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Conservation Counts

Being greenminded is about finding ways to live your life in the most eco-friendly, responsible way. It is about making efforts to ensure that we have as positive an effect as possible on our environment and its human and animal residents. There are so many ways that we can be involved in making our impact on the fauna and flora around us more beneficial. This has an immediate effect on us and our environment, as well as a sustainable long-term one, which makes our everyday efforts all the more worthwhile.

Here are some ways in which you can be greenminded in your conservation efforts:

  • Report any incidents of animal poisoning that you encounter. At the moment, poisoning is one of the chief causes of deaths in raptors in South Africa. Poisoning has a domino effect. Rodents and insects are usually the prime targets, since these ones are blamed for the destruction of crops and for being pests in the home. With bodies full of poison, they become prey for other animals, such as snakes, birds and even mammals. These hunters, who are not part of the initial problem that caused the prey to be poisoned, then succumb to the poisoning too. This threatens entire species in certain areas and cannot be overlooked. Of course, the poisoning of animals like lynx, vultures etc… in order to protect crops and animals, for use in traditional medicine and so on is also an enormous part of this problem. All poisoning should be reported to the Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Programme on the Nashua Mobile Pesticide Helpline 082 802 6223 or on 011 486 1102, extension 208.
  • Refrain from using pesticides and insecticides that contain harmful chemicals. These only pollute your air, soil and water, kill off more species than intended and decrease the balance of the ecosystems around us, leading to more (unforeseen) problems in the long term. Either consider living with a few extras bugs and beetles or switch to natural repellents that keep the animals at bay rather than killing them.
  • Report any raptors and cranes that you spot with colour marking. Scientists use this method of identifying these birds to track their movements and to keep an eye on their delicate population stability. All ringed crane sightings should be reported to [email protected] while colour-tagged vulture sightings should be reported to [email protected].
  • Contact the Eskom-EWT Strategic Partnership on 0860 111 535 or [email protected] to report birds that have died as a result of flying into power lines or other animals that have climbed into the lines from ground level. This is a common problem as large birds have a massive wingspan. If their wings make contact with the power lines at speed (during flight), they can be badly injured or even killed by the impact.
  • Do not litter and always try to pick up and dispose of the litter of others. Animals can swallow, be poisoned, drowned, tangled or strangled in the careless remnants of humans. Birds frequently get their feet and wings tied in plastic, string or wool, succumbing to predators or dying as a result of injuries. Aquatic animals are poisoned or suffocated, while scavengers often choke on packets and plastic. In like manner, ensure that the rubbish in your home bin cannot harm animals if your bin is torn open. Cut long pieces of string, dental floss and so on into short pieces to prevent tangling.
  • When you are shopping or deciding on the products that you will use in your own life and home, remember that your choices affect the environment. Opt for organic, Fair Trade and environmentally friendly options rather than disregarding the benefits for a cheaper price or more convenient packaging.
  • Pick up stray animals and take them to a local shelter so that they can be cared for and, hopefully, reunited with their owners or rehomed.
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