Title: Notes on Nature
Author: Amy Schoeman
Illustrator: Janet Lautenbach
Publisher: Department of Agriculture and NAture Conservation, SWA
Print: John Meinert (Pty) Ltd.
Windhoek, South West Africa 1982
ISBN 0620065834 / ISBN 0-620-06583-4
Original softcover, 21 x 21 cm, 108 pages, numerous b/w-illustrations
Good. Few traces of useage outside. Rare
Notes on Nature had been published as a fortnightly series in The Windhoek Advertiser from Febuary 1981 until December 1982 and all have been illustrated by Janet Lautenbach. When it comes to nature South West Africa is a bumper package of everything that the word implies, and more. Many South West Africans are surprisingly unaware of the tremendous interest value of their country's natural assets. In these Notes on Nature the intention is to touch on various aspects of what is literally a limitless kaleidoscope of animals, birds, insects, plants, landscape and natural phenomena. Did you know. for example, that the Namib is the only desert in the world that harbours elephant, rhino, lion and giraffe? Not to mention the oldest living fossil, the plant Welwitschia mirabilis? That the desert-adapted gemsbok can go without drinking water for an unlimited period of time, like the camel, it has a built-in radiator situated in its nose passage which cools the blood en route to its brain as well as restricting water evaporation?
Sand-grouse on the other hand need to drink regularly. at least every second day. Flightless, newly-hatched sand-grouse chicks, in a nest which can be up to 40 km away from the nearest water-hole, rely totally on the male parent who transports water to them, after soaking it up at the water-hole in his uniquely modified breast feathers. And the 'endangered" cheetah is not an endangered species in SWA. Cheetah are relatively abundant in the northern areas and al.though in some respects more dog than cat they are by no means a farmer's best friend. Contrary to popular belief hyaena are not hermaphrodites. This is a misconception due to certain superficial resemblances between the sexes. Talk about differentiating between male and female ... when it comes to warthogs, he sports four warts, that is two on each jowl. whereas she has only two in toto. Chauvinism, albeit in this case inverted, is obviously a natural phenomenon.
And next time you see a giraffe have a good look at those curious 'horns', if the tops are tufted you're looking at a female; the male's coiffure is restricted to the circumference of his 'horns', the tops are bald. How many people are aware of the fact that with the exception of yellow weaver birds, sparrows, mouse-birds. queleas. bulbuls and pied crows all birds in SWA are protected? Even so the export of South West African birds to Europe was becoming big business; a staggering 52 000 birds were exported in 1979 and roughly the same figure in 1980. Although the kibosh was put on this undesirable practice by placing an embargo on all bird exports as from the end of 1981, exceptions have unfortunately already been made in two cases and permits granted for further bird exports. Notes on Nature will therefore deal not only with subjects for their interest value, but also with controver sial issues, in an attempt to create greater awareness of nature and its conservation in South West Africa.
Windhoek aloe, halfmens and kokerboom
Making haste slowly (on the pangolin or scaly anteater)
All that pajama-like confusion (on plains and mountain zebra)
How long before vultures become extinct?
Run rhino run - extinction is forever
Trophyism - what is it all about?
40 km for a drink of water? (on sand-grouse)
Rabies - killer disease which has wiped out 10 000 kudu
... but let the butterflies flutter by ...
Road accidents caused by kudu - fact and fallacy
The four small antelope of SWA (steenbok, dik-dik, klipspringer and duiker)
To feed or not to feed - what is the answer?
Lichen - microcosmos that you see but don't notice
Roan and sable - two lesser-known antelope of SWA
The tortuous tale of two tortoises
Four dune types of SWA
The legendary creatures of SWA
Sea-birds and their environment
Gone fishin' instead of just a-wishin' (on SWA's surf angling fish)
Most proverbial of proverbial animals - old slyboots himself (on jackal and fox)
After the rains - amajowas, nabbas and !hans (ant-hill mushrooms, truffles and uintjies)
SWA's two large spotted cats (cheetah and leopard)
Three of SWA's smaller cats (caracal, black-footed cat and African wild cat)
20th anniversary of the Ornithological Work Group
That cool cat Simba (on lion)
SWA's extinct fauna - 200 million years ago
Nobody loves a crocodile
Fireballs and shooting stars (on meteorites)
Xerophytes of the dunes - ganna and !nara
Three common meerkats of SWA (suricate, yellow mongoose and banded mongoose)
SWA's volcanic phenomena
Black-faced impala - specially protected in SWA
The 'big and hairy' syndrome re Damaraland and Kaokoland: a diagnosis
Etosha - after 75 years, a plucked fowl (on the shrinkage of the Etosha boundaries)
The cosmopolitan Euphorbia
That misshapen wretch - the devil's own steed (on hyaena)
You can't take the Mickey out of a Mouse (on mice and gerbils)
Whichever way the wind blows (on SWA's winds)
On termites and termitaries
I'm a gnu - how do you do? (on wildebeest)