Zorro lived a slimy life

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 July 2010

A juvenile hippo, nicknamed Zorro, was caught at Cape Town’s largest waste-water treatment plant near Strandfontein on Monday and shipped off to a private reserve in Worcester.

Zorro the hippo

Zorro had made the sewerage works his home since February 2009 after fleeing the adjacent nature reserve of Rondevlei where he was chased away by his father.

Thieves had stolen part of the reserves fence, creating an opening for the 1200 kg four-year old to escape.

The elusive hippo has proven difficult to trap, as he could not easily be enticed by lucerne bails. The lush grass of the sewerage works seemingly held more appeal than a baited boma.

Perseverance by nature conservationists has finally paid off though and he was caught in the early hours of Monday morning.

“We found him there at 3:00 morning in that capture boma, brought a transfer crate to site, loaded him into the crate and he was in his new home in Worcester by 5:00 in the afternoon”, said Dalton Gibbs of the city’s Environmental Resource Management department.

A number of hippos have been translocated from Rondevlei since the re-introduction of these animals in 1981. Hippos were originally found in Cape Town but were exterminated by the 1700’s.

Source: Cape Town Green Map

School collects environmental data for city

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 April 2010

The Rondevlei Nature Reserve, located about 20 kilometres outside of Cape Town, and learners from Sid G Rule Primary in Grassy Park are engaged in a collaborative conservation education project.

Rondevlei wetland. Photo by 'timparkinson' under creative commons licence.

The project’s goal is twofold: the pupils learn about ecosystems, biodiversity and conservation, while helping to collect important environmental data that the City of Cape Town can use to assess water health throughout the municipal area.

It is also part of a bigger vision developed by Dr Mark Graham, aquatic ecologist and director of environmental consultancy Ground Truth, aimed at mobilising communities to better look after their rivers and other water resources.

“Due to increased utilisation of water sources, our rivers are more and more under pressure in terms of pollution. Our water quality shows fairly worrying statistics,” Graham said.

To protect water resources, municipalities usually implement a range of initiatives, such as improving their solid waste management and sewerage systems as well as investing in wetland rehabilitation and conversation. But without community involvement, water conservation schemes will never be completely successful, believes Graham.

He therefore came up with the idea of asking schools to adopt a section of a river that they monitor on a regular basis. The data the pupils collect could be fed to the water affairs department of the municipality in which the school is located. Continue reading