Category: For Residents

Bird Feeders and the Biosphere

Bird Feeders and the Biosphere

In theory, bird feeders are a pleasant addition to any garden. They attract wild birds and motivate them to stay near the property. Some people would say it makes up for the loss of habitat and food sources due to rural development.
However, bird feeders do have drawbacks.
One important adverse effect of bird feeders is he spread of disease. Bird feeders that are not regularly cleaned and kept dry can fester and provide a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and Protozoa. Common diseases that can be present include salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis and avian pox. Many such diseases can affect people as well.
Bird feeders habituate wild birds, motivating them to stay on a property for extended periods of time. Sometimes, large groups can congregate and become a nuisance. There is a greater risk of them injuring themselves by flying into windows (as they have difficulty seeing glass), and they become more vulnerable to predation, either due to household pets such as cats and dogs, or due to wild animals that have become accustomed to their presence. All of this applies to both seed feeders and drinking stations.
Not to mention other animals may also be drawn to these features, including baboons.
A better solution is to plant natural vegetation that they like to use for foraging, such as berry bushes for mousebirds, Ericas for sunbirds, Proteas for sugar birds, seeding grasses for ground birds and so on. The best way to determine what kind of plants to choose is to observe birds foraging and identify the species that that they show interest in.
There are also many local conservation and gardening groups that can advise on indigenous gardens such as Pringle Bay Rewilding and the Kogelberg (Hangklip-Kleinmond) Garden Circle.

Natural plant growth is healthier for wild birds and less conspicuous for uninvited guests. The addition of a bird bath would also be a more natural option if you enjoy watching the birds in your garden.

By KVET BIO – Christoff Heidmann

Pringle Bay Baboon Information Officer (BIO) – Pilot Programme

Pringle Bay Baboon Information Officer (BIO) – Pilot Programme

The Pringle Bay BIO Programme

KVET’s Pringle Bay Baboon Information Officer (PB BIO) Programme is designed to lessen human/baboon conflict, protect both wildlife and property, and raise awareness of what it means to
live in and around a biosphere.

KVET will hire and train Baboon Information Officers (BIOs) who will be stationed in and around the Pringle Bay CBD. During the pilot these BIOs will also receive training from various
experienced organisations and persons.

BIO tasks will be as follows:
● to assist the businesses by way of warning signals (whistles) if baboons enter the CBD.
● to assist shoppers to and from their cars with their grocery bags.
● to alert the general public when baboons are in the area.
● to educate the general public about baboon behaviour.
● to maintain a baboon free zone in the CBD for as much as is possible using “Humane. Not.
Pain” tactics.

The BIO’s will in no way interfere with the current baboon management programme. KVET’s PB BIOs are a resident-led initiative to supplement existing programmes.

View: Letter to Businesses

UPDATE 29 June 2023


KVET is happy to announce that the PILOT BIO PROGRAM which began just before the busy Easter weekend of April 2023 will be extended by a further 3 months (July to September).

A KVET presence will also extend to Betty’s Bay in due course.

The BIO PROGRAM was initiated in the Pringle Bay CBD area to ensure that baboons would not linger in the business district whilst passing through to their various natural foraging sites.

Residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors have all been assisted with the SHOPPING BAG INITIATIVE. This is a preventative measure against “visible food” for the baboons. Education regarding human derived food and the baboons has been a top priority and the BIO’s have handed out over 1000 black canvas bags and education pamphlets over the last 3 months. KVET would like to thank the communities in Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay for the donations of these bags without which the program would have not been as successful.

We have been complimented on how the program has created a much calmer atmosphere in the CBD and KVET has observed a greater awareness and mindfulness of the Pringle Bay residents.

We would like to thank our residents who have responded so positively to the efforts of KVET and our dedicated BIOs in the CBD. We aim to continue providing this service in the CBD so that our residents and visitors remain relaxed whilst shopping, food attractants are removed and the baboons are encouraged to stay outside of the CBD area.
UPDATE 31 July 2023
KVET is happy to announce that as of 1 August, we will be initiating a pilot BIO PROJECT for the Betty’s Bay troop.

This is an extension of the KVET BIO program which has been successful in the CBD area of Pringle Bay.

This 1st phase of the Betty’s Bay / Kleinmond project will be for observation purposes only.
The Gardener’s Tale by Richard Gould

The Gardener’s Tale by Richard Gould

The Gardener’s Tale

Like so many who live along the Garden Route we take the Fynbos for granted and assume that it will always be there for us and generations to come. Our Proteas and Ericas grow and flower without any of the effort that we put into the gardens that surround our homes. We don’t mow the Fynbos or put down fertilizer or get down on our knees to dig out the alien weeds.

Instead we take it for granted and cause wildfires with careless braais and illegal fireworks that wreak havoc with the natural cycle of the Fynbos. We take hikes through the Fynbos and leave behind our litter while putting nothing back to preserve the Garden Route for future generations.

But if that were the only thing we were doing it would be bad enough but instead we have embarked on a campaign to kill off all of the gardeners whose daily work is to maintain the health and sustainability of the Fynbos garden. Without them our Garden Route will turn into a barren wasteland of parched earth, tarred roads and concrete buildings.

Ecosystems are a delicate balance and by brutally killing off our gardeners we prevent them from reseeding and fertilizing 24 species of Fynbos. These gardeners do not need us to pay them for their labor or provide them with housing and electricity or healthcare. They have been successfully maintaining our Garden Route for millions of years without us.

So how do we “reward” our gardeners? We lie about them! We call them “marauders” and “dangerous” and treat them like “vermin”. We make no effort to understand the role they play in providing us with our Garden Route but instead we shoot them or cage them or drive them into areas where there is insufficient natural foraging in order for them to feed themselves.

So what will happen when we succeed in killing off all of our gardeners?

What will be left of what was once a Natural Wonder of the World? Will our grandchildren be forced to look at pictures of our National Flower because there are none left growing along what used to be known as the Garden Route?

Next time you see one or more of our gardeners please pause for a moment and realize that the natural beauty of the Fynbos that surrounds us is made possible by their tireless efforts. Without them our lives would be poorer because we actually need them far more than they need us. We are incapable of sustaining the Garden Route ourselves.

Gardens play a vital role in our lives because they connect us to our roots. We have a responsibility to preserve our Garden Route for future generations and without the selfless work of our gardeners we are going to fail to do our duty.

Our gardeners are key to the sustainability of the Garden Route.

Richard Gould

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