CLANWILLIAM SANDFISH TRANSLOCATION IN THE BIEDOUW RIVER

 

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In October 2013 the Endangered Wildlife Trust Cape Critical Rivers team undertook a two
week survey of the Doring River, covering nearly 200kms from the Tankwa Karoo to the
Koebee valley in the Northern Cape. A key finding during this survey was of a high number
of juvenile sandfish (Labeo seeberi; Endangered) in the Biedouw River, a small tributary off
the Doring River – a species previously not known to spawn in that system. Unfortunately,
our observations suggest that there is no recruitment from these juveniles as they are heavily
preyed upon by alien invasive fish species in the Biedouw and Doring main stem, and are
also prone to desiccation as pools in the Biedouw dry up during the summer months. In
response to this dilemma, the CCR team collaborated with key government nature
conservation and research institutes, as well as other NGOs, to develop and implement a
comprehensive monitoring protocol for the Biedouw River, including fish,
macroinvertebrates, amphibians and habitat assessments.

The CCR team and partners successfully completed the translocation of 338 juvenile sandfish from the lower reaches of the Biedouw river, where they were doomed to predation by alien invasive fish species or desiccation when this reach dries up over summer, to a pristine stretch higher up in the Biedouw River, where these juveniles will be able to mature without the risk of predation by alien fish. Considering that only 45 adult sandfish were sampled in the Doring River in 2013, this translocation will increase the abundance and genetic variation of mature adult sandfish in the Doring mainstem and in turn facilitate their ongoing spawning in tributaries.

For more information on this project please see; http://www.sospecies.org/sos_projects/fish/ewt_freshwater_fish/

The CCR team also collaborated with the Explore4Knowledge team to produce a series of
short videos which covered the entire process from the pre-monitoring through to the actual
translocation of the sandfish, These are available here;
http://www.explore4knowledge.com/productions/

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