What to expect on the 50 | 50: Anniversary Season: Episode 7,on 7 October 2013
Red gold – lobsters
Red gold lies beneath the cold waters off the West Coast of South Africa. The West Coast rock lobster thrives in this marine environment, which is rich in biodiversity and life due to the upwelling of nutrients from the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years, humans have tapped into this resource and a massive fishing industry has developed, with the rock lobster having established itself as the third most important species economically. The 50|50 balance between humans and nature is difficult to maintain, and it is now shifting drastically, due to a number of factors. Over fishing and poaching, combined with climate change and changing currents, have led to a decline in the stocks of rock lobsters.
The shellfish are having to migrate to adapt and their actions are having an economic impact on the fishermen, who have to travel further to find them. The problem doesn’t stop here. The shift in lobster habitat is having a ripple effect on other marine organisms. Rock lobsters are now feeding on the sea urchins that the vulnerable, juvenile abalone use as protection. Once again, human influence is disrupting the fine balance of nature, and we have to take the appropriate management steps to fix the problems. Do we need to impose a total crayfish and abalone fishing ban? Or can we use captive-bred stock to replace losses in the wild?
We are living in a modern world where social media and information technology is literally at our fingertips constantly. Can you remember the last time you weren’t within earshot of your mobile phone? Did you know 500 hours of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook?
Such easily accessible information is impacting largely on the younger generation, but social media isn’t only for the young. Did you know that the fastest-growing age bracket on Twitter is between 55 and 64? We go to the bush to escape and retreat from all things busy and technological, and to get in touch with nature. Now technology is following us into the bush. Although here technology is assisting researchers and the public alike.
17-year-old, Nadav Ossendryzer, has revolutionised game viewing with an application for phones called Kruger Sightings. He has been interviewed by CNN, The Guardian and approached by Google to commercialise the idea. Gone are the days of sightings boards and private game guard intercoms, which kept exclusive access to sighting information. Now anyone can download a free app that gives them instant information about the closest wildlife sightings.
There is a secret lying in the ancient landscape of the Great Karoo. Behind the Hantamberg mountains near Fraserburg, are dinosaur predecessors’ footprints that are 250 million years old! Few people are aware – if even interested – in these footprints and this local heritage site, which was only discovered in 1968, is slowly being degraded by the elements. This is because it does not benefit from any form of provincial or national protection, like the Cradle of Humankind does.
We discover how these fossils formed during the break-up of Gondwanaland and the build-up of layers of sediment. These fossils made international headlines when they were discovered, but very little has been done within South Africa to protect or raise awareness about them. Characters from the local community are fighting to protect this national heritage which is even making footprints on the landscape of local culture. Religious dancing and singing is being used to understand and reflect on this piece of ancient history.
Tonight we zoom into the magical world of small creatures – spider-hunting wasps, powerful antlion larvae, camouflaged grasshoppers, squeaking frogs, erupting mushrooms and carnivorous plants. We also enjoy more blue-chip wildlife behaviour with a short exposé on the elephants of Mashatu.