Mary Ann Verster supplied the following article, with photographs by Marion Zeegers;
The Whale Coast Conservation Chameleon project went into high gear in advance of the scheduled, controlled burn of a section of the wetland in the Golf Estate, to make sure that as many creatures as possible could be rescued. Local residents came out in large numbers in response to a call from project leader, Sheraine van Wyk to survey the area over 2 to 3 evenings for the presence of the Chameleons. Walking through dense vegetation in the dark looking for these tiny well camouflaged creatures was challenging! GPS points were established for each chameleon located, making it easier to find them again. The evening before the go-ahead for the burn was called, a team went back into the wetland and collected 10 individuals, close to the number located during the survey. They were relocated into 4 tents on the golf course, a temporary home for the next few days, well supplied with fish heads and vegetable matter to attract an abundance of flies keeping them well fed. Shifts of volunteers during their temporary stay, watched over them, made sure they did not escape and kept the males separated, preventing their aggressive territorial advances on each other. All ended happily when they were returned to the vegetation in the exclusion zone, left specially for them. Photographs of each chameleon taken recorded their identifying markings, they were weighed and GPS points recorded for pick-up and replacement points.
Footnote by Ronnie Hazell; There were also a number of Tortoises, Geckos, Snakes and at least one rat rescued before and during the fire.
Di arranged a wonderful walk along the Perdeberg Trail this morning, principally to see the full-flowering Nivenia stokoei. It was a cool morning, good for walking and around 24 members of the BotSoc were out to enjoy the fynbos. We were rewarded with wonderful sightings of the Nivenia and quite incredible Erica massonii, which were at their peak. There were, in addition, many other Erica varieties and they kept the botanists busy with identification and photography.
We saw three different coloured Nivenia stokoei as below;
I will not name all the species shown below, as the readers of this post probably know them all anyway, but enjoy the pictures!