18 September 2007

I is for Impala and Industry and I


Oops posted this one a few hours before Wednesday.

In case you are wondering why I have chosen such diverse subjects, let me enlighten you. For starters they all begin with an “I” and secondly they were all introduced to the Eastern Cape and two of them pose their own unique ecological problems.

Impala are not endemic to the Eastern Cape, but have been successfully introduced to many private game parks and hunting farms. The natural distribution of Impala is roughly from the Limpopo Province of South Africa through to the southern half of Kenya.




The SA National Parks Board, as well as other purists, are totally against the introduction of species that are not found naturally in the area. SANParks will in fact cull any Impala that stray into the precincts of Addo Elephant National Park.

This is not surprising as man has caused many problems with the introduction of alien species, to areas where they are not meant to be:

  • A few domestic cats brought to Marion Island became feral and thrived to such an extent that they became a threat to the bird life. Several years ago a hunting team was brought in to exterminate them.
  • Some one had the bright idea of introducing fallow deer to the Eastern Cape. They are now regarded by many farmers as vermin.
  • Look at what happened when a few rabbits, introduced to Australia, were let loose.
  • The Brown Tree Snakes on Guam Island have almost decimated the bird population and are a threat to the remaining birds.
The list is endless and leads to to this question:
What foot prints will Impala leave on the ecology in the Eastern Cape in the future?

The photos below are rather striking shots of the carbon black factory just on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. Carbon black is an essential ingredient for the building of vehicle tyres, so I guess it is here to stay.
The factory is built on the edge of a wetland at the Swartkops River Estuary and just across the road that the locals call “Smelly Creek”, is the sewerage works. Both facilities are within spitting distance of the beach and both contribute to the pungent odor passing motorists and the Amsterdam Hoek residents have to endure.


When I arrived in Port Elizabeth in 1978 the silent shell, of a once popular spa hotel was still standing on the Grahamstown Road, behind this factory. It was built over a natural hot water spring. The hotel could not, however, survive the encroachment of industry and rapidly lost popularity and the City lost a tourist attraction. The spring has since been sealed and the hotel was demolished in the early 1980’s.

Who knows what the long term effects, the emissions from this and other factories around the world, have on the environment?



The legacy of the early city fathers is not good. It seems that they did as they pleased and never spared a thought for the future or for the environment. This begs the question:

“What legacy do I intend leaving behind, for my children and for my children’s children?”

18 comments:

Anna said...

Wow, what a post. Thanks for sharing, love the photo, and I heard about the Brown Tree Snakes on Guam Island feeding on birds - this new species introduction idea is not a very clever one. I think I saw that on tv couple of weeks ago. Thanks for educating me. Anna :)

Mike said...

I really like the second picture. I've never heard of an Impala. I always learn something new every Wednesday.

Neva said...

A very thought provoking post...unfortunatley the legacy of many short sighted thinkers...not anticipating what will happen...either environmentally, ecologically or socially.

mrsnesbitt said...

The ABC project brings new horizons to us all. Thanks for dharing!

D

david mcmahon said...

Great post, Max-e,

And the last question is so relevant. Nice sunrise shot, too, with the building in silhouette ....

KaiBlueCreations said...

thats an awesome post. I watched impala first in 1969..Im glad they are still here, but I fear my grandchildren might not see them..
PEace, KAi

Max-e said...

Anna, we have many more examples of the introduction of alien species - plant and animal. They start with good intentions, but always end in failure.

Max-e said...

I grew up in an environment where Impala were a common sight. Never tire of seeing them though. Just goes to show that one must not take what you have for granted.

Max-e said...

That last one was for you Mike

Max-e said...

Hi Neva,
Our new government has introduced some very strict environmental laws, so uncontrolled devlopment is now hopefully a thing of the past

Max-e said...

Thanks for the comment Mrs N

Max-e said...

Thanks for that David. I now try and do my small part for the environment. Everything counts

Max-e said...

Hi Kai, thanks for stopping in. Don't worry about the future of the Impala. There are plenty of them around - they are prolific breeders and far from being endangered. They will be around for your grandchildren and many generations to come

Peter said...

Good shots there M, rather like the industrial ones

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

I don't kno wy, but the footprint mayde me larff!

RUTH said...

A post to make us think...well done max. I think the answer to your last question lies in part in your post above. A legacy of love. :o)

WalksFarWoman said...

Great photographs Max. I love the industrial one with the silhouettes of the workers. It's so rewarding to visit and discover a little bit of history, thanks for making the effort Max.

Btw, isn't the word 'Limpopo' fantastic!

Max-e said...

Hi Walksfarwoman, yes Limpopo does conjure up romantic images of wild Africa. My other favourite is Monomatapa - an ancient kingdom believed to have been situated in Zimbabwe.