NEW PARTNERSHIP PROTECTS THE LARGER BIRDS OF THE OVERBERG
Posted on the 20th April 2016
The Overberg Crane Group (OCG) has partnered with the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust (OLCT) to protect threatened big birds that live in the Overberg, and the habitat on which they rely. As part of the collaboration, a new OCG website has now been launched, while the OCG is also now active on Facebook and Twitter.
Habitat loss is a major threat to birds such as Blue Cranes, Black Harriers and Korhaans, many of them now listed as vulnerable or endangered.
These birds are often dependent on renosterveld ecosystems. But these ecosystems have been transformed and fragmented over the years, often due to agricultural production and the spread of invasive alien plants – now less than 5% of the original ecosystems are still intact. Fragments are mostly less than 100 hectares in size, which in turn threatens the ecosystem’s structure and its ability to function properly.
The OCG and the OLCT will together work to reduce human-wildlife conflict by supporting land users and other stakeholders where cases of conflict occur. The extension support includes awareness-raising opportunities on the need to protect the Overberg’s varying ecosystems, which in turn underpins sustainable development in the region.
Through the partnership, data will be collected on threatened big birds, their activities and the threats to them. The new website and social media presence will also encourage greater public participation in collecting information on birds such as Blue Cranes, Secretarybirds, Denham’s Bustards, Black Harriers, African Marsh Harriers and other birds. A connection with BirdLasser – an app which allows the public to record sightings – has been included on the OCG website. Bird watchers are also encouraged to report ringed cranes, as well as dead or injured birds.
Data collection will also provide valuable input to the OCG’s conservation partners, including BirdLife SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the International Crane Foundation and CapeNature.
The OCG works across the entire Overberg. However, BirdLife South Africa has highlighted six Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in the region. The OCG and OLCT will focus its attention on three of these IBAs: the Overberg Wheatbelt, the Agulhas Plain-Heuningnes Estuary and the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
The OCG-OLCT partnership is supported through the OLCT’s Watercourse Restoration Project, funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust. The project works to catalyse a watercourse restoration initiative in the Wheatbelt in order to create and conserve corridors linking critically endangered renosterveld remnants.
Wetlands and watercourses provide a diverse array of functions that have tremendous human benefit. They also provide corridors or ‘stepping stones’ for animals, birds and plants to move across natural areas, and along river systems.
For more information on the project and the partnership and how to get involved, contact Keir Lynch. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org