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MONTHLY REPORT DECEMBER 2006

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MONTHLY REPORT DECEMBER 2006 Powered By Docstoc
					MONTHLY REPORT: DECEMBER 2006
NEW RANGERS

On 1 December two new rangers, Wayne Meyer and Justin Westington, were appointed
full time positions at Fransmanshoek Conservancy for the period of one year (see fig. 1 &
2). Both of the rangers are students of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (old
Cape Tech). The students are both entering their third year in Nature Conservation and
are aiming to complete their diplomas by the end of their contracts. During the course of
the year the students have various projects and research to complete and prescribed
experience to gain. Mr HJ van Rensburg has very generously once again offered to
provide accommodation for the two students.




Fig. 1. Wayne Meyer            Fig. 2. Justin Westington
        (Westington 2006).             (Meyer 2006).

COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

The month of December was a very busy month in terms of visitors to the conservancy.
A total of 173 fishermen were checked for permits throughout the month. Of the 173
fishermen checked, 21 people did not have valid permits. Nineteen of these fishermen
were given warnings and two were issued with J534’s by Mossel Bay Marine and Coastal
Management (MCM) and fined R300 each.

Both fines were issued at Fransmanshoek on 23/12/2006. Details are as follows:
1.     Name:          Henry Ely
       J534#:         15899
       ID #:          700109 5028 081
       Fine amount: R300
       Pay date:      23/01/2006
       Court date:    01/02/2007
       Offence:       Fishing without a permit.
2.     Name:          Gerhard Muller
       J534#:         14081
       ID#:           690715 5102 080
       Fine amount:   R300
       Pay date:      23/01/2006
       Court date:    01/02/2007
       Offence:       Fishing without a permit.

On various occasions throughout the month the rangers worked hand-in-hand with Mrs
Theresa van der Westhuizen of Cape Nature, and a few times with MCM on joint
operations.

The rangers also participated in a joint operation with Cape Nature and MCM in a patrol
of Gouritzmond and surrounding areas on 10/12/2006 in which a number of fishing
permits were checked and one J534 was issued.

GATE TO FRANSMANSHOEK PENINSULA

In anticipation of the busy festive holiday season, it was decided by Eden District
Municipality to erect a temporary gate just past Vleesbaai on the road down to the
peninsula, as it was done the previous year, from 15 December to 8 January. A security
guard was posted at the gate between the hours of 07h00 and 19h00 every day to issue
free of charge daily permits to vehicles. The reason for this decision was that there is
limited parking on the peninsula and as shown in previous years, if more cars enter the
peninsula than there are parking spaces available, people park on the grass and on the
fragile vegetation which has taken much effort to restore after previous years’ negligence.

The festive season rush was well anticipated with a total of 3935 people visiting the
Fransmanshoek Peninsula between 15 December and 31 December and a total of 1179
vehicles passing the gate excluding residents of the peninsula. A total of 36 cars were
allowed in to the peninsula at any one time. As many as ten cars were recorded queuing
outside of the gate on occasion waiting for their chance to enter (see fig. 3).
Fig. 3. Cars queuing up outside the temporary gate to the peninsula (Meyer 2006).

ANIMALS KNOCKED OVER

On two separate occasions during the month, indigenous buck were run into by vehicles
on the dirt road of the peninsula leading to the death of the animals on both occasions.
Nobody has claimed responsibility and negligence/reckless driving are suspected.

During the night of the 9th December a Cape Grysbok Raphicerus melanotis was run
down; and during the night of the 31st December a Common Duiker Sylvicapra grimmia
was run down. The conservancy appeals to visitors and residents alike to abide by the
40km/h speed limit of the peninsula for the sake of the wildlife and also for safety sake of
oneself and others.

AFRICAN BLACK OYSTER CATCHERS

On Wednesday 6 December the rangers took part in an external African Black Oyster
Catcher breeding success survey along a 7km stretch of coast from Danabaai Second
Beach towards Boggomsbaai. Along this stretch 10 nets were counted. Three of the
nests were empty and amongst the other seven nests a total of 12 eggs were counted.

On 20 December the rangers undertook the same breeding success survey as above along
the entire conservancy coast (roughly a 15km stretch) between Boggomsbaai and Cape
Vaca. A total of 3 nests were counted (see fig. 4). One of the nests was empty and the
other two had two eggs each. A further two chicks were counted on Visbaai beach.
Fig. 4. Ranger Wayne Meyer taking a GPS reading at a nest site (Westington 2006).

The conservancy’s breeding success of the African Black Oyster Catcher, considering the
abundance of food and nesting areas, is minimal. It is suspected that these results can be
blamed on high degrees of human as well as “dog traffic”. Previous research has shown
that the main threat to the oyster catchers is indeed dogs. Despite the national law that no
dogs may be allowed onto South African beaches, even with a lead, residents and visitors
of Vleesbaai alike continue to allow there dogs to run freely on the beach. The rangers
have throughout the month advised people of the new dog laws and have
advised/encouraged people to at least walk their dogs on a lead if they have to walk them
on the beach at all. These appeals seem to have gone either unnoticed, or simply have
not made a dent because on the final days of December, an average of 40 dogs per day
without leashes were estimated to have been on the beaches of the conservancy, almost
entirely between Vleesbaai and Boggomsbaai.

The conservancy appeals to the public to keep their dogs off the beaches for the sake of
the African Black Oyster Catcher and human hygiene, as although dogs were seen
messing on the beach throughout the month, nobody was seen cleaning up their dog’s
mess.

INFORMATION CENTRE

The “Punthuisie” at the top of the peninsula was once again opened this holiday season as
an information centre from 15 December (see fig. 5). The centre was cleaned out and
updated. The live herbarium was updated and the visitor’s book showed much delight
and interest from visitors (see fig. 6). The information centre will remain open until the
end of the holiday season.

The rangers would like to thank Mrs van der Westhuizen for her help with the
information centre; and a very big thank you to Mrs Lettie Hanekom for her help with the
live herbarium displays which was much appreciated.




Fig. 5. Inside the information centre (Meyer 2006).
Fig. 6. The live herbarium display updated by Mrs Lettie Hanekom (Meyer 2006).

NURSERY INSPECTION

On Thursday 21 December ranger Wayne Meyer accompanied Mrs van der Westhuizen
and Mr Charles Adams of Cape Nature on an Endangered Flower Grower nursery
inspection on Prof Frederich Johannes de Jager’s Cycad nursery in the Gouritzmond area.
Prof de Jager’s was applying for a permit to grow and sell endangered flowers (see fig.
7). Formalities were followed and plants counted and everything was shown to be in
order.
Fig. 7. Mrs van der Westhuizen and Mr Meyer counting the Cycad seedlings (Adams
        2006).

THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

On Friday 22 December, after a brief management meeting, the AGM was held and well
attended. Once again Mr HJ van Rensburg very generously offered his household for the
purpose of the meeting.

The main agendas were the starting of a home owner’s association on the peninsula,
purchasing of a conservancy vehicle, the conservancy management plan and the
conservancy web-page. Minutes were taken by Theresa van der Westhuizen of Cape
Nature and Justin Westington (conservancy ranger).

ECO-HIKE

On 27 December Mr Fred Orban of Boggomsbaai organized a free “Eko-Hike” from
Boggomsbaai to the Fransmanshoek Peninsula. The hike was guided by Stephan of Mr
Orban’s Kleinbos and Oyster Catcher Trail and co-guided by the conservancy rangers
(see fig. 8). The hike was well attended by about 35 people, young and old. Throughout
the hike the hikers were taught of various interesting and educational facts of the coastal
ecosystem. The hike was a great idea and was enjoyed by all.
Fig. 8. Stephan of The Oyster Catcher Trail educating the hikers (Westington 2006).

LITTER

Throughout the month the conservancy rangers fought a loosing battle against litter.

The rocky stretches of coastline and Visbaai have previously been found to be littered
with a very high percentage of litter coming off boats at sea. This is very evident by all
the pallets, drums and water bottles with foreign languages on them. Unfortunately at
this moment in time this matter is out of our hands.

During the month a total of 20 black bag’s worth of litter was removed from the
peninsula. This is blamed directly on ignorant fishermen. There are 10 bins on the
peninsula, which were checked daily to ensure sufficient space, and black bags are
available at the entrance to The Saal, the most famous fishing spot on the peninsula.
Ninety percent of the litter was collected of the rocks of The Saal and was made up of
fishing gut, bait boxes, old rags, bottles, packets, food wrappers and much more.

We appeal to the public to make use of the bins provided and to take home what you
came with. We now go further and ask if the public could please help the conservancy
and it’s biodiversity by picking up a few items of litter when found, and by approaching
litter-bugs when caught in the act of littering and kindly asking them to pick up their own
mess. It is noted that to litter is a criminal and fineable offence.

Thankfully Vodacom sponsored a team of beach cleaners to clean the stretch of coast
between Vleesbaai and Boggomsbaai. They did an excellent job keeping the beach clean
throughout the busy season. The conservancy thanks the team and Vodacom for this
initiative.

INTERESTING SIGHTING

On Wednesday 20 December it was reported by Mr Beyers of Blok-se-baai that a Killer
Whale Orcinus orca had been spotted cruising the bay over the previous two days. This
is an interesting sighting as it is not often that they are spotted so close to the shore and
this far up the south coast. They are more fond of the cold waters of the Atlantic.

				
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Description: MONTHLY REPORT DECEMBER 2006