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08
AUG
3pm

Creecy has new plan to halt rapid decline of African penguin

A 2013 biodiversity management plan to save the endangered species has failed to arrest the population drop. Now, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy is seeking public comment on a fresh draft.
African penguins once churned up the water in great numbers on South Africa’s west coast. Now they are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
And according to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the species’ population has declined rapidly from more than a million breeding pairs in the 1920s to a record low of more than 10,400 pairs in 2021.
Owing to this decline, the African penguin, which is endemic to Namibia and South Africa, has been identified as one of three penguin species globally that are in critical need of conservation action.
According to Professor Lorien Pichegru of the Coastal and Marine Research Institute at Nelson Mandela University — who has been conducting research for the past 15 years on the impacts of various anthropogenic threats to African penguins in Algoa Bay — the Dassen Island colony, which was once the world’s largest African penguin colony, had collapsed by 90% in the mid-2000s, making the St Croix Island colony in Algoa Bay the next-largest, although that is collapsing too.
To arrest this, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy has released a draft African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan (APBMP) and is calling for public comment.
A Biodiversity Management Plan for the African penguin was first gazetted in 2013, with the aim of halting the decline of its population in South Africa. According to the department, while many of the actions listed in the plan were implemented successfully, the BMP (2013) did not achieve its aim and populations continued to decline, albeit at a slower rate.
The new draft APBMP attributes the decline of the species to various factors including reduced availability of forage fish, oil spills, breeding habitat modification, extreme weather events and disease. Predation by Cape fur seals and kelp gulls has localised colony impacts.
The APBMP aims to improve the conservation status of the species, ensure that no extant colonies become extinct, maintain the socioeconomic benefit that African penguins generate and support iterative improvement in the knowledge base for adaptive management.
Food is the priority
The head of conservation at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob), Nicky Stander, said the draft plan is an important framework for conserving the remaining populations.
“Sanccob is one of the organisations that ...
07
AUG
5pm

Revealed: David Mabuza, Fred Daniel and the missing crime dockets

Just days after Daily Maverick implicated Nonhlanhla Patience Mnisi, the wife of Deputy President David Mabuza, in a land claims scam in Mpumalanga, the Hawks told whistle-blower Fred Daniel that the matter would be investigated. By our reckoning, the circumstantial evidence pointed to one place – but a few months (and a few crucial missing court dockets) later, it seems the investigation has run out of steam.
The General
Early on the morning of 22 March 2022, a Tuesday, conservationist and former Mpumalanga premier Fred Daniel received a message from Brigadier Desmond Alexander of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, known as the Hawks.
It was an unexpected message and Daniel had good reason to be suspicious, but the weight of its contents could not be denied.
Alexander’s boss, he informed Daniel, had just tasked the Serious Corruption Offences unit with looking into his “matter”.
“What are the chances,” asked the brigadier, “that we can meet on Thursday, perhaps with your lawyer, for an introduction and discussion?”
As Daniel understood it, the reason for the urgency was the exposé that had been published a few days earlier by Daily Maverick – a conclusion he had drawn from a series of follow-up calls with Alexander.
Headlined Case number 35402/2010 – the Mabuzas and the giant Mpumalanga land claims ‘scam’, the article was centred on the revelation that Deputy President David Mabuza’s wife, Patience Nonhlanhla Mnisi, had received “substantial commissions” on a sale of hotly contested land in the Badplaas region of the province.
Given the intricacies of the investigation, with the evidence filling three lever-arch files, the final article was 6,500 words. Fundamentally, this was because Daily Maverick had been compelled to follow the trail all the way back to 2004, when Daniel – who was the owner of Nkomazi Wilderness, a private nature reserve near Badplaas, at the time – had first blown the whistle on the fast-evolving land claims scam.
Along the way, up to the evidential core of our narrative in 2015, we had encountered a hijacked community trust, spurious land claims, brazen conmen and the obvious collusion of Pam Golding Properties, Mnisi’s employer.
In line with Daily Maverick’s long-running coverage of Daniel’s R1-billion civil suit against the government, which listed the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency as the first of 24 defendants, the article also emphasised how the scam had led directly to the breakdown of the province’s biodiversity.
Beyond that, quoting from an expert report of Judge ...
05
AUG
9am

Cape Town water warning: Time to boil the kettle and get out the bleach

The City points fingers at rolling blackouts as it puts out a ‘boil discoloured water’ alert in some Cape Town suburbs, due to faulty treatment facilities
The City of Cape Town (CoCT) has issued a precautionary notice for parts of the metro that is experiencing discoloured water as a result of a fault at one of its water treatment facilities.
According to a statement, “ongoing load shedding has had a detrimental effect on the City of Cape Town’s water supply”, affecting water quality that has not been able to be treated due to a lack of energy to operate the water treatment facility.
Faure Water Treatment Plant, the affected facility, has experienced a process control fault; a consequence of the current bouts of rolling blackouts. The City said the rolling blackouts had resulted in limited operational hours for sludge processing, and that a generator could not be used due to high energy demand to treat the water.
The affected areas include parts of the eastern, central and south suburbs of the city, and include the airport, Brandwacht, Chris Hani Park, Diep River, Enkanini, False Bay Park, Gugulethu, Hanover, Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, Lansdowne, Mitchells Plain CBD, Nyanga, Onverwacht, Philippi, Rondevlei Park, Steenberg, Tafelsig, Umrhabulo Triangle, Victoria Mxenge, Weltevreden Valley and Zeekoevlei, among others.
“Supply from the Faure water treatment plant has been stopped, and the affected areas of the network are being fed water from Blackheath Reservoir. Intensive water sampling and ongoing testing is being conducted,” CoCT said in a statement.
It continued: “The City is working on resolving the problem as soon as possible, and would like to apologise for any inconvenience. The situation (water from Blackheath Reservoir) is anticipated to normalise the water quality in this part of the supply network, over the next few days.”
In the meantime, residents have been advised to boil the discoloured water for at least a minute, allow it to cool and then store it in clean, sanitised and sealed containers. CoCT also suggested using household bleach such as JIK to disinfect the water, as per World Health Organisation recommendations of 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) of bleach to 25 litres of water; the water should be allowed to stand for at least 30 minutes before use. An alternative of water disinfection tablets was also recommended.
This, as the country struggles to meet its energy demand shortage, which has left the country experiencing a dark winter and some of the highest stages ...
04
AUG
5pm

More than just a zoo — how Pretoria’s National Zoological Gardens is evolving

‘We’re trying to get away from the freak show concept of a zoo, to a facility that’s helping us with our broader battle for conservation and biodiversity protection,’ said Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on the transformation of the National Zoological Gardens.
‘I think that across the world, you are seeing a movement where there is less appetite for viewing animals in captivity, and a greater appetite to see animals in national parks,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy during her visit to the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria.
“So the question then becomes: what is the long-term future of a very important facility like this?”
Creecy answered that there would still be an “edutainment” component — for many children from urban areas a zoo is their only chance to see animals, and it is important to teach children about conservation and biodiversity issues.
“But you can also see that we are wanting to be using this facility as the site of important scientific research and important work that backs up the battle we are waging to conserve animals in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution. and our battle against wildlife crime.”
Creecy was joined by board members of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi), on a tour of Sanbi’s foundational research and scientific services, which include genetics and DNA profiling, veterinary services and the Biobank facility, which contributes to biodiversity information, species conservation, biodiversity and health, the wildlife economy and combating wildlife crime.
Conservation laboratories
The first stop on the tour was the Centre for Conservation Science laboratories, which are used for the development of marker-based systems to advance genomic research.
Sanbi and University of Pretoria PhD student Ditiro Moloto are investigating the decline of South African endemic larks, looking at factors such as life-history traits, habitat, climate change and genetic diversity. Moloto is using DNA sequencing to investigate the genetic diversity of these species.
“In terms of climate change, I want to know how they [larks] will be affected,” said Moloto. “Because all of the biomes in South Africa are vulnerable at this point — particularly the Grassland and the Karoo.”
Moloto explained that climate change is moving the larks’ biomes (suitable habitats) to the poles, and he wants to see how that will affect the distribution of the birds.
“As we are confronting issues such as climate change, we’re finding that a whole range of species in their ...
04
AUG
4pm

Natural and social sciences joint approach needed to resolve climate crisis catastrophes

Humanity has crossed the planetary boundaries of habitability. The University of the Witwatersrand’s Professor Achille Mbembe argues human actions may soon render Earth uninhabitable.
Planet Earth has been a favourable habitat for humanity to survive and thrive and yet humans have been the primary change agents that have obliterated the environment, said Professor Achille Mbembe, calling for scholarly intervention to find solutions to repairing the planet through an interdisciplinary approach.
Mbembe was speaking at the first seminar hosted in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser) and the Future Ecosystems for Africa programme.
At the seminar, titled “Notes on planetary habitability”, Mbembe spoke on humanity’s relationship with the environment and how this could potentially be re-engineered.
Mbembe said we are in a “new epoch in the Earth’s geological history. Habitability is . about the complex relationship between life and environments . and resources and habitats. It is about the equilibrium between our requirements and what Earth can provide. It’s about that relationship and that equilibrium. And if such equilibrium is ruptured . then life is squeezed or is no longer evenly distributed.”
He said the planet could become uninhabitable in the near future and that puts into question how to reassemble the integrated system consisting of all the inhabitants of the Earth, humans and nonhumans.
“It’s been hard to get social scientists to start blaring climate change into the debates. And I think there’s still a tendency to think about climate change in relation to the environmental humanities. But in fact, at this point . it really seems essential that in discussions around political theory, economic theory and critical theory, we need to be layering it in very strongly,” said Sarah Nuttall, a professor of literary and cultural studies and the director of Wiser, before the lecture.
Laura Pereira, an associate professor at Wits with the Future Ecosystems for Africa programme, agreed that collaboration between natural and social sciences was key to establishing environmental solutions. She said that the programme was trying to bring more African voices to the science around ecosystems on the continent, as research tends to be biased towards Global North perspectives.
Mbembe said: “If we are to believe the most recent studies of the trajectories of the Earth system, we may well be fast approaching the threshold, the threshold behind which the Earth might be irreversibly turned into a hothouse.
“In fact, the ongoing long-term planetary environmental changes ...
04
AUG
3pm

Done and dusted – SA game capture experts shift 263 elephants in four weeks

An abundance of elephants in one reserve and a shortage in another due to an ivory poaching blitz that began in the 1970s, has resulted in the translocation of hundreds of elephants and smaller game.
Catching and moving a single African elephant is no easy feat at the best of times, considering that adults weigh in at anywhere between three and five tonnes each.
But South African game capture experts have just finished shifting 263 of these hefty beasts — all in the space of just four weeks — between two national parks in Malawi.
The elephants, along with 431 smaller game, were caught in the Liwonde National Park on the southern shores of Lake Malawi and transported more than 350km by truck to the Kasungu National Park near the Zambian border.
The rationale for the move was simple: an abundance of elephants in one reserve and a shortage in the other due to an ivory poaching blitz that began in the 1970s.
Most of the translocation operation was undertaken by two KwaZulu-Natal game capture specialists — Hilton-based Conservation Solutions and Hluhluwe-based Tracy & du Plessis Game Capture.
Conservation Solutions founder Kester Vickery has moved more than 100,000 wild animals of various species across 15 countries in Africa over the past 25 years, while Grant Tracy’s Zululand-based company has similar extensive experience in game translocation across the continent.
Nevertheless, moving more than 250 elephants in the space of a month remains a daunting task.
Improved techniques
Veteran KZN wildlife veterinarian, Dr Dave Cooper, who travelled to Malawi last month to assist with the first part of the operation, said advances in game capture and transportation techniques had been refined over many decades to improve the safety of animals and the speed with which they can be moved.
“During the recent operation in Malawi, we darted and loaded 37 elephants in just one day. That’s almost unheard of,” said Cooper, noting that Vickery had developed new techniques and equipment to load drug-immobilised elephants into purpose-designed wildlife container trucks.
“It was a hell of an operation to move that many elephants so quickly, as well as hundreds of other animals such as buffalo, sable, zebra, waterbuck, warthog and hippo. There were two or three pilots flying at any one time during the darting and capture process,” Cooper told Our Burning Planet.
On the ground, the 27 June-31 July operation also involved staff and officials from several other organisations, including Malawi’s Department of National Parks ...
04
AUG
3pm

Sustainable solutions for a new generation of self-starters

Young entrepreneurs are coming up with sustainable and innovative businesses that are creating job opportunities and boosting the circular economy in South Africa. And they have no intention of leaving their communities behind.
‘I can’t sit back and complain and ask someone else to make the change. The people who need to take action are sitting at home. that’s me. I need to take action,” said Lerato Mvubelo, one of the recipients of Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy’s Driving For Change (DFC) Youth Challenge.
The initiative, led by Creecy’s department in partnership with the International Labour Organisation, provides 16 young entrepreneurs or SMMEs [small, medium and micro enterprises] the chance to advance their green business enterprise development through business support, mentorship and training in the green and circular economy.
“Green economy and circular economy solutions are regarded worldwide as being best practice. And what we’re trying to do here in South Africa is to introduce those solutions into our economy,” said Creecy at the DFC awards ceremony on Tuesday.
Creecy said this programme is addressing the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution.
“What this programme aims to do is to work with young people to find sustainable solutions to what are otherwise overwhelming problems,” said Creecy, adding that while the climate crisis is often depressing, green and circular solutions provided a wealth of opportunities to the economy.
A circular economy is a closed-loop economic system of production and consumption whereby, unlike the linear waste model, it maximises the circulation of materials and minimises waste.
Here are four of the 16 beneficiaries of the challenge, and their innovative, sustainable projects:
Lerato Mvubelo
“When a mining company comes into the community, there are job opportunities. but what happens when the mining is done? What happens to the people who worked on the mine? How do they earn a living?”
These are questions that spurred Lerato Mvubelo to start her company, Impophoma Mining Solutions, which is initiating a project to rehabilitate and restore the land from abandoned coal mines in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.
To allow communities to benefit from the land after coal mines are shut down, Mvubelo’s company is using hemp farming to restore abandoned coal sites.
Mvubelo explained that hemp has many environmental benefits — it doesn’t require a lot of water, absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and puts nitrogen back into the soil, which strengthens the soil and any crops planted thereafter.
“The idea behind it ...
04
AUG
3pm

Take the wrap — to cut plastic waste out of your life, start small

It’s difficult to overstate the scale of the planet’s plastic problem. Each year about 11 million metric tonnes of plastic waste end up in bodies of water, according to the United Nations. Over the next two decades, that number is expected to triple.
As soon as Carolyn Armstrong started looking for plastic in her life, she realised it was absolutely everywhere.
There are plastic water bottles and straws, of course, but also make-up, clothing, laundry detergent, food wrappers and packaging. “Everything that we use is encased in plastic,” Armstrong says. “Sometimes, I go to the grocery store and take pictures of the fruit that is behind the plastic and I email the store and say: ‘Please stop doing that!’”
The 52-year-old author first thought about cutting plastic out of her life while researching a children’s book on ocean plastic pollution, and soon joined Go Green Winnetka, a local environmental activism group. But this year, for the first time, Armstrong took her commitment a step further, pledging to go plastic-free for an entire month. She’s far from alone: for more than a decade, people all over the world have been taking a similar pledge, formally known as Plastic Free July.
It’s difficult to overstate the scale of the planet’s plastic problem. Each year, about 11 million metric tonnes of plastic waste end up in bodies of water, according to the United Nations. Over the next two decades, that number is expected to triple. Facing a crisis, the 175 member countries of the UN Environment Assembly agreed in March to develop a treaty for curbing plastic use by the end of 2024.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Plastic waste polluting South Africa’s oceans needs answers from bright young minds”
Companies, not individuals, are the biggest plastic offenders. Specifically, 20 companies, which produce more than half of all single-use plastics, according to a 2021 analysis by the Australian non-profit Minderoo Foundation. Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp is the world’s top plastic polluter. But that hasn’t stopped millions of individuals like Armstrong from trying to cut their own plastic footprint — even if only for a month.
How to use less plastic
“I never set out to start a global movement,” says Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, who founded Plastic Free July in her native Australia. “It started the last week of June in 2011, when I visited a recycling facility for the first time. I was really overwhelmed just seeing what we throw away ...
04
AUG
3pm

Dear Barbara Creecy, how can we celebrate Women’s Day when our women’s and environmental rights are violated?

Many of our husbands, fathers and brothers have died on this ocean. Every breath we take relies on oxygen from this ocean. We see the ocean as sacred. It is part of us. Please stop forcing us to work as zama zamas down dusty, abandoned diamond mines.
Dear Minister Creecy,
We are the Elwandle Association, a cooperative of 24 women who have lived and worked in the tiny coastal mining town of Hondeklipbaai, Namaqualand.
Due to the cumulative effect of the failure of your Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to recognise our rights, restitute our rights, protect our rights and ensure effective cooperative governance of our ocean and coast, we are being squeezed towards the death of our culture and our community.
It is deeply tragic that we, together with our sisters, mothers, daughters and other family members are forced to go and do zama zama mining and risk our lives in the abandoned diamond mines around Hondeklipbaai in order to survive – at the same time in other parts of South Africa our sisters are raped in these mines.
Now we hear the government is cracking down on zama zamas – but will you reach out and provide us with access to the sea or alternative livelihoods? We want to describe to you the effect of the government’s decisions on us and how your failure to keep your promises and your careless dismissal of our pleas is impacting us.
First, let us provide you with some background information to remind you who we are. Our ancestors were indigenous peoples of Namaqualand and surrounds who worked in the copper mines established by the colonial regime. Our mothers and fathers worked in the Oceana fish factory here or in the De Beers Namaqualand diamond mines that surround our town.
For those of us whose mothers worked in the fish factory when we were growing up, we got used to the sound of the siren calling our mothers to come to work when the boats came in, day and night. We witnessed our mothers coming home, fingers bleeding and cut to the bone from working with the crayfish – we recall how often our mothers cried for us to go and get the salve to put on their painful fingers and hands.
Our fathers worked small fishing boats for the factory, risking their lives on our notoriously dangerous sea, prone to misty conditions, several of them losing ...
04
AUG
3pm

China warns its temperatures are rising faster than the global average

The climate crisis is being felt and dealt with in various ways worldwide. In these climate shorts, we aim to give a round-up of the latest developments and news from across the globe.
China’s average ground temperatures have risen much more quickly than the global average over the past 70 years and will remain “significantly higher” in the future as the challenges of climate change mount, a government official said.
In its annual climate assessment published this week, China’s weather bureau described the country as “a sensitive region in global climate change”, with temperatures rising 0.26°C degrees a decade since 1951, compared to the global average of 0.15°C.
“In the future, the increase in regional average temperatures in China will be significantly higher than the world,” said Yuan Jiashuang, vice-director of China’s National Climate Centre (NCC) at a Wednesday briefing.
He warned that changing weather patterns in China will affect the balance of water resources, make ecosystems more vulnerable and reduce crop yields.
Extreme weather has wreaked havoc in recent weeks, with lengthy heat waves causing droughts and forest fires across the world. Historically high rainfall in some countries has also caused deadly floods.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned last month that “no nation is immune” from climate change and said the world now had to choose between “collective action or collective suicide”.
China has already endured weeks of torrid weather, with temperatures reaching in excess of 44°C in southwestern Yunnan and Hebei in the north.
As many as 131 Chinese weather stations have recorded temperatures that equalled or exceeded historical highs, up from 62 for the whole of last year, according to NCC data.
China’s 2021 climate assessment said coastal water levels last year were at their highest since 1980. Glacial retreat also accelerated, active permafrost along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway reached a record high and sea ice continued to decline.
China also recorded a 7.9% increase in vegetation cover in 2021 compared with the 2001-2020 average, and the assessment noted that growth periods for many plants are starting earlier each year. — Reuters
China’s State Grid to start $22bn UHV power line project
State Grid Corporation of China will start building several new long-distance power lines as the nation bolsters its clean energy ambitions while accelerating infrastructure spending to boost a flagging economy.
The world’s biggest utility is beginning work before the end of the year on a 150-billion yuan ($22-billion) project to install ultra-high-voltage power lines, state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported, ...
04
AUG
2pm

Energy companies cash in on oil and coal market recoveries

In April 2020, oil prices collapsed into negative territory as the ‘Great Lockdown’ brought the global economy shuddering to a halt. A spate of recent trading updates and financial results on the JSE underscores the scale of the subsequent fossil fuel price rebound, defying those who have been writing the sector’s obituary. It’s great news for some shareholders, but not so great for the planet.
Glencore on Thursday unveiled sizzling half-year earnings boosted by its exposure to energy markets, while Sasol said in a trading update that oil prices were a key factor behind its expectation that its annual earnings would rise by as much as 56%. This follows a trading statement earlier in the week from coal producer Thungela Resources in which it flagged the likelihood that its interim earnings would soar to as much as R9-billion from R227-million in the same period last year — a staggering 37-fold increase.
“Global macroeconomic and geopolitical events . created extraordinary energy market dislocation, volatility risk and supply disruption,” said Glencore CEO Gary Nagle.
Glencore’s group-adjusted Ebitda — a key earnings metric — more than doubled to $18.9-billion for the six months to the end of June.
“Significant cash generation” translated into a whopping $8.5-billion payout to shareholders. This includes $4.5-billion of “top-up” shareholder returns and a new $3-billion buyback programme.
Glencore has not mirrored its rivals in ditching thermal coal assets. That would include Anglo American, which spun Thungela out last year under intense shareholder pressure. Bankers and investors are increasingly shunning coal because its use is a key driver of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to rapid, anthropogenic climate change.
But if you have had coal in your portfolio this past year, you’ve hit pay dirt for the time being.
Thungela said its earnings had shot up “as a result of the increase in revenue driven by the strong benchmark coal price for thermal coal and higher realised prices achieved in the first half of 2022”. Its results will be unveiled next week.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
Meanwhile, Sasol said in its Thursday trading update that it expected its Ebitda “to increase by between 36% and 56% from R48.4-billion in the prior year, to between R66-billion and R75.6-billion. This is mostly due to a strong recovery in Brent crude oil and chemical prices.”
It caps a dramatic turnaround for a company that two years ago appeared at times to be on the verge ...
03
AUG
5pm

Insects are marching towards extinction — and why we should be mightily bugged

A study by researchers from Australia, Vietnam and China shows that the rates of decline in insect populations may lead to a staggering 40% of the world’s insect species going extinct over the next few decades.
Insects — the tiny creepers, crawlers and flyers that may be an annoyance to humans and seem a little useless — are among the most important players in ensuring the stability of our biodiversity and therefore the livelihood of humans.
However, their populations have over the years been showing a decline as the world rapidly develops, the climate crisis worsens and the increased demand for food forces farmers to be highly dependent on pesticides that are partly responsible for the drop in insect numbers.
A 2019 study by researchers from Australia, Vietnam and China showed that the rates of decline in insect populations may lead to a staggering 40% of the world’s insect species going extinct over the next few decades.
According to the study, moths and butterflies, bees, wasps, hornets, sawflies, ants and dung beetles are most affected by the threat of extinction. More aquatic insects, however, such as dragonflies, stoneflies, caddisflies and the mayfly have already lost significant numbers to their population group.
Beekeeper Simon Hartley told DM168 that driving through the Lowveld region about 20 years ago meant the car windscreen would be covered in insects.
“You drive through the Lowveld area now, you come out with a clean windscreen. And that was, to me, a really tangible indicator of the perceived impact that heavy commercialised farming has had on the insect population in general. To me, that was very telling and it was absolutely true. I’d been all the way through the different areas (in the Lowveld) and my windscreen was still clean; maybe one or two bugs on it,” said Hartley.
Declining insect populations
Dr Bronwyn Egan, from the University of Limpopo’s biodiversity department, told DM168 that while the numbers point to a decline in South Africa’s insect population, it was more complex than that since there were niche areas where the insects were fine.
“It does in general look like they’re declining and that is a massive problem,” Egan said. “Because insects are such a massive group of animals, and we have such a dilemma in the way we look at them: sometimes we look at them in terms of just pests, so we don’t really care what happens to them as long as they’re not around. ...

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