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2018

Help the EWT to win a share of R1 million!

This Endangered Species Day, please show your support for the work we do to bring wildlife and habitats back from the brink! Visit www.vote4charity.co.za and vote for us to win a share of R1 million. For every vote received, MySchool will donate R5 on your behalf. Voting opens at 12:00 on 18 May 2018 and runs until 18 June 2018, so please share and encourage your friends and family to vote too!

Registered MySchoolMyVillageMyPlanet cardholders get one vote each. No card? New supporters can sign up instantly online or in the app. No card setup fees will be charged for any new cards issued during this campaign.
Protecting forever, together.

 

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2018

Wild Dogs return to Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, after decades of absence

With only around 6,600 Wild Dogs left in Africa, this incredible animal is one of the continent’s most at-risk carnivores, and is listed by the IUCN as Endangered. Urgent action is required to save them, and a key conservation strategy is the reintroduction of packs into viable habitats where they once occurred. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), champion of conservation in Africa, and Gorongosa National Park are thrilled to announce one of the most exciting Wild Dog reintroductions yet, as part of their efforts to save this highly threatened species. Wild Dogs will soon roam free in Gorongosa for the first time in decades. This historic transboundary event will take place on 16 April 2018.

In a move to reverse the trends of Wild Dog populations in southern Africa, a partnership has been established between the EWT and Gorongosa National Park in order to secure the reintroduction of the park’s first pack of Wild Dogs. This is a landmark occasion, as Wild Dogs have never been reintroduced to any park, protected area, game reserve or other space in Mozambique.

Wild Dogs have disappeared from much of their former range in Mozambique, and Gorongosa lost all of their Wild Dogs as a result of the 1977–1992 civil war. However, Gorongosa is today Mozambique’s flagship natural area and lies at the heart of the work being undertaken by the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation to bring back to life a vast and diverse natural ecosystem over a 25-year period.  Wildlife is now thriving in the park, with numbers of species and animals having made a strong comeback. With the abundance of herbivores, the natural next step is the return of large carnivores.

Wild Dogs from South Africa’s EWT-managed metapopulation will form the founder pack for this recovery project. The metapopulation, comprising the various individual populations of Wild Dogs within a selection of managed national parks and reserves, currently numbers 250 individuals in 28 packs. This population has increased over the last 20 years and has ensured the increase in Wild Dog range in South Africa by 25% and numbers by 100%, thus allowing the translocation of a founder pack into neighbouring Mozambique.

Male Wild Dogs from uMkhuze Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) that naturally dispersed from their pack in late 2016, and free-roaming female Wild Dogs from the region are earmarked for this reintroduction. The EWT, along with local partners Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW), the KZN state veterinary department, WildlifeACT, Maremani Game Reserve, LEDET, and the Bateleurs, have caught the two unrelated groups of Wild Dogs and brought them together to bond in a boma at Phongola Nature Reserve in KZN in South Africa. Once the Wild Dogs have been sedated prior to departure, the pack will be fitted with GPS collars and VHF collars to allow for close monitoring once released. All individuals will also be vaccinated against canine distemper and rabies before leaving for Mozambique, as infectious diseases are a big threat to Wild Dogs. This new pack will be flown from the Phongola boma to Gorongosa by the Bateleurs, to ensure a quick and stress-free journey. The EWT and Bateleurs have previously transported 29 Wild Dogs with 100% success and safety rate.

The bonded pack will be held in the newly constructed boma in Gorongosa for six to eight weeks before being released. This is to allow the males and females to become accustomed to one another and become habituated to the area, all the while being monitored by the Gorongosa project’s carnivore conservation team. The EWT will work closely with the Gorongosa team to train a new generation of Mozambican vets and ecologists in Wild Dog recovery and management.

Gorongosa National Park has been described as one of the most diverse parks on Earth, covering a vast expanse of 400,000 hectares. In recent years, the Gorongosa Project, with the support of Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), has ensured the protection of a recovering population of Lions in this system, successfully reduced key threats, and seen the park become recognised as one of National Geographic’s ‘Last Wild Places.’ It is fitting that, by returning Wild Dogs to Gorongosa, one of the most threatened mammals in southern Africa is about to take a bold step towards restoring their native range in the region.

This work is made possible by EWT funders, Richard Bosman and Land Rover Centurion, and Gorongosa Project funders, Gorongosa National Park, the Oak Foundation, and ZooBoise.
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About the Gorongosa Project
Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration stories. In 2008, a 20-year Public-Private Partnership was established for the joint management of GNP between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Project), a US non-profit organization. In 2016, the Government of Mozambique approved the extension for another 25 years of joint management.

By adopting a 21st Century conservation model of balancing the needs of wildlife and people, we are protecting and saving this beautiful wilderness, returning it to its rightful place as one of Africa’s greatest parks.

For more general information, visit http://www.gorongosa.org

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2018

Putting our money where our mouth is! Announcing the first EWT owned and managed nature reserve

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Africa’s conservation leader, is proud to announce the transfer of the Medike Nature Reserve in Limpopo, into the EWT’s name, as its first ever land purchase. Medike comprises some 1,400 ha of priority and unique mountain habitat in the Soutpansberg Mountains, and was bought through the generosity of the Roberts Family Trust in Australia. This is the first step in a long-term project to realise the dream of establishing the Soutpansberg Protected Area (SPA), which will ultimately span in excess of 23,000 ha and will connect the existing Happy Rest Nature Reserve in the east and Luvhondo Private Nature Reserve in the west.

This special place is South Africa’s most northern mountain range, and is home to thousands of species of insects, plants, birds and mammals, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. The EWT has identified this region as being in urgent need of protection due to the high number of threatened species, its extraordinary variety of important and unique habitat types, its crucial role in water production, and its value as a centre of cultural heritage for many communities. Despite the significance of the region, the Soutpansberg Mountains currently receive little conservation support, with less than one percent of the area being formally conserved in nature reserves.

By embarking on this journey to protect the area, and purchasing this special tract of land in the western Soutpansberg’s Sand River Gorge, the EWT is about to change all that. Medike Nature Reserve will serve as the catalyst for an ambitious project that will bring in neighbouring properties into the larger Soutpansberg Protected Area, which will safeguard the future of hundreds of threatened species and support the development of sustainable livelihoods in the western Soutpansberg Mountains. “In essence, we will work with existing landowners and local communities to make this one large protected area with the aim of saving species and habitats, providing critical ecosystem services, such as clean water, and developing climate change resilience,” says Oldrich van Schalkwyk, the EWT SPA Manager.

Environmental threats in the area include illegal killing of wildlife, such as Leopards, for the local bush meat and skin industry, and pangolins, for export trade; illegal and unsustainable harvesting of medicinal plants, as well as the uncontrolled collection of firewood; ongoing illegal sand mining in the Sand River; and illegal clearing of indigenous forest, among others. Many of these threats stem from a lack of socio-economic development in the area, and the EWT’s far-reaching vision for this region will result not only in the conservation of its unique biodiversity and the sustained integrity of its water resources, but in sustainable livelihood options for the local communities too. Much of the work will revolve around addressing human-wildlife conflict, and supporting the local communities to farm in an environmentally friendly manner. The EWT will also promote the establishment of a long-lasting conservation-based green economy, linked to innovative local micro-enterprises.

The Roberts family fell in love with this magical mountain when they visited it 2014 and their generosity has allowed the EWT to secure the Medike Nature Reserve and catalyse a bigger conservation vision for the area. The proposed SPA will result in protected area expansion, water security, socio-economic development, ‘green’ job creation and threatened species conservation in the western Soutpansberg. This vision has subsequently leveraged further support from major donors including Rainforest Trust and the Nedbank Green Trust, allowing this dream to approach reality.

Said Yolan Friedmann, EWT CEO: “The purchase of Medike signals a new era for the EWT, as we embark on one of the most exciting projects in our history: that of a private landowner and conservator, as well as driver of community stewardship and socio-economic development as a both neighbour and a supporting partner. We remain forever grateful to our investors in conservation, the Roberts Family Trust, as well as Rainforest Trust and the Nedbank Green Trust, for taking this vision forward. We also thank Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr for their enormous support in all the work of the EWT.”

The SPA will act as a demonstration project for the expansion of this work throughout the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve and other Man and Biosphere Reserves across the country and continent. We welcome contributions and partnerships from other NGOs and corporates to grow this dream and to establish this unique area as a conservation icon.

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2017

Hope soars for imperilled vultures

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is honoured to have played a key role in bringing hope to threatened vultures around the world, as a new and far-reaching global plan is put in place to protect these iconic birds in 128 countries.

Vultures are under immense pressure from a range of human activities. These threats have resulted in a rapid decline in Africa and Asia particularly, where most of these spectacular birds are now listed as Critically Endangered. But the 124 conservation actions contained in the newly-adopted and exciting Multi-species Action Plan (Vulture MsAP) mean that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Old World vultures.

The EWT has been working tirelessly to drive the development of this global plan, and at the recent Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Vulture MsAP was formally adopted. The adoption of this global plan will drive concerted conservation action to address the negative trends in vulture populations, where in some instances we have lost in excess of 95% of some species over the last 20 years, mostly due to human-induced threats. The Vulture MsAP promotes the implementation of 124 different conservation actions across the globe designed to help populations to recover to sustainable levels. These include policy and legislative changes, research and monitoring, education and awareness, and several on-the-ground actions. Of these 124 actions, 12 have been identified as critical, and immediate implementation is essential. These include:

  • Establishing protocols and training and supporting relevant agency staff (conservation, rangers, police and judiciary) to rapidly respond to poisoning incidents including sharing of best practices.
  • Prohibiting or withdrawing veterinary use of diclofenac, ketoprofen and aceclofenac for the treatment of livestock and substituting it with readily available safe alternatives, such as meloxicam in all Vulture MsAP range states.
  • For new and existing energy infrastructure, promoting the implementation of CMS guidelines by phasing out energy infrastructure designs that pose electrocution risk to vultures and other birds, and advocating retro-fitting with known bird-friendly designs within current maintenance schedules.
  • Conducting a census in 2018-2019 and a census in 2028-2029 of all species to monitor the population size, breeding productivity, distribution and trends across the Vulture MsAP range.

André Botha, the EWT’s resident vulture expert with more than 15 years’ experience in this field, was appointed Overarching Coordinator of the Vulture MsAP in August 2016. He has worked closely with the CMS Raptors MoU, BirdLife International, the Vulture Conservation Foundation, and members of the Vulture Specialist Group of the IUCN, to develop this roadmap for the conservation of 15 species of Old World vultures. Now that the plan has been adopted by COP12, these actions, and others, can get underway in the 128 vulture range states that are affected. André says, “This is where the real work starts. The plan was just the first step, but the declines are still happening and now we need to implement. This is a 12-year plan, and the reality is that if we don’t implement within that time frame, the likelihood of extinction of many of these species is extremely high. A plan such as this gives us great hope that that terrible scenario can be avoided.”

A number of other proposals relating to vultures were also tabled at COP12, including the up-listing of ten species of African and Asian vultures to CMS Appendix 1, which is made up of species that have been assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. In more good news for vultures, all the proposals to up-list these species were approved. The species affected are:

  1. Whited-headed Vulture
  2. Hooded Vulture
  3. White-backed Vulture
  4. Cape Vulture
  5. Rüppell’s Vulture
  6. Red-headed Vulture
  7. White-rumped Vulture
  8. Indian Vulture
  9. Slender-billed Vulture
  10. Lappet-faced Vulture

This up-listing provides these imperilled vultures with greater protection in their range states. Parties to the CMS are committed to strictly protecting species on Appendix 1 by prohibiting the removal of these species, conserving and, where possible, restoring their habitats, preventing, removing or mitigating obstacles to their migration, and controlling other factors that might endanger them.

The EWT is honoured to have played a key role in this essential conservation work for these iconic birds and remains committed to saving our scavengers.
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2017

The race is on, this World Rhino Day!

On World Rhino Day, 22 September, a small group of runners will ascend the iconic Rhino Peak in the Southern Region of the Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is the official beneficiary of the event and all funds raised will be divided on a 50/50 basis between our work with rhinos and our work with Bearded Vultures. While the rhino connection may be obvious, the funds will be shared with these special birds too because the Rhino Peak itself is home to some of the last Critically Endangered Bearded Vultures in the area.

Deidre Herbst, Eskom Environmental Manager, will be running the race as the EWT’s representative. She says, “As the environmental manager of Eskom, an organisation that impacts on the environment, I am passionate about reducing the negative environmental footprint and making a difference in South Africa, specifically related to water, biodiversity and clean air. When taking up the challenge of improving our environment, we should always consider that the earth is our life support system, and we need to believe that we can make a difference – believing is a critical ingredient to achieve what we set out to do! I feel very privileged to be representing the Endangered Wildlife Trust for this challenge. This is an awesome opportunity to demonstrate my passion for sustainability, specifically the role of biodiversity and the important role played by vultures in the ecosystem. Eskom has a partnership with EWT that focuses on reducing the impact of power lines on birds. While I have participated in many sporting events, I have not had the opportunity to take part in such an awesome challenge before, and have not recently spent time in our beautiful Drakensberg mountains. It seems fitting, given my passion for the environment, that I am able to complete this challenge, representing the EWT, and contributing to the survival of the Bearded Vulture.”

If you’d like to get involved in this epic race, without actually having to run it, you can pledge to support one of the participants, and in so doing, support the work of the EWT! As an added incentive for those pledging, each participant will be offering a lucky draw prize. This prize will be drawn by the runner after the event, and anybody who has pledged against that particular runner will stand a chance to win their prize. Those pledging against Deidre’s race time, for example, stand to win a weekend away at any City Lodge B&B!
To find out more, and make your pledge, visit http://www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za/

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2017

Réveur Finest Linen – Just launched

At Réveur we take immense pride in offering the highest level of service to our customers through a wide range of quality tried and tested linen at competitive prices. Our consistent efforts to improve our range have earned us recognition as being a key supplier to the hospitality industry and in particular to, safari lodges and boutique hotels. Our customer base includes re-sellers and all consumers of linen.

We use only the best quality linen and inners that we can find to ensure that your linen will last for many years in your establishment. Using the state of the art manufacturing process, the mills produce woven fabrics that are strong and beautifully soft, yet highly durable and easy to care for.

Our Réveur linen is produced using quality imported percale fabrics in authentic 200 thread count up to the ultra luxurious 800 thread count. Depending on the customers own requirements. We also offer embroidering for our customers who require bespoke linen.

Within this range all our customers should be able to find a suitable balance between comfort, luxury and value.

Choose from our extensive range of quality bed linen, duvet inners, pillows, mattress and pillow protectors (quilted and waterproof), converters, table linen (from serviettes to table cloths) as well as spa products including kimono gowns and eye masks. You will be pleased with our selection, prices and service. Please feel free to browse our online shop or contact our representatives for more information on our manufacturing of Hotel Linens. All linen is made to order, which means we tailor your linen to your exact requirements.

Submit a quote request by emailing orders@livingstonessupplyco.co.za

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2017

Saying no to single-use plastic

During March we celebrate a number of water-related environmental days, including International Day of Action for Rivers (14 March), National Water Week (20–24 March), and World Water Day (22 March). Water has recently been a very topical subject in South Africa, with the country feeling the effects of drought through water restrictions, increased food prices and frightening visuals of empty dams.

One impact on this essential resource that is not often given as much consideration by consumers as it should be is the use of single-use plastic. These products include soft plastics such as drinking straws, plastic packaging, plastic utensils, plastic bags, product bags and disposable cups. Single-use plastic is typically created for only one use, has a short useful lifespan, is unlikely to be reused, and is either difficult or impossible to recycle. This means that while we may only use these products once, they linger almost indefinitely as waste in landfills, or end up as pollution, not only on land but in our rivers and oceans too.

Species that live in rivers or oceans are particularly susceptible to the threats associated with plastic bags, which, together with plastic fragments, are frequently misidentified as food resources (for example, they are mistaken by turtles for jellyfish), and consumed accidentally. This hinders digestion of natural food resources, leading to gut-blockage, asphyxiation, starvation, strandings and death of marine mammals and turtles. Plastic drinking straws similarly tend to end up in rivers and oceans, where they can injure or kill wildlife. So serious is their potential impact, that global movements such as the OneLessStraw campaign have been developed to encourage consumers to give up their plastic drinking straws. Microbeads are also of serious concern. These solid, tiny plastic particles (typically < 1 mm in size) are used extensively in personal care and household cleaning products, such as toothpastes, exfoliating face and body scrubs, and washing powders. Microbeads have replaced traditional biodegradable exfoliating products, such as salt granules and ground nut shells. These plastic beads are washed down the drain and eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and, ultimately, the ocean. These tiny particles have the potential to absorb persistent organic pollutants, and become incorporated into the food chain, as microplastics are consumed by various marine and riverine animals. The ingestion of microplastics can demonstrably affect an organism’s reproductive success, feeding, growth and movement, as these particles can be taken up into body tissues and fluids.

So what can you do to make a difference? The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) advocates making the following small lifestyle changes which, when implemented routinely on a large-scale societal basis, could significantly reduce South Africa’s single-use plastic consumption and the associated environmental threats of plastic waste and pollution:

  1. Reduce consumption by avoiding purchasing unnecessary single-use plastic products, and when necessary, replace them with environmentally-friendlier alternatives. For example, always make sure to take reusable shopping bags with you when shopping and never pay for single-use plastic carrier bags.
  2. Choose recyclable packaging.
  3. Buy in bulk to reduce packaging.
  4. When alternative products are unavailable, inconvenient or expensive, plastic products (designed for single-use) can be reused a number of times if washed out after use. These include plastic bags, bottles, cutlery, etc.
  5. Select products packaged using non-plastic materials.
  6. Up-/down-cycle plastic products into something else, for example flower pots.
  7. Bring your own container to restaurants and markets.
  8. Make your own products, such as juices, smoothies and even cleaning products.
  9. Think carefully about how you package your lunches – use re-useable containers as much as possible to limit the usage of cling wrap, plastic bags, etc.
  10. Find out which plastics can and cannot be recycled and what types of plastics your local recycling drop-off facility will accept.
  11. Buy refills.
  12. Avoid body and face scrubs, shower gels, toothpastes, sunscreens and washing powders that contain microbeads (look for polyethylene, polypropylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyethylene terephthalate, or polystyrene in the list of ingredients). As an alternative to shower gels packaged in plastic bottles or tubes, rather choose soap bars packaged in wax paper or cardboard boxes.

For more information, take a look at our position statement on single-use plastic.

Claire Relton, Intern

ClaireR@ewt.org.za

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2017

Leap into action for frogs!

Dr Jeanne Tarrant, Threatened Amphibian Programme Manager

JeanneT@ewt.org.za

Leap Day for Frogs is marked annually in February to raise awareness of the plight of these special amphibians. Frogs are often met with negative reactions and mixed attitudes, and Leap Day for Frogs aims to help to dispel some of these unpleasant connotations and educate people about the importance of frogs to our environment. There are 125 frog species in South Africa, of which a third are threatened by habitat destruction, increasing levels of pollution in freshwater systems, disease and climate change. The EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) is working hard to secure populations of some of South Africa’s most threatened amphibian species, including the Critically Endangered Amathole Toad, Pickersgill’s Reed Frog, and Western Leopard Toad; protect key habitats for threatened amphibians; and raise awareness about frogs and their importance, making Leap Day for Frogs a very important day.

It’s also a day to have fun! This year, the TAP team will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest game of leapfrog. This event will take place on Friday 24 February at 10:00 on the Durban beachfront promenade (near uShaka Marine World), and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible. We’re aiming for 1,500 participants, so round up your friends, family or school group and hop on over!

For more information on this frog-tastic event, please contact Dr Jeanne Tarrant at JeanneT@ewt.org.za or visit www.leapdayforfrogs.org.za

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2016

Alpacas on Guard

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme recently placed Alpacas in the Northern Cape to function as livestock guarding animals, with the aim of protecting livestock from carnivores predating on them. This exciting first forms part of the broader project which sees the EWT working with farmers to eradicate lethal, and often unselective, methods such as poison and gin traps, while still alleviating conflict between these farmers and predators.

One of the reasons Alpacas are being trialled in the Northern Cape is because we have struggled to successfully place livestock guarding dogs with Dorper sheep in the Upington area. As these sheep don’t have a herding instinct, it was extremely difficult for the dogs to bond with the flock. These sheep also seem to find the dogs, who have grown rather large, intimidating. As a result, and after hearing of the success of a local farmer who was using Alpacas to guard his sheep, we decided to trial Alpacas in this area. Four male Alpacas were sourced from a farm in the Western Cape and relocated to the Northern Cape. Once we were happy with their condition, as the veld in the Northern Cape is quite different from the lush, green Western Cape, we split them up. They have been placed on farms to protect the sheep from predators such as Caracals, jackals, and Brown Hyenas. The feedback thus far has been extremely positive and the Alpacas appear to be a huge hit with the farmers. They have already started displaying guarding behaviour, and the team is collecting data with the hopes of publishing a study on the effectiveness of Alpacas as livestock guarding animals in the future.

Derek van der Merwe, Carnivore Conservation Programme Limpopo Regional Co-ordinator

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2016

Nurturing Citizen Scientists

Cherise Acker, Threatened Amphibian Programme Field Officer

CheriseA@ewt.org.za

Our wetlands form the heart of our water catchments, purifying our valuable water resources that are essential for the survival of all living things.  However, these precious ecosystems are under severe threat from urban encroachment, pollution and overutilisation.

The EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) has a wonderful opportunity to change this through the establishment of green economies within communities. Our programme employs 61 people within six communities in the eThekwini District Municipality to remove alien invasive plants and rehabilitate wetlands habitats which are home to the endangered Pickersgill’s Reed Frog.  Our people working in the field not only receive a source of income for their work, which is funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs Natural Resource Management Project, but also develop a sense of appreciation for these wonderful wetlands and their fauna and flora through this work. Through continuous exposure, they realise that their water resources are being polluted, and that this is ultimately threatening their livelihoods. They observe the wildlife and appreciate the beauty and value of these plants and animals.

As a means of measuring our teams’ growing sense of interest in their natural surroundings, TAP has turned to social media. We have created a WhatsApp group where our team members can post their pictures of the plants and animals they find. This is empowering a whole new group of people who are able to contribute as Citizen Scientists and we are excited and proud to be a part of this! Importantly, many of our team members realise that we are saving water by removing alien plants from wetland areas. Other feedback from team members includes Tawanda Msomi, based on the Bluff, who said: “It gives me a sense of pride to know that I am doing my bit to help the environment!” Another team member said: “We can’t believe that these plants are dangerous, I mean we have them in our gardens! So we go home now and take them out and we have a poster of the poisonous plants which we show our neighbours so that our children are safe.” This kind of comment is a lovely indication of how the work we do has a ripple effect.

The TAP team is excited to have the opportunity to nurture these Citizen Scientists in an effort to collectively care for our precious natural heritage, contributing to knowledge banks and policing emerging environmental threats.
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