34E4038E-6B03-40BF-A419-306E90695E87.jpeg
0577EE05-4D1C-4BD4-8344-ABBC3AFAAFCC.jpeg
E383BE4D-C024-4680-94B7-C9C1D476575F.jpeg
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Ockert Nel

#Know your park #Did you know
Webcams in the South African National Parks
Intro
We all love to visit any of the South African National Parks, if we could we would visit every day, well what if I told you that you could visit some favourite places from the comfort of your home, office even on your cellphone. This is made possible by a group of dedicated persons that install, manage and maintain webcams. You can view these webcams at : https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams_group.php
There are currently five(5) active webcams located throughout the South African National Parks
• Orpen Webcam https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams.php?cam=orpen
This was the first webcam installed and the feeds went active in December of 2004. The webcam is located near the watering hole just outside the Orpen Restcamp, Kruger National Park. If you are situated near the fence ,there are benches you can sit and see the camera and lights. Plenty animal activity is viewed on this cam and a great cam for birdwatchers too.
• Satara Webcam https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams.php?cam=satara
This webcam can be found just outside the cafeteria at the Satara Main rest camp, Kruger National Park, right next to the fence there is a rectangular waterhole , a great field of view and the camera can pan right into the camp. I love this cam as Satara is one of my favourite camps.
• Addo Webcam https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams.php?cam=addo
Located at the main camp of the Addo Elephant National Park, this webcam overlook a wide area and the watering hole at the back. Here the Addo elephants come to drink and stay most of the day, also one of the cams where you can see the elusive Brown Hyena
• Nossob Webcam https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams.php?cam=nossob
Nestled in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, just outside the Nossob camp site, overlooking the watering hole, this cam looks far into the Khalahari desert , with some amazing sightings of Leopard, lions and herds of Wildebeest and Springbuck. I have even seen some Gemsbok on the rear occasion. Not to be biased, but it is my favourite cam in the summer time watching the flocks and flocks of red billed weaver birds having a drink of water.
• Punda Maria Webcam https://www.sanparks.org/webcams/cams.php?cam=punda
This is one of the latest additions to the webcams, there is a bird hide towards the edge of the Punda Maria Rest camp, Kruger National Park, overlooking the dam, this camera is actually mounted on the roof of it. When viewing this webcam you get a panoramic view of the dam and all the animals that visit it, like the big herds of Cape buffalo found up in the North of the Kruger National Park, but this camera also zooms in to give us close ups of these animals.
The webcams takes a ‘still’ picture every 15 seconds , but with a stable internet connection and a strong uncapped wifi, one can watch the live feeds, but currently not active.
Some interesting sightings recorded on webcams
• To the best of my knowledge there has been a couple of kills on cam, like a buffalo that was hunted down by lions, right at the Satara watering hole, and two lion males took down an Impala at Orpen, all captured by the webcam.
• There are also regular animals at these watering holes like the African wild cats at Satara, the resident owls at Satara, herds of elephants at Orpen...
• Plenty bird sighting at these cams…
Do yourself a favour, go lock into these cams or watch the highlights on the FaceBook page
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Steve and Maryna Bouwer

Communal nest spider
#didyouknow #knowyourpark #sanparks #liveyourwild
Stegodyphus dumicola also known as the Communal nest spider, occurs in Central and Southern Africa.
They are small brown/grey spiders with dark facial markings. Females are larger than the males.
The social setup for these spiders is interesting because there are several advantages to living in a colony:
• Egg and spiderling care is shared.
• Web maintenance is shared.
• Capture of prey is a community effort.
• Larger prey than that for a single spider can be caught.
• Food is shared.
• Nest defence is shared
Nests are naturally constructed (mostly) in thorn trees in the Lowveld, but artificial aids such as posts and fences are also used. The nest may be initiated by a couple of spiders but as few as only two can start a new colony. Starting up of a new colony is initially by females. The nests are occupied for several years by successive generations. Birds can also utilize the silk for their nest lining.
Within the colony, body size and condition determines what function individual spiders have. Smaller spiders attend to web maintenance while larger spiders secure food. Those with poorer body condition will be left to forage.
Globally there are approximately 39000 known spider species. The majority of spiders prefer solitary lives outside of mating.
More interesting facts about spiders in general:
• Spiders have special glands that produce silk used for making webs.
• Spiders don't occur in Antarctica.
• Spiders molt.
• The anterior part of the body is known as the cephalothorax.
• The posterior part of the body is known as the abdomen.
• Only one spider family, Uloboridae, does not have venom.
• Some spiders do not spin webs to catch prey.
• Some female spiders eat their mates.
• Spiders turn their prey into a liquid form before ingestion.
• Special enzymes are used to liquidize their prey.
• The largest spiders are able to catch birds.
• Female spiders encase their eggs in a bed of silk, known as an egg sac.
Photo credit of the spider to Caroline Voget and the nest photo was taken at Shimuwini camp in Kruger.
86D3A36B-A3A5-4980-B56D-72ABA1CF628D.jpeg
A5752763-85E8-43CB-B8DC-6F63229D6A88.jpeg
A5752763-85E8-43CB-B8DC-6F63229D6A88.jpeg (29.2 KiB) Viewed 1910 times
User avatar
ritad
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 66807
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:03 pm
Location: Austria

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by ritad »

Created by Husein Carim

#DidYouKnow #KnowYourPark
Two Ocean's Hiking Trail
This is the newest of the hiking trails and follows a circular route through the Park. The hike starts at the gates of Cape Point Nature Reserve and finishes at Olifantsbos beach, on the other side of the peninsula.
The name of the hiking trail is linked to a viewpoint on top of the Sandberg from which the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean can be seen. The trail passes through indigenous fynbos and is about 10.5 km long and takes most hikers between four and five hours to complete the entire trail. There are two alternative routes - a 3 km (one hour) and slightly longer route of 4.5 km (two hours) for hikers who may not wish to walk the entire route. The route is marked with coloured markers. This trail is not available to day visitors.
User avatar
Jill de Jongh
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:36 pm

Re: #didyouknow

Unread post by Jill de Jongh »

:thumbs_up:
All creatures weird and wonderful... :big_eyes:
Post Reply