Episode 34 Season 6: 12 July 2015
Chad: Le Treg Ultra Marathon
Last week, Bertus headed to the lush grasslands of the Zakouma National Park, where he brought us the incredible story of the park’s biodiversity and the brave efforts of the dedicated members of the anti-poaching team who risk their lives to protect the valuable wildlife in this remote reserve. This week, we bring you the rest of the story, where members of the African Parks team, together with Zakouma National parks staff members took on the epic Le Treg Ultra Marathon, through the desserts of the Ennedi Plateau, running a gruelling 90 kilometres through the Sahara Desert to demonstrate their commitment to the Chadian Government to establishing Ennedi as a national park, and as a tribute to the anti-poaching team that was gunned down in cold blood by ruthless poachers. Join us on an adventure that is not to be missed through the stunningly beautiful landscapes in a part of Africa that is guaranteed to take your breathe away.
Frogs: Out of sight and out of mind
Frogs are a known indicator species for the overall health of an area. If frogs suddenly go missing, there is clearly something very wrong happening in the system. We have more than one hundred frog species in South Africa and half of them occur nowhere else but here. They were first vertebrate animals to inhabit the land, and in times of ecological stress, they are the first to disappear. This is exactly what is happening here at the Polokwane Frog Reserve, where a 600 ha housing estate could be threatening the lives of at least 13 species -including the near threatened African Bull Frog – which appear each year to breed in a temporary water pool. We head off to investigate how the approval for a housing estate got through the initial environmental impact report, and what is being done to ensure the protection of this piece of important natural wetland.
Wildlife friendly meat:
While our iconic, larger predators live in protected areas, solitary and smaller predators still roam free, especially where there are easy prey options like in the Kamieskroon area, just outside the Namaqua National Park. Farmers live close to the land and would prefer to co-exist with nature, but when it comes to lamb farming, predator controls have to be in place. 50|50 has looked at various options over the years and a recent study in this Northern Cape area caught our eye. Scientists, conservationists and local farmers have developed the idea of Eco-rangers, a new concept for farming, and they work hand-in-hand with an Anatolian sheepdog. These dogs live with the flocks of sheep, protecting vulnerable lambs from jackal and caracal, without killing them. Eyes on the ground collect not only predator sightings and preventing predator interactions, but also monitor and observe other wildlife in the area. This proves, that we can all ‘have our lamb, and eat it too…’
Class in is session this week, and we get a look at a few examples of how lessons are conducted in the wild. A green-backed heron teaches all the basics to its youngster, a brown hyena has to learn to think ‘off’ its feet, and a rhino mother dishes out the discipline.