Funding Received for CapeNature’s Geometric Tortoise Conservation Programme

by CapeNature

CapeNature has received additional valuable funding to implement the internal conservation action plan of the geometric tortoisePsammobates geometricus. This tortoise species occurs nowhere else than in the Western Cape, South Africa and is considered one of the Top 25 most endangered tortoises in the World.

Geometric Tortoise

In 2010, CapeNature received a donation of funds towards tortoise conservation in the Western Cape to help conserve this critically endangered species with funding received from Masuda Wine Merchants Japan through the Slowine initiative, managed by Villiersdorp Cellars.

Between 2010 and 2012 the funding received was utilised for vital field excursions and surveys of the geometric tortoise and the Southern speckled padloper populations. This information was used to make important updates of both species’ international conservation status contained in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

In 2014 CapeNature, together with local conservation partners, launched and implemented a Conservation Detection Dog project which added a valuable conservation tool in the conservation toolbox and allowed for focused and intensive presence/absence surveys and actioning of important search and rescue interventions. The received funding made an invaluable contribution to the success of this project.

Brin and Geometric Tortoise 1 Feb 2014

Brin, a Malinois, is an integral part of the Conservation Detection Dog Project. Brin was trained for tortoise detection over a six-month period by CapeNature Ecological Co-ordinator, Vicki Hudson.

To date Masuda has made funding available to the value of R40 000.

Recently, CapeNature received more funding from a German wine trader, Ahwas, as part of the Slowine initiative to the amount of R45 000 and this funding will be utilised to continue building on the successes of implementing the geometric tortoise conservation programme and the Conservation Detection Dog project.

The Slowine Initiative has made funding available for conservation efforts.

“CapeNature has also updated the brochure on the identification, distribution and ecology of the Western Cape’s tortoises with the funding which  contributed to increased awareness of these animals, and confirmed the Western Cape as the richest area in the World for land tortoises. Further field surveys by CapeNature’s Conservation Detection Dog team for geometric tortoises will be supported with the rest of the funding. These field surveys would not be possible without this funding, which has made a very important contribution to the conservation of this endangered species,” says Dr Ernst Baard, Executive Director: Biodiversity Support.

In 2016, the Mail & Guardian’s Greening the Future Awards recognised this project with a Species Conservation Award and noted that “the contribution this project has made to decreasing environmental impact, reducing the ecological footprint and improving biodiversity conservation and management is extraordinary”.

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