Gekco fights to preserve wildlife in the conservancy

MIDRAND – The Greater Kyalami Conservancy’s (Gekco) annual general meeting last month heard highlights from the past year concerning Kyalami’s wildlife and environment.

June 14, 2018 | Daniella Potter | Fourways Review

A bundle of fluff: An African grass-owl chick in the conservancy. Read more about it in this week’s paper edition, week ending 15 June. Photo: Anton van Niekerk

A cosy room with a crackling fire at Inanda Country Base set the scene for the Greater Kyalami Conservancy’s (Gekco) annual general meeting last month at which community members concerned about Kyalami’s wildlife and environment heard highlights from the past year and learnt tips to keep wildlife and the environment safe.

Members of the Gekco management committee for this year: Neil Puntis for Biodiversity, Darryl van Niekerk for Cycle Kyalami, chairperson Kristin Kallesen; Keith Bush for roads, and secretary Anton van Niekerk. Other members of the committee for the next year include vice chairperson Tammy Wild, treasurer Thys Brand, Sonja Bohnsack for recreation, Sue Warring for communication and Jason du Toit for recreation.

Aim to curb illegal dumping in a conservancy

Kristin Kallesen, the chairperson of Gekco, explained that illegal dumping – especially in the veld near Diepsloot and along Main Road in Glenferness – remained a challenge and that she believes strict enforcement is needed to discourage this practice.

Seeing how the environment was abused by illegal dumping, inspired Sbusiso Shongwe and Nondumiso Sibiya to build their Diepsloot company, Boombadotmobi. They assign jobs to those operating rubbish removal trucks in Diepsloot who work within the environmental by-laws to dispose of rubble and rubbish, Sibiya, the company’s COO, said.

They also use the rubble to build up eroded roads or build houses in the township and give local farmers the garden refuse to decompose for their crops.

Sibiya raised concern that community members were largely unaware of how their waste was disposed of by those they hired to remove it.

Details: Boombadotmobi on Facebook

Boombadotmobi’s CEO Sbusiso Shongwe and COO Nondumiso Sibiya clamp down on illegal dumping.

There’s a need for wildlife-friendly fencing

People invariably do not put emphasis on the environment when under threat from crime.

This is according to Graham Salvado of Paul’s Gates Security Solutions, who offered advice on how community members could meet nature halfway to ensure fencing does not interfere with the natural flow of wildlife, such as in Kyalami where there are dassies, rabbits and jackals.

“One of the major concerns that I have encountered personally is the threat of electric fences on animals and wildlife,” said Salvado, adding that not all animals act instinctively as humans do when shocked. He showed a photograph of a hedgehog that had curled up into a ball when shocked by an electric fence.

He proposed fencing solutions that could accommodate the wildlife’s natural instincts:

  • Weld mesh fencing is cheap and easily modified to accommodate nature but not always effective as a security solution
  • Palisade fencing is marginally more expensive but wildlife friendly, yet is not always effective in keeping criminals out
  • Clear view fencing is popular, easily modified to accommodate the flow of wildlife, but the initial cost is high
  • Electric fencing is effective as a security barrier but is not as wildlife-friendly and requires routine maintenance.

For more on what was highlighted at the annual general meeting, check out page 3 of this week’s paper edition (week ending 15 June).