News from Rondebosch Common

A letter from Joanne Eastman of the Friends of Rondebosch Common:

Last week, a resident called to say that some men in a bakkie were taking the stones from the embankment on Rondebosch Common. They told her that the council said they could have them. By the time we got back there they had gone. They must have come back again as more of the sandstone stones are now gone and plants pushed aside to get at them. There must be a market for the stones so someone must be needing them for their garden or a wall. Rondebosch Common is a Provincial Heritage site and it is illegal to take things off the Common. If possible take down the licence plate number and call the police or law enforcement.

Please also make sure you know where your gardener is dumping your garden cuttings as putting them on the Common is not only illegal, but a potential source of new weeds for us- even though it may be your favourite garden plant i.e the occassional red poppy is now seen on the Common.

Now that spring is here and the Common is presently looking as good as any area up north, the snakes will also be more visible. There are no dangerous or poisonous snakes on the Common. Even though the molesnakes are enormous and look frightening they are usually not aggressive and are doing a wonderful job keeping the mole population down. A number of snakes have been killed over the last few years. We have already recently had one killed by a runner on the edge of the Common. It is illegal to kill or take the snakes as Rondebosch Common is one of the Ciy’s Biodiversity sites. As the Common is isolated by large roads from other natural areas it is unlikely to be re-populated by any loss of snakes so please just stand still to allow the snakes to pass and please keep your dogs from attacking them as they will strike if they feel threatened and the bite could become infected.

Because of its Biodiversity status it is also illegal to pick or dig out any plants without the necessary permission.

Presently a conservation student from Kenilworth is putting down mammal traps to do a survey of small mammals on the Common. The traps will be put down at about 4.30 and animals released at about 7.30 in the morning. They should be in areas where people don’t walk but if you find one and have concerns please contact us at the numbers below.

The Friends are very busy clearing alien weeds presently-so there are a number of our men working on the Common -if you are unsure and suspect a crime rather call to report it as we are not offended when the police arrive to question us. We are looking into getting our men some kind of identification bib.

Joanne 021 685 3451 /Patrick 021 686 8283 or Friends of Rondebosch Common- email: rondebosch-common@mweb.co.za

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