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Goukamma Scott Ramsay July 2020 40
Conserve. Explore. Experience.
What we do

CapeNature in action

As the public entity that promotes and ensures biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape, CapeNature manages complexes made up of 113 nature reserves and wilderness areas, including six Marine Protected Areas (the latter on behalf of the national Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment). These span five distinct areas, stretching from the Winelands and the West Coast to the Cape Karoo, the Overberg and the Garden Route.

Central to these responsibilities is the efficient management of the province’s natural water resources to ensure a sustainable and equitable supply of this precious resource for communities, industry and agriculture.

This includes being the custodian of mountain catchment areas and remote areas – which may not be visible to residents or visitors – that have a direct bearing on the quality of life of millions of people. Fynbos, for example, is not only vital to the area’s biodiversity, but also plays an important role in facilitating rainfall catchment in the province.

For this reason, CapeNature’s duty of care to the ecosystem requires accurate scientific data, a sound understanding of fynbos ecology, and a commitment to the principles of integrated biodiversity management and planning. It also requires the committed buy-in of communities, the public and other players to work together to nurture and protect the Western Cape’s natural assets.

CapeNature projects and programmes

In our ongoing quest to conserve and nurture our natural environment for a sustainable future, we undertake the following projects and programmes:

  • Community-based natural resource management and local economic development: we unlock opportunities to ensure that local communities enjoy the benefits of natural resources and their sustainable utilisation and conservation
  • Youth development: we use educational activities to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and insights necessary for them to appreciate and preserve the heritage that will be passed on to them
  • Environmental crime investigation: we are active in preventing, investigating and monitoring criminal acts relating to the environment
  • Fire management: we take the lead in developing effective partnerships to extend fire management throughout the province
  • Wildlife management: we proactively manage any conflicts that arise between humans and wildlife
  • Stewardship: we have various initiatives to include private and communal land when establishing biodiversity corridors and to conserve vital lowlands habitat remnants
  • Ecotourism development: we work to develop nature-based recreational and tourism products and to leverage the Western Cape’s natural assets in such a way that protected areas become sought-after tourist destinations, and more accessible and attractive to a greater proportion of our population

Some of our projects and programmes

Groenvlei Carp Project

The Invasive Fish Species Management Non Profit Company (IFSM) consists of a group of volunteers that approached CapeNature in 2018 to remove invasive carp from Groenvlei lake by means of fishing bows.

Bontebok conservation

The Greater De Hoop Conservation Area is the stronghold of bontebok conservation. Together, De Hoop Nature Reserve and the adjacent Overberg Test Range support almost half of all bontebok on protected areas.

Monitoring of the critically endangered Geometric tortoise

The geometric tortoise occurs only in the low-lying renosterveld shrublands of the Swartland, Upper Breede River Valley and Ceres Valley.

Rough moss frog

The rough moss frog occurs at a single locality on the southern slopes of the Klein Swartberg Mountain. The main threats to this species are invasive alien plants and too-frequent fires.

Conservation of Barrydale redfin

The tiny Critically Endangered Barrydale redfin, for example, is limited to just 40 km2 in the Tradouw catchment where it is threatened by water abstraction, pollution and alien fish.

Possibly extinct Brenton blue butterfly

Of the two localities at which it is known to have occurred, the Brenton blue butterfly is now extinct at one (Nature’s Valley) and possibly extinct at the other (the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve near Knysna).