The Singita Grumeti Fund..
08 January 2018

At our first meeting of 2018 we were delighted to welcome as speaker Wesley Gold, introduced by Roderick Skinner and who told the story of the Singita Grumeti Fund. This is a not-for-profit organisation, whose mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania.

We heard that the Singita Grumeti concessions are lands rich in flora and fauna and considered by many to be an international treasure; but that uncontrolled hunting and rampant poaching had decimated wildlife populations, in turn plunging surrounding communities into poverty. 

What emerged was the sheer scale of the task in balancing the conflicting needs of wildlife, including elephant, wildebeeste, rhino and cheetah, with those of perhaps 80,000 people across some 353,000 acres of unfenced land. And of course the challenge of controlling hunting and poaching - for meat and for ivory. An especial curse is the use of snares, which are poorly monitored and can be forgotten. Perhaps as many as 30 million! 

Wesley outlined the methods being used in partnership with local communities and stakeholders. It was interesting to hear of the use being made of modern technology to gather and analyse intelligence; the use of drones to quickly monitor large areas and, most recently, the use of night-vision equipment. The drones used are of advanced design and can remain airborne for five hours at a time - controlled from a central operations room. 

The Fund employs 180 dedicated staff, including 104 game scouts, to protect, manage and monitor Grumeti’s concessions and wildlife. Success is being achieved and can be seen where the near-barren plains of ten years ago teem with wildlife once more. The great herds are once again lingering in this region during the annual migrations; a direct result of re-stabilising the fragile ecosystem. 

A fascinating talk about a task that remains daunting, covering as it does anti-poaching and law enforcement, community outreach, research and monitoring, relationships and conservation. Following many questions a vote of thanks was proposed by David Mann.

 

Shell Bay to Ardross..
04 December 2017

We welcomed local botanist Jim Robertson as speaker to our club meeting of 4th /December and were treated to a fascinating talk about the stretch of coast from Shell Bay to Ardross.

His talk encompassed the botany and geology to be found on a walk along this picturesque part of Fife - with information and detail, much of which was a surprise even to those with long knowledge of the area.

We heard of ancient raised beaches, of ‘The Deil’ and ‘The Doo’ caves, of columnar basalt formations, of limestone outcrops rich in fossils and of the garnets to be found at Ruby Bay.

There was too ‘MacDuff’s Cave’ - reputed to be the place where the Thane of Fife hid from MacBeth - and the more modern and sometime hazardous ‘Chain Walk’.

It was interesting to be reminded of the ruins of WW2 naval defence batteries and the training here of Polish paratroops (and of the story that when they left, their surplus ammunition was buried in a hole at Shell Bay!).

We were able to handle a collection of fossils from the limestone cliffs and garnets from the beach. Some of these latter were of considerable size and it was interesting to learn of the history of jewellery made using garnets from Fife - with examples preserved in Edinburgh’s Chamber Street Museum.

Altogether a fascinating insight to a short stretch of coastline that was, in ancient times, part of a Christian ‘pilgrims way’. An appreciative vote of thanks was proposed by Bill Batchelor.

 

Anstruther Lifeboat..
02 December 2017

Saturday 2nd December saw members of the Rotary Club of Anstruther and the East Neuk, at Anstruther Lifeboat Station to present a Lightchart to the crew. The chart, which shows the position of lighthouses and other light marks in the Forth, will be used in the training of lifeboat crews. The Lightchart was funded by the Rotary club and it is hoped that crews, present and future will find it useful.

Our photograph shows crew and Rotarians, with club president Derek Mathie making the presentation. 

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