Here is the line-up for the South African TV show 50 | 50, Anniversary Season, Episode 16 on 16 December 2013 on SABC2 at 19:30: Uncover a devastating petrol spill in a wetland in KwaZulu-Natal, delve into why dung beetles dance and enjoy the small things in the mopane woodlands at Klaserie.
On the 10th of September 2013 a Transnet pipeline was ruptured in KwaZulu-Natal, spilling hundreds of thousands of litres of unrefined petrol into the adjoining wetland, which feeds the Mooiriver. This has devastating ecological consequences for the wetland system which is of high conservation significance and harbours endangered species such as the blue crane and endemic frog and butterfly species. Reports have shown large vegetation die off with suspected fauna mortalities to follow. The damage looks to be irreversible and it is expected that much wetland sediment will be removed for offsite treatment resulting in non-existent wetland that will have to be recreated! Who is responsible for this tragedy and who is going to pay for the clean-up which could run into millions of rands? How and why was the pipeline breached? Bonne investigates these questions.
There are about 800 species of dung beetles in South Africa. This diverse set of species all have one thing in common; they have carved out a less than glorious, but very important niche in the ecosystem – transporting and burying dung in the landscape. They are often seen rolling large balls of dung in a straight line, stopping every so often to do a little dance atop the dung ball. How do the stay on track and what’s with the dancing? Bertus joins a group of researchers who are ‘passionate about poo’ and have uncovered some interesting secrets to dung beetle behaviour. Their intriguing discoveries have even won them a Nobel prize for science which first makes people laugh, and then makes them think. Join us to find out what this ground-breaking research has revealed.
Sekgweng: mopane woodland
James takes us on a bush walk through the mopane woodland near his home in the Klaserie. People often drive through this vegetation searching for big game but miss the beauty that can be found in the detail. James brings these details to light with little-known facts about the evolutionary adaptations of the amazing mopane trees and the diversity of insects associated with them.
As usual, we have a variety of wildlife action in store for you, from bird life-cycles to grunting tortoises and especially agile jackals.