50|50 Episode 31 – 14 Jan 2013


Rhinos, ivory and predator pelts and bones are in high demand, we see them all the time in the media. Hundreds of thousands of rands are dedicated to the conservation those species while others have barely been heard of. Sungazers are large girdled lizards unique in many ways and equally threatened. For years these fascinating little creatures have been persecuted as part of the pet and muthi trade. They are habitat sensitive – needing sand to burrow into to escape danger and temperature extremes – and yet the areas they live in are continually being used for mining and agriculture. What looked like a dire situation for the species has been turned around thanks to the studies of a Wits University Masters student. For the past three years, he’s been gathering all the information needed to update the lizard’s status in the IUCN Red Data Book. This will then put pressure on conservation authorities to draft a Bio-diversity Management Plan for the lizard as well as to plan a reserve. We have a look at how all the data is collected, we see how affected landowners react and we learn a little more about this magnificent reptile.


While the DRC is generally not on the top of the list as an ecotourism destination, the Katanga region is a best-kept secret. It is a magical mix of open grasslands, soaring mountain ranges, and plunging waterfalls. In this region, a South African man has transferred the ecotourism learning’s from the southern part of the continent to create a world-class ecotourism destination. This same man has employed hydropower to power the lodge and brought growth to the local community. He has been responsible for discovering a lost herd of elephants, a new weaver species and all the while bringing South African conservation to a remote a beautiful part of Africa in the eco-friendliest of ways.


Carbon footprint of milk


What goes into producing a litre of milk? You would be surprised. We consume milk and can happily think we are getting our dairy requirements without harming anything. But milk has a much higher impact on the environment than we think. Climate change is one of biggest issues facing the planet and producing the food that we eat is one of the big contributors.  The WWF wanted to know how much it contributed to climate change and thus commissioned carbon footprint experts to investigate the ‘Lifecycle of milk’. Woolworths partnered with the WWF to get to the bottom of the milk questions. From the raw materials to the packaged end product, the study looks at every step in the production line of milk to see where the highest climate changing activities happen in an effort to make everything a little greener.



In Veldfokus this week, snakes are having trouble with their meals; a leopard is after its own dinner and the vervets are up to their tricks again.



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