|PARK staff at the Cape of Good Hope section of the CPNP is conducting a survey this year on one of the most endangered amphibians in the world, the Cape platanna, Xenopus gilli.
“The survival of this small platanna is threatened by the destruction of its habitat and accidental breeding with its close relative, the common platanna (Xenopus laevis), which is widespread throughout southern Africa,” says Justin Buchmann, CPNP section ranger for conservation.“Normally the common platanna would not come into contact with the Cape platanna, as the latter only lives in the acidic blackwater pools that are unique to the Cape Floral Region, whereas the common platanna prefers the more disturbed ponds that are less acidic,” says Justin.
|The problem started when the small pools were widened for dams or other developments, changing the water qualities and enabling the common platanna to move into water bodies where it would not previously have survived.
“We will be collecting data as an extension of the work done by Dr Mike Picker of the University of Cape Town, Atherton de Villiers of Cape Nature Conservation, and their colleagues, “ says Leighan Mossop, CPNP assistant section ranger for conservation.
“The aim of the survey is to find out the conservation status of the Cape platanna and to compile a comprehensive management plan, together with experts like Dr Picker, so that action can be taken to ensure the continued survival of this amphibian,” says Leighan.
Pensioners visit Cape Point
FOR most people, their first contact with the sea is an unforgettable experience – but for those who have lived near the sea for more than seven decades but have never been near it, the moment can be overwhelming.
This was the case for most members of the Kayamnandi Senior Citizen’s Club of Stellenbosch, who visited Cape Point for the first time in their lives.
The group of 50 were guests of the Cape Peninsula National Park (CPNP) on a one-day outing initiated by Oupa Monoheng, chairperson of the club.
With their desire to visit Cape Point far exceeding their available resources, club members decided to approach Stephen Hulbert, the park’s strategic marketing manager, for assistance.
“Whilst we happily arranged free entry for them to Cape Point, other sponsors also assisted most generously. These sponsors included tour company Hylton Ross, which provided subsidised luxury bus transport and the Two Oceans Restaurant at Cape Point, which served the pensioners a delicious picnic meal of tuna steaks, salads, chips and fruit juice,” says Stephen.
“We are most grateful to the CPNP for their kindness in making the whole trip possible,” says Oupa