Articles Posted in the Conservation category

Kamfers Dam: Northgate development gets green light

November 11, 2008
Posted in Conservation

The Northern Cape department of tourism, environment and conservation has given the go-ahead for the Northgate commercial and housing development to be built near Kimberley’s Kamfers Dam lesser flamingo breeding site, Volksblad reports.

The record of decision includes conditions that take the protection of the flamingos and issues with the Homevale sewerage works into account. Raw sewerage has reportedly been leaking from the sewerage treatment works into the dam and has been a major source of concern for the flamingo conservationists.

The RoD states that construction cannot start until “the alternative sewage system (which will be used) is approved in compliance with all applicable laws, constructed and operational AND/OR the upgrade on the existing Homevale sewerage treatment works, which will improve the capacity to the extent that it can accommodate additional effluent, is completed”.

Measures to protect the flamingo include:

  • a solid wall with no open gaps or windows must be built with the mininmum height of 2 metres prior to any further construction.
  • The wall must be electrified with at least three strands of electric wire
  • The development footprint must be completely walled in with controlled access gates
  • 24-hour security monitoring including a camera covering the island is recommended

These measures are aimed at minimising human movement to the dam and preventing disturbance of the flamingos by residents.

The RoD was issued on November 7. Interested and affected parties have 30 days to appeal.

The Kamfers Dam site is one of only six lesser flamingo breeding sites in the world and the only one in South Africa. News on the Save the Flamingo campaign Facebook site is that the second breeding season has begun. The first egg was spotted on October 23 and there are high hopes that this season will be as successful as the first one. In May, 9,000 chicks were counted at the end of the first breeding season on the dam.

Flamingo conservationists may soon learn why they were suspended

August 30, 2008
Posted in Conservation

Mark Anderson, the ornithologist, and two of his colleagues, Julius Koen and Eric Hermann, who were suspended by the Northern Cape department of tourism, environment and conservation, may this week find out why they were suspended, the UK’s Times Online reports.

The Times quotes Les Abrahams, a spokesman for the department, as saying that the three men would receive official letters explaining their suspension and the disciplinary procedure this week.

Anderson is reportedly worried about the flamingo chicks on the Kamfers Dam nesting site. He told the Times that, “The quality of the water is deteriorating and we’re very worried. I’ve just received a 33-page report from the University of the Free State saying there’s clostridium from the raw sewage which causes botulism in birds. If we keep quiet about this, 65,000 flamingos are going to go belly up.”

A spokesman for the local council told the Times that it had a dedicated engineer trying to fix the pipes from the sewage works that is leaking sewerage into the dam.

Read the full report on the Times Online

Update: Suspended conservationists

August 22, 2008
Posted in Conservation

No further light seems to have been shed this week on why the three conservationists of the Northern Cape department of tourism, environment and conservation were suspended. An official from the deparment was reported by Sapa on Tuesday as saying that it was an internal matter and the department would not comment on it. Sapa also reported that a call had been made for a commission of inquiry into the Kamfers Dam saga. The Northern Cape head of the African Christian Democrat Party, Francois van Wyk, has requested that the province’s premier, Dipuo Peters, urgently appoint a commission of inquiry. He said the province’s economy depended on eco-tourism and that the suspension of three senior conservation officials who worked with the flamingo project would cause huge damage nationally and internationally.