Wastewater project attracts prolific bird life
by Christine Marot – 6 October 2010
What started out as an eco-friendly wastewater management system at Jaci’s Lodges has become a magnificent Madikwe wetland brimming with life.
Four years ago Jaci’s management looked at environmentally friendly means of recycling grey water from the lodges, and settled on the idea of filtering the water and diverting it into an existing pond.
The pond was duly extended and a biodegradable filtration system installed.
Over time the pond grew and finally merged with a natural wetland that was supplemented by water pumped in from an adjacent river system.
Fingerlings netted from the river were used to populate the new wetland with fish species like carp, yellowfish and tilapia. Soon, the 200-metre-long reed-filled environment began to attract a variety of endemic bird species such as the white-breasted cormorant, grey heron, pied kingfisher, black crake, lesser moorhen, weaver, hamerkop and spoonbill.
Local birds are joined on occasion by visiting species such as the chestnut weaver, painted snipe, goliath heron and saddle-billed stork, while osprey and juvenile fish eagles have also been spotted making use of the wetland. Apart from the prolific bird life, elephants also wallow regularly during the daytime.
Patient observers at dusk and dawn are sometimes fortunate enough to spot a pair of giant eagle owls that nest in the vicinity.
“The success of our wetlands project has been a huge step towards sound ecological practice at Jaci’s,” says General Manager Deon de Villiers.
“Although our wetland water is tested annually to ensure its suitability for animal consumption, we know that the wetland is well balanced thanks to an abundance of frog life. We have tree frogs, bullfrogs and reed frogs, which are primary indicator species in terms of the health of an ecosystem.”