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									                                BCA Focus
             Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area
      BCA Vision: To conserve, protect and enhance the unique, natural, historical and cultural
      resources of the area for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations.

      Newsletter No 4                                        July – September 2010
Welcome!                                                    “After this meeting at the library, Dr Pete Reinders
                                                            and I joined the Steering Committee of what became
In this issue, we would like to give a warm welcome         “The Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area”.
                                                            The City had limited resources and legal authority as
To our new chairman:                                        they were still in the process of purchasing the
The Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area are             private land around and including the Blaauwberg
pleased to welcome Mr Roy Fuller-Gee as its new             Hill. As private individuals, we tried to assist the City
Chairman.                                                   in keeping out trespassers by obtaining Blaauwberg
This 58 year old “young” man, the current manager           Conservation Area signs and poles at the
of Nu-Look Painters, has had a rich and colourful life.     Blaauwberg Municipal office, which were planted at
His love of nature started as a young boy living on         designated locations on the border of the BCA.
the family coffee farm in Northern Tanzania,
continued through his 14 year stay in England and           What is your vision as Chairman for the Friends?
his return to Africa as a Medical Technologist in           “My vision as Chairman is to encourage and continue
Cape Town in 1975 and still, to this day, he                the good work of the many volunteers from the public
passionately fights for the conservation of our natural     in this and other areas. We need more individuals to
heritage.                                                   become involved in our environment and the Friends
Mr Fuller-Gee became involved with the BCA years            organization is a way to assist larger organizations
ago through his friendship with Dr Pete Reinders.           protect and re-establish Biodiversity in our part of the
With permission from the landowners, they often             world. We can no longer ignore the results of what
visited the Atlantis Dunes and took occasional trips to     we collectively do to influence the future of our
the top of Blaauwberg Hill.                                 environment. Each of us can play a small role as
                                                            custodians of our area, even if it is simply by
What made you so interested in the BCA?                     educating our families in bringing them to the BCA to
“When my family moved to Tableview in 1980, the             see what has been achieved, what we still have to
suburb was still small and mostly undeveloped.              protect and what needs to be re-established in this
Whilst Table Mountain was not as big as my                  environmentally and historically important area.
childhood mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, I was finally
“home”.                                                     To our new EE Officer:
Municipalities along the coast authorised Township          “My name is Elzette Krynauw and I am the
plans, including Sunset Beach and the Dolphin               Environmental Education officer based at Eerste
Beach Hotel site. I got involved in a petition of protest   Steen.
and in publicising the future impact of this further        I want to use this opportunity to tell you a little about
encroachment on the beach front and Rietvlei. We            myself. I was born and raised in the Strand. After
were    not    successful     in    preventing     these    school I studied Nature Conservation at the Cape
developments despite an independent Environmental           Peninsula University of Technology. I completed my
Impact Study.”                                              student practical year at Greater Zandvlei Estuary
                                                            Nature Reserve with Cliff Dorse as my manager. I
Their defeat did not dampen his enthusiasm. A short         worked there for another year focusing on the
while later he read a notice in one of the local            environmental education of the reserve.
newspapers that a meeting was going to be held at           After my contract ended I decided to broaden my
the Blouberg Library Hall to discuss the future of the      horizon by studying Tourism at Stellenbosch Boland
Blaauwberg Conservation Area, which at the time             College. After my 2 years of travel and tourism theory
excluded the Hill and surrounds.
I was eager to travel and see the world and decided       in ways that benefit the surrounding communities.”
to work in the UK for a while.
Once back in South Africa, I got a job leading a team     The popular Nature Reserves booklet has been
to do alien clearing and then as environmental            given a revamp and update. This booklet is available
education intern at Bracken Nature Reserve.               at Eerstesteen, Otto du Plessis Drive and other
From Bracken Nature Reserve I “hopped to                  outlets. A Biodiversity Communication Strategy and
Tygerberg Nature Reserve and worked there on              Action    Plan    have    also  been    developed.
contract for a year as a Visitor Access Control
Officer. In my time there I also had to help out with     The City has also acknowledged its partners who
the environmental education and to to assist in many      provide support and contribute to the conservation of
other areas.                                              our unique biodiversity. A recent celebrated example
Now, after all my contracts, I am permanently             of these successful partnerships was the signing of
employed as the Environmental Education Officer of        the first City of Cape Town Conservation Agreement
the City of Cape Town’s Northern District. It is a big    on 8 February 2010 by Brian Martin, owner of
and exciting challenge that I am looking forward to! I    Nirvana (see also further below), a small holding in
am also looking forward to meeting and working with       Atlantis. Just over 15 hectares of very high quality
the Friends of the BCA!”                                  Critically Endangered Atlantis Sand Fynbos has been
                                                          included in the Conservation Agreement, thus
City reflects on its biodiversity successes               securing        the    area     for     conservation.

and challenges                                            “Without our partners and the partnerships we have
                                                          forged, we would not be achieving the successes we
The City of Cape Town launched the new identity of        have,” says Cllr Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral
its Biodiversity Management Branch at an event at         Committee Member for Planning and Environment.
the Milnerton Yacht Club.
                                                          South African Biodiversity Database
                                                          Cleo Schroeder - Intern:Project Manager
                                                          Martin Pollack
                                                          The South African Biodiversity Database was created
                                                          in 2007 and become fully functional in 2008. It was
                                                          initiated by Mr. Dalton Gibbs and Mr. R. De Jager
                                                          through the IT design work of Cape Soft in

                                                          The database has been created to record and track
                                                          biodiversity on a specific site. The database allows
                                                          people to record what they’ve seen in their favorite
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, which     nature reserve, park, garden or other nature site.
is the year when the Biodiversity Target will be          This information allows managers to evaluate
evaluated. The target is part of the Convention on        species and manage nature on a specific site or in a
Biological Diversity (CBD), and has been signed by        border area.
168 countries, including South Africa. The target
reads: “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of     The database allows for entering sightings, exporting
the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global,      species lists on to excel, gallery function for viewing
regional and national level as a contribution to          pictures and attaching research projects, Google
poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on     earth images and reserve boundaries to a specific
Earth”.                                                   site. In essence the database is a management tool
                                                          to assist in species tracking and biodiversity
To successfully conserve Cape Town’s biodiversity,        richness. The database can be accessed on
the City and its partners have identified a network of    www.biodiversity.co.za or Google: biodiversity
sites, called the Biodiversity Network, that need to be   database.
secured in order to conserve a representative sample
of Cape Town’s unique biodiversity and thus promote
sustainable development. The Biodiversity Network
is one of the key informants into the City’s planning

Alderman Dan Plato, Executive Mayor, told guests at
the function: “…Cape Town, unlike any other world
city, is a global biodiversity hotspot of international
importance in an urban context. As a local authority,
the City manages the unique and irreplaceable
biodiversity found within its boundaries, striving to
demonstrate sustainable conservation management
Friends’ member nominates WESSA
Award Recipient

Friends of BCA member, Louis Raubenheimer,
nominated West Coast farmer, Quartus Laubscher,
for a special WESSA award, which he received at
WESSA’s 62 Annual General Meeting. The meeting
was held at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens’
Silvertree Restaurant and was presented by
WESSA’s national CEO, Mumsie Gumede.

WESSA, the Wildlife and Environmental Society of
South Africa, was founded in 1926. WESSA is South         (photo courtesy of C.A.P.E.)
Africa’s largest non-government, membership-based
environmental organisation.
                                                          Now you have the opportunity to experience Mr
Every year WESSA honours and recognises those
                                                          Laubscher’s hard work from up close!
who have made a significant and sustained
contribution to conservation and the environment.
                                                          On Saturday 09 October at 08h30, all interested
One of these exceptional environmental champions
                                                          parties are meeting at the log cabin at Eerste Steen
is Mr Quartus Laubscher.
                                                          to go visit the Owl Farm (entrance free). Everyone is
                                                          encouraged to share vehicles where possible to
Below is an excerpt of the letter Mr Raubenheimer
                                                          minimise our carbon footprint. From the Owl Farm it
sent to WESSA explaining why Mr Laubscher is so
                                                          is on to the West Coast Fossil Park, an hour long
deserving of this award:
                                                          tour that will start at 13h00. Bring your own picnic
                                                          lunch and the whole family! Remember numbers are
“As a young boy one moonlit night he (Quartus) saw
                                                          limited so book as soon as possible.
an owl carrying a rodent into the loft of their barn.
Next morning he climbed up and discovered an owl
                                                          Cost for Fossil Park tour: Adults R50; Pensioners
with its chicks in the loft. Some rodent parts were
                                                          and Students R25; Scholars R15; Children under 5:
lying around. This motivated him to build two owl
                                                          Free. Please contact Cindy Welch on 084 920 1160
houses, which he mounted on poles.
                                                          for further information.
Two years later he drove past one of these owl
boxes and noticed something hanging out of it.            CREW Meeting
Climbing onto his vehicle he could see an owl with
chicks inside, with some dead rodents around them.        The first CREW meeting was held on Saturday 21
The news, together with a photograph, was                 August at the log cabin at Eerste Steen and was a
published in the local newspaper. Die Burger also         great success.
picked it up and shortly afterwards two ornithologists,
Kevin Shaw and Guy Parmer, came to ring the owls.

From them he obtained literature about owl boxes in
the UK, which motivated him to later increase the
number of boxes on his farm to 140. The effect this
had on the rodent population was devastating and
the news spread quickly. Articles about his success
have appeared in magazines all over the country. It
has also been reported on radio and television.

Today, farmers both locally and from as far as
Mpumalanga and Botswana now contact him
regularly for information. He does not use e-mail; his
responses are beautifully handwritten faxes.              Members were given an introduction to basic botany,
                                                          followed by a short field trip at Eerste Steen. The
Instead of sitting back and enjoying his retirement,      second field trip was held on Saturday 18
Quartus is currently looking at the co-existence of       September, in conjunction with the BCA’s Spring
owls and bats. He happened to discover bats nesting       Walk. It was led by Karen Marais, CREW member of
in the corrugated iron he uses to cover his owl boxes.    Friends of Tygerberg.
His latest owl boxes have bat boxes mounted at the
back. He is trying to determine the effect of bats on     The next meeting will be held on 16 October 2010.
coddling moth, olive beetles and the Mediterranean        For further information on CREW please free to
fruit fly. Initial results look promising.”               contact Cindy Welch on 084 920 1160.
                                                          (photos courtesy of Corinna Turner)
Comprehensive Security Audit of the                       Snake decline prompts City to request
Biodiversity Management Branch                            assistance from Capetonians
                                                          Martin Pollack
The City Of Cape Town’ Biodiversity Management
Branch, in wishing to ensure safety of visitors and       The City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management
staff, requested assistance on conducting a security      branch is undertaking research on the rinkhals and
audit of all 25 its managed and envisaged Nature          appeals to the public to contact it with any sightings.
Reserves. Consultants Plan-It, in collaboration with
Thorn-Ex and Titan Security was appointed to              The rinkhals, a cobra-like snake which derives its
conduct a comprehensive Security Audit for the            name from the crossbars on its throat, is so rare that
Biodiversity Management Branch. The Final Draft           it is considered to be locally extinct. It is an important
Report for the Comprehensive Security Audit has           component of the city’s unique biodiversity. Any
been completed with the focus of the report on the        species extinction affects the balance of nature and
safety and security of staff working in the different     in this case, losing the rinkhals, which is a predator
reserves, of visitors to these reserves and of the        and prey species, may mean an increase in toad and
biodiversity within the reserves.                         rodent populations and the loss of food for other
                                                          snakes and birds of prey. The rinkhals has not been
Ready for the Fire Season                                 officially recorded in any of the 30 nature reserves
                                                          and natural areas that the City manages in over 10
The Biodiversity Management Branch recently               years. However, this research aims to collect
received donation of a Toyota Fire Truck from the         information from beyond conservation circles in an
Fire & Rescue Services in Milnerton. The fire truck       attempt to locate any populations that may remain,
wit its 2500 litre capacity is equipped with a pump       so that conservation measures can be implemented
and two hose reels. The fire truck will be used to        before it is too late.
back up the North Districts fire fighting resources
during the fire season. Thank you to Fire & Rescue        Managing urban biodiversity would not be possible
Services for this kind donation!                          without the support of Capetonians. Anyone who has
                                                          seen a rinkhals is requested to contact Grant Smith
                                                          on 021 851 6982/084 328 1001 or e-mail

                                                          In general it is best to leave snakes alone. Most bites
                                                          occur when people either try to catch or kill a snake.
                                                          If you come across a snake in your home or garden,
                                                          contact a professionally trained snake handler or one
                                                          of the City’s nature reserves in your area
                                                          (www.capetown.gov.za/naturereserves). Make sure
                                                          to keep an eye on the snake at all times and keep
Nirvana Private Conservation Area                         pets and humans away from it. The rinkhals' venom
Clifford Dorse - Biodiversity Coordinator                 is neurotoxic and affects breathing. If untreated it
                                                          may cause respiratory and even death. However, the
                                                          venom is not as potent as that of most cobras, bites
The Nirvana Private Conservation Area is the first
                                                          rare and fatalities virtually unheard of. Anti-venom is
signed Conservation Agreement between the City
                                                          effective against its venom. Pets and humans who
and a Private land owner. Over 15 ha of this site will
                                                          approach a rinkhals are mostly in danger of having
be given protection in perpetuity and managed for
                                                          venom sprayed in their eyes. The rinkhals will only
conservation by the land owners. Both fire and alien
                                                          spit its venom from a raised or hooded position. The
are complex issues for any land owner. While the
                                                          venom can be washed out with either water or milk
owners will take full responsibility for the
                                                          and if irritation persists medical attention is advised.
management of aliens on the site, Biodiversity
Management have committed to assist the land
owner with the conducting of ecological burns. The
first of these burns were conducted and it went off
perfectly thanks to the assistance received from the
Biodiversity Management Branch, Fire & Rescue
Services and volunteers.

The vegetation on site is Critically Endangered
Atlantis Sand Fynbos. This remnant is in excellent
condition with populations of at least 15 threatened
plant species on site. However, the vegetation is very
old and moribund, having been protected from the
ecological driving force of fire for far too long. This
vegetation type should burn on a cycle of anywhere
between 8 and 15 years.
Quick Guide                                                              Become a Friend of the BCA:
To Upcoming events:
02 October 2010 – 2 hills fun run
09 October 2010 – Owl Farm & Fossil Park
16 October 2010 – Coast Walk
04 December 2010 – Sunset walk

For more information on upcoming events, please
see  the    Events   Diary on    our   website:                          For a small fee of only R50 per year for an ordinary
www.bca.org.za                                                           membership or R60 per year for a family
                                                                         membership, you can enjoy the following value-
                                                                         added benefits:

A big THANK YOU for the                                                           Be the first to know of upcoming events
generous donations received from:                                                 Get free and/or discounted entry to the
                                                                                   various events and facilities
Many of the members of the Friends of Blaauwberg                                  Know exactly what is happening in your
Conservation Area                                                                  environmental area

These donations help us to go the extra mile!                            All funds go towards creating awareness of nature
                                                                         conservation and helping the BCA to protect this
                                                                         important biodiversity jewel in our midst. For more
                                                                         information, please visit our website: www.bca.org.za

 Any news, views and interesting information about the Blaauwberg Conservation Area, or greater issues affecting our environment are most
  welcome. Submissions can be in the language of your choice. Please send contributions to Analia Gerber at: analiagerber@yahoo.com

   The above items are reported in the interest of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area and its surroundings. We strive for factual
     accuracy, but the Blaauwberg Conservation Area cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies in the information reported.

                               Published by/ Uitgegee deur: Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area
                                                    P.O.Box 20478, Big Bay, 7448
                                                  Registration Number: 068-317 NPO.

                               •Cell: 084-9201160 •Fax: 021 554 8156 •e-mail/e-pos: goose@capedr.co.za

        The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area.
     Articles, except reprints from other sources, may be reprinted or cited without permission provided that the source, BCA Focus, is
  acknowledged. / Die menings van die skrywers weerspieël nie noodwendig dié van die Vriende van Blaauwberg Bewaringsgebied nie.
    Artikels, behalwe herdrukke uit ander bronne, mag sonder verlof herdruk of aangehaal word, mits die bron, BCA Focus, erken word.
                                         Become a FRIEND and make a difference

                                  To find out more about this unique area, please visit

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