Phalaborwa and Orpen are both ground hornbill chicks of around similar ages. But that’s where the similarities end. One chick was raised in the wild, the other in captivity. Although both began, wild… and both will ultimately live free. Humans look after one or two children with ease, reptiles abandon theirs but they’re usually able to fend for themselves from birth. We expect birds to brood eggs and then feed and care for their chicks. But the Southern Ground Hornbill eats or abuses half of its offspring! While Mother Nature can be cruel, it’s a waste to loose a chick unnecessarily considering ground hornbills are such a threatened species. Some dedicated individuals have however, come up with a plan. Its not unusual for researchers to “confiscate” chicks and rear these by hand for later release… but new science is now making it possible to get to the chicks before they become dehydrated and to improve their successes of saving each life! To save a chick from a certain death by stealing it from the nest, timing is crucial! And there are risks for the chicks once they leave the nest. We meet Scott Ronaldson, who tirelessly, day-in day-out, follows these birds and tracks their breeding efforts; and Delecia Gunn of Loskop Dam who devotedly rears the chicks he brings her. And we get a look into aspects of the ground hornbill’s life never seen before now – scenes that have researchers…and will have you…raising your eyebrows!
Graveyards, cemeteries, churchyards or mausoleums, though sad, always seem to be unsightly and morbid, not to mention environmentally harmful and increasingly dangerous inSouth Africa. In addition, the costs of embalming bodies and the price of coffins and headstones are high. How can we avoid these depressing places? And what happens as cemeteries fill up? A family in the Eastern Cape did years of research into the idea of natural burial grounds or Legacy Parks. Legacy Parks in SA echo what seems to be an international trend with natural burial grounds already being found in countries like the US and Australia. In an unusual insert, we take a look at how Legacy Parks assist the environment in a unique way – conserving natural landscapes, reducing the harsh effects of chemicals on land and creating an atmosphere worthy of the legacies left behind by belated loved ones.
Shadrack: wildlife artist
Shadrack is a sculptor and he has been crafting from an early age. Shadrack creates uniquely made life-size animals in motion. The surprise in the tale however, is that he has never been to a game reserve before! Shadrack moulds his sculptures from what he has seen in books. So…Bonne takes Shadrack to a game park to see the living, breathing subjects of his art and then he makes one for us!
Eco-ondersoek: Exotic Pet trade
Every other pet shop sells more than just your average cute and fluffy dogs and cats… you can buy bearded dragons, snakes and exotic chameleons among many other things as well. Unfortunately, where most pet shops give you a permit and the correct care instructions when you buy your pet, the men on the sides of the roads illegally selling wildlife, do not. The ever-growing numbers of animals such as snakes, chameleons and owls being sold, are stripping wild populations… not unlike poaching. Furthermore, they’re usually poorly cared for by the handlers and often perish shortly after purchase or weeks later by incorrect care by the buyer. Together with the NSPCA and the North West Authorities, Faye confronts these eco-villains on the road to Sun City to see what can be done to stop this illegal trade!
In this week’s VeldFokus we delve into the world of creepy crawlies! We also answer some “What on earth is that?” questions.