Durban Natural Science Museum’s ornithologist – David Allan – recently spent some time at Zulu Rock and gave us a greater insight to the importance of supporting conservation areas and game reserves that are home to ‘red data’ species.
Birds are appropriate indicators of an ecosystem’s health because they are popular and well-studied. Additionally, the availability of significant, long-term datasets in South Africa makes birds a good choice for early-warning systems for climate change impacts and other systematic, ecosystem-wide threats to broader biodiversity. Habitat loss and degradation due to mining, urban expansion and inappropriate agricultural practices continue to jeopardise our most critical sites for biodiversity. New threats have also emerged, such as
The IUCN Red List uses quantitative criteria based on the size of
David Allan was recently invited to conduct a brief survey of the
Although the prospect of having bird species in such close proximity to us being on the verge of extinction is nothing short of alarming – it’s also positive that we now have tools like the Red List categorisations to identify and assess what species need our immediate attention and conservation efforts. The next step is, now that we know certain species are endangered – what can we do about it to stop them suffering the same irreversible fate as the Dodo bird?
What David found most encouraging in his recent trip to Zulu Rock Game Lodge, is the recent investment and re-invigoration of game reserves and conservation areas in the Babanango region of northern KwaZulu Natal. The positive shift in
The potential of a reserve like ours and the refreshing buy-in from the local community means that the chance of saving critically endangered species like the White-backed Vulture is a real possibility. However, the responsibility to protect these magnificent birds still lies with us. If reserves like ours don’t get the support from tourists locally and abroad to continue our conservation efforts – then the White-backed Vulture will become no more than a fairy tale in storybooks for future generations…South Africa’s very own Dodo.