New 11,000ha conservation area protects more than 128 plant and insect species found nowhere else on earth
Namaqualand’s newest conservation area has been established to protect 54 plant species, 64 insect species and one vegetation type listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list. All of these newly protected species can be found only in this remote corner of Namaqualand and nowhere else on earth.
This conservancy includes globally important wetlands and the three major peaks in the area, namely Rooiberg, Eselskop and Weeskind which provides refuge for species such as the Cape leopard (Panthera pardus), the Skaamroos Protea namaquanum), the striking Roseate Emperor moth (Eochroa trimenii) and the amazing Long-tongued fly, an important pollinator for the survival of trumpet shaped flower species found in this area. This high, mountainous part of the Succulent Karoo, has irreplaceable Renosterveld, with an incredible range of plants including delicate ericas and bulbs of rare beauty. This new form of protection will see a variety of conservation stewards working together to provide the remaining 15% of the Renosterveld vegetation type with a fighting chance for survival for years to come.
For more than 5 years, Conservation South Africa has worked alongside government decision makers, conservation partners and communal and private farmers to promote and implement better farming practices in the region. Land users have benefited from hands on wetland rehabilitation training, invasive alien clearing and training, direct financial incentives for stock reduction, funding to establishing alternative economic opportunities right down to grass roots education and awareness raising through training and communications. Raptors like Verreaux’s eagle (Aquila verreauxii) and Marshall eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) as well as smaller species like the Honey badger (Mellivora capensis) and tortoises are greater beneficiaries as the conservation area is free from lethal predator control programmes that have seen the decline of many of the region’s animal species.
The Three Peaks Conservancy has united its inhabitants in their quest to protect the very nature that provides them with water, grazing and medicinal plants.