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GRASSROOTS - GSA November 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to the GSA Holiday Edition and final Newsletter for 2023! We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members, residents, volunteers, supporters and those who work tirelessly with us in our conservation efforts a peaceful, safe and happy holiday and festive season with family and friends.

Time flies when you are having fun, and this year has been a blast. We are delighted with the progress we have made.

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Our CRR Expansion achievements and the School Programme are two highlights seeing real growth this year.

In the New Year we will be able to include a further 10 land portions totalling 378 hectares into the CRR, with new landowners who are just as committed to the protection of our irreplaceable biodiversity as we are. We are sure the CRR will continue to grow year after year!

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The introduction of a School Holiday Programme and taking on our largest school group to-date has ensured that we are making a real impact on inspiring and educating the next generation to continue taking care of the environment. The number of local sponsors received for the holiday programme was astounding and most heart-warming. Thank you to these sponsors and to our Environmental Educators. You are all truly making a difference in the world.

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We are spotting more and more free roaming wildlife! This can certainly be credited in part to our regular snare walks and the cooperation between the snare walk team, many of the Landowners, and certain of their staff members. Remember the snare walk team motto “We will never give up!”

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We are also delighted to announce our recycling programme on the Eastern Side of the Reserve. With the co-operation of Skyview Motors and Vooma Garage and the help of a Roodekrans landowner and her workers we have been able to put up a recycling cage at the Skyview Filling Station. A local resident small business has been given the contract to clear the recycling bin. We encourage all residents to make use of it.

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Our monthly awareness walks and talks ranged from the newly introduced Bee talk to our annual favourites like the Scorpion and Geology walk and continue to create environmental awareness. If you have an idea for an event that you would like to see introduced let us know.

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Our annual fund-raising events were well attended and brought in much needed funds. The profits will be utilized for projects that will be undertaken in the CRR, enabling us to meet some of our obligations set out in our 5 year Integrated Management Plan, and continue the critical work necessary to protect the natural environment we all so treasure. The runners and walkers participating in the Run/Walk the Rhenoster praised the stunning landscapes and game sightings they experienced on the Western side of the CRR, while the cyclists all thoroughly enjoyed the challenging routes set out for Ride the Rhenoster. They were no less taken in by the breath-taking landscapes on the Eastern side. Despite the rugby hangovers and late-night fatigue, the Springbok’s triumph the night before only added to the sense of excitement and anticipation the morning of the ride. The support and assistance of landowners, residents and volunteers in these annual events is deeply appreciated.


After reading all our highlights I am sure it has become abundantly clear that everything that has been accomplished this year would have been impossible without the help of so many dedicated people. From our landowners, residents, and their workers, to our volunteers, those whose services we have required, and the assistance of Government Departments such as GDARDE and the DFFE, we thank you all.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” - H.E. Luccock.

Sunset at Visser’s dam at the Rietfontein offsets courtesy of Alistair Armstrong
Photo credit: Alistair Armstrong

Sunset at Visser’s dam at the Rietfontein offsets courtesy of Alistair Armstrong.


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Reports from the Veld

We have made great strides in our fight against invasive alien vegetation and in our GIS (Geographic Information System) Mapping project. Click on the headings below for all the details:

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Unfortunately, we must take the bad with the good. A most unfortunate snaring incident resulted in the Onderstepoort Wildlife Vet being called out and having to euthanize a free roaming blesbok. This only serves to highlight this inhumane practice and the need for consistent checks for snares. We appeal to all landowners to inspect their properties regularly for snares and offer our sincere thanks to those volunteers, mostly from outside of the CRR, who come month after month to do our snare walks. Your help is invaluable. On a positive note, however, this incident has resulted in the forging of a relationship with Onderstepoort Wildlife Department, who proved to be professional and efficient, and the establishment of a well-defined protocol to deal with similar cases in the future. Our sincere thanks to the Onderstepoort vet and the students who assisted him, the Member who spent hours tracking the blesbok for us, and the Members who reported its whereabouts. Although the GSA had agreed to cover all costs the charges were carried by Down to The Wire. A huge thank you for their generosity and to the Onderstepoort vet for arranging this.

Please view Down to The Wire’s ad below and support them. Their jewellery, made from the wire of removed snares, will make an excellent gift or you can just spoil yourself, and it all goes to a truly worthy cause.

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It is also with great sadness that we have had to watch and attempt to manage the spread of the Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) which has impacted so badly on our wild hare population. All cases continue to be reported to the state vet and we urge landowners and residents to follow the protocol communicated to everyone via email and WhatsApp on the 23rd of October should they find any dead hares. Here we must also thank a landowner from Vlakplaats for her relentless efforts in assisting the CRR and anyone who asked for help with the management of this disease, as well as the State vet and the Erasmia Vet.

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