50/50 Episode 14 Season 6: February 22 2015

Veldfocus50/50 Episode 14 Season 6: February 22 2015

Wildlife Wonder: An elephant calf steals the show

Most of us are hard-wired to disintegrate into goo when we see baby animals, rendering us completely incapable of articulate speech. Show us a baby animal having a ‘silly 5 minutes’, and things really begin to get out of hand. In this week’s Wildlife Wonders, we share with you just such a moment with an animal in the running for the cutest of the cute – a baby elephant. Baby elephants are one of the most entertaining creatures to watch: curious, intelligent, precociously mischievous, and armed with the confidence that they can do what they want because nothing would ever dream of messing with their moms. Join us as we spend a delightful moment with one such elephant. Get your ‘aaaw’s and aaaaah’s ready, you are definitely going to need them!

Container spill: Eastern Cape attempts to contain disaster

In November last year, the rugged coastline off Algoa Bay was ravaged by gale-force winds. Boats and container ships were tossed about like corks at the mercy of the storm, reminding us all of the true power of the ocean. A ship carrying almost 100 containers full of various items such as plastic, ink cartridges and biologically hazardous material was overturned, sending its cargo to a watery grave. Months later, the mess of debris from these containers continue to wash up onto the beach, posing a serious threat to the ecosystem of the bay. According to SAN Parks, the threat to wildlife could have long term effects, as the containers are continuing to break open, while most of the containers are still unaccounted for. The nearby penguin colonies of Bird Island and St Croix Island are directly in the path of the floating spill, and as the debris washes ashore, it poses a threat to a host of costal species such as the rare Damara turn and Black oyster catcher. The effected Alexandra dune field is South Africa’s longest dune formation and if this disaster is not swiftly dealt with, this ecologically delicate stretch of coast could be suffering from the after effects for years to come.

Danger Files: Kudu crash

The potential dangers of driving a motor bike in SA’s busy cities seem rather obvious – speeding traffic, slippery roads, large busses and motorists who don’t seem to be able to see motor bikes at all. However, along the quieter parts of our countries road network, there seems to be another kind of potential danger awaiting the 2 wheeled motorists. Wild animals. Antelope often congregate along roadsides to feed at dusk, and the lights of passing traffic confuses and blinds the skittish animals. Often they will dart into the road into the oncoming traffic, making them a potentially deadly obstacle. As tall as a horse and weighing in at well over 200 kg, a kudu is not something anyone would like to hit on a bike. This week in Danger Files we meet a man who unfortunately did just that while zooming down a dirt road in The Cape. We find out more about this unfortunate accident, and ask the experts if there is anything that we as motorists can do to reduce these kinds of calamities.

Riverine Rabbits: New tricks up the sleeves of Riverine rabbit conservationists

The plight of the illusive Riverine rabbit has been on South Africa’s environmental radar for many years, with conservationists leaping about in the shrubbery in an attempt to catch even the briefest glimpse of these highly endangered Lagomorphs. Until very recently very little knowledge about the secret lives of these long eared bunnies has been gathered, and even the very people who have dedicated their working day to finding the critters can go for months without seeing as much as the twitch of a nose. However, with the advancement of camera trap technology, scientists are now able to get a sneak peek into the private lives of the Riverine rabbit, enabling them to team up with local farmers in order to put into action the conservation strategies that will hopefully not just save the rabbit, but the very delicate habitat which these fluffy indicator species calls home.

Veld Focus:

Tonight on Veld Focus, a few priceless moments in nature captured perfectly on film. A mother robin chat excels at parenting, a family of foreigners move into the neighbourhood and one of the last tuskers of Kruger seen in all his magnificence.

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