Riverine Rabbit

Northern Cape

With the Richtersveld Conservancy bordering on the Richtersveld National Park, the total number of conservancies in the Northern Cape has grown to eight.

No formal association exists in this province because of considerable geographic and communication problems.  Bonnie Schumann, Senior Field Officer for the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme (EWT-DCP) is the coordinator for the Northern Cape Riverine Rabbit Conservancies. Conservation efforts for the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) are coordinated, in partnership with the provincial conservation authorities in the Northern and Western Cape by the EWT-DCP.

In response to the urgent need to address the rapidly declining population of South Africa’s endemic species, the Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) and its equally threatened Karoo habitat, landowners in the Karoo have established dedicated Riverine Rabbit Conservancies covering an area of approximately 350 000 ha private farmland (two conservancies overlap into the Western Cape).

The Riverine Rabbit is Critically Endangered and the species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction. The species is endemic to the Karoo and because, besides the small population discovered in Anysberg Nature Reserve in 2013, it only occurs on private farmland its survival lies in the hands of private landowners. Conservancy members are working closely with the EWT-DCP’s Riparian Ecosystem Restoration Project to restore sections of degraded riparian habitat vital to the survival of Riverine Rabbits. In addition, members are assisting the EWT-DCP’s exciting research using camera traps to detect the presence of rabbits as well as population densities.

For more information please visit the EWT-DCP website at www.ewt.org.za

All Riverine Rabbit conservancies in the upper and central Karoo region of the Western and Northern Cape are sign-boarded to indicate the conservancy areas, comprising a total area of approximately 350 000 ha private farmland. The Riverine Rabbit Conservancies are:

  1. Sak River Conservancy (straddling the Northern and Western Cape between Beaufort West and Loxton), size approx. 120 000ha;
  2. Krom River Conservancy (straddling the Northern and Western Cape between Beaufort West and Loxton), size approx. 90 000ha.
  3. Brak River Conservancy (Victoria West District, Northern Cape), size approx. 70 000ha
  4. Wagenaarskraal Conservancy (Victoria West District, Northern Cape) size approx. 70 000ha.

The Loxton Conservancy was established in 2003. This is the first combined rural-urban conservancy in the province and includes the town and commonage. However, this conservancy is currently not active.

Northern Cape Mico catchments Northern Cape Riverine Rabbit

Micorcatchments are designed to harvest water, reduce erosion and trap silt and other organic material / Riverine rabbit feeding on Draaibos in the Sak River Conservancy

Northern Cape Sak River Conservancy Northern Cape Wagenaarskraal

Conservancy Workshop October 2013 / Women plant and men dig in the Wagenaarskraal Conservancy working with the EWT-DCP to restore degraded riparian habitat May 2014

Northern Cape Robertson Farmers info Day Northern_Cape_Loxton_Community

Robertson Farmers Info Day with Brak, Sak and Wagenaarskraal conservancy chairpersons October 2013 /
Loxton community members working for Riverine Rabbit habitat restoration in the Wagenaarskraal Conservancy May 2014

 

The Northern Cape has no formal conservancy registration policy in place but a Letter of Support from the Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation (DTEC) has been received by some conservancies as acknowledgement.

Contact details for EWT-DCP and Riverine Rabbit Conservancies:
Bonnie Schumann
Senior Field Officer
Drylands Conservation Programme

Endangered Wildlife Trust
W + 27 (0)53 3813068 | C + 27 (0)72 122 4232
Email: bonnies@ewt.org.za | Web: www.ewt.org.za
Postal Address: P.O.Box 172, Loxton,  6985, South Africa
EWT Logo

 

Links to Northern Cape Conservancies

Great Brak Rivier Conservancy

Groot Gariep Conservancy

Loxton Conservancy

Mid Brak Conservancy

Oyster Bay Reserve Conservation Trust

Richtersveld Community Conservancy

Riverine Rabbit Conservancy