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HONORARY RANGERS GENERAL MEETING 28 July 2016

Peter Craig-Cooper welcomed all HRs and visitors to the meeting.  Graeme opened the meeting with a prayer.

1     Present : Peter Craig-Cooper (CHR), Genie Retief (2ic), Diana van Rensburg (Secretary), Nellie Morgan (Treasurer), John Webb, Jim Morgan, John Webber, Joce Gordon, Graeme Altenkirk, Evan, Powell, Uschi Powell, Lynette de Jong, Penelope Mayson, Oubaas Visser, Dev Farquharson, Rob Farquharson,  Frik Pienaar, Linda Benade, Lizzy Modiga.

Jennifer Webber, JJ van Rensburg, Jeanette Newey, Michael Raum, Tinus Grobler, Esther Badenhorst.

2     Apologies :  Johan Veldsman, Peter Joubert, Lenara Joubert, Annemarie Esterhuizen, Tom Esterhuizen, Andrew Hudson, Anrie Pienaar.

3     Bush Snippets

There is a porcupine visiting a house on Rinkaals regularly.  We will try to get photos.

There has been another borehole sunk at Gruispan which has filled up nicely.

An eagle caught a python on the bank across the river but then a Honey Badger took the python.  Vultures chased the badger away and the python managed to escape into the river where it was devoured by a crocodile.   All in all, a bad day for the python!

4     Forum Meeting

An emergency Forum meeting was held to discuss the Municipality proposal to move larger game into Lionspruit.  The Forum has put in a written objection to this.  There is no grazing in Lionspruit so the only reason to move animals into Lionspruit is for hunting.   The animals in Lionspruit are also starving but the Municipality has not looked at any other options.  A property owner was of the opinion that as the Municipality owned Lionspruit they could legally do what they decide without consultation with Marloth Park organisations and property owners and we could lose all access to Lionspruit.  We have previously sent a letter asking to be informed of the future of Lionspruit but have not received a response.

There have been reports of large predators in Marloth Park and the Forum has released a Predator Alert to warn people not to walk between dusk and dark.

We have asked the Forum to agree on removal of the rubbish cages at houses.  This will result in far less rubbish strewn around the veld.  Only a very few residents control the cages correctly.

5     Education / bird walks / talks

The first part of Bird Course for beginners was well attended.  The next one is on August 4 and the last one on August 11.  Book with Genie.

The next bird walk is on Saturday 6 August at 7.00.  Meet cnr Crocodile/ Volstruis. Breakfast at Jabula afterwards.  All are welcome.

We will hold more “Know Your Alien Plants” talks at the display at Field and try to get property owners and the gardening services involved.

6            Fund Raising – Winter Fair 9 July 2016

Peter thanked everyone who worked so hard at the fair.  The money raised will stand us in good stead for our projects in the coming year.  We received donations and sponsorships and thank everyone for their support. 

We requested feedback from all involved, including stall holders and we will take the suggestions into consideration.  We plan to revamp the whole area and have already put some ideas into action.

7            Work Parties - Flora

Graeme was thanked for organising the work parties for biocontrol of Prickly Pear and Queen of the Night.  The teams have noted other alien plants which need removing and the 2 labourers could be used for this.  We could also employ the labourers another day to assist with repairs but we would need volunteers to transport / supervise them.

We still need more education for property owners as they often ask the teams what they should be planting.

We have had no feedback about possible Working for Water teams.

There is a large amount of builders rubble left in the veld and it is becoming a major problem.  Only a couple of the builders make sure the sites are cleared. We have also taken this to the Forum.

The benches along Seekoei have been repaired.  The next plan is to demarcate the roads, possibly with rocks.  This is to stop cars driving straight over the veld to get to the river.  It takes 20 years for the veld to recover to its natural state after tracks are made.

It was suggested that HRs are more visible as it helps to deter people driving through the veld.

We are still trying to repair the container and a few suggestions were made. 

8            Lionspruit

There is no grazing in Lionspruit.  The buffalos are dying and the rhinos are in a poor condition.  Rhinos need 20 kg bulk grazing, 5 kgs high protein feed and 5 kgs Epol rhino feed per day.  It was estimated that it costs around R12 000 - R14 000 per week for feedThe Municipality had allocated R360 000 for feed but this has still not been passed by the finance department.  The exact number of animals in Lionspruit is unknown as the aerial count figures were not released to us.  It was suggested that the Forum ask the Municipality in writing how much is spent on feed in Lionspruit.

The construction of the toilet at Jackalberry dam was put on hold due to all the activities for the fair.  We will take more photos of the dam from all sides as Duncan can make suggestions to improve the area for birds from photos.

9            Game Management and Game Counts

105 more impalas are to be culled.  30 carcasses per month are supplied to the farmer in exchange for feed, the balance are dumped in Lionspruit.

10          Public Liaison – Facebook / Website

John Webb asked for stories to go with the photos.

11          Lion tracking / reporting

Joce reported that the lions have taken down 2 buffalos recently.

12          Snake report

John Webb reported that it was quiet at the moment.  Riaan has removed an Eastern Tiger Snake and a Spotted Bush Snake and JJ removed a Puff Adder.  Riaan had reported that a Boomslang was seen crossing the road and cars stopped to allow it to do so which is encouraging.

13          Finances / Asset Register

Nellie reported on the finances and income from the fair.

14          General

There was a report of baboons breaking into a house on Luiperd which Elfas investigated. Dev reported that baboons have been known to break windows to gain entry to houses.

We have asked KNP for permission to remove the Senna trees and Prickly Pear on the Kruger side of the fence.

Lynette reported that KNP are not using cochineal on Prickly Pear but are spraying.  We will find out more details.

There are courses in Nelspruit on Alien plants.  Terence has already attended one and it was suggested he could give us an overview.

Peter prepared a map and asked HRs to walk along their roads to ascertain the best places for humps for water run offs.  This should assist the municipality in building them in the correct place.

Genie asked for ideas for rates inserts.  Suggestions included water run offs, leopard sightings and curfew between dusk and dawn.

Penelope will arrange packing of grass seed so we are ready for when the rain comes.

Questions were asked on the numerous boreholes being drilled which are not permitted as per the title deed and by-laws.

Questions were also asked about the pets being kept in Marloth and the current petition to remove them.  The Forum will be handling the problem of pets in Marloth.

 

Our vision

hrOur vision is to support and assist the Nkomazi Municipality Conservation Department within Marloth Park with their management strategies and objectives while being an effective volunteer group. 
Read a brief  History of Honorary Rangers and the Conservancy

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