Every year thousands of Amur falcons leave the Mongolian winter and embark on one of the longest non-stop raptor migration known to man, flying down the east coast of Africa to roost in summery Southern Africa. These birds, with a weight equal to four slices of bread, face a 14500km journey, overcoming strong winds, bad weather and other aerial predators. The journey even includes a 2500-3100km leg over the sea which takes two to three days of non-stop flight. Meet Falcon 95773, one of 10 falcons fitted with GPS trackers in 2010. She was picked up by raptor enthusiasts on 10th January 2013 in Newcastle amongst a roost of many thousands of birds. Until recently the migratory patterns of these birds were relatively unknown to science. Raptor 95773 was the only one of the initial 10 to return safely to South Africa. This is largely because of the killing of raptors for bush meat that happen every year in India which have resulted in 140000 falcon deaths over the past five years. India is a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and is duty bound to protect this species and provide a safe passage through the country. An international outcry over the killings prompted the government to step in…
On the 9th of August a ship ran aground off the Knysna coast line. Our deepest fears were realized when we discovered the ship was laden with some 330 tons of heavy fuel oil. South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) officials managed to refloat the carrier only after several tons of oil leaked from the vessel’s hull. Bonne takes a trip down to assess the damage and help out with some of the clean-up efforts. The Goukamma, Swartvlei and Knysna estuaries were vulnerable to the spill but quick action by local municipalities prevented excess damage. Huge earth moving equipment allowed them to block the estuary mouths, preventing oil from entering. A team of local emergency fire fighters were enlisted to help clean up the beaches and transport the contaminated sand to hazardous waste sites in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. At least 37 oiled penguins were rescued although eight cormorants were reported dead. The owner of the Kianu Satu ship has taken full responsibility for the clean-up, setting a good president for any future oil spills of its kind.
What comes to mind when one thinks of bees – honey and painful stings? Well if that is all you can think of, then you need to watch this Eko-ondersoek. The harvest from honey bees of honey, pollen, wax, and propolis has nutritional, craft, manufacturing and medical applications. They also play a vital role in our agricultural system as pollinators. Without them, up to a third of the food we eat would not be available. Bees are under threat not just in South Africa but globally as well. In the last ten years, over 40% of bee colonies in the United States have suffered from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or colony abruptly disappear. No one is quite sure but many causes for the disappearance of bees have been proposed, some of which include malnutrition, pesticides, diseases and parasites, electromagnetic radiation, incorrect beekeeping practices and public ignorance. The Eko-ondersoek team investigates a number of complaints from citizens who claim that municipal bee-removal teams are simply killing off bee hives instead of moving them. Find out why this is happening and discover the correct way to cope with bee hives in your garden.
New life seems to be the theme! We take a look at a series of photos taken of a tortoise slowly and very gently laying eggs. Two different fishermen accidentally catch stingrays which give birth to live young on the beach. We increase the cuteness factor and look at a group of squeaky banded mongoose pups. Finally we look at a springbok birth that sadly ends in death as a leopard claims the newly-born for its meal.