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BACK TO YOUR WILD FUTUREBACK TO YOUR WILD FUTURE

BACK TO YOUR WILD FUTURE

Back to your wild future

There’s been much need for a book to educate people on conservation biology in an uncomplicated way. This book not only has great stories, but also has a lovely educational angle to it. From environmental issues like global warming and rhino poaching, to dealing with increasing elephant numbers and lion counting, step into the world and mind of one of conservation’s leading scientists, Dr Sam Ferreira"". (Mark Boucher, South African cricketer and Titans coach) After more than 20 years in the wild, Sam Ferreira shares lessons from his workplaces. From completing fieldwork for doctoral studies in the coastal forests of KwaZulu-Natal, and collecting rodents and shrews in the Eastern Cape, to controlling feral cats and studying seals and killer whales at sub-Antarctic Marion Island planning marine reserves, doing dolphin and seabird research, and eradicating alien rats in New Zealand, Sam has seen it all. But his lessons are mostly African – after all, he is an African! Sam has studied elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, hippos, all kinds of antelope and crocodiles living amongst people from Southern to East Africa. For Sam, people and wildlife together are at the heart of sustainability. Sam has published numerous scientific peer-reviewed papers, several chapters in books and many technical reports. He enjoys public speaking and often talks at national and international conferences. He is an SACNASP professional scientist. Sam’s day job is ‘large mammal ecologist’ at SANParks. For interviews and more information, contact Dr Sam Ferreira: sam.ferreira@sanparks.org or the publisher, Erika Alberts: erika@mlpmedia.co.za

Country:
South Africa
Language:
English
Publisher:
MLP Media Pty Ltd
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time10 min.
fishing for peace

VAGUE DAYLIGHT CRAWLS over the sky in a pastel pink display, hippos honking in the distance. I survey the valley below, my tent perched on a platform of sand sculpted by last season’s floods. I can stay in the sleeping bag a few more minutes. I need it. Yesterday was tiring, dragging aluminium boats across rapids – always wary of crocodiles and hippos. Every time I come here, the river looks different and the crocodiles and hippos have new places! The river changes all the time. It has been doing that for ages. Crocodiles and hippos seem to be happy with the changes. I hear the water cobble across a rapid in the distance, changing from soft to hard, smooth to rough. Something disturbs the flow of water. I realise that…

access_time9 min.
i planned to accidentally find a mouse

THE NIPPY BREEZE freshens my warm skin, cooling and soothing it in the November heat. In the distance, the moonlit, ghostly peaks of the Cederberg and Roggeberg flank the Tankwa plains – dry and dusty, as I discovered during the past few days. There is no humidity here. Just crisp dryness and, as far as the eye can see, not a single human source of light from my perch on top of the tower of a castle-style farmhouse – some years ago, a Tankwa farmer was creative with the abundant slate of the region. The sky is alive. I want to reach up to pluck out of the air one of the thousands of stars, like fireflies, that feels so close. I want to feel the wonder of a night sky…

access_time7 min.
carrying capacity challenges

“I KNOW MY farm. There should be at least 100 eland,” booms the bolstering voice of Oom Manie. It is awkward. Oom Manie is selling his game farm to be part of a formal conservation area. And Oom Manie is hoping for a good profit because he expects 100 eland. That is what his farm’s stocking rate says he can have. And that is what Oom Manie hopes the helicopter count will confirm for him. “Only 27 eland! How can that be?” The disbelief hangs in the air. “Count again!” And off we go, to find 26 this time. The trouble with wildlife is that they do not read the ecological theories and know very little about man’s ideas of the balance of nature. That is an age-old idea − nature…

access_time10 min.
does one need to know it all before doing something?

A BLISTERING SQUALL forces white patches of breaking waves onto a rocky beach. I feel the small bites of tiny hailstones against my face. It is cold. It is windy. My gumboots slosh through a puddle gathering as the pouring sleet of a southern storm beats down on Marion Island. My day has just started. A small backpack with food, condensed milk, an extra jersey and an emergency survival kit, all essential components when conducting seal surveys, comforts me as I approach the first beach. It is full of elephant seals. It is 15 October. I need to know how many elephant seals use the beaches at Marion Island on 15 October. Biologists say that is the official birthday of every elephant seal in the world. Elephant seals are born over a…

access_time9 min.
to tech or not to tech?

THE LATE AFTERNOON setting sun soothes a pastel display on the horizon. It is hot. It is always hot, even in winter. Subtropical Africa has hot, short twilights. Colonial Englishmen enjoyed African twilights by washing the day’s dust and tiredness away with a gin and tonic. The tradition is good. Postcolonial game guides disrupt afternoon drives with gin and tonics, and snacks placed on temporary makeshift tables, on a little rise, watching the sunset. And after the bush-braai at a luxury lodge, the new gin and tonic converts – on holiday from Boston, New York, Bonn, London, Paris, Milan and Rome – agree that the sundowner may just be the best ‘technology’ designed by colonial Africa! The motley crowd of technofreaks is no exception – at least, not when it comes…

access_time9 min.
the non-technology of technology

DARK, DARK, DARKNESS cloaks an owl calling in the distance. A nightjar answers the whoo-whoo with a stuttering staccato sequence of whistles. Silence follows. Only a small swish unsettles the silence. Softly, as a displaced breeze dances across the acacia treetops. Suddenly, the night explodes into a cacophony of squeals. I fumble with the remote in my hand. Pressing ‘skip’ ignites a small red light in the distance. Reindeer bleat loudly into the African night from the remote speaker. My fingers keep on toggling – the flickering red light provides the only invasion into the darkness. Eventually, a buffalo calf in distress calls. The call-up technique for attracting lions fitted with satellite transmitters two years earlier is now formally in progress. I simply want to see what this pride is made…

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