12 Jun

State COVID Numbers Are Good News for Pasadena

first_img CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday HerbeautyRemove Belly Fat Without Going Under The KnifeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Bad To Give Your Boyfriend An Ultimatum?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThis Trend Looks Kind Of Cool!HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty5 Things To Avoid If You Want To Have Whiter TeethHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyYou Can’t Go Past Our Healthy Quick RecipesHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty7 Most Startling Movie Moments We Didn’t Realize Were InsensitiveHerbeautyHerbeauty EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Donald CommunityPCC- COMMUNITYVirtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Subscribe Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  15 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Business News Community News State COVID Numbers Are Good News for Pasadena County on the verge of leaving restrictive purple tier CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Published on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | 2:42 pm New numbers released by the state regarding the spread of coronavirus bode well for Pasadena.The figures place Los Angeles County’s adjusted average daily rate of new COVID-19 infections at 7.2 per 100,000 residents, putting the county on the verge of leaving the restrictive purple tier.Leaving the purple tier would mean capacity at Pasadena’s indoor retailers could increase to 50%, and indoor dining could reopen at 25% of capacity along with movie theaters and museums. Gyms could open at 10 % of capacity.In order for that to happen, the case rate would have to fall to seven infections per 100,000 residents and maintain that level for two weeks.The state updates tier assignments for all 58 counties every Tuesday.To advance to a less-restrictive tier of the state’s blueprint for recovery, a county must meet all three metrics required by the state for at least two weeks.“We are moving in the right direction, a direction that will hopefully lead to us moving forward on our recovery journey, where more of our young people can go back to school for on-site learning,” said county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.Ferrer said the county’s average number of daily new COVID cases has fallen below 1,000, marking a return to “the levels we saw before the [winter] surge. These declines are real and we’re grateful for the choices made and the work done by everyone — individuals and businesses — that is making this possible.”She said the daily average testing-positivity rate over the past seven days has dropped to about 3%.“That’s actually the lowest it’s ever been since we’ve been offering testing in the community,” Ferrer said. “So yes, testing is down, but community transmission is also down as well, and that also drives a reduced demand for testing — less people have symptoms, less people feel sick, less people feel like they’ve had an exposure.”To advance to the “red” tier, the county needs a new daily case rate of between 4 and 7 per 100,000 residents, along with an average testing positivity rate of 5% to 8% and a “health equity quartile” — a measurement of a county’s efforts to control the virus in disproportionately impacted communities — of 5.3% to 8%.Los Angeles County’s testing positivity rate is 3.5% and the equity quartile is 5.1%, both good enough to actually qualify the county for the even less-restrictive “orange” tier of the four-level state blueprint. To advance to that tier, the county’s new case rate would have to drop to between 1 and 3.9 per 100,000 residents.The county has been on the verge of exiting the “purple” tier before, meeting all the required metrics last fall. But the county was unable to maintain the metrics for the required two-week period, as case rates began to rise and eventually devolved to the winter surge.Even if the county does move up to the “red” tier, it would still be up to county health officials to decide whether to actually loosen the business restrictions. Counties are permitted to impose more stringent restrictions than the state.The county’s state-adjusted rate of new cases has been rapidly falling in recent weeks, from about 28 per 100,000 residents three weeks ago to 20, then to 12.3 last week.With more groups of workers becoming eligible for vaccines on Monday, Ferrer again urged people not to make vaccination appointments if they are not in an eligible group. She said health officials “constantly get reports” about people gaming the state’s MyTurn computer system to make appointments regardless of their eligibility.“If you were able to make an appointment but you’re not in one of the eligible groups, please cancel your appointment,” she said. “Don’t take away an appointment from an eligible worker and please don’t come to the vaccination site, because you will need to be turned away.”The county on Monday reported another 32 COVID-19 deaths, along with 987 new cases. The numbers tend to be artificially low on Mondays due to lags in reporting from the weekend.The new deaths increased the countywide death toll since the start of the pandemic to 21,467. Community Newscenter_img More Cool Stuff Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Top of the News STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Community News Make a comment Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadenalast_img read more

20 Oct

British Land JV sells £113m shop units

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31 Aug

Sheridan Technical College in Broward County, Florida Celebrates 45 Years of…

first_imgBROWARD COUNTY – Congratulations to Broward County’s Sheridan Technical College for completing 45 years of accredited status by the Council on Occupational Education, a national accrediting agency of higher education institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.Sheridan Technical, which initially became accredited with the Council in 1974, has undergone self-studies and reviews every six years to maintain its accreditation. The college will be recognized during the Council’s annual meeting in Reno, Nevada on November 13 – 15, 2019. Sheridan Technical Director Thomas Moncilovich and Assistant Director Annette Johnson will represent the college and accept the award at the annual meeting in Reno.The award of accreditation is based on an evaluation to demonstrate that the institution meets not only the standards of quality of the Council but also the needs of students, the community and employers. Sheridan Tech was one of the first institutions to be accredited under the Council.Sheridan Technical College offers career and technical study programs affording students the opportunity to gain skills in high-wage, high-demand occupational fields and compete successfully in the global workforce. Under the direction of licensed and certified teaching professionals, students engage in full or part-time training in 47 career and technical education programs using the latest industry-approved technology and equipment.last_img read more

5 Aug

Watch: Football fans stunned after Colombian youngster scores an outrageous solo goal

first_imgAdvertisement bivqmwbNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsspfa1Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eqme( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 6f32Would you ever consider trying this?😱c91qgCan your students do this? 🌚orRoller skating! Powered by Firework Anderson Diaz, who plays for Norte de Santander in Colombia’s Under-21 national championship, scored a mesmeric solo goal in the 55th minute that left the footballing world in awe. The strike, which saw fans on social media labeling it ‘Maradonian’, was not enough as his team went on to lose 3-2 to the hosts Santander. Football fans all around the globe were absolutely shell-shocked after the goal and the youngster Diaz was being compared to other football legends for his smooth and quick techniqueAdvertisement Scores were level at 1-1 in the 55th minute of the final stage of Colombia’s Under-21 national championship, when young Anderson Diaz was seen gaining control of the ball near the centre line followed by his solo run. He then dribbled past five defenders, beat the keeper and faked past another defender to score a goal even Maradona would’ve been proud of. It was a breath-taking sight for the fans in the stadium and many couldn’t even believe what they had just seen. The goal quickly became viral and took many fans down their memory lane when Maradona scored ‘that’ goal in the 1986 World Cup finals against England and a certain Leo Messi’s goal against Getafe in the 2006 La Liga season.Advertisement See how the amazing goal was scored here:Advertisement   Advertisementlast_img read more

3 Aug

Rockets blast past Kootenay Wildcats

first_imgBy Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsThe Kootenay Wildcats proved they can play at the same level as the elite teams in the B.C. Female Midget AAA Hockey League. The Wildcats just can’t beat those elite teams.Thompson/Okanagan Rockets reeled off a pair of Female Midget AAA League wins during the weekend in Nelson, edging Kootenay 4-0 Saturday and 5-3 Sunday.The loss was the fourth in a row for Kootenay, which is currently clinging to fourth spot in the BCFMHL.“Our next games (this weekend) are crucial if we want to avoid traveling to Prince George to play the Cougars,” said head coach Mario DiBella. “We play Prince George and have to beat them so we can host the first round of the playoffs.”Saturday, a few-minute siesta during the second period allowed the Rockets to score three quick goals to grab a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.Kootenay dominated the start of the third but were denied by Rockets’ starting netminder Shelby Tse.“That’s been a problem all season is scoring goals,” DiBella lamented. “We played very well in the third but (Thompson/Okanagan) has a good goalie the we just couldn’t beat.”Kelsey Freudenberger, with a pair, and Bre Frasca, scored in a span of five minutes to give the visitors all the goals needed for the win.Emily Gervais scored into an empty net to complete the scoring.Kootenay out shot the Rockets 28-15 and 12-4 in the third period.Sunday the Rockets exploded for three second period goals to break open a close 2-2 game after one frame.Freudenberger, with her second of the game, Jeanna Jenkins and Frasca gave Thompson/Okanagan the lead for good.Daley Oddy of Cranbrook score twice in the first period to keep the Wildcats closes. Shea Weighill of Nakusp scored the final tally for Kootenay.The Cats, 7-12-2, have little time to feel sorry as Prince George visits the Heritage City for a pair of games Saturday and Sunday.Saturday the teams meet at 3:30 a.m. in the Civic Arena. Sunday, puck drops at 7:45 a.m. in the NDCC [email protected]last_img read more

3 Aug

Mallard’s Team of the Week — LVR Junior Bombers Rugby Team

first_imgThe L.V. Rogers Junior Bombers Rugby team, like their older Senior Bomber cousins, schooled the Kootenay competition during the season on the pitch. Staff and management at Mallard’s Source for Sports would like to salute the squad with Team of the Week honours. The team includes, back row, L-R, Silas Creighton, Jacob Gregorich and Matt Pelland. Middle, McLain Sandeveland, Sebastian Lutz, Ezra Lloyd, Simon Yole and Eli Swan. Front, Callahan Seegram, John Katountas, Trace Cooke, Morgan Rawick, and Conrad Lanaway. Missing, Luis Loeschnik and Cail Spencer.last_img read more

19 Dec

Missing Link in Star Formation Found?

first_imgAccording to a press release from the European Space Agency, a missing link in stellar evolution has been found.  Observation: excited molecular hydrogen in two colliding galaxies.  Conclusion: a star is born:The scientists noticed that the overlapping region of the two colliding galaxies is very rich in molecular hydrogen, which is in an excited state.    In particular, the radiation from molecular hydrogen is evenly strong in the northern and southern areas of the overlap region.  Much to the team’s surprise, however, there are too few supernova explosions or regions of intense star formation there to explain the observed molecular hydrogen emission.  So, the excitation of the molecular hydrogen must be the signature of that observationally rare pre-star birth phase in which hydrogen is excited by the mechanical energy produced in the collision and transported by shock waves.  In other words, these results provide the first direct evidence of the missing link between gas collision and the birth of the first stars.  The team estimates that when the gas will collapse to form new stars, during the next million years, the Antennae galaxy will become at least two times brighter in the infrared.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)The observations were made with ESA’s ISO infrared observatory.  Although scientists have assumed that colliding galaxies produce shock waves that lead to rapid star formation, “So far, however, there was no clear picture of what happens in the time between the collision of two galaxies and the birth of the first new stars.”  The observation of molecular hydrogen in an excited state is said to the be signature of this stage.Excuse me, but are you not assuming what you need to prove?  You said that direct observations of star birth by gas compression are lacking, then assume that gas compression is producing star birth.  That’s called begging the question.    The point of this commentary is not to dispute whether star formation occurs by gas compression caused by shock waves.  It is to encourage good science.  This press release did a mighty sloppy job of making its case.    Assume for a moment you are an unbiased, neutral observer listening to an astronomer prove that when hydrogen is compressed by galaxy collisions and supernova explosions, it collapses into compact burning objects called stars.  From your personal experience, you might be tempted to assume that excited gas does no such thing.  Yet Professor Zubenelgenubi insists it happens, so you, unbiased observer that you are, are eager to hear his proof.  He first claims that the observations are scanty, but we see infrared radiation from areas where star birth is occurring.  Are you convinced yet?  He continues:The astronomers believe that star formation induced by shocks may have played a role in the evolution of proto-galaxies in the first thousand million years of life of our Universe.  Shock waves produced through the collision of proto-galaxies may have triggered the condensation process and speeded-up the birth of the very first stars.  These objects, made up of only hydrogen and helium, would otherwise have taken much longer to form, since light elements such as hydrogen and helium take a long time to cool down and condense into a proto-star.  Shock waves from the first cloud collisions may have been the helping hand.Your next response to him might be that this makes a nice story, but you were expecting proof that stars form by compression of shocked gas and he seems to be just assuming they do.  Silently you wonder if the Professor has actually been observing anything for a billion years, but uninitiated frosh that you are, you meekly point out that it would seem that shocked gas would dissipate, not compress into compact, dense, shining objects.  He then points to his Exhibit A: “Ah,” he patronizes, “but now vee have zee proof!  Vee have zee missing link!” [drum roll] “excited molecular hydrogen!” [cymbal crash].    Biological evolutionists are often guilty of assuming evolution to prove evolution.  Every data point is inserted into a pre-existing mental picture of the very thing they need to demonstrate.  Here we see it happening with astronomers, too.  The story is the thing: the big sweeping panorama of big-bang-to-earth evolution is merely assumed, and every little ounce of observation is fit into the story, whether the observation justifies it or not.  As for proto-galaxies, the science we read shows that the very oldest galaxies were already mature (see 03/10/2005, 08/27/2004 and 07/08/2004 entries), so where are the missing links for this cosmological Cambrian explosion?  The story of star formation itself is not without problems (see 03/31/2004 entry) – so much so, that Simon White remarked, “The simple recipes in published models do not reproduce the star formation we see.  Theorists are now having to grow up.”  This ESA press release seems appropriate only for those in kindergarten.    Maybe shocked hydrogen forms stars, and maybe it doesn’t, but any unbiased truth seeker would surely demand more evidence than this.  Where else would such a physical process occur?  We can observe compressed gas and shock waves in the solar system, such as the bow shock at Jupiter’s magnetic field boundary.  There, the compressed gas just flows around the outsides and doesn’t form compact, dense objects.  In this case, gravity is too small to be a factor, so the comparison may be moot; that’s beside the point.  Read this press release without assuming stellar evolution is true and you would be hard pressed to find a solid reason to find the case convincing.  Don’t ever get swept into the emotional euphoria of any scientist’s bluff.    Is it not ironic that the only ones obeying the bumper sticker, “Question authority,” are the creationists?(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

18 Dec

South Africa takes stock of its farmers

first_img“Currently, challenges facing the department are in delivering and monitoring on land redistribution, tenure, and restitution targets,” Zita said in a statement last week. “Also, the development of black South African farmers cannot be properly measured owing to a lack of statistics on these small-scale farmers.” Informed policy development The census-styled Farmer Register initiative, which will start in the Mgungundlovu District Municipality and eventually cover the entire country, is expected to contribute to informed policy development and improved planning, decision-making and service delivery across the entire agricultural sector. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Director-General Langa Zita said that a regularly maintained Farmer Register would help the department and other government institutions to measure the sector’s performance accurately, and make informed decisions on priority settings and resource allocation. The completion of the Farmer Register will improve communication with farmers in terms outbreaks of diseases, measures that can be taken, and existing opportunities, and make it easier to estimate the impact of damage at any given time. A team of eight department representatives and 100 contracted field workers are already in KwaZulu-Natal and will be visiting each farm and farmer to capture information on ownership, demographics, employment, production capacity and the type of products produced per geographical area. KwaZulu-Natal is set to become the first of South Africa’s nine provinces to establish an accurate register of all its agricultural producers.center_img SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Local agricultural officers 11 October 2011 This follows a call to roll out a national farmer registration process aimed at establishing a central database to overcome data shortfalls and baseline information challenges on farms and farmers that interact with the government. The data collectors will be in the company of local agricultural extension officers who are familiar with producers.last_img read more

18 Dec

Storybook sparks love of reading

first_imgDalubuhle Primary School has a commanding, aspirational presence at the top of the mountain, above the town.(Image: Lorraine Kearney) Nal’ibali supports bilingual literacy development and encourages parents and children to engage with each other through reading and storytelling. Author Chris van Wyk held his young audience in the palm of his hand.(Images: Ogilvy PR)MEDIA CONTACTS • Patti McDonaldTimes Media Education+27 11 280 3000• Sally MillsOgilvy PR+27 21 467 1376RELATED ARTICLES• Gift that keeps on giving• Why we need a literate nation• Getting needy kids hooked on books• Reading to boost our self-esteem• Instilling a love of readingLorraine KearneyIn a bowl of mountains in Western Cape, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is a small corner that remains determinedly French.In Franschhoek, Bastille Day is celebrated each year with all the pomp and circumstance you’d expect of Paris. It is also the wine capital of the country, and its estates carry names such as La Motte and Grande Provence. The posh little town is a favourite of well-heeled tourists, and Franschhoek’s restaurants and guest houses consistently score among the best.But for all its French conceit, Franschhoek has some very South African challenges, not least of which is the gaping chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Its socio-economic problems carry deep scars from yesteryear – the legacy of the dop system, whereby grape pickers and farm workers were paid a portion of their wages in alcohol; the vagaries of apartheid spatial planning; and, of course, the poor quality of public education.Driving from the Paarl road into what is, despite these issues, a slice of heaven, on the left, going up the mountain, are the townships, the poor homes of the coloured and black citizens of the town. Turn left on Le Roux, and climb ever upwards past increasingly dilapidated houses, rutted roads, stray dogs and dirty children. Right at the top, with a spectacular view over the town, is a beacon of hope.Dalubuhle Primary School is a smart new building, with clean lines and a palpable sense of possibility. Its geographic position is symbolic – it is a place to strive for; it is a place where achievement is possible; education, it says, can take you higher. And it is here that Sunday Times and Praesa (Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa) chose to launch their new Nal’ibali Storytime collection on May 16, as a precursor to the Franschhoek Literary Festival, an annual gathering of authors, readers, publishers, literary agents, and book lovers.The three-day festival, which ran this year from 17 to 19 May, is a popular event, and tickets and accommodation sell out well in advance. The highlight is the announcement of the short lists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards, the Alan Paton Award and the Fiction Prize. But the programme is diverse: local and international authors do readings from their own works and from the works of others; writers give talks; authors hold talks with each other, or with various erudite personalities and celebrities.Here’s the storyNal’ibali, which means “here’s the story” in Xhosa, is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.“Children who are immersed in great and well-told stories – and in languages they understand – become inspired and are motivated to learn to read for themselves. Such personally rewarding learning is a recipe for successful literacy development,” the project explains on its website.It supports bilingual literacy development and encourages parents and children to engage with each other through reading and storytelling. It works through various platforms, such as newspaper supplements, book clubs and networks, social media and a mobi site. Book packs are distributed to the Nal’ibali demonstration reading club sites, and the partners work with publishers to create and translate reading materials for children in African languages as well as English to help ensure that sufficient, stimulating books are available.Nal’ibali is driven by Praesa, Times Media, publishers of the Sunday Times, and other partners. “Through sustained mentoring and collaboration with communities, reading clubs, literacy organisations and volunteers of all ages, as well as a vibrant media campaign, Nal’ibali is helping to root a culture of literacy into the fabric of everyday life in South Africa.”StorytellingThe third Sunday Times Nal’ibali Storytime was launched at a simple ceremony at Dalubuhle Primary School, where the power of storytelling was brought home to the children and to the audience. Author Chris van Wyk, who contributed the short story Mr Hare Meets Mr Mandela, was an inspired choice to spark their interest. This is a man who gets children, and who understands the power of stories. Using English and Afrikaans and the language of the taxi ranks and streets, he gripped his listeners’ attention. And then left them hanging, the rest of the story tantalisingly out of reach: if you want to know more, seemed to be the message, read the book.But Siphokazi Mangwane, a young volunteer librarian at the school, took up the challenge, and gave a master class in storytelling. She read Van Wyk’s story in Xhosa and had the audience in the palm of her hand – even those who could not understand the words were bewitched by the lyrical sounds and beautiful clicks of the language.Donald Grant, the Western Cape minister of education, attended the launch, and spoke of the school’s excellent achievements. He said the Grade threes of 2012 had shown “an outstanding improvement of almost 25%” in the annual systemic tests. The Grade sixes had improved 3.9% in literacy, language, and reading.“Reading and language is the key to everything,” Grant stressed, urging the children to work hard and involve their parents in their school work. “The only time you find success before work,” he said in closing, “is in the dictionary.”Collection of storiesCarole Bloch, the director of Praesa and the head of Nal’ibali, explained that the book contained 10 stories that could be read to and by children of all ages in primary school. The stories would also appeal to the child in each adult.“Why do we read?” she asked. “We read to feel good, to become literate. We read to share knowledge, to go on an adventure, to build our imaginations. Nal’ibali sparks a love of stories and reading.”Funds that made the third Nal’ibali Storytime possible came from Coralie Rutherford, businesswoman and philanthropist. In her message to the children, she said: “Because I can read, I was able to go to school, get a degree, work … and give money to Nal’ibali. My message to you is to work hard and you can also be successful.”She urged the girls to “do something that will allow you to look after yourself”, and finally to “do something that will make you happy”.The stories are beautifully illustrated, and there are plans to print the books in all 11 official languages, starting with English. This will be followed by Zulu and Xhosa later this year. The first 200 000 copies will be donated to schools, reading clubs, libraries and other NGO reading initiatives nationwide; two-million copies of the first two collections have been distributed.The stories were commissioned by Times Media. “We have been fortunate to work with a number of talented South African authors and illustrators in putting together this magical collection of stories,” said Patti McDonald, the publisher of Times Media Education’s supplements. “A treasured storybook can be just the thing to spark a love of reading in children and this is precisely our intention – to skill children to become readers for life.”Bloch added: “Books and stories deepen our thinking and understanding by stretching our imagination while encouraging creative problem-solving. To have stories that our children can relate to in their home languages is an invaluable asset that we need to keep growing in our country.”last_img read more

18 Dec

South Africa’s wildlife wonders

first_imgCities have grown, much land has been given over to farming, hunting has wiped out entire herds, and the times when a herd of springbok could take days to pass through a Karoo town are long past.A pair of cheetahs in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. (Image: South African Tourism)Brand South Africa reporterThanks to the foresight of conservationists past and present, South Africa remains blessed with abundant wildlife.The Big FiveThe big catsLesser known wildlifeOver 200 mammal speciesMarine mammals and fishThe crocodile … and other reptilesBirdlifeThe Big FiveBest known are the mammals, and the best known of these are the famous Big Five: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. Not that giraffe, hippo or whale are small …South Africa’s bushveld and savannah regions are still home to large numbers of the mammals universally associated with Africa.The Kruger National Park alone has well over 10 000 elephants and 20 000 buffaloes – in 1920 there were an estimated 120 elephants left in the whole of South Africa.The white rhino has also been brought back from the brink of extinction and now flourishes both in the Kruger National Park and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Attention now is on protecting the black rhino.Both these parks are home to all of the Big Five, as are other major reserves in South Africa – such as Pilanesberg in North West province – and numerous smaller reserves and private game lodges.The big catsAside from occupying the top rung of the predation ladder, the lion also tops the glamour stakes. Sadly, it does have one formidable enemy in humankind, which has expelled it from most of the country so that it now remains almost exclusively in conservation areas.The beautiful leopard survives in a larger area, including much of the southern Cape and far north of the country, although numbers are small in some places.The cheetah is the speed champ, capable of dashes of almost 100 kilometres an hour. Its population is comparatively small and confined mostly to the far north (including the Kruger National Park), the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape, and reserves in KwaZulu-Natal and North West province.Lesser known wildlifeOther quintessentially African large animals are the hippo, giraffe, kudu, wildebeest (the famous gnu) and zebra, all frequently seen in South Africa’s conservation areas.Heightened awareness, however, has created an increased appreciation of lesser known animals. A sighting of the rare tsessebe (a relative of the wildebeest) may cause as much excitement as the sight of a pride of lion. And while one can hardly miss a nearby elephant, spotting the shy little forest-dwelling suni (Livingstone’s antelope) is cause for self-congratulation.On the really small scale, one could tackle the challenge of ticking off each of South Africa’s seven species of elephant shrew – a task that would take one all over the country and, probably, a long time to accomplish.Over 200 mammal speciesWith well over 200 species, a short survey of South Africa’s indigenous mammals is a contradiction in terms. A few examples will help to indicate the range.In terms of appeal, primates rate highly. In South Africa they include the nocturnal bushbabies, vervet and samango monkeys, and chacma baboons which – encouraged by irresponsible feeding and under pressure through loss of habitat – have become unpopular as raiders of homes on the Cape Peninsula.Dassies (hyraxes, residents of rocky habitats) and meerkats (suricates, familiar from their alert upright stance) have tremendous charm, although the dassie can be an agricultural problem.The secretive nocturnal aardvark (which eats ants and is the only member of the order Tubulidentata) and the aardwolf (which eats termites and is related to the hyaena) are two more appealing creatures, and both are found over virtually the whole country.And for those who like their terrestrial mammals damp, there is the widely distributed Cape clawless otter, which swims in both fresh and sea water. The spotted-necked otter has a more limited territory. Both are rare, however, and difficult to spot.One mammal whose charm is recently acquired is the wild dog or Cape hunting dog, one of Africa’s most endangered mammals. Once erroneously reviled as indiscriminate killers but now appreciated both for their ecological value and their remarkably caring family behaviour, wild dog packs require vast territories.They are found in small numbers in the Kruger National Park and environs, northern KwaZulu-Natal (including the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park), the Kalahari, and the Madikwe reserve in North West province.More common canine carnivores are the hyaena, jackal and bat-eared fox. Feline carnivores – besides the big cats mentioned above – include the caracal with its characteristic tufted ears, the African wild cat and the rare black-footed cat. Other flesh eaters include the civet, genet and several kinds of mongoose.The plant eaters are well represented by various antelope, from the little duiker to the large kudu and superbly handsome sable antelope, which is found only in the most northerly regions.Mammals take to the air, too: South Africa is well endowed with bat species.Marine mammals and fishAnd they take to the sea. The largest mammal of all – in South Africa and the world – is the blue whale, which can grow to 33 metres in length.But of the eight whale species found in South African waters (including the dramatic black-and-white killer whale), the most frequently seen by humans is the southern right whale. This imposing creature comes into coastal bays to calve, allowing for superb land-based viewing.The southern right whale represents one of conservation’s success stories. Once considered the “right” whale to hunt, its population became so depleted that it was designated a protected species. With the greater familiarity that their return to the coastal bays has produced, they are now as well loved as the many dolphins in our coastal waters.South Africa’s seas are rich in fish species. Perhaps the most awesome of these is the great white shark, but this is only one of more than 2 000 species, comprising 16% of the world’s total. Various line fish, rock lobster and abalone are of particular interest to gourmets, while pelagic fish (sardines and pilchards) and hake have large- scale commercial value.The crocodile … and other reptilesLess generously endowed with freshwater fish – 112 named species, a mere 1.3% of the world total – South Africa nonetheless has one river-dweller that is, as much as any of the Big Five, a symbol of Africa. The crocodile still rules some stretches of river and estuary, lakes and pools, exacting an occasional toll in human life.Other aquatic reptiles of note are the sea-roaming loggerhead and leatherback turtles, the focus of a major community conservation effort at their nesting grounds on the northern KwaZulu-Natal shoreline.South Africa’s land reptiles include rare tortoises and the fascinating chameleon. There are well over 100 species of snake. While about half of them, including the python, are non-venomous, others – such as the puffadder, green and black mamba, boomslang and rinkhals – are decidedly so.The country’s comparative dryness accounts for its fairly low amphibian count – 84 species. To make up for that, however, South Africa boasts over 77 000 species of invertebrates.BirdlifeBirders from around the world come to South Africa to experience the country’s great variety of typically African birds, migrants, and endemics (those birds found only in South Africa).Of the 850 or so species that have been recorded in South Africa, about 725 are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 of these are endemic or near-endemic.Apart from the resident birds, South Africa hosts a number of intra-African migrants such as cuckoos and kingfishers, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year.South Africa’s birdlife ranges from the ostrich – farmed in the Oudtshoorn district of the Western Cape, but seen in the wild mostly in the north of the country – through such striking species as the hornbills to the ubiquitous LBJs (“Little Brown Jobs”).One small area alone, around the town of Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal, offers wetlands, grasslands, thornveld and both montane and riverine forest, and around 380 species have been recorded there.A birder need not move out of a typical Johannesburg garden to spot grey loeries, mousebirds, hoopoes, hadeda ibises, crested and black-collared barbets, Cape whiteyes, olive thrushes … or a lone Burchell’s coucal poking clumsily around a tree. And that would by no means complete the list.Among the most spectacular birds of South Africa are the cranes, most easily spotted in wetlands – although the wattled crane is a lucky find as it is extremely uncommon. The beautiful blue crane is South Africa’s national bird, while the crowned crane is probably the flashiest of the three with its unmistakable prominent crest.Among its larger bird species, South Africa also has several eagles and vultures. Among its most colourful are kingfishers, bee-eaters, sunbirds, the exquisite lilacbreasted roller, and the Knysna and purple-crested louries.Reviewed December 2016.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more