Construction works on Patentia bridge ongoing

first_imgBy Shemuel FanfairResidents of Patentia, West Bank Demerara, are overjoyed with the commencement of repairs the main access bridge leading into the Patentia Housing Scheme.A Hymac clearing the canal to facilitate rehabilitationThis bridge was deteriorating and deplorable state for well over a year. According to information, works began some three weeks ago but were briefly stalled. So far the construction team has uprooted the dilapidated wood structure and are replacing it with concrete, which is now the bridge of choice.Workmen at Patentia on Saturday at the new structureWhen Guyana Times visited the area Saturday morning, inhabitants explained that they are indeed glad for the return of the bridge which was originally built in the 1940s.Vendors in the nearby Patentia Market are temporarily relocated to facilitate the construction – a move which they had no objection to.“We don’t mind, as long as we getting de bridge back,” one smiling female vendor told this newspaper.The rehabilitation follows a series of reports highlighted in this newspaper which emphasised the growing concerns residents had over the deteriorating state of the decades-old structure.According to reports, initial damage was caused by a loaded truck traversing the bridge over a year ago. In January this year, one resident stated that continued use was what contributed to the decline of the area’s main transit point.At that time, residents, sellers and school children continued to use the bridge in spite of its deterioration. It was also claimed by many in the area that one of the sellers in the vicinity had fallen while using the bridge sometime late last year.A red cloth warning vehicle owners of a damaged section of the bridge was then placed.Residents had also expressed frustrations over a nearby substitute bridge not being equipped to withstand the weight of heavy-loaded drink and gas trucks which must service shops in the housing scheme.Local Pandit and Justice of the Peace, Chandreeca Persaud had made continued complaints to both the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to no avail.When this publication contacted former chairman of Toevlugt-Patentia NDC Roy Benett in January, he stated that the NDC was aware of the condition of the access bridge but emphasised that the responsibility for the bridge rests with the RDC.Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Regional Chairman Julius Faerber when contacted some days later confirmed that the structure indeed falls under the RDC and he expressed hope that the funds would be procured from Government.“We were trying at the regional level to see if we could have garnered some funding to have that bridge repaired. After the General and Regional Elections, we were told that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government will make some funding available to have that bridge repaired under the new budget in 2015.”He however related that the project was not included in the 2015 Budget but was referred to the 2016 Budget.last_img read more

Liberian Returns for Nation-building

first_imgWhen Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf first took power after the 2005 post-war election, she called on Liberian professionals living abroad to return home and help with the building of the war torn nation.Many Diaspora Liberians responded to Sirleaf’s call immediately with some even sending in credentials. But many never received any feedback. Despite the disappointment, scores of professional Liberians continue to return home every year to stay; most work in such fields as business, health, education, administration, and relief-aid. Among the latest returnees is Mr. Tamba Aghailas, a son of Lofa County.The Liberian civil war (1989 – 2003) affected every sector and aspect of our nation. One of the lingering effects is the brain-drain or human-capital flight it occasioned.Thousands of Liberians fled home to seek refuge in various parts of the world. Unsurprisingly, this created a vacuum in Liberia’s labor force.This vacuum gave rise to an influx of expatriates, mainly from English speaking West African countries, to fill the human resource gap in various sectors of the economy.To counter this trend, the Liberian government and citizens started urging the return of Liberians in the Diaspora who have acquired the requisite education and skills and are willing to contribute to the reconstruction efforts in Liberia.However, many Liberians find this to be a hard choice as the decision to return often means abandoning more financially lucrative and stable careers in the West. As a result, they are often unwilling to relocate permanently.While some Liberians return home to seek appointments in government or elected seats, their migration is only temporary as they return abroad as soon as they lose those jobs or elected seats.Nonetheless, some exceptionally patriotic and dutiful Liberians do exist. They are the ones who make the whole-hearted choice to abandon their comfort-zones in the West and commit to a life of service at home for the love of their country and people.One such person is Tamba D. Aghailas—who left Liberia to seek refuge in various West African countries, then landed in the United States of America during the height of the Liberian civil war. Mr. Aghailas broke the news recently that he is, without any precondition, coming home to contribute his quota to reconstruction.“As much as we appreciate the continued assistance of international partners, Liberians must step-up to steer the destiny of their nation.”According to Mr. Aghailas, he is coming home to contribute to reconstruction and to pass on and share the skills and experience he has acquired over the years with the future leaders of Liberia – the youth. At his core, he is a human rights advocate, one who has chosen to “lend his voice to the voiceless people of Liberia,” as he put it.He is founder and director of The Voice of Liberia—an online publication, from which he has written extensively on human right issues.This son of Liberia is indeed a trailblazer. His sacrifice sets an example for the countless skilled Liberians who live in the Diaspora, who have yet to follow his example.Their talent, skills and resources have the potential to unlock and accelerate the creation of a strong and viable middle class in post-conflict Liberia.Mr. Aghailas currently resides in New York City with his family and works as a Human Resource professional with an international nonprofit organization.Mr. Aghailas will bring with him extensive human resource and life experiences from which he expects his fellow Liberians to benefit.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gov’t to revise growth rate downwards

first_img…gold declarations plummetBy Samuel SukhnandanThe Government of Guyana could be forced to revise the country’s growth rate downwards as a result of the fall in gold declarations for the year 2017 and the sector’s overall sluggish performance.This is according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan who advised that Guyana recorded some 653,754 ounces of gold in 2017, which indicates that gold declarations fell short of the projected of 720,000 ounces.Finance Minister Winston Jordan“It will have an impact on the growth with both sugar and gold not coming in on target. It means we will have to revise last year’s growth rate even further and it will put some strain on the growth for 2018,” he stated.Sugar output in Guyana fell by nearly a quarter from last year, with close to 140,000 metric tonnes being produced in 2017, which is the lowest in 27 years. The decline happened at a time when the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is preparing to permanently close three of its six estates and fire about 4673 of its 15,000-member workforce. Other workers numbering close to 1000 could also be laid off this year as the Government embarks on its downsizing initiative.Jordan said the economy was expected to grow by 2.9 per cent, failing to meet the revised growth projection of 3.1 per cent for 2017. The initial projected growth of the economy was 3.8 per cent, but this was revised by midyear to 3.1 per cent after the economy only grew by 2.2 per cent in July of 2017.Making reference to gold, the Minister said however there were several impediments that led to a fall in gold declaration, stating that accessibility for miners was one of the major factors. Nevertheless, Jordan said he is confident that the country’s gold production would climb again this year due to good prices and improved access.“…we have budgeted over $1.5 billion, part of which is for clear access both to forest and mining areas. Prices are still good. So it’s not a case they don’t have a natural incentive to produce more as such. So, first of all we believe it’s going to be better this year. We are hoping it’s just an aberration because with prices where they are, you ought to be seeing far more declaration that we are seeing right now,” he added.With improved access to new gold bearing areas in the interior regions; this will also help with meeting this objective, Jordan said. “… so perhaps we need work to be done about new gold bearing areas. Because I don’t really know if they have a map as to how really and truly are the gold bearing areas…like for example with oil. So, here especially with artesian mining it could be a hit and miss story.”The Guyana Gold Board (GGB) has blamed poor roads and inclement weather for the fall in gold declaration. According to General Manager of the GGB, Eondrene Thompson, there were several inhibitions that led to this performance, but she made a commitment to addressing it.“The roadways into the interior… were bad and as such persons were unable to buy their supplies to take into the interior,” Thompson told the Department of Public Information. Additionally, several operators parked their dredges and were waiting on the roads to be fixed.The GCB plans to launch a campaign to improve declarations. Thompson said, “We will embark on PR work, let the miners know the importance of selling their gold to the Guyana Gold Board.” This campaign is not only to get miners to sell to the GGB but to have them use licensed agents.“We have persons around who they sell to or who they are working for and still not declaring to the Guyana Gold Board so we intend to educate the miners and let them know it is good, it is right to sell to the Guyana Gold Board.” The GGB is also considering providing incentives to miners who sell to them.Thompson explained, “Our regulatory overseas body would like to know that. They would want to monitor the gold from the mine to the market so we will have persons educating the miners and showing them the advantages of producing documentation where they mine”.Government hopes that 712,706 ounces of gold will be declared in 2018.last_img read more

Freak storm hits Essequibo Coast

first_img…5 injured, 4 homes, power lines damagedA freak storm hit residents in Lima on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) knocking out power as the winds raged.Reports are residents living in Lima village were hit by heavy rain and wind about 08:30h, which caused damages to a number of homes in the area.When Guyana Times visited the community, several galvanised roof sheets were seen flying violently as the winds swirled. The roofs of four homes were completely destroyed by the storm and five persons were injured.The damaged home at Lima Village, Essequibo CoastAt the Bissesar’s residence in Lima Housing Scheme, the entire roof of the house was ripped apart and sent flying onto the neighbour’s house. Neetu Bissesar, one of the occupants living in the house, said she shares the home with her brother, his wife and children. She said they were all at home when disaster struck. Recalling the experience, she said her brother, Satyanand Bissaser, in an attempt to save some items got hit in his head and other parts of his body and was taken by residents to get medical attention. The neighbour, Anette Persaud, said she and her family were living in neighbouring Venezuela but came home in January due to the failing economy in that country. She said her husband was also injured to the head and was sent to seek medical attention.On the Lima Public Road, the Ally’s home was also damaged. Residents said they heard a loud sound and saw what appeared to be tornado looking winds coming their way. A resident recalled seeing zinc sheets and other debris flying and he sought shelter. Following the incident, Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt accompanied by Councillor Hardat Marine visited the affected families.The Regional Chairman promised to lend assistance to the affected families.Meanwhile, flooding is also reported in the Charity area. (Mohanlall Seulall)last_img read more

Reports – Manchester City on the brink of deal for Monaco’s Fabinho

first_img Fabinho in action for Monaco 1 Manchester City are on the brink of securing a deal for Monaco defender Fabinho, according to reports in France.Manuel Pellegrini is keen to sign a right-back this summer, with Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna now 30 and 32 respectively.At 21, Fabinho would add some youth to the City squad and the player is also keen on a move to England.And now, according to L’Equipe, the Brazilian’s wish may almost be true with a report in the French newspaper claiming a deal is close.City look likely to shell out around £15m for Fabinho, who had also been attracting interest from rivals Manchester United.The full-back is now expected to fly to England for contract talks this week following Brazil’s elimination from the Copa America.last_img

‘I tend not to listen to pundits on Match of the Day’ – Steve McClaren hits back at Newcastle legend

first_img1 Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has responded to widespread criticism about his managerial style and the mental state of his players.The Magpies are languishing in the Premier League’s bottom three after 14 games and have conceded eight goals in their last two league games against Leicester and Crystal Palace.Former captain Alan Shearer was withering in his Match of the Day analysis last weekend, suggesting his former club has too many “Monday to Friday” players and bemoaning the lack of an obvious plan.But McClaren responded: “I tend not to listen to pundits on Match of the Day or any other programme. People make me aware [of their comments] and they’re interesting.“I’ve been a pundit myself and it’s a great job. It’s the best job in the world. Football’s about opinions. There are lots of TV and radio programmes. When you’re asked, you have to give an opinion. It’s what you’re paid for.“You respect that opinion from people who have played football at the highest, highest level. I’ve got no criticism of that. But we tend not to focus [on them], though one or two things are very interesting.”The heavy 5-1 defeat at Palace last Saturday led to claims that McClaren’s players were losing interest with some even accused of not trying.However, the former England boss, who will lead his troops into battle with a rejuvenated Liverpool on Sunday, said: “You cross that white line and you play in front of 52,000 people, believe you me, you have got to try.“When you are lacking in confidence and you are lacking in belief, you are not getting results and performances and you are a young player coming into a new situation, or an old one that’s always there, it’s very difficult to turn that around, very difficult.“It looks like, from the outside, they are not trying, they are not running, they are not working. I thought that and we looked at the stats and they are exactly the same. But it looks like they are not trying.“But they are and we see that. We are trying to build it every week and I see it in training, and we need to transfer that confidence that we have and that belief that we have in the week into a Saturday.” Steve McClaren last_img read more

GOSSIP: Liverpool plot Mbappe bid, Arsenal in Lacazette talks, Aguero to PSG?

first_imgHere are the top football headlines and transfer-related stories in Saturday’s newspapers…Liverpool will submit a bid for Monaco’s in-demand 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, if they believe the Frenchman would be keen to move to England. (The Times)Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spoken to Mbappe to discuss a move to the Gunners and the teenager’s career plans. (L’Equipe)Meanwhile, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has reportedly told Mbappe he will sell one of his strikers if the France international joins the Spanish club. (L’Equipe)Arsenal are ready to sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, with the 23-year-old midfielder likely to be one of seven players to leave the Gunners this summer. (The Independent)The Gunners have held further talks with Lyon over a club-record move for striker Alexandre Lacazette. The 26-year-old could cost the Gunners £49million, according to reports. (Daily Telegraph)Meanwhile, other reports claim Arsenal have made a £44m bid for the France international, and his arrival could mean compatriot Olivier Giroud leaving the Emirates Stadium. (The Guardian)Paris Saint-Germain are thought to be preparing a £60m bid for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero. (The Times)Meanwhile, City will insist on a buy-back clause in any deal for 20-year-old striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who is a target for West Ham and Leicester City. (Daily Telegraph)Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is struggling to find a new club, with suitors unwilling to meet his transfer fee or salary demands. (Daily Mirror)The Red Devils are making progress in their pursuit of 24-year-old striker Alvaro Morata, but have yet to agree a fee with Real Madrid. (ESPN)United are also interested in Barcelona’s 28-year-old left-back Jordi Alba, but a deal will be difficult to complete this summer. (ESPN)Chelsea have agreed a deal in principle with Monaco for 22-year-old midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, with the transfer fee thought to be £35m. (Evening Standard)Stoke City have warned Arsenal not to pursue 24-year-old goalkeeper Jack Butland. (Stoke Sentinel)Everton’s 23-year-old winger Gerard Deulofeu is a target for Italian side Roma, as they look to replace new Liverpool signing Mohamed Salah. (Romanews)Watford have refused to meet Arsenal’s £15m asking price for left-back Kieran Gibbs. The Hornets have instead switched their attentions to 29-year-old Middlesbrough defender George Friend. (Evening Standard)Newcastle are close to completing an £8.7m deal for Eibar’s 26-year-old defender Florian Lejeune. FULL STORY HEREPremier League new boys Huddersfield are prepared to offer a club-record £11.5m for 22-year-old Montpellier striker Steve Mounie. (Daily Mirror)Here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines:?Arsenal legend Robert Pires has urged the club to do all they can to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium this seasonRonald de Boer has confirmed to talkSPORT that his brother, Frank de Boer, is close to being appointed the new manager of Crystal PalaceMonaco star says Manchester United approach would be ‘a tempting invitation’Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has been offered to Fenerbahce, according to reports in TurkeyJuventus have opened talks about a deal for Southampton defender Cedric Soares, according to reports in his native PortugalLyon agree £16.75m fee for Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore despite interest from Everton and West Ham Transfer rumours and paper review 1last_img read more

Man United defender admits Red Devils must improve at the back

first_img REVEALED Smalling admits United need to defend better 2 impact How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures At the same stage last season United had three clean sheets and just two goals against on their way to finishing second, with clean sheets in half their league matches.“Last season we picked up a lot of clean sheets and this year we’ve conceded early goals,” Smalling told MUTV. smart causal 2 RANKED Manchester United defender Chris Smalling admits clean sheets are the key to turning around their stuttering start to the season.Jose Mourinho’s side conceded seven goals in their opening three matches before registering their first shut-out in the 2-0 win at Burnley at the weekend. Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack center_img Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more possible standings silverware England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade “We need to get back what we’ve done in the last few seasons when we’ve conceded very few goals, like on Sunday.“It was down to us players to stand up tall and get a result, and we’re very happy with the win.“With us not having a game in the week, we’d been able to work on a lot of patterns of play and you could see them coming out and finishing with the goals, so we were happy with that.” MONEY highlights United conceded six goals in two games against Brighton and Tottenham Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era?last_img read more

Chase begins for Stewart, Busch

first_img Stewart has to be considered a favorite to win the New Hampshire race this time around. Busch won both New Hampshire races last year. And the year before that, Jimmie Johnson won both New Hampshire races. Stewart’s New Hampshire victory in July was part of his summer surge, when he won five races between June 26 and Aug. 14 and took over the points lead. He remembers having a car at New Hampshire that needed time to get traction on long runs, but also was able to pass cars early in the race. “But in the middle and latter stages of the race, the guys got their cars better and it got to where our car really wasn’t that strong,” Stewart said. “And for six or seven laps, it would take that long for it to get a lot of grip and lock down. But early in the race we could get by guys until they got their cars better. As the day went on, we had a lot of good track position and that helped us.” Those gaps in performance allowed the Busch boys to catch Stewart at New Hampshire. “So it was in that six- or seven-lap window where we just didn’t have as much grip as we needed,” Stewart said. “But once our tires came in, we were able to track Kurt down after that last restart and get by.” Kurt Busch actually is in better position in this Chase than he was last year. Not only is Busch fifth in points – opposed to seventh last year – he also has his four Roush Racing teammates in the Chase. Penske Racing South teammates Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman are the only other drivers who can say that. Not that Wallace and Newman have acted much like teammates at all this year. The other three Chase contenders are racing solo. Stewart’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Bobby Labonte missed the Chase. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, including four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, missed the Chase. Jeremy Mayfield, in. His Evernham Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, out. Still, one is better than none. Just ask Teresa Earnhardt, Richard Childress and Robert Yates. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Mayfield sits seventh in the Chase, the same spot from which Kurt Busch started his championship run. Tim Haddock covers motor sports for the Daily News. His column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at (818) 713-2715 or timothy.haddock@dailynews.com. NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES Sylvania 300 Site: Loudon, N.H. Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 9:10 a.m.); Sunday, race (TNT, 9:30 a.m.). Track: New Hampshire International Speedway (oval, 1.058 miles, 12 degrees banking in turns). Race distance: 317.4 miles, 300 laps. Next race: MBNA 400, Sept. 25, Dover, Del. On the Net: www.nascar.com NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS SERIES Sylvania 200 Site: Loudon, N.H. Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 7:05 a.m., race (Speed Channel, noon). Track: New Hampshire International Speedway (oval, 1.058 miles, 12 degrees banking in turns). Race distance: 211.6 miles, 200 laps. Next race: Las Vegas 350, Sept. 24. NHRA NHRA Nationals Site: Reading, Pa. Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 11 a.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 8 a.m (ESPN2, 1 p.m.); Sunday, eliminations, 8 a.m. (ESPN2, 1 p.m.) Track: Maple Grove Raceway. Next event: O’Reilly Fall Nationals, Sept. 25, Ennis, Texas. On the Net: www.nhra.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! If Tony Stewart can repeat his performance in the July race at New Hampshire International Speedway, he may be able to see the forest through the Busches. The forest in this case being the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship. And the Busches being the brothers, Kurt and Kyle, who seemed to be Stewart’s biggest challengers when the Cup drivers visited New Hampshire during the summer. “It seemed like Kyle Busch was able to stay with us longer on every restart,” said Stewart, who won the July race at New Hampshire. “Then at the end of the day, both of the Busch (brothers) – the shrub and the bigger Busch (Kurt) – were both good enough to stay with us. Kyle was almost good enough to get by, and Kurt actually got by.” center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Stewart enters Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, the start of the 10-race Chase for the Championship, as the Chase leader. He has a five-point lead over Greg Biffle and a 45-point leader over Ryan Newman, the 10th-place driver in the Chase. If history is any indication, the winner of the New Hampshire race will have a marked advantage in the Chase. Last year, Kurt Busch won the New Hampshire race, vaulted from seventh to first, and went on to win his first Cup championship. The New Hampshire race was Busch’s only win in the Chase for the Championship. Busch compared taking the early lead in the Chase to a golf tournament. “If you start off and you’re 4-under or 5-under, the other guys are waffling around with a bogey and a par, they’re not going to catch you,” said Busch. “It’s up to the leader to make those mistakes. We did have a big mistake, though, at Atlanta with the motor blowing up. That took away our solid advantage. So when you have a bad race early on. it’s just that much more difficult to overcome later.” Without Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon in the Chase, Stewart and Kurt Busch may be the biggest stars in the NASCAR 10-race playoff. last_img read more

On the trail of the Big Five

first_imgChris Thurman visits Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, and has a bush experience different to any that he’s enjoyed before. There are those who will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you spend your time in the African bush, or where you stay – it’s enough simply to be there. To some degree, this is true; certainly, no matter what your accommodation and game-viewing is like, it’s better than being in the office. After only a few hours at Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, however, I couldn’t help reflecting that it was different to any bush experience I’d enjoyed before. It wasn’t just that our luxuriously appointed room looked out onto the Sand River, giving us a view of buffalo crossing the water or baboons loping down to the shore. It wasn’t just that the ever-available but never-intrusive staff treated us like royalty. It wasn’t just the food, or the wine, or the afternoon teas. It wasn’t the private plunge pool, the masseuse, the quirky collection of books or any of the other distractions to while away the day. Over and above these pleasures, the highlights of the trip were the morning and evening game drives. A good game ranger is many things: a raconteur, a sturdy outdoorsman or woman, a walking encyclopaedia of information about animal, bird and plant life. He or she can tell you, for instance, that a hunting leopard can leap up to 22 metres in a second – not very encouraging when you’re about 20 metres away – and will explain why the same leopard rubs its neck in the mud around a watering-hole (so that it can mark its territory by brushing the mud against trees and thus leave a more durable scent).Not just the Big Five A major advantage of going on a private game drive is that rangers in different vehicles are in constant radio communication, increasing your chances of great sightings. But our ranger at River Lodge, Ryan, ensured that no drive was a headlong rush from one Big Five member to another. Along the way we also learned about the less glamorous animals, like the numerous species of buck whose presence is so often taken for granted. Kudu, for instance, have big ears and therefore the best hearing, which means they are less skittish than other antelope and provide the most reliable alarm call to anyone tracking big game on foot. Furthermore, we were reminded, if you’re only looking for creatures with four legs, you miss out on half the action. There is an abundance of bird life pursuing the same herbivorous and carnivorous habits as gravity-bound mammals: we saw a juvenile fish eagle on a high branch, trying to crack open a tortoise (don’t worry, it ended well for the tortoise; the eagle dropped him, he fell on his shell and survived). And you don’t have to be a birder to appreciate the exquisite colouring of a lilac-breasted roller. The more time you spend in the bush, the more you appreciate the minutiae – admiring rare flowers that only bloom for a couple of weeks each year, or discovering, courtesy of your ranger, the subtle interactions that take place between interdependent elements within an ecosystem. Oxpeckers remove ticks from buffalo and giraffe; desiccated termite mounds become lairs for warthog and hyena. Best of all, with an experienced tracker assisting the ranger in locating game and a radio always at hand, you’re guaranteed to see a greater variety than you would on your own. And once you’ve spotted something in the distance, you don’t have to strain with binoculars just to catch a glimpse of a horn or tail – the ranger shifts down a gear, engages the diff lock on the 4×4 and you head off-road to take a closer look. What would a late afternoon game drive be without a sunset pause for a cup of coffee or a gin and tonic – and, of course, some snacks to tide you over until supper? Then it’s time to enjoy the magical world of the bushveld at night. Rangers and trackers are careful not to interfere too much with nocturnal activity; and, after many years of conservation efforts, the animals have learned to tolerate the human presence because it is neither intrusive nor threatening.Non-interventionist policy Where possible, the principle of non-intervention is applied. In some cases, however, humans have to undo the damage caused by previous interventions which may have been less well-intentioned or well-conceived. A good example is the challenge of decreasing the prevalence of tuberculosis in the buffalo population: up to 70% of buffalo in certain Kruger-Sabi herds have bovine TB. The solution is an intriguing one – raising disease-free young buffalo who suckle on domesticated Jersey cows before being released into the wild. This has been quite successful, and also provides a curious proof of nature overcoming nurture. The buffalo calves have to learn to suckle from the side as all Jersey calves do, but when they become mothers in turn, they follow their instinct and let their young suckle from behind. This is a vital survival tactic, because it means that cow and calf can keep walking, and allows buffalo herds to keep moving even while the young are suckling. Another little-known fact is that buffalo milk makes delicious Feta cheese! Of course, the conservation programmes being implemented in South Africa’s game parks also require ongoing vigilance against human threats. The recent increase in rhino poaching is a case in point. Countering this disturbing trend requires not only stricter policing within our reserves, but also broader campaigns to stop both the international demand for rhino horn, particularly in east Asia, and the local suppliers. These are the “foot soldiers” of poaching who have no other means of livelihood. Certainly, staying at a place like River Lodge is a luxury. But our natural heritage should be a shared, public concern – protecting it is the responsibility not of the few, but the many. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more