Red Gold – Lobsters
Red gold lies beneath the cold waters off the West Coast of South Africa. The West Coast rock lobster thrives in the West Coast marine environment which is rich in biodiversity and life due to the upwelling of nutrients from deep under the Atlantic ocean. Humans have tapped into this resource and a massive fishing industry has developed over the years with the rock lobster having established itself as the third most important species economically. The 50|50 balance between humans and nature is difficult to maintain and it is now shifting drastically due to a number of factors. Over fishing and poaching has led to a decline in the rock lobster stocks. In addition to this, climate change is shifting ocean currents and temperatures. Rock lobsters are having to migrate with these changes which is having an economic impact on the fishermen who have to travel further to find them. The problem doesn’t stop here. This shift in lobster habitat is resulting in a ripple effect on other marine organisms. Rock lobsters are now feeding on the sea urchins that vulnerable juvenile abalone use as protection. Once again, human influence is disrupting the fine balance of nature and we have to take the appropriate management steps to fix the problems. Do we need to impose a total crayfish and abalone fishing ban? Or can we use captive bred stock to replace losses in the wild?
We are living in a connected modern world where social media and information technology is literally at our fingertips…constantly. Can you remember the last time you weren’t within earshot of your mobile phone? Did you know 500 hours of Youtube videos are watched every day on Facebook? The younger generation are affected most by this and having information so easily accessible is expanding their opportunities. But social media isn’t for the younger generation only: Did you know the fastest growing age bracket on Twitter is between 55 to 64? We go to the bush to escape and retreat from all things busy and technological to get in touch with nature. And now technology is following us into the bush. But technology like social media has aided researchers and the public alike. 17 year old, Nadav Ossendryzer, has revolutionised game viewing with an application for phones called Kruger Sightings. He has been interviewed by CNN, the Guardian and approached by Google to commercialize the idea. Gone are the days of sightings boards and private game guard intercoms which kept exclusive access to sighting information. Now anyone can download a free app that gives them instant information about the closest wildlife sightings.
There is a secret lying in the ancient landscape of the Great Karoo. Behind the Hantamberg mountains, near Fraserburg, lie dinosaur predecessors’ footprints that are 250 million years old! Few people are aware, let alone, interested in these footprints. Discovered in 1968, this local heritage site has been exposed to the elements and has been slowly degrading. This is because it does not benefit from any form of provincial or national protection like the Cradle of Humankind does. We discover how these fossils formed over earth’s history with Gondwanaland breakup and sediment layer build-up. These fossils made the international headlines when they were discovered, but very little has been done within South Africa to protect them and raise awareness about them. Characters from the local community are fighting to protect this national heritage which is even making footprints on the landscape of local culture. Religious dancing and singing are used to understand and reflect on this piece of ancient history.
Tonight we zoom into the magical world of small creatures…with spider-hunting wasps, powerful antlion larvae, camouflaged grasshoppers, squeaking frogs, erupting mushrooms and carnivorous plants.
We also enjoy more blue-chip wildlife behaviour with a short exposé on the elephants of Mashatu.