RiverWise 

Issue 6 ~ September 2018

The monthly newsletter of the Lower Breede River Conservancy Trust.

Genetta genetta, where art thou Genet?

Not many know about this mysterious cat, but there is a lot to know...

by Tasmyn Taylor

Landmark Leopard & Predator Project South Africa does some great work in the area trying to resolve the feud between the leopards and farmers with their sheep. They were lucky enough to catch a very shy creature on their camera trap, the Large Spotted Genet. Not many know about this mysterious cat, but there is a lot to know, like for example, did you know the Large Spotted genets help in controlling the pest population, especially in areas where crops are harmed by pests? 

This cat-like creature is no more than 2 kilograms, no more than 95 cm tall and can live for as long as 13 years. There isn't one but two species of genets, the Large Spotted and the Small Spotted Genet which are both very similar in appearance, but the best way to tell them apart, is in fact by looking at the tip of their tail. The Large Spotted genet has a black ending on its tail and the Small Spotted genet a white ending. 

Everyone has a family and so do the genets, genets belong to the Viverridae family meaning they have anal glands which are used extensively in marking their territories (ever wonder why your cat rubs his/ her face or bottom on you?). The genet's musky scent can last up to 9 weeks! The white patches below their eye and up along the forehead are used to enhance their facial expressions when they socially interact. These encounters are rare because they like to live like lone wolves, in solitary.

Keep a look out 🙂

To feed your curiosity to what else was seen on Landmark Leopard & Predator Project's camera trap, log onto Facebook and head to the Bent Heads Breede River page.

Fun Facts

01

Genets have retractable claws adapted to climbing and catching prey.

02

Their diet can include small mammals, especially rodents, shrews, and bats as well as birds and their eggs, frogs, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and various fruits.

03

Genets can climb trees to hunt birds; however, they also spend much time on the ground hunting prey and taking shelter in rocky outcrops. They are able to squeeze their flexible bodies through any opening larger than their heads.

04

Adult genets are known to hitch rides with other animals such as rhino and buffalo. Their main predators are owls, leopards, pythons, and humans.

Water Quality

Snow and rain, and more rain and more snow ...

by Tasmyn Taylor

Water Quality Data for 26 September 2018

The amount of rain the Western Cape has experienced has definitely pushed more fresh water down. The fisherman might not be too happy but good things come to those who wait and by good things, we mean fish... eventually... The snow melting off the Cape Fold Mountains, running into rivers and flowing into the estuary is definitely evident. While on the Water Quality Run, we really didn't go up far. The last salinity point measured was just past the White House with a 0.07 PSU.


Bird Monitoring

Spring is here! 

by Tasmyn Taylor

And the birds are celebrating. 3 days into spring and the bird species recorded in September nearly doubled in number compared to the number of species we saw in August. With a total of 40 species seen, we have some newcomers to the estuary. Near Groenpunt we were lucky enough to see a Greater Crested Grebe. The Great Crested Grebe has an interesting mating ritual. This means two birds (male and female) do a "dance" in the water before they mate. 

Grebes dance every time the pair meets, and the dance varies according to the circumstance. Returning to the nest is different from meeting out on the water, for instance. Most dances end in a bout of head-shaking.

Another great species to see was the Red-billed Teal which hasn't been seen 2 years. Interestingly enough, the teal is actually a duck and for that matter, one of the most common duck species seen in South Africa's inland water systems. 

Bird of the trip was the Red Bishop. All the males are now moulting away their dull colours and growing in their bright RED feathers. We saw over 180 males flying and flashing their colours away to attract the ladies.The list continues to grow so any birders heading our way, enjoy a short stop to see the beauties of the Breede! 

Bird Count Data for September 2018


Leading by Example

PiliPili and The Sands have something in common!

by Tasmyn Taylor

Everyone knows the local restaurant, Pili Pili, for good pizza, good vibes and good views. Pili Pili is now going above and beyond to be good examples. Recently Pili Pili Witsand and Sedgefield have decided to do their best in reducing their plastic footprint on the environment. By ditching the plastic straws (because plastic straws suck!) for paper straws, by ditching polystyrene takeaway containers for cardboard ones and finally, by sorting their trash into recyclables. 

Many food chains and shopping centres are making the change to go green and we would like to thank Pili Pili for leading by example in the small town of Witsand. We also have another key player in the town of Witsand who is trying to reduce their plastic use and ditch the plastic bag. 

The Sands has made small changes over the years to be more environmentally friendly but now, thanks to the efforts of George and Judi, they have ditched plastic for paper. Paper straws are the new plastic, paper bags have replaced the plastic bags and they no longer give out or sell polystyrene cups but rather paper cups! All these changes make a difference and they lead by example to the public. Judi even took the initiative to make her own material shopping bags that are selling off the shelf.

Thank you to everyone who is participating in making Witsand and Port Beaufort a greener and cleaner place.


Trash Bash!

The ICC was a success! When I say the ICC I don't mean cricket, but rather the International Coastal Cleanup day 2018. 

Coastal Cleanup Day was established by the Ocean Conservancy, an organization that works to help protect the ocean from the challenges it faces every year.

With drinks, apples, burgers and crisps from the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Western Cape Government, the team from the Conservancy and Barry's Holiday Accommodation took to the beach. 

Litter Accumulation Data for September 2018


Thank you for reading

We hope you enjoyed this months' issue. Should you have any feedback, questions, or matters you would like us to cover in a future issue, please do not hesitate to write to us at news@breede-river.org.