HONORARY RANGERS GENERAL MEETING
29 October 2015
1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting which was opened with a prayer. Congratulations to Peter and Lenara on the birth of their daughter.
HR Committee: John Webber (Chair), Diana van Rensburg (Secretary), Genie Retief, Peter Craig-Cooper, Joce Gordon.
HR present: Linda Benade, Oubaas Visser, John Webb, Dev Farquharson, Graeme Altenkirk, Lynette de Jong, Penelope Mayson, Andre Englebrecht, Annemarie Esterhuizen, Tom Esterhuizen, Frik Pienaar, Mike Bezuidenhout
Others present: Jennifer Webber, Derek Bruins-Lich, JJ van Rensburg, Jeff Newman, Mary Newman.
2 Apologies HR: Andrew Hudson, Lenara Joubert, Anri Pienaar, Johan Veldsman, Peter Joubert, Nellie Morgan, Jim Morgan, Yula Bezuidenhout.
3 Waste Management
John gave feedback of the public meeting with NKLM and the developers regarding the dump. Most people had attended the meeting so were aware that the application to move the dumpsite to parkland was withdrawn just before the public meeting. The retirement home proposal on the adjoining site was not discussed. The dump site is registered as a transit site and will be rehabilitated when the new budget starts in July, although the question of the R1.5 million, which was allocated previously, was not answered. The problem of building rubble was not addressed.
4 Bush Snippets
There have been numerous sightings of lions along the river road – photos shown.
There are still 8 young ostriches.
A vine snake or twig snake was seen. This is highly venomous.
It was suggested that we investigate the whereabouts of the wildebeest who wandered onto the neighbouring farm. They were left there while the veld recovered.
5 NIG Feedback - Nkomazi Interest Group
The section rangers reported 39 rhino lost last month and poachers were arrested near Satara. The northern area of the KNP is quiet although elephants are under threat in the Letaba region with most rhino poaching in the southern region. Incidents involving poisoning are on the increase. The KNP are still moving rhino to other game farms but there are many sightings of rhino by tourists.
The next NIG meeting is to be arranged.
6 Forum Meeting - No meeting
7 Game Reduction
The municipal rangers have taken out 109 impala. The permit expires on 14 November 2015 and Jaco has reported that they should reach the target of 300. Mauricedale Abattoir are removing the carcasses but doing little culling. The rangers are also removing warthog on an on-going basis. This has been the biggest game removal exercise in MP so if it rains and grass is planted then we should be in a good position for the next year. An aerial game count is planned and it was suggested that we hold another ground count which may solve the question of the missing giraffe.
8 WhatsApp Protocol
It was put forward that we do not use the groups for private conversation, only post information and items of interest to all.
9 Herbicide Discussion
Derrick advised that a talk on the use of herbicide will be held on 4 November 2015 at 9.00 at HvR.
10 Snares, Death and Poaching - No figures were available from the municipality.
11 Ranger Activities
A property owner asked for assistance in clearing alien plants off her property which had been sold. A large Queen of the Night Mutation surrounded by Euphorbia grandicornis had to be removed. HR provided supervision of the labour and arranged transport for removal. A donation was given to assist with the costs. HR does not usually clear private land but will assist in identifying plants. Eventually the law will come in so that all alien plants must be cleared before transfer can take place.
Flip Minnaar helped with erosion repair at the Jackalberry parking area. 2 Trees parking area also needs work.
12 Tagging Vultures
Genie gave a brief talk with photos on tagging Lappet Faced Vultures in Namibia where she had recently been. She explained how the nests were located in the Camel Thorn Trees by pilots giving gps co-ordinates, identifying the trees with white and fur underneath, using a periscope to check the chicks were in the nests and finally the ladder to reach the nest to bring the chicks down in a specially designed bag to be recorded and tagged.
13 Grass Seed
Sales were excellent. Only 2 bags left. We will order more.
14 Brochure on Alien Plants
Genie will follow up.
We need to check where all the sprayers are kept. We will spray parthenium after it rains but before it flowers. No products are registered for parthenium and it is of concern that the herbicides can remain in the soil for many years.
Linda is maintaining the alien plant displays well.
Joce asked for help with the prickly pear which has bio control agent. Dev and Graeme expressed interest.
The donor who sponsored the hide at Jackalberry dam is keen to have a toilet erected. John and Peter were meeting him to discuss. There is no water supply at the dam.
The vultures cleaned the bones of the impalas which were dumped in Lionspruit and it would be better now to request the rangers to dig a hole and bury the bones due to the danger of anthrax in the bones.
Despite rumours there are only 2 lions in Lionspruit.
Peter asked for the topic of evening braais to be discussed with Velly again.
17 Website /Facebook
We have over 1200 hits per week on the website. John Webb offered to post articles on snakes. We could also post articles on removal of alien plants, bare earth policy etc.
18 Bird Walk - 1st Saturday of the month
Next walk 7 November 2015 at 6.30 am. Meet at c/o Volstruis and Crocodile. All welcome.
19 Rates Inserts – no decision on a topic.
20 Snake Removal
3 snake removals in October - 3 spotted bush snakes.
21 Fire Fighting, Disaster Management
There is on-going testing of the fire hydrants to find the ones which can open. John has one spanner for opening hydrants but is not sure where the other one is. Graeme will test the hydrants in his area.
Again the major expense was the purchase of grass seed but money is now coming in from sales.
The crocodile has moved to the lower dam.
The trucks moving sugar cane from the farm are making a lot of noise at night.
Derrick asked for a joint approach, including the municipality, to the owners of properties on Seekoei who have cut down the trees on the parkland to improve the view to the river. The LEOs are also aware of it. HR has photos of all the parkland before any trees were removed. There are fines for cutting down trees which are very heavy for protected species. Builders cut down trees and these are used for firewood or possibly sold.
HRs can advise and warn property owners and the LEOs can issue warnings and then fines. Fines will be published and can be R7000 for a dog. Another suggestion was to ask the estate agents and security companies to advise clients on the rules in MP.
Honorary Rangers general meeting dates November 26, December no meeting
Committee meeting November 9