South Africa: Yebo Gogga’s Nature & Wildlife

By Novell Zwange – Calling all tree huggers, spider fans and reptile lovers! The 2010 Yebo Gogga AmaBlomo exhibition promises to be a fun-filled, wildly exciting expo with all the wonders from nature that you can imagine.

A great line-up of exhibitors are preparing to wow visitors of all ages from all over Gauteng from Wednesday, 6 to Sunday, 10 October 2010 hosted by the Wits School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences with displays of insects, reptiles, amphibians, trees, mammals, plants, wildlife, water and energy conservation and many more.

Various Wits departments and schools will also be involved in the Yebo Gogga exhibition such as Wits BioSoc, the School of Biosciences, the Planetarium, which turns 50 years old this year; and the School of Education.

Did you know Johannesburg used to be a grass land? The Wits Life Sciences Museum will be featuring grass lands as the biodiversity biome to preserve. Come and experience what Johannesburg was once like!

The Museum is also focusing on frogs – these not-so-popular creatures are important indicators of water health as they respire through their skins and if there is too much pollution are badly affected, and thus it is important that we look after these creatures and know their habits and biodiversity.

Also on special display at the Museum will be a Madagascar tenrec. These amazing insectivores landed on the island from mainland Africa and radiated out into hedgehog forms, shrews, burrowers as well as aquatic forms. One of these rare and endangered animals will be on display during the exhibition.

Rand Water is one of the exhibitors that will reiterate the importance of water conservation and correct usage for the preservation for future generations. Join the Water Wise Education Team as they compare a healthy river ecosystem to one that has been impacted by humans. Investigate the diverse range of goggas that live in our natural water systems and find out how they can tell us whether a river is healthy or not. Ask the Rand Water team how you can learn to be Water Wise and embark on a journey to conserve water and conserve our environment.

“Water is our most precious natural resource and nothing on Earth can survive without water. However, the world is facing a water crisis as human population growth continues to increase and our water becomes more and more polluted. The time to take action is now! 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and Rand Water is celebrating by looking at aquatic invertebrate biodiversity of our rivers and streams,” says Samanta Stelli, Water Quality Advisor-education at Rand Water.

Speaking of preserving and conservancy, the Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Association (GC&SA) will also be exhibiting their services at Yebo Gogga 2010. The GC&SA represents rural, urban, informal settlement and industrial conservancies in Gauteng. These conservancies range in size from tens of thousands of hectares to tiny areas and are committed to protecting Gauteng’s fast disappearing biodiversity. Conservancies have to deal with a multitude of problems: illegal mining, dumping, overgrazing, veldfires, poaching, theft of plants, tree cutting and alien vegetation, among others.

Another exciting showpiece will be by the FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre based on the northern edge of Johannesburg. The Centre rescues and rehabilitates indigenous wildlife like birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians which are orphaned, abandoned, ill or injured.

Between 8000 and 10000 cases are treated annually, some of which are brought to the Centre from far. The aim of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide housing and medical care for all these creatures and then to “release” them, or let them go free, back into their natural habitats in the wild. Releases take place in carefully chosen, protected areas which are safe from cars, dogs, cats and people.

FreeMe is a non-profit organisation relying on donations of all kinds. The centre is staffed by a highly trained rehabilitator and a large complement of volunteers who assist in all aspects of the rehabilitation process, such as preparing food, cleaning cages and caring for the animals. The staff members work closely with veterinarians, national and provincial Conservation Departments and various organisations and researchers.

And what would wildlife conservation be without showcasing the grandparents of the animal kingdom, tortoises and terrapins? These creatures, which have been on the earth for more than 200 million years and evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and even lizards, will be displayed by the National Zoological Gardens . This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it for more information. The Johannesburg Zoo will also have a display on hand rearing cranes.

Come and watch these beautiful creatures and many more at the 2010 Yebo Gogga exhibition. It promises to, wow, exhilarate and inspire you to become passionate about wildlife and nature in its many wonderful forms!

The show is free to all and takes place from 09h00 – 16h00 on weekdays and from 10h00 to 16h00 on the weekend at the Life Sciences Museum and areas of the Oppenheimer Life Sciences Building, East Campus.