It is with sadness in our hearts that we must begin our newsletter with the passing of our Black Mamba Ambassador Siphiwe Sithole. Siphiwe passed after a short struggle with illness on the 2nd November.
For two years, we had the privilege of the wisdom and leadership of Siphiwe. In these two short years since Siphiwe completed her Black mamba training, she became our rock. Our spiritual guide. Our moral compass and our mentor. She was a loving mother, a passionate family and community member, and a proud, dedicated, and brave Black Mamba. Her thirst for knowledge built a wonderful wise and motivating lady who loved her job and the people that meant anything to her. She strived for excellence and that rubbed off on her colleagues. She is and will forever be truly missed.
"We must conserve nature, because nature conserves us" - Siphiwe Sithole
The Bush Babies annual bush camp commenced on the 4th of November, in which a total of 160 learners over 4 weeks enjoyed a weekend filled with a lot of field work and many practical sessions from what they learnt in the classroom throughout the year whilst staying in Balule Nature Reserve. Whilst general game viewing was abundant, learners were also very fortunate to come across two of the big 5 (elephant and buffalo) as well as hear the nightly calls of lions and hyenas.
This would not have been possible had it not been for a R 50 000.00 donation from our sponsor Rhino Mercy, This contribution allowed us to take learners from the rural communities into the reserves which need their protection. We would also like to say a big thank you to Saeon for sponsoring binoculars for our learners to use throughout the weekends, allowing them to practice there bird identification skills.
A Proud Day for the Bush Babies
After months of preparations and research in the local communities, our Bush baby Lehlogonolo participated in the District Science Expo where she obtained a Silver medal!! Lehlogonolo learnt from her experience at District level and improved her project for the Regional Science Expo, here she received a Gold medal!! Winning Gold at Regional level, won her the opertunity to participate in the National Science Expo in Boksburg where she went on to win a bronze medal and a special award!!
We wish you all the best Lehlogonolo, you have made us so proud. May you continue to shine!
Four of the stunning images captured by Julia Gunther in 2015 are now part of this years Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK. The exhibition runs from the 17th of November 2016 until the 26th of February 2017, after which the pictures will go on tour to the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (18 March - 4 June 2017) and The Beaney, Canterbury (8 July - 29 October 2017).
Julia has been a great support to the Black Mambas since we meet a little over a year ago. Julia has continued to this day to spread awareness through her images. We are forever grateful for her continued support. Congratulations Julia!!
Since the launch of our Anti-Poaching Picket Up-grade Campaign in early September we have received $3328.00 (27%) towards our goal.
With this fantastic start, we have installed water tanks at all 7 camps.
The water-less Eco Toilets for each base camp have been purchased and installation has begun, we still need to purchase the toilet houses, however we hope to have this phase of the upgrades complete within the next 2 weeks.
There is still so much more to do and with your help we will build shade shelters, install bucket showers, and provide animal proof fencing for all 7 base camps.