Editor's note

In this edition we continue to look at the impact of climate change and in particular the intense rain events that seem to be occurring more regularly across the globe. Steve Woodhall went to some length to obtain reliable weather data to see if there was any correlation between rainfall and the large numbers of butterflies we have been noticing in recent months. Pat McKrill used his experience to form his views of heavy rainfall on reptiles while Nicolette Forbes used her extensive knowledge of aquatic habitats to reassure us that from an ecological point of view floods may not be as detrimental to nature as we often imagine. Nicolette also provides us with some food for thought on the nature of floods!

Dr Marlies Craig “passed” on the challenge to explain the impact of heavy rains on insects on the valid basis that not enough is known about the subject but she has nevertheless contributed another fascinating article on the roles that insects play in our environment. As a conservancy we repeatedly encourage our members and supporters to look at the “smaller things in nature”. They are often more intriguing and fascinating than “the big mammals!”

On a different note, Nick Evans shares his experience of constrictor reptiles and makes some interesting observations on common species which often go unnoticed as we always tend to focus on the “big and poisonous” varieties!

Arend Hoogervorst’s Opinion Column looks at an issue that is close to our hearts, “the benefits of experiencing nature for physical, psychological and spiritual well-being”. As usual Arend not only explains the issues at hand but also challenges our thinking on them.

I am very pleased to welcome back for this edition a long standing member of the Kloof Conservancy, retired marine scientist and previous contributing author (The secret lives of insects: a photographer’s perspective, Minnows to Monsters: some residents of Krantzkloof rivers and Purple Pole-dancer) Tim McClurg. Tim and his wife, Helen moved to the Upper South Coast a few years ago and I asked Tim to write an article for us which highlights some of the species found in his new home area and as usual he has diligently obliged with the added bonus of some stunning photographs!

It is most encouraging that despite Richard Boon having emigrated to Australia a few years ago he has retained a soft spot for our biodiversity and specifically our trees on which he is undoubtably an expert. In this edition he reviews for us the “trees of the year for 2023” which is most timeous as arbour week is celebrated in the first week of September.

Our Eco Impi interview for this edition is Dr Mark Graham, one of the foremost aquatic scientists in South Africa. Mark is a good friend of the Kloof Conservancy having provided the inspiration, way back in 2012, for the Molweni River Health Schools project which his organisation, GroundTruth continues to support on a regular basis. Mark is an exceptional scientist but with his goals firmly set on practical considerations and pragmatic solutions making him an inspiration for our younger scientists,

Sincere thanks to all the authors and to our Graphics Editor, Jo Sobey who patiently curates each edition blending all the articles into an impressive composite whole with a defined and beautiful style.

At the Kloof Conservancy AGM held in May I presented some statistics on readership and noted that The Leopards Echo website was accessed by 13,875 users for a total of 15,693 sessions during the 12 months ending 31 March 2023. Readership continues to increase at a steady rate, and it is most pleasing to note that many “old articles” are accessed over and over again many years after being originally published.

I hope you will enjoy this edition and as always, your feedback will be most welcome.