Saving the Endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish from the jaws of death!
In November last year the EWT, in partnership with CapeNature, the Freshwater Research Centre, Northern Cape Department of Nature Conservation (DENC), the Organisation for Tropical Studies and Explore4Knowledge, trans-located a population of juvenile Clanwilliam Sandfish within the Biedouw River in the Western Cape. This trans-location intervention is a significant milestone identified in the Sandfish Biodiversity Management Plan which was recently gazetted for public comment by the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa. Before the trans-location effort, the team went through a rigorous, peer-reviewed risk assessment of the proposed intervention using the framework of the IUCN Translocation Guidelines to ensure all elements of the trans-location maximized conservation benefits, minimized risk and ensured the ethical welfare of the trans-located individuals. In all, the trans-location was a huge success. This was one of the very few trans-locations of endangered fish species ever achieved in this country, rescuing 380 sandfish juveniles from a stretch of the Biedouw river where they would have been preyed on by alien fish
species, to a section of river free of alien fish, where they will be able to successfully recruit. Considering our system-wide survey only picked up a total of 50 sandfish individuals, 380 new fish recruiting to the system represents a significant boost to their numbers. We just might see a viable Sandfish population in the upper reaches of the Biedouw River yet! To hear more on this mission from the team in the field, check out these video clips produced by Explore4Knowledge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BneAVceTj7U