5050 Episode 9 Season 6: January 11th 2015

VeldfocusThe Knersvlakte: a world of miniature plants

The glaring white landscape of the Knersvlakte stretches inhospitably over 85 thousand hectares. At first glance, this dry barren landscape can surely only be home to the white hot quartz that covers the bare ground in a million glittering crystals. Now look closer… the most beautiful world of tiny little succulent plants begins to reveal itself, one adorable leaf at a time. Bertus heads off into the moonscapes of South Africa’s most recently protected area to find out more about this fascinating region and to get a better look at the plants that inspire names such as ‘baby’s bums’ and ‘finger and thumb’.

The Rhino Brief: zooming around with Zama

In this week’s Rhino Brief we bring you one of South Africa’s wildlife heroes who is doing whatever it takes to keep track of our rapidly shrinking rhino population while keeping one step ahead of poachers. Even with all the generous funding from all over the globe, the guys with their boots on the ground – like our hero Zama Ncube – are integral to winning the war against rhino poaching.

Urban Critters: diminutive dassies

Cute and cuddly furballs, bouncing about on cliff-faces, the famous rock hyrax certainly doesn’t look like it came from mighty origins. As difficult as it is to imagine, these little creatures that comfortably hop around in the gardens of many of South African residents, are actually the closest relative of Africa’s largest mammal! We head to Kwazulu Natal to find out more about these fascinating urban critters.

Wildlife wonders: elephants test the waters

In this week’s instalment of wildlife wonders, we join an elephant pool party in full swing. As the cheeky young bulls begin to grow in size and attitude, they begin testing more than the cool water, as they frolic together in the shallows, practicing important fighting techniques that will one day be vitally important when the stakes are raised, and the outcome may mean the difference between life and death.

Pickersgill Reed Frogs: conservationists leap to the rescue

They may be tiny, but these little frogs are big news on the conservation front. The pickersgill reed frog is critically endangered, and only occurs in a few miniscule patches of reeds, along the KZN coastline. Conservationists are rolling up their pants and getting thoroughly muddy in an attempt to save the last of these endearing little frogs, and find a way to conserve their rapidly shrinking habitat.

Veld Focus

This week on Veld Focus we go hunting with a few ingenious experts: how do wasps provide for their offspring, how do black egrets get by without sunglasses and what happens when South Africa’s version of Wiley Coyote runs out of luck?

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