Shall We Dance?

The charismatic African penguin - Spheniscus demersus returns from sea_01 African penguins mate for life. African penguins from the Boulders colony live on the urban edge. African penguins shadow dancing.

WPC:  Shadow

The afternoon shadows lengthen as the sun slips towards the horizon and the African penguins return from a day’s fishing.  Stocks of their prey, small pelagic fish such as sardines and anchovies are dwindling in numbers and as a consequence since 2000 the penguin populations off South African have been declining, especially off the heavily fished West Coast.  Give a thought for these charismatic little creatures as they are listed as Endangered on the IUCN’s REd Data List.

Numbers

Rhino-poaching-numbers

“Since 2008 poachers have killed at least 5,940 African rhinos……

Rhino poaching is currently at a crisis point. By the end of 2015, the number of African rhinos killed by poachers had increased for the sixth year in a row with at least 1,338 rhinos killed by poachers across Africa in 2015. These statistics are compiled by by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG).”  www.savetherhino.org

Ben’s theme this week is “Numbers”.

 

Cycads and Pterodactyls

Cycads_Pterodactyl

“Share your vision of our magnificent Earth through your lens,” challenges Jen H this week.

At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens lush beds of cycads flourish, plants which have an ancient lineage going back 250 million years. In a time-warp take a Pterodactyl hangs suspended and the impression is of a different era.   Thinking of epochs and this ever changing dynamic earth of ours:  in the Jurassic era fossil records indicate that many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.  The first birds appeared evolving from the pterosaurs.  Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life.  Dinosaurs roamed and then disappeared, wiped out.

In today’s terms of the Anthropocene: greenhouse gasses, climate change and the rapid extinction of species, one wonders about Mother Earth’s balance.

Greening-the-planet

Let’s make the planet a greener place.

As a tribute to Earth day and the green movement,  I’d like to give a shout out to an organisation here in Cape Town – www.Greenpop.org; 

“Greenpop plants trees and invites everyone to join the treevolution, see inspiration instead of gloom in the green space and create innovative and sustainable solutions. We pride ourselves in making green living fun, educating people on best practice tree care, monitoring our trees and ensuring that together we leave a lasting legacy.”

 

The call of the mountains

Tucked up in the rugged mountains of the southern Hottentot Holland range closeby Cape Town, lies the Kogelberg Nature Reserve.  It has a rather exceptional rating as a ‘biosphere’, which means it’s 18,000 ha of pristine vegetation is intact and protected as essentially wild and undisturbed.  It’s also considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom due to the exceptional quality of it’s fynbos and high biological diversity as well as being recognised as a World Heritage site.

Cape Nature manages the reserve and keeps it low key;  there are just five chalets which are sensitively designed with a low-impact footprint, using solar-power and compasting loos.  The grey water is also collected and recycled so that the wetlands are preserved from any effluent.

It’s a “Stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off” kindof place.  Here you can disappear from the hurly-burly of city life – hiking trails lead up mountain tracks or along the pristine rivers, where the spoor is of buck, baboon, otters and mongoose.   At this time of year winter’s breath is clear with a crisp champagne air and raptors soar on the high thermals: black eagles, peregrine falcons, fish eagles ….   My hope is that the scenic photos might convey a sense of this awesome realm?