Bottom falls out of rare coloured wildlife market

Intensive game breeding sparks weird outcomes. Tony Carnie reports

SKY-HIGH prices for several wildlife species with rare or unusual colour variations have crashed dramatically over the last two years – in some cases by as much as 85% – leaving several game ranchers in severe financial peril. Continue reading “Bottom falls out of rare coloured wildlife market”


Verdict still out on seismic threats

Tony Carnie
HAS loud underwater noise from the oil and gas exploration industry caused whale and dolphin deaths along the KwaZulu-Natal coast? Senior Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife marine ecologist Dr Jennifer Olbers has posed this question in a presentation about the death of at least 18 whales and dolphins that washed up on KwaZulu-Natal  beaches last year amid ongoing deep-sea gas and oil exploration ventures.  Continue reading “Verdict still out on seismic threats”


Deep sea gas exploration plan wavers

Report released, then withdrawn

Vast amounts of fossil fuel will be burned up in an extensive and potentially harmful deep-sea exploration for fossil fuels embedded deep in the earth’s crust not far off the KwaZulu-Natal shoreline.  This is one of the ironies emerging from a provisional study of an OffShore Drilling Scoping Report recently released – then subsequently withdrawn – by Italian multinational gas and oil company Eni. Read more


Calls to legalise trade in rhino horn stirs debate

‘Ban on rhino horn sales not protecting the animals,’ say game ranch owners

Calls to legalise the trade in rhino horn are to come under the spotlight at this week’s 2017 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice that gets under away in Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands tomorrow.  FRED KOCKOTT reports

Continue reading “Calls to legalise trade in rhino horn stirs debate”


How many nurdles are floating out there, Sabic?

Port authorities and Sabic fail to come clean on cargo spill

As public concern mounts about the extent of industrial plastic pollution arising from the recent Durban cargo spill, responses from authorities have raised more questions than answers. FRED KOCKOTT reports Continue reading “How many nurdles are floating out there, Sabic?”


Government probes KZN cargo spill

Saudi company will pay, says Plastics SA

In the wake of one the worst spillages of raw plastic pellets in KwaZulu-Natal waters, a Roving Reporters investigation has revealed that the one of the world’s biggest petrochemical companies, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), will foot the bill for massive clean-up operations.  Continue reading “Government probes KZN cargo spill”


Plastic-free surf contests for a “blue-er” ocean

Diony Lalieu

The 2017 Cobbles Classic surfing event and Cape Recife Music Festival in Port Elizabeth last weekend, heralded the start of a drive to create “plastic-free” surf contests in South Africa. Spearheading the campaign is Diony Lalieu, the winner of Roving Reporters 2017 Soul Surfer award at the SA Longboarding Championships hosted in Durban earlier this year. Continue reading “Plastic-free surf contests for a “blue-er” ocean”


Ocean of opportunities

Deep-sea exploration sparks renewed conservation efforts, but when it comes to protecting ocean life, competing commercial interests pose a huge challenge, writes FRED KOCKOTT.

This deep reef, 69 metres below the surface near Amanzimtoti, lies in the Twilight Zone of the ocean noted for low levels of sunlight and virtual darkness for human eyes. A diverse range of soft corals and sponges thrive in these conditions. Photo supplied: ACEP Spatial Solutions Project

Continue reading “Ocean of opportunities”


Massive indigenous tree planting drive takes root

A world without trees would be hell on earth

As a massive indigenous tree planting project takes root in South Africa, FRED KOCKOTT and JANE ROSS reflect on the relevance of a poignant tree planting tale from French author, Jean Giono.

Continue reading “Massive indigenous tree planting drive takes root”


Arbor Week activities

1 to 7 September

South Africa celebrates Arbor Week in the first week of September annually. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), is responsible for the campaign, and can assist with queries about Arbor Week activities taking place around the country this week. Click here for contact list. Continue reading “Arbor Week activities”


SA student’s ocean pollution poster grabs international attention

Daily Vox writer, SHAAZIA EBRAHIM, reports that a South African student’s poster has been selected to raise global awareness about the extent of plastic pollution in our oceans. University of Pretoria (UP) student, Sascha Saddul’s work was one of ten selected for the United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference exhibition in New York.

Continue reading “SA student’s ocean pollution poster grabs international attention”


Plastic waste can drive circular economies

Desperate people who rummage for goods in rubbish bins, municipal dumps and landfill sites represent an untapped workforce that could help prevent vast amounts of plastic ending up in the ocean. So says world renowned environmental engineer and expert on marine waste, Dr Jenna Jambeck. FRED KOCKOTT and DIONY LALIEU report. Continue reading “Plastic waste can drive circular economies”


Space age tech deployed in Agulhas Current

Seafarers in South African waters have been warned to avoid tampering with two strange alien-looking crafts – one of them floating on the surface; the other drifting at depths of up to 1000 metres. FRED KOCKOTT and DIONY LALIEU report. Continue reading “Space age tech deployed in Agulhas Current”


Sights set on Durban becoming a Whale Heritage Site

In celebrating World Ocean Day this week, Durban South Tourism, Sodurba, launched its whaling history tours in association with various stakeholders, including Wildlands’ WhaleTime project which engages the public in monitoring the migration of the marine mammal along the KZN coast from June to December each year. Continue reading “Sights set on Durban becoming a Whale Heritage Site”


SA in global drive to deal with plastic blight

In KwaZulu-Natal, the endemic plastic litter problem, extending from city streets to communities in river catchment areas, becomes obscene after heavy rains, our beaches clogged with vast amounts of plastic waste. But it need not be this way, say Plastics SA sustainability director Douw Steyn and Catherine Constantinides, head of Miss Earth South Africa’s leadership programme.  Click here to read this story as published in today’s Sunday Tribune.







World Oceans Day sparks innovation

Around the globe, people are uniting around a serious decline of the health of our oceans, many of them coming up with innovative solutions.

In celebration of World Oceans Day, Roving Reporters looks at what is happening at the United Nations through to public events taking place in Durban.

Continue reading “World Oceans Day sparks innovation”


Vibrant, blue economy on our doorstep, says environmental affairs minister

The prospect for a “vibrant, sustainable blue economy” is on South Africa’s doorstep, South Africa’s environmental affairs minister, Dr Edna Molewa, told the United Nation’s Ocean Conference that got underway in New York this week. Continue reading “Vibrant, blue economy on our doorstep, says environmental affairs minister”


Whale sculpture highlights plastic pollution threats

In promoting the World Whale Conference in Durban later this month, an art initiative, Creations for Cetaceans, is helping school children make whale sculptures from recycled ocean waste. Roving Reporters Ocean Watch ambassador, Diony Lalieu, reports. Continue reading “Whale sculpture highlights plastic pollution threats”


Zodidi Gwayise docks back in Durban

In this video, Zodidi Gwayise talked about her expectations in taking part in the 30-day Ocean Stewards epic ocean expedition. Zodidi returned from the first leg of the exhibition at midnight. Roving Reporters will catch up with her to find out how it went. Continue reading “Zodidi Gwayise docks back in Durban”


How to rid the world’s oceans of plastic

Roving Reporters Ocean Watch ambassador, Diony Lalieu, recently alerted us to this amazing concept – and a future to look forward to. IF all goes according to plan, this innovative ocean clean up system will hit the water 2018. Continue reading “How to rid the world’s oceans of plastic”


Epic ocean expedition gets underway

Over the next 30 days, a team of seventeen young marine biologists – most of whom have never been out to sea before – will help leading marine scientists explore rich and diverse deep sea habitats along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

The 2017 Ocean Stewards expedition on board the 72-foot wooden research vessel, the RV Angra Pequena, aims to identify areas for inclusion in an expanded network of Marine Protected Areas.

Continue reading “Epic ocean expedition gets underway”


Survival swimming lesson for Ocean Stewards

Seventeen new Ocean Stewards are about to embark on a 30-day deep sea research expedition on board the 72-foot expedition yacht, the Angra Pequena. For many of the students, the excitement of going out to sea for the first time is mingled with the fear of falling over board.  To counter these fears, Sea Quests’ Nikki Chapman treated students to a survival swimming lesson this week. Zamo Phungula was there to witness the action. Continue reading “Survival swimming lesson for Ocean Stewards”


Ocean Watch ambassador goes waddling to save African Penguins

Within days of becoming an Ocean Watch ambassador, the winner of Roving Reporters 2017 Soul Surfer Award, Diony Lalieu is in action promoting penguin conservation. Continue reading “Ocean Watch ambassador goes waddling to save African Penguins”


School girl surfers make parents proud

16-year-old Durban school girl, Christy Gilmour, was last night crowned South African Longboard “Surfers’ Surfer  of the Year” after winning the Open Women’s championship title as well as the under 18 woman’s division in challenging surf conditions at Durban’s Bay of Plenty yesterday.

Continue reading “School girl surfers make parents proud”


Whale watching trip for two Soul Surfer Award winners

Photo: Ken Finlay

A whale watching trip is now also on the cards for two top contenders of Roving Reporters 2017 Soul Surfer Awards. Sponsored by the World Cetacean Alliance, the trip will enable the two nominated Soul Surfer ambassadors to go whale watching with delegates of the forthcoming World Whale Conference taking place in Durban in June. Continue reading “Whale watching trip for two Soul Surfer Award winners”


Whales strike a deeply resonant chord with the past

As a hip hop enthusiast, environmental journalism is not Zamo Phungula’s first calling, but a recent visit to Port Natal Maritime Museum certainly struck a chord, inspiring her first Ocean Watch blog.

Continue reading “Whales strike a deeply resonant chord with the past”


Biggest surfing event in Africa comes to Durban

Answering the call of the ocean

More than 200 of the country’s top longboard surfers, including world title holders and legendary veterans of the sport, descend on Durban next week for a seven-day action packed surfing extravaganza that aims to promote marine conservation. Continue reading “Biggest surfing event in Africa comes to Durban”


Opportunity of a life time for Ocean Stewards

Thamsanqa Nkosi

Going out to sea for the first time is exciting. Working with marine scientists on a research vessel using under water cameras to study life at ocean depths never surveyed before, is an opportunity of a lifetime, says 20-year-old Thamsanqa Nkosi. Continue reading “Opportunity of a life time for Ocean Stewards”


Deep sea research could stop exploitation

Amid a government drive to unlock the economic potential of the oceans, an innovative offshore research programme involving annual deep sea expeditions, hopes to guide the associated protection of rich, biodiverse and fragile marine eco-systems. Continue reading “Deep sea research could stop exploitation”


Riding the rays of the sun

Riding the Rays of the Sun
Going to work ‘riding on the rays of the sun’ and not fossil fuel is a vision that must be realised if the planet earth is to be saved from destruction by man, says actor Morgan Freeman .

Climate change is not a sexy topic, but the idea of waking up to an alarm clock powered by the breeze the night before, certainly is. Continue reading “Riding the rays of the sun”


Uncovering secrets of Durban’s whaling past

Roving Reporter, Zamo Phungula, recently set out to profile five Umlazi WhaleTime guides who, until recently, had never boarded a boat. Her brief was to uncover secrets of Durban’s whaling past, and learn how this blubbery, blood-soaked industry of the past could be turned into a signature eco-tourism enterprise for KwaZulu-Natal.

Continue reading “Uncovering secrets of Durban’s whaling past”


Innovative architecture inspires urban revival

2017_03-07 Regent (8)_wwwImpressed by the transformation of a deluge of seedy, inner city buildings into a first-class educational hub, Durban’s deputy mayor, Fawzia  Peer has instructed a host of senior city officials to ‘think out of the box’ in taking this urban regeneration process further.  Continue reading “Innovative architecture inspires urban revival”


DEA gets tough on Mdloti River pollution

“Get your act together,” warns DEA

La Mercy lagoon_WWW
La Mercy lagoon

eThekwini municipality and Verulam’s Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) could face criminal prosecution if they do not effectively address recent causes of faecal pollution of the Mdloti which flows into the La Mercy lagoon near King Shaka airport. Continue reading “DEA gets tough on Mdloti River pollution”


‘Hazardous, not necessarily toxic’ waste creates problems for Enviroserv

enviroserv4Despite spending more R10 million over nine months to resolve a massive stink, Enviroserv’s Shongweni landfill site which receives vast quantities of “hazardous, not necessarily toxic” waste, faces possible shut down by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

Parties guilty of air pollution emanating from the landfill might also face criminal prosecution. Continue reading “‘Hazardous, not necessarily toxic’ waste creates problems for Enviroserv”


Red flags fly over Mdloti river pollution


The ripple effect of sewerage pollution – and possibly also chemical contamination – of the Mdloti River which flows into the sea at La Mercy near King Shaka airport could damage KwaZulu-Natal’s reputation as a world renowned water sports playground.

Continue reading “Red flags fly over Mdloti river pollution”


Gigantic leaps for whale-based tourism

Whaling2_wwwOne of Durban’s biggest money-spinning industries of the past – whaling – is opening new doors into ocean conservation education and potentially lucrative eco-tourism enterprises. A growing number of environmental stakeholders, associated investors, archivists and tourism operators, believe Durban’s blubbery and blood-soaked whaling past should be turned into a signature eco-tourism enterprise for KwaZulu-Natal. Continue reading “Gigantic leaps for whale-based tourism”


Rangers’ tales: Flashbacks to the past

South Africa’s most significant conservation areas, including the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, are here today because of the dedication and commitment of veteran game rangers like Mdiceni Gumede and Paul Dutton, writes Fred Kockott Continue reading “Rangers’ tales: Flashbacks to the past”


Sustainability imperative eclipses the the American Dream

Dhiru SoniThe American Dream – work hard, save, sacrifice and you will have it all – is defunct, says the director of research at Durban’s Regent Business School, Professor Dhiru Soni. Continue reading “Sustainability imperative eclipses the the American Dream”


Shooting whales the eco-friendly way

whaletime_ken-finlay-1An ambitious project that promotes the shooting of whales in an eco-friendly way, has been launched in Durban. Almost hunted to extinction forty years ago, whales are now at the heart of the a ‘citizen science’ project launched in Durban by Wildlands in association with Grindrod Bank and The Blue Fund. Continue reading “Shooting whales the eco-friendly way”


Music takes the heart places

Madala Kunene3Legendary Durban musician, Madala Kunene, who this time last year graced New York’s Carnegie Hall, takes part in a  concert in Durban on Tuesday evening in support the award-winning Makotikoti Arts Project. FRED KOCKOTT reflects on the Nikapenny (give us pennies) story behind Madala’s music.

As a young boy in the 1950s, Madala Kunene used to run through the shack lands of Cato Manor in Durban.  He would shout to aeroplanes flying above: “Ngizokugibela wena! Ngizokugibela wena!” (one day I will ride on you). Continue reading “Music takes the heart places”


Durban song bird celebrates

Lu DlaminiA life-long love affair with music has led Lu Dlamini into a Durban home that doubles up as a recording studio – acoustic panels attached to the walls and furniture surrounded by large speakers, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, base guitars, amplifiers and an indigenous instrument called the Makhweyane.  Continue reading “Durban song bird celebrates”