Episode 36 Season 6: 26 July 2015
Sulphur spill: an acidic calamity
The Klein Nyl River is a tributary of the Nyl River, which flows slowly through the town of Modimolle. The river’s floodplain incorporates the Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, an important wetland ecosystem in South Africa for about 370 species of birds. Just outside Modimolle recently, a tanker was making its way to Zimbabwe. Its cargo: 28 000 liters of Sulphuric acid. It lost control, crashed, and spilled its entire load out onto the road. The events that ensued resulted in one of the worst environmental disasters the area has ever seen. But this is not the end of the tribulations for the Nyl River. It turns out that this lifeblood of one of South Africa’s most important wetlands has been abused by people for a long time. As one of the driest countries in the world, this treatment of our precious water is unacceptable, so we headed to the source of the problem to find out more.
KNP drought: Impending doom, or blessing in disguise
When you look around the Kruger National Park at the moment, a mass starvation event is almost impossible to imagine. The vegetation is still relatively green in many areas, even though we are well into the winter season. The plains game look in good condition and the iconic predators are well fed. Yet at any moment the tables can and will turn, as the Kruger National Park prepares itself for a drought. The last time the reserve experienced a drought cycle was 1991, so it is well over due, and with rainfall for 2015 much lower than previous years, this could be the first sign that drought is coming to the area. Bertus heads up to the KNP to get all the info from the experts, and to find out what the repercussions of a drought cycle for the reserve will be – for animals and visitors alike.
Urban Critters: Egyptian Geese
Egyptian geese are not actually true geese. Nor do they hail from Egypt. What we do know, is that they are masters of surviving in urban environments. With their beautiful facial markings, excellent parenting skills and the ability to adapt to different conditions all over the globe, these honking water-fowl are certainly worthy of a round of applause in this week’s Urban Critters.
Wildlife Wonder: sardine run
A unique and unexplained phenomenon of millions of silver bodies traveling along the coast of South Africa: the sardine run. An annual migration from the colder waters of the Cape to the warm east coast where the enormous shoal comes close inshore during autumn and winter before disappearing into the vast blue yonder. Followed hungrily by dolphins, sharks, whales and sea-birds, the dark shadow of fish is the second largest migration of animals on earth. Join us for this week’s Wildlife Wonder that is guaranteed to be a marine feast for the human eye.
Wildlife is being weird, wacky and wonderful this week on Veld Focus, with a few last minute entries that guarantee the competition for the grand prize will be a close one. A honey badger has a wily entourage, a pair of Verreaux’s eagles demonstrate tough parenting and a hippo gate crashes a dinner party.