Conservation Management is integral to the GGEP’s vision in order to maintain these areas in a natural state for future generations to enjoy as well as to restore those areas that have already been degraded
WHY DOGS on LEASH?? The effects of dogs within nature reserves has come under increased scrutiny over the last decade. Research has been conducted to measure the types, levels and perceptions of these impacts to come up with better policies to protect indigenous species while, at the same time, allow the public to walk their dogs within these areas.
Off-leash dogs have both direct and indirect impacts on fauna. While generally less successful with direct predation, killings and injuries do occur. Successful hunts are normally on pregnant, already injured and/ or very young individuals. Even when killings are unsuccessful, the indigenous fauna have been forced to expend valuable energy to escape. The predation of a Common Duiker in Giba Gorge a little while ago is a stark reminder of the devastating impact that can be caused by off-leash dogs.
Banks and Bryant (2007) showed that the presence of dogs resulted in a reduction in bird species richness and abundance by 41% and 35%, respectively, in comparison to areas in which dog walking was prohibited. These data add support to the rapidly growing body of evidence that “The most profound effects of carnivores on prey may be through fear rather than mortality” (Miller 2012). The remaining scent in particular has been associated with the displacement of fauna to less desirable habitats. Off-leash dogs have a tendency to explore areas off designated paths resulting in a large impact footprint.
Dogs also act as vectors of distribution for seeds of plants. Many garden plants and alien invasive species often utilise burrs to cling to fur which allows them to be spread. While this spread can be controlled if kept on-leash and on the path, dogs which are allowed to explore beyond the authorised track can take these seeds to areas less observable and thereby prevent control measures from being effective. This results in alien invasive species spreading through natural areas, impacting critically endangered biodiversity (e.g. grassland habitats in Giba Gorge), and creating a serious management problem.
Giba Gorge Nature Reserve is proud of its dog friendly status. This is despite the risks (discussed above) to the indigenous fauna and flora present within the reserve. The Proclamation of Giba Gorge as a formal Nature Reserve places additional pressure on the Management Committee to ensure the continued conservation of the environmental features that warranted the formal protection status in the first place. We therefore encourage dog walkers to abide by the on-leash requirement of the Nature Reserve to ensure that this privilege is not revoked.
Yours in Conservation
Giba Gorge Nature Reserve Management Committee
Education is another core ambition of the precinct’s vision and plans are afoot to get schools involved in river health studies and other activities.
Enquiries: Cameron McLean 031-3117953 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the Giba Gorge Nature Reserve team will be cutting firebreaks within the grassland areas of the precinct. The primary objective of these breaks is to provide a level of fire protection to properties bordering the Nature Reserve.
The planned firebreaks will be undertaken by the Giba Gorge Nature Reserve, and supplemented by trained contract staff. All staff will be wearing the green Giba Gorge uniform. The dates for cutting have been provisionally set as the 12th – 30th of June 2019. If you have any queries or concerns please contact Thuthuka Majola, the onsite Giba Gorge Nature Reserve Conservation Manager, on 0604586726. Should you note any runaway fires please report it immediately to the emergency contact centre, on 031 361 0000.
We have noted an increase in dumping, especially garden refuse, from neighbouring properties into the natural areas of the Giba Gorge Nature Reserve.
This dead vegetation is undesirable for the following reasons:
It creates an increased fire risk for the adjacent property due to increased fuel load from dry garden refuse.
It facilitates the seeding of garden exotic plants into our natural areas.
It fertilizes, via decomposition, the adjacent, naturally nutrient poor, grassland habitats and consequently results in alien plant proliferation.
We respectfully request that this practice is ceased and that all dumped material adjacent to your fence line is removed. Garden refuse can be dropped off at municipal waste depots for processing.
We look forward to continuing our working partnership with you. If you have any queries, suggestions or complaints please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours in conservation
Giba Gorge Nature Reserve Management Committee