Managed by Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET), this project aims to secure the future of two endangered butterfly species.
The first species Kedestes barberae bunta, is a Critically Endangered skipper butterfly poised on the edge of extinction. Endemic to the Cape Flats region, it has an extremely low abundance with an estimated population of 50 individuals and is projected to go extinct within the next five years, in the absence of immediate conservation measures (Adams. 2017). With an EOO (extent of occupancy) of 15km2 and an AOO (area of occupancy) of 1km2, it has an extremely restricted range, with only one site locality remaining. The last population recorded is found within the False Bay Nature Reserve (a reserve located in the southern suburbs of Cape Town), where it can be found living within the endangered Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation.
The project will also concentrate on another Cape Flats endemic, the Endangered Kedestes lenis lenis (EOO 1787km2) with only five known localities. Most of the taxon's habitat on the Cape Flats has been destroyed, with a reduction in habitat connectivity caused by urbanisation, alien invasive species and increased fire frequency. These particular species are unable to travel long distances and as such the highly fragmented remains of appropriate habitat are inaccessible to them.
The project will include in-situ conservation measures such as habitat restoration and protection. We will undertake translocations of eggs/larvae to new appropriate host sites, to try and establish new viable breeding populations and aim to identify new host sites for future reintroductions. Ex-situ measures include the establishment of a captive rearing and breeding programme which has been deemed a necessity in order to secure the future of the species, as a planned road development and increased risk of wild fires could wipe out the last remaining population of Kedestes barberae bunta.
The Kedestes project and the plight of the species will be incorporated into a range of CTEET's current environmental education programmes.
The project's long term aims are to prevent Kedestes barberae bunta from becoming extinct and improve and protect the remaining habitat. The work is also a great opportunity to raise awareness around the threatened species in Cape Town and inspire budding conservationists to help the nature in their back yard.
More information on the Kedestes Butterfly Conservation Project can be found on http://cteet.co.za/kedestes/
Project 172517187 location - South Africa, Africa