Plant poachers arrested in Western Cape with biodiversity theft on the rise

With nature reserves closed to the public during lockdown, anti-poaching units continue to monitor endangered biodiversity.

Plant poachers arrested in Western Cape with biodiversity theft on the rise

Poachers have been apprehended in the Western Cape after being caught in possession of an estimated 11 000 endangered succulent plants. 

The plants were destined for the illegal plant trade, which is said to be a growing focus for law enforcement in and around nature reserves. 

Biodiversity theft on the rise  

Two joint operations by CapeNature and the South African Police service (SAPS) Stock Theft Unit were successful in bringing the plant thieves to justice on 30 April and 8 May in the Matzikama region. 

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Development Planning and Local Government (includingCapeNature) said that biodiversity crime was on the rise. 

“Following an increase in biodiversity crime in the Matzikama area during the last two years, primarily the illegal collection of succulent plants and lizards, CapeNature’s staff at Vanrhynsdorp joined forces with the SAPS Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit and Provincial Traffic Services in an attempt to curb these illegal activities,” he said. 

“Partnerships with other government agencies, have proven to be invaluable, allowing for focused and co-ordinated biodiversity conservation compliance and enforcement efforts leading to successful apprehensions and prosecutions.”

Hikers arrested 

With nature reserves and parks closed to the public during the nationwide lockdown, anti-poaching units and compliance patrols are still operating to ensure that no one takes advantage of the vulnerable fauna. 

Bredell said that primary areas of concern are coastal reserve and Marine Protected Areas. He said that several groups of hikers who had died the Disaster Management Act and tried to gain access to the Cederberg Wilderness reserve had also been apprehended. 

“In April, three groups of hikers illegally accessed the Cederberg Wilderness area. Vehicles, drivers and hikers were apprehended and turned over to SAPS who issued relevant fines and warnings.”

“We want to urge the public to work with us and to adhere to lockdown regulations. In addition I want to congratulate the partners and our staff in the Matzikama region on their successes in protecting our biodiversity in the province.”

Source : The South African More   

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Unable to transport beer, Cape-based breweries wait it out with soup

A collective of breweries around the Mother City has fed thousands of people around the region.

Unable to transport beer, Cape-based breweries wait it out with soup

The lockdown has hit brewers around the country hard, but one Cape Town-based collective has channelled its energies towards another cause, reports .

Under the current regulations, alcohol sales are not allowed and, with beer not being deemed an “essential item”.

‘Soup-A-Heroes’ unite in aid of the needy

The unprecedented turn of events has already seen the country’s largest brewing company, South African Breweries (SAB) do away with a whopping 25 000 litres of beer, after reaching the legal storage capacity.

Smaller brewers such as the Woodstock Brewery, the Drifter Brewing Company and Stellenbosch Breweries face no such threat, but have turned their beer vats to pots in order to feed the needy.

The three brewers have formed a collective and call themselves the “Soup-A-Heroes”.

Woodstock Brewery owner Andre Viljoen told the publication that they are looking forward to catching up once lockdown regulations have been eased.

“We know a couple of people were smart enough to stock up for a long lockdown and there are some who have offered to buy vouchers to support us, but we would rather sell beer again in the normal way when we are allowed to. There is time for that. For now, we want to focus on more pressing needs. And that is to produce soup and porridge for the immediate needs of the less fortunate.”

Andre Viljoen

Thousands of hungry mouths fed by Cape-based brewers

This initiative has reached around 9 000 people around Cape Town.

“The fact that on-consumption of beer and alcohol will probably be delayed a bit gives us time to wait it out a little and continue producing soup,” Viljoen added.

Andre Viljoen

While waiting it out, they have put their powerful 1 000L brewing tanks to good use for an even better cause, as they have been of great assistance to smaller soup kitchens that have been unable to produce meals at a large scale.

According to the Drifter Brewing Company’s Facebook each tank can feed up to 2 000 people.

Last week, SAB flushed away 400 million bottles worth of beer before obtaining a special permit which allowed the company to transport the bulk of their supply to other facilities.

Source : The South African More   

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