OVERBERG RENOSTERVELD CONSERVATION TRUST NEWS
Newsletter 26 | Dec 2021
by Dr Odette Curtis-Scott.
Acting now to protect Black Harriers – and other Renosterveld news
In the last few weeks of 2021, we’ve had a solemn reminder why when we protect Renosterveld, we’re actually protecting a whole lot more than plants.
Black Harriers are truly an iconic species for Renosterveld: A charismatic, endemic species which breeds in Renosterveld, Fynbos and grassland habitats, and they forage in these too. But as our Renosterveld habitat has disappeared, so too have Black Harriers. While they regularly make use of the grainlands for foraging, they are entirely dependent on the natural remnants of Renosterveld for breeding. It’s estimated only 500 breeding pairs remain – and it’s obvious that a decline in harriers is linked to a decline in habitat availability.
So when we lose two individuals – that we KNOW of – in the course of 24 hours, we must sit up and take notice. These two male Black Harriers had been tagged by the ORCT with satellite trackers. One died where it was roosting in a wheatfield in the path of a crop-cutter (platsnyer) – likely confused by the evening cutting. Another was killed by a wind turbine.
That means two out of six tagged individuals didn’t make it through the breeding season. Is this representative of the mortality rates of Black Harriers? We urgently need to know more. Read on for more on this.
There was good news in 2021 too.
Our learning hub comes to life: But we still need your help
Take a look at this TRANSFORMATION. Through your incredible support, our learning hub on Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve is taking shape: We’re growing our learning space, using the old shed, plus developing accommodation for an intern (who is starting with us in 2022, so watch this space….). Soon our first building will be finished: a space for children and adults to visit and learn about nature.
But there’s so much more we still need: ablutions (toilets, showers), additional bedrooms, fridges, equipment, etc. We can’t do this without your help. Please consider a Christmas donation, as we fulfil our dream – to bring people, including children and students, to nature.
In the meantime, as we slowly wind down for the holiday break, we wish you a wonderful festive season – filled with outdoor adventures, nature getaways and a moment to remember why we care as much as we do for our natural world – and must never stop caring.
Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust