Man Killed by Elephant in Balule Nature Reserve
Yesterday around 9am a man was tragically killed in a vicious attack by an elephant bull.
The incident occurred on the Balule region of York (not too far from our Railway gate). Arriving on the gruesome scene I was able to ascertain with reasonable accuracy that the attack was unprovoked. The men were laying a water pipe when two elephant came up on them, one of which charged chasing down one of the men and killing him. I
n light of this and other recent aggressive behaviour from bulls particularly those in musth, we appeal to members to be extra cautious when viewing elephant. And under no circumstances should you walk on the reserve.
Shareholders are warned of the dangers elephants, especially those in musth. Please familiarise yourself, your authorised users, and guests of the hints given below. Shareholders are reminded that walking and cycling on the farm are not permitted.
Hints for safer viewing of elephant
1. If the circumstances permit, always reverse into a sighting. This way if things turn nasty, you can always drive away in your forward gears.
2. Never allow any of the passengers to stand up in the vehicle. There won’t be time to go back and collect them once they have fallen out when you “popped the clutch” getting away from a charging elephant.
3. Only switch off your engine if you are reasonably sure your vehicle will start again easily, otherwise leave it running.
5 year old girl stung by male Opistophthalmus glabrifrons in Warmbaths on Saturday evening. Not serious but it caused a lot of worry (and speeding ride to Unitas hospital) after everyone thought it was Parabuthus transvaalicus.
Man stung by what seems to be Uroplectes olivaceus in Letaba Kruger Park. Still Experiencing intense pain, kidney problems and insomnia. On his way to doctor right now.
Guys, our scorpions are beginning to wake up. If you work in the bush know how to handle a scorpion sting BEFORE it happens not after!" (Posted by Jonathan Leeming on Facebook)
Jonathan is an authority on southern African spiders and scorpions. In 2003 his ground breaking book Scorpions of southern Africa was published by Struik Nature. For the first time, a book on scorpions was available to the general public and soon Jonathan was giving lectures, presentations and courses all over Africa.
You may be aware of the increased intensity of rhino poaching and petty crime in the Hoedspruit area. In the past week alone there have been several incidents of rhino poaching and security breaches on neighbouring properties in the area and as many as 7 rhino have been shot. These poachers are no longer rag tag bush meat hunters but well organised and well-armed groups that in most cases consist of trained ex-soldiers and they are likely to be extremely dangerous when confronted.
The Board and Manager, together with our neighbours, are looking at ways in which we can be proactive on the reserve to protect our fauna and property from such unauthorised incursions of this nature and we are currently in the process of obtaining a quotation from a security company to act as a reaction force should we come across any spoor or have an incident. One of the first indications that there are unauthorised people on the farm is the presence of strange spoor – (all our staff wear specific and identifiable footwear). On finding such spoor the manager and his tracking staff will immediately take steps to follow the spoor whilst at the same time calling in professional assistance from specifically trained security backup personnel and air surveillance. Our staff are currently not authorised to apprehend intruders forcibly and we want to ensure that they are also protected in the event of an incident.
CHRIS AND MONIQUE FALLOWS
The Cape's unexpected visitors: when orcas come to call
Chris Fallows specializes in shark conservation and marine wildlife photography. His main focus of work is at Seal Island in False Bay South Africa, which has become famous for the breaching Great White Sharks.
Chris and a colleague discovered the unique breaching behaviour here in 1996 and since then has completed just over 1400 trips to Seal Island. His work has appeared in over 35 international natural history documentaries and on the covers of many of the world's most prestigious magazines and newspapers.
He is also passionate about all forms of wildlife and whilst not working with great white sharks at Seal Island, he and his wife travel extensively to photograph and spend time with a large variety of other wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre, Canal Walk
Kenya through the lens
A qualified conservationist and registered safari guide for both southern and Wast Africa, Albie has been involved in conservation, tourism and guide development for the past 15 years.
After living in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve for several years he recently returned to his native Lowveld, and now runs specialised tours to East Africa. Albie is a regular contributor to Africa Geographic where his photographic skills inspire admiration and envy.
Find out how he captures such wonderful images at this evening's behind-the-scenes look at photographing in the home of the safari: Kenya.
Cape Union Mart, Woodlands Mall
Hoedspruit has been chosen as the LIMPOPO finalist in the Rapport/Kwela – 2012 SA Town of the Year competition. It will mean a great deal to the Hoedspruit people and have a massive impact on our local economy should we be successful and be voted SA Town of the Year for 2012. See attached jpeg
The winning town will receive R1 Million Rand in TV advertising from KYKNET as well as an additional R1 Million Rand in advertising from Rapport.
We NEED YOUR HELP to do the following;
1. SMS your VOTE FOR HOEDSPRUIT (SMS HOEDSPRUIT to 33157)
2. Forward this email to your database of friends and people you know who have an interest in Hoedspruit so that they can do the same.
3. Make a donation for SIM CARDS to enable the less fortunate to vote for their town.
· All donations for the SIM cards can be paid into the following account number:
Hoedspruit Training Trust (Hlokomela)
ABSA Branch: 632005
Account Number: 405 505 1951
Although the farm is open, certain roads will continue to remain closed and will be for some time to come. The field staff will continue to repair fences, and are unavailable to undertake road repairs at this stage. Please be aware of the following concerning the roads:
Progress report: On the 8'th February 2012 work began on the opening up of Roller-coaster dip and Steve’s pan crossing (contingent on water levels). The finishing touches are to be completed at Henshaws Dam.
Thank You: The Board, Glen and his team thank you one and all for your understanding and patience. Your ongoing support is deeply appreciated. Glen and his team have made tremendous progress and we congratulate and thank them sincerely for all their hard work.
I am pleased to announce that early progress has been made thanks to the generous donation made by Gerrie, Johan and Charl Griffioen, having sent up an articulated loader to undertake some of the larger repair work. The 14 ton machine works at an unbelievable rate and in only two days has removed a large part of Demoina dam wall and stock piled it for later use and has constructed a ramp out each end for the tipper truck to gain access for loading. The loader has also completely filled and compacted the breach in Henshaw’s dam wall. We will still use our smaller (more delicate) equipment to smoothen out the edges and to do the final surface preparation. Between the tipper truck, the loader and the tractors, I imagine that we should be able to continue making good progress.
Current status of the farm ( Thanks to Glen for this report)
a. Roads: The roads in most parts have been badly damaged; having been badly eroded after mitre drains quickly filled up with silt and were bypassed by the large volumes of water rushing down the lengths of the roads. River crossings in some cases have become hardly recognisable, covered in debris and eroded or built up with sand deposits (probably belonging to our roads). Other roads hold mud traps that aren’t obvious until you find yourself buried up to your axels in mud, leaving little chance of escape. A few roads are not all that bad, but unfortunately lead onto other roads that are impassable, requiring that the entire route has to be closed to traffic. In other cases most of the road is still fine, but the 5 meter section of badly damaged road makes the whole road impassable. For this very reason, most of the roads remain closed to traffic. The main access roads are accessible and shareholders are at least able to reach their residences.
The rain seems to have stopped for now. Reports received this morning from the Hoedspruit area are of blue skies and sunshine. This break in the weather is allowing Glen to assess more fully the damage and to determine absolute priorities such as re-erecting fences to prevent loss of game and prevent breaches of security. Glen has indicated that one of the main priorities will be to restore the access road. The damage to the farm is massive and most roads are still impassable.
Sadly, the rain from Cyclone Dando has caused extensive damage. Reports received this afternoon are that the dam walls of Demonia and Henshaws have been broken through due to the enormous amount of rain.
Early this afternoon Glen reported:
Hoedspruit is wet!
It has been raining heavily in the Hoedspruit area since early yesterday, and it is still raining. Reports from Hoedspruit and the farm are of flooded roads and houses. Henshaws Dam is overflowing, the Mohlabetsi River is in flood, and roads have become rivers.
Regrettably, the farm is CLOSED until further notice. The access road from town has been washed away in places, and is inaccessible. Repairs to the road will be effected as soon as the rain stops.
Below are two photographs from Shannon Thomson, which you may find interesting.
The access road from town to the farm has been washed away in areas. The road is not usable at present. Access to the Residential area is not possible due to flooded roads. We have received reports that the road from the Strydom tunnel is closed and the Blyde River is expected to overflow the bridge. The road from Phalaborwa is closed as the Olifants River is in flood.
Mariaan and Juan de Klerk (former Site 43) witnessed an incredible sight in the Kruger Park wen a small elephant got into distress in a deep rock pool and was rescued by the mother elephant. An incredible example of the dedication of animal mothers - pity some homosapiens mothers don't display the same tendencies.
Please have a look - it is really interesting and a wonderful experience to have witnessed.
Photo essay, preparing to transport seven sub adult lions to their new home on a newly established reserve in Limpopo. (Click on the pics for high res!)
Photos by: Brianna Hackler (Student volunteer from Savanna College of Art & Design, USA)
We currently have 2 young bull elephants resident on the reserve. Whilst other than some minor head-shaking and trumpeting there have been no reports of serious threat from the pair – yet! They are still fairly young and will not come into “musth” until they are at least 25 years old. “Aftand” was older than 25 years of age and he had demonstrated his “musth” condition whilst resident on the farm.
Fortunately there were no receptive females present at the same time and he headed back to the Klaserie and Kruger Park where “the grass was greener” for mature elephant bulls.
When elephant bulls are in “musth” they are extremely dangerous and should always be given a very
wide berth. In any event it is extremely foolhardy to intrude into their so called “comfort zone”.
If you get onto the website and look under farm managers report (or http://www.jejane.co.za/tags/house-repair) you will see some photo's of the progress we are making with the repairs to the farm managers house.
Please have a look and see what it looked like before.
The photo's taken were at the15th March.
I will be there next week to check progress and will keep you updated.
Regards Mike Griessel
We have upgraded the server of the website. It should be much quicker and easier to download content. Those of you that can please try and dowload some photo's or content sightings etc and give us feed back.
So sad to hear about the animals being killed by our vehicles. Is it sooo difficult to chill out on the Farm? Why the need for speed? It is not easy to sleep at night knowing you have killed a critter unintentionally. Try putting the vehicle into 2nd gear and letting it go at its own pace - it is the closest that you will get to automatic driving as the vehicle seems to stay on its own path. Let us slow down now please.
December is the best time for Sue and I to retreat to the farm, and spend a decent amount of time down there. This year was a very good “no exception”. We managed to fit in three weeks of “ho‐hum”. Undoubtedly, the best game viewing ever, since 1993. Especially, the first week and a half, everything was everywhere. All the people we spoke to, had the same to say. Most drives produced at least 3 of the big 5, with numerous interesting small things, general game, and great birds. The most amazing experiences, however, came from a few lion sightings.