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March 2012
Contents / home
How to train a dragon
Newsletter/website create stir
Walk & talk with Hoot and Toot
Rhino poaching: are we losing?
Treats and innovations
Zoo welcomes Baboo
Cheetah tales
Good news for birders
Puff Adder gives birth
Getting close to an elephant
NZG vet teaches vets in Brazil
ZooDox - reliable data
What's up at the ZooClub?
Animal of the month:
Giant Anteater
Conservation Grapevine
Interesting links

  White-fronted Bee-eater, one of the more striking residents at Lichtenburg Biodiversity Conservation Centre.
  Goliath Heron, an unexpected visitor to the Centre's dams.
  Orange-throated Longclaw, a jewel in the grasslands of Lichtenburg.
  A mixed flock of Rock Kestrel, Greater Kestrel and Amur Falcon basking in the early morning sun.
Bumper birding at the NZG's Lichtenburg Biodiversity Conservation Centre

The Lichtenburg Biodiversity Conservation Centre run by the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is situated in North West Province on the outskirts of the town of Lichtenburg itself.

The reserve is approximately 7000 ha of mainly grassland with a series of small dams which acts as a haven for local and migrant bird life.

The extent of the reserve's huge conservation role for local birds was testified to recently when at the end of January, NZG staff members Eugene Marais (General Curator in Conservation) and Mike Jordan (Senior Conservation Advisor) working on the reserve recorded 108 different bird species in just 48 hours.

"The bird life was amazing, and at the moment the combination of the dams with large areas of open mud attracting waders and water-birds, and the grasslands with all the resident species means the diversity on the reserve is very high," Eugene remarked.

LBJs, vultures and raptors

The reserve is a must for birdwatchers interested in those elusive and difficult to identify LBJs (little brown jobs!) including Eastern Clapper Lark, Rufous-naped Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Orange-throated Longclaw and Plain-backed Pipit.

Mike added, "Particularly pleasing was to see more than 80 vultures of three different species on the reserve, including the globally threatened Cape and Lappet-faced Vultures". Eugene and Mike were also pleased to see some threatened Secretary Birds, particularly as these have declined so dramatically in many areas. Mike stressed that the role that the NZG's Lichtenburg Reserve is playing as an oasis of conservation surrounded by farmland should not be underestimated.

Among some of the other highlights recorded were African and Painted Snipe, Goliath Heron and large flocks of raptors including Amur Falcon, Greater Kestrel, Rock Kestrel and Lanner Falcon.

If anyone is interested in the full list please contact either Mike or Eugene for details.

Eugene Marais and Mike Jordan, Conservation Department, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Zoo and Aquarium Visitor