Projects

Reports

Bird List Maremani 2004-2015

Bird List Maremani 2004-2015

by Christian Hjorth, Knud Pedersen and Egon Østergaard

The Maremani Bird List is an overview of the bird species registered by Danish ornithologists in connection with 7 visits to the Maremani Nature Reserve (MNR) in South Africa during the period 2004-2015.

Conditions for the species counts in the MNR have differed, both with regard to the time of year and the length of the visits, as well as the number of observers during the individual visits. The geographical coverage of the reserve’s localities has also varied from one visit to another. The species lists from 2006 and 2009 have been changed in relation to the previously published lists. Individual species seen in the vicinity of the MNR, but outside the Foundation’s property, have not been included in our compilation.

The first count took place 3rd – 19th February 2004, when Jon Fjeldså, Zoological Museum, Copenhagen, stayed in the area. This 17 day visit is the longest to date with daily counts of bird species in the MNR, and 187 species were registered.

In 2005, Dana Borg and Jørgen Rabøl visited the MNR in the period 3rd – 6th July and registered 80 species, of which 18 were new for the area.

The first seminar for employees and Nature Council members connected with the Aage V. Jensen Foundation’s properties in Denmark was held in the MNR 18th – 25th February 2006. The 22 participants took part in excursions in the reserve during 4 days of this one-week stay, and 152 species were registered, of which 34 were new.

The second seminar, in which 19 persons participated, was held 14th – 24th February 2009. There were tours in the MNR on 6 days during this visit and 163 species were noted, of which 21 were new for the area.

In 2011, Else and Christian Hjorth, Ulla Jul Sørensen, Egon Østergaard and Inge and Knud Pedersen carried out targeted point counts at 24 sites in the MNR every day from 13th to 19th February. All species spotted between the 24 count points were also registered. This gave a total of 180 species, of which 20 were new.

The third seminar for the Aage V. Jensen Naturfond’s employees and Nature Council members was held in the MNR on 26th February – 6th March 2012. This seminar had 21 participants, and apart from a two-day excursion to the Kruger National Park, there were daily trips around the MNR. Of the 186 species registered during this stay, 14 were new for the area.

Finally the fourth seminar for the Aage V. Jensen Naturfond’s employees and Nature Council members was held in the MNR on 8th February – 17th February 2015. This seminar had 27 participants. There were daily trips in the morning and afternoon to different localities in the Maremani Nature Reserve except on 11th-12th February, when the group went for an excursion to the Kruger National Park. The total species list for the Maremani Nature Reserve during the 7 visits has now reached 304 species.

pdficon_large Bird List 2004 – 2015 (PDF 700 kb)

Investigationg the parasites of black rhinoceros

Parasites impact wildlife survival and fecundity, and tolerance of management-induced stressors (e.g., translocation). They are, therefore, a concern in the management of endangered species, like rhinoceros, especially where species recovery depends on cross-continental translocation (i.e., reintroduction and restocking, IUCN 1987) and maximizing population vital rates. The intestinal and filarial nematode parasites of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) are numerous, however their bio-geographic ranges, host-specificity and ecology, and longer-term impact on rhinoceros population vital rates are poorly understood. This study will investigate the differences in parasite abundance between populations of black rhino, and examine how parasites modify animal fitness on a population and individual scale. This will include investigating how parasites may affect the ecological carrying capacity of a reserve. The project will test fundamental ecological theories concerning what factors, such as host density, may affect parasite species abundance in these populations. Finally, historical translocations of wildlife provide a remarkable, albeit fortuitous experiment, to understand how parasites spread through a meta-population and affect post-release success.

pdficon_largeInvestigationg the parasites of black rhinoceros – Maremani (PDF 52 kb)

Bird Counts - Maremani 2011

Bird Counts – Maremani 2011

by Christian Hjorth, Egon Østergaard, Adam Hlungwan, Ulla Jul Sørensen, Else Hjorth, Inge Pedersen, Knud Pedersen.

This report presents the results of our bird counts on the properties owned by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation in northern South Africa, close to the Zimbabwe border. As far as we know, no similar counts have been made in this area previously, and the data collected are therefore a baseline for the birdlife of the area. Due to the method used, corresponding counts can be repeated under the same conditions in a few years’ time, thereby indicating any changes that may have occurred in the avian fauna of the individual localities. It is our hope that the counts can be used by the Foundation as documentation of the high quality of nature in the area and thereby help to secure the area’s status as an important nature reserve.

pdficon_largeMaremani Bird Counts – 2011 (PDF 3.115 kb)

Reptile Survey - 2010 & 2002

Reptile Survey 2010 & 2002

by Sean Thomas, Cape Reptile Research and Conservation

Cape Reptile Research and Conservation was employed to conduct a reptile survey at Maremani Nature Reserve, by Mr Lief Skov of the Aage V. Jensen Foundation, the landowners and managers of Maremani Nature Reserve.

Maremani Nature Reserve is positioned in an important ecological area,and herpetologically-speaking, relatively ‘untapped’ and ‘unworked’. As most reptiles are non-migratory, the need for correct species lists and checklists are imperative. Now with DNA analysis, we can identify correct taxonomy, an area that has been in a poor state in the last few decades. Reptiles form an important part of our biodiversity in South Africa and Education remains the key for their conservation, as well as the prevention and management of snake envenomation.

pdficon_largeMaremani Nature Reserve – Reptile Survey 2010 (PDF 10.924 kb)

pdficon_largeMaremani Nature Reserve – Reptile Survey 2002 (PDF 180 kb)

Towards the Rehabilitation and Management of the MNR

Towards the Rehabilitation and Management of the Maremani Nature Reserve

by Dr. Salomon Joubert

The new political dispensation in South Africa, ushered in with the first free democratic elections in 1994, has had two major impacts on wildlife conservation. These are:

  • the free flow of tourism has confirmed the full potential of South Africa’s natural attributes as major attractions for overseas visitors, and
  • the above trend has also implied economic opportunities of very considerable proportions.

Most of the extreme northern and north-eastern regions of South Africa, commonly referred to as Bushveld and Lowveld, are notoriously drought prone and consequently high-risk areas for dryland farming and, at best, marginal for domestic stock farming. Dependable irrigation farming is limited to relatively small, localised areas. On the other hand, the highly diversified range of attractions provided by wildlife – especially in remote wilderness areas – has opened new opportunities of land-use. The natural fauna and flora are adapted to the highly variable and oscillating climatic patterns and in their most pristine state offer the greatest potential in terms of sustainable land-use practises.

pdficon_largeManagement of the Maremani Nature Reserve  – 2004 (PDF 154 kb)

Ecological management plan for the MNR

Ecological management plan for the Maremani Nature Reserve

by Dr. Salomon Joubert

Introduction In Chapter 1 the broad conservation philosophy adopted for the MNR is given. According to these guidelines the approach towards management is dictated by the ultimate objective of rehabilitating and conserving the MNR ecosystems in their most pristine state possible. In pursuing this course it is accepted that the current situation pertaining to the MNR is largely dominated by:

  • a collection of farms that have been physically and biologically impacted, to a more or lesser degree, by past land-use practises;
  • the confinement of animals to fenced subdivisions which do not necessarily represent ecological units, and
  • the suppression of natural processes due to the unplanned provision of water and the exclusion of veld fires.

ECOLOGICAL GUIDELINES FROM THE PAST To gain a perspective of the position occupied by the MNR in a broader ecological context it is necessary to take the geomorphological features and their associated biota over a much wider geographical region into account. Much of the eastern sector between the Soutpansberg Mountain Range and the Limpopo River is dominated by granite and sandstone formations. The soils derived from the granites are generally shallow, stony , nutrient poor and support a poor grass cover. Soils derived from sandstone often result in deep sands with a better grass cover than the granitic soils. However, the quality of the grazing is not particularly high. In both cases local patches of loam soils – derived either from intrusive rocks or the leaching of clay minerals – are found that produce better quality grazing.

pdficon_largeEcological management plan Maremani Nature Reserve  – 2002 (PDF 154 kb)

Cultural Landscape as found in the area of the MNR

A short summary of the Cultural Landscape as found in the area of the Maremani Game Reserve

by OJ. Kruger

Introduction The landscape north of the Soutpansberg has always played an important ecological as well as cultural role in the history of South Africa. The natural environment of the area has established itself as an ideal occupational terrain for thousands of years and for many a people. The Limpopo river, as well as three other rivers in the area, the Sand-, Njelele- and Nwanetsetsi rivers have provided water, the fertile soil surrounding the rivers have provided food and the strategically situated foothills north of the Soutpansberg sheltered many groups of people and many generations. This section of the Limpopo valley have been utilised and cultivated from the beginning of mankind and today, the offspring of many great cultural entities live in the area and their ancestors lay buried in its soil. Cultural groups evolved, expanded, made war and disappeared in this area. The most important time periods in the history of South Africa are represented in the cultural landscape of the Maremani Game Reserve and surroundings.

pdficon_largeA short summary of the Cultural Landscape as found in the area of the Maremani Game Reserve (PDF 185 kb)

The vegetation types and veld condition of Maremani

The vegetation types and veld condition of Maremani

by Dr Noel van Rooyen

Summery The aim of this project was to classify, describe and map the vegetation types, assess the veld condition and determine the economic carrying capacity for grazer and browser wildlife of Maremani. Maremani is situated in the Limpopo Province, east of Messina, between approximately 22Ε 18′ and 22Ε 32′ South, and 30Ε 13′ and 30Ε 25′ East. The reserve covers approximately 36583 ha. The area is characterised by plains, undulating and gravelly hills, rocky outcrops, higher mountain ranges, and rivers and streams. The altitude varies from approximately 427 m along the Limpopo River to 833 m at Mount Ga-Dowe on the farm Palm Grove. The mean annual rainfall for the Maremani area varies from 331 mm at Messina in the west to342 mm at Tshipise in the south. The rainy season is predominantly from October to March with about 85% of the mean annual rainfall occurring during these months. The driest months are from June to August. The mean annual temperature measured at Messina is 23.4ΕC while the extreme maximum and minimum temperatures measured at Messina are 43.8ΕC and 2.7ΕC respectively. The area is regarded as frost free.

pdficon_largeThe vegetation types and veld condition of Maremani (PDF 716 kb)

Geological inventory of the Maremani Nature Reserve

Geological inventory of the Maremani Nature Reserve

by Professor Jay Barton.  Department of Geology, Rand Afrikaans University (RAU)

Introduction The Maremani Nature Reserve is presently being established and this document is intended as a summary of aspects of the geology within the boundaries of the Reserve. I have taken the liberty also to express my opinions with regard to possible roles that the Reserve might fulfill with regard to promoting geological awareness, education and research. The geology of the area covered by the Reserve was mapped in 1976 by Gunther Brandl and W. O. Willoughby of the Geological Survey of South Africa (presently the Council For Geo-science) at a scale of 1:50 000 for compilation at a scale of 1:250 000 (Brandl, 1981). The western portion to 30o 15’ east was previously mapped at a scale of 1:10 000 for compilation at scales of 1:50 000 and 1:125 000 by P. G. Söhnge (1946; Söhnge et al., 1948). Also locally within the western portion of the Reserve, maps at the scale of 1:5 000 were compiled by Messina Transvaal Development Corporation on farms and prospects investigated by the staff of the Messina Copper Mine. These maps are presently archived with me at RAU.

pdficon_largeGeological inventory of the Maremani Nature Reserve (PDF 144 kb)

Land types and dominant soils of Maremani Nature Reserve

Land types and dominant soils of Maremani Nature Reserve

by Nel, G 2001

Introduction The Maremani Nature Reserve is presently being established and this document is intended as a summary of aspects of the geology within the boundaries of the Reserve. I have taken the liberty also to express my opinions with regard to possible roles that the Reserve might fulfill with regard to promoting geological awareness, education and research. The geology of the area covered by the Reserve was mapped in 1976 by Gunther Brandl and W. O. Willoughby of the Geological Survey of South Africa (presently the Council For Geo-science) at a scale of 1:50 000 for compilation at a scale of 1:250 000 (Brandl, 1981). The western portion to 30o 15’ east was previously mapped at a scale of 1:10 000 for compilation at scales of 1:50 000 and 1:125 000 by P. G. Söhnge (1946; Söhnge et al., 1948). Also locally within the western portion of the Reserve, maps at the scale of 1:5 000 were compiled by Messina Transvaal Development Corporation on farms and prospects investigated by the staff of the Messina Copper Mine. These maps are presently archived with me at RAU.

pdficon_largeLand types and dominant soils of Maremani Nature Reserve (PDF 420 kb)

Historical geographical distribution of larger mammals

Historical geographical distribution of larger mammals in the Messina area

by G. Nel

Introduction

Environmental (biotic and abiotic) as well as anthropological factors determine the presence or absence of a species in a specific area. One or more of these factors can change over a short or long period of time. Environmental changes include aspects such as yearly rainfall, floods and droughts and can normally not be managed. Management have to adapt to these changes. Anthropological changes include aspects such as agricultural practises (deforestation, overgrazing etc.) and international borders of countries that artificially divide distribution ranges or migration routes. Most of these changes can be managed. Changes of environmental and anthropological factors can have a positive or negative effect on a species and might even alter the distribution patterns of a species.

It is necessary to determine the magnitude of changes, if any, because it may determine management actions to be implemented and therefore have financial or other ecological implications. For instance habitat, local climatic conditions, veld condition, freedom of movements etc. have changed over the past fifty years on most game farms situated in South Africa. These aspects induced a change in the carrying capacity, which on its turn induced a change in the amount of animals and species to be kept on the property. This alters the functioning of the natural systems.

pdficon_largeHistorical geographical distribution of larger mammals in the Messina area (PDF 221 kb)

Wildlife Disease considerations

Wildlife Disease considerations

by V. DE VOS, Veterinary Ecologist

Introduction

Populations of all living organisms may maintain parasitic populations. Older definitions conveyed the idea that a parasite is a form that inevitably causes harm to its host. This is not always true and it would seem much more satisfactory to define parasitism as a state in which an organism (the parasite) is metabolically dependent to a greater or lesser extent on another (the host). Within this framework parasites can then be categorised as those which are harmful and those which are harmless, or even beneficial, to the host. Damage to the individual host by the parasite and overreaction by the host is known as “disease”. The ill effects of disease are usually visible. This is however, looking at parasitism and disease from an individual’s point of view. Looking broader at population and even ecosystem levels, a parasite which is harmful to the individual host may at the same time be of benefit to the species (survival of the fittest and survival of better gene material) or ecosystem (prevention of overutilization by acting as a culling mechanism). In a nature reserve, which is big enough to accommodate the natural ecological processes, disease is usually looked at from an ecological point of view, rather than the individual.

pdficon_largeWildlife Disease considerations (PDF 232 kb)