Clanwilliam sandfish (Labeo seeberi)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13257664
Our work on this project is being conducted in the Olifants-Doring catchment, which falls within the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) in South Africa, a global biodiversity hotspot. The project will target various sites in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces, based on the flagship species’ breeding biology.
The target species for this project is the Endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish (Labeo seeberi), which is endemic to the CFR. The CFR is remarkable within a southern Africa context and even an Africa context for its species diversity and endemism. The CFR is recognised by the IUCN as part of the high priority areas for freshwater species conservation worldwide, based on the threatened species richness of five freshwater taxonomic groups: fish, crabs, odonates, molluscs and plants. Within this region, the Olifants-Doring catchment is especially remarkable; out of the ten freshwater fish species that occur here, eight are entirely endemic to the catchment itself. All eight are red-listed by the IUCN. Several sections of these catchments have also been recognized as “Critical Biodiversity Areas” and high-priority Fish Sanctuaries according to NFEPA (National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas developed by South Africa to prioritize freshwater conservation).
We aim to implement on-the-ground conservation actions outlined in the Biodiversity Management Plan for the Endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish. The primary threats to the persistence of this and other Threatened indigenous fish species are the spread of predatory invasive alien fish in the system, and the loss of habitat integrity primarily due to competition for water resources with the irrigation agriculture sector. We will address these threats by: increasing awareness of the risks associated with biological invasions, particularly among private landowners, which commonly stock alien species in farm dams/ reservoirs, and these have been the source of many introductions to natural systems in the past; ascertaining which are high risk water bodies for the spread of invasive species in key indigenous fish sanctuaries; implementing formal agreements with landowners to prevent the spread of alien species; providing lower risk alternative species for stocking on private land by developing best practice guidelines for stocking fish in farm dams; re-assessing the Clanwilliam sandfish's conservation status, which will likely result in this being upgraded to Critically Endangered; and working towards the implementation of sustainable irrigation and freshwater management practices through the dissemination of information on best practices from experts through farmer workshops.
This project aims to put in place the foundations for the implementation of long term conservation actions outlined by the Clanwilliam Sandfish Biodiversity Management Plan, a legal framework for species conservation in South Africa, by developing best practice guidelines to be incorporated in to existing government policy, providing critical baseline data on population trends and key threats, and increased prioritization of conservation actions for the Clanwilliam Sandfish by upgrading its conservation status. Our affiliation with government conservation organizations will ensure that these processes have the necessary support to be taken over after this project.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust
The Endangered Wildlife Trust is a non-governmental, non-profit, conservation organisation, founded in 1973 and operating throughout southern Africa. The EWT conserves threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa by initiating research and conservation action programmes, implementing projects which mitigate threats facing species diversity and supporting sustainable natural resource management. The EWT furthermore communicates the principles of sustainable living through awareness programmes to the broadest possible constituency for the benefit of the region. The EWT has developed a unique operational structure through which the mission and objectives of the EWT can be achieved. The EWT achieves its conservation goals through specialist, thematic Programmes, designed to maximise effectiveness in the field and enhance the development of skills and capacity. These Programmes form the backbone of the organisation and are essentially self-managed projects harnessing the talent and enthusiasm of a dynamic network of individuals who specialise in an area of conservation importance and have developed unique expertise in response to the challenges they face. Programmes comprise multiple stakeholders and harness their diverse but relevant expertise to address environmental priorities. Stakeholders include national and provincial government, landowners, local communities, ranch workers, conservancies, academic institutions and industry. The EWT also acts as a public watchdog, often taking government and industry to task for decision-making which does not meet sustainability criteria. The EWT is dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems to the benefit of all the people of southern Africa. The organisation achieves this mission by:
* initiating and implementing conservation research and action programmes;
* preventing species extinctions and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functioning;
* supporting sustainable natural resources and management;
* communicating the principles of sustainable living and empowering people by capacity building, and awareness programmes to the broadest possible constituency; and
* taking a strong leadership and advocacy role in promoting environmental and social justice.
Project 13257664 location - South Africa, Africa