Our country is often plagued by strikes and violent protests that have left nerves frayed and tempers flaring. But in the Cape a quieter battle is being fought between the poor residents of the Cape Flats and big business. They are not fighting for better pay; instead they are battling bulldozers threatening the Princess Vlei. It is a relatively small vlei, but it has a big history. This vlei now faces the threat of a proposed development: a double volume shopping mall, car park and taxi rank. Though loved by the people, the vlei was neglected by the authorities, and became further degraded when a road was built through it with little regard for conserving its ecology. But the people of Princess Vlei decided this was not to be the undoing of such a beloved piece of land… they began upgrading and restoring the land in a scheme called “Dressing the Princess“. All this effort into the area was not going to be lost to development. We go to Princess Vlei to find out what all the commotion is about.
Electricity prices are set to double in the coming years and coal powers an ideally load-shedding free SA. We need other renewable sources of electricity. We’ve often brought you inserts on solar or nuclear power, even wind and wave but the little sister of renewable energy is the wind farm. SA is due to see the first fully functional wind farm in the country in St Francis Bay after the Darling wind farm, started in 2008. But where we win on electricity supply, we lose on ecology. Research has focused on the impacts of turbines on birds but little has been done on bats. Bat fatalities at some wind farms outnumber bird fatalities 10:1. Bat fatalities are caused by more than just collisions with the turbine blades – they are also affected by a phenomenon called barotrauma. While bats may be scary in Dracula movies, they are integral to ecosystems.
Verreaux’s eagle or black eagles are few and far between in South Africa and their hunting grounds surrounding the rocky crevices that they inhabit are increasingly overtaken by urban development. It does not help that when a bird flies into a powerline and is temporarily dazed, that it is picked up as a meal. This was almost the case for the young black eagle we featured on 50|50 some time back and were it not for a vigilant resident who exchanged some cash for the irreplaceable welfare of the individual!
No one knows the bush like a field guide and there is no guide like Johann. Johann is at it again – uncovering the smallest to the largest of creatures and helping us appreciate them even more.
Veldfokus this week has a look at youngsters in wild. From young giraffes to baby cranes to some of the eight-legged little ones. Newborns for a new year.