Conservancies in the Great Karoo
can save the riverine rabbit!
A conservancy is an area established by a voluntary agreement between landowners or
land users to manage the environment. It is a national strategy whereby conservation
objectives are achieved through commitment and cooperation.
The riverine rabbit
is the most endangered mammal in South Africa. This nocturnal
browser's habitat is restricted to deep silt flood plains of seasonal Karoo
rivers - and is found nowhere else in the world. The riverine rabbit rarely
lives longer than three years and only raises an estimated four offspring during
The destruction and fragmentation of habitats pose severe threats
for the future of this extremely rare rabbit. Favourite foods such as the river
ganna have been cleared to make way for crops. Nowhere does any of its natural
habitat fall within any formal protected area.
The survival of this species depends on the
landowners that participate in a network of conservancies to conserve the
remaining habitats and form an extended riverine rabbit conservation area.
A NETWORK OF CONSERVANCIES WILL ENSURE THAT:
- ecosystems, like river systems, will be conserved leading to an increase in wildlife
- significant riverine habitats are established and managed
- the environment is managed by a partnership, to the benefit of all parties
- conservation issues and developments are handled more effectively
- costs for essential conservation activities are shared
- environmental awareness increases
To form a conservancy, invite all interested parties to a meeting. Ask
the local nature conservator or spokespeople from established conservancies to
facilitate the meeting and share relevant information. Form a steering committee
to get the ball rolling.
Are you interested to know more about the riverine
rabbit? Would you like to be part of an effort to save this species? Would your
neighbours be interested? Could a body of landowners that join forces for
conservation benefit you in more than one way? If YES, please contact us!
Cape Nature Conservation
Area Manager: Klein Karoo 044 - 874 2160
Project Coordinator: 044 - 279 1739
Northern Cape Nature Conservation Services
Regional Manager: 027 - 341 1779
Source: Cape Nature Conservation
Article Date: 20 July 2004