Distribution Maps for Certain Indigenous Species in SA

Please note: The invitation to comment on Notice 727 of 2016 (Gazette No. 40398) closed on 2 December 2016.

Stakeholder comments received will now be used to refine the natural distribution ranges. Once DEA has done the assessment of the comments and revision of the maps, the information and maps will be available from this website.

 

Background

The Department of Environmental Affairs embarked on a process to develop distribution maps for those indigenous species that are most commonly being translocated within the wildlife industry.

These distribution maps are being developed as a phased process; hence, the distribution maps available on this website involve those indigenous species that are most commonly translocated within the wildlife industry.

In terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No 10 of 2004) (NEMBA), “indigenous species” is defined as “a species that occurs, or has historically occurred, naturally in a free state in nature within the borders of the Republic, but excludes a species that has been introduced in the Republic as a result of human activity”. Further, an alien species is defined as -

  • a species that is not an indigenous species; or

  • an indigenous species translocated or intended to be translocated to a place outside its natural distribution range in nature, but not an indigenous species that has extended it's natural distribution range by natural means of migration or dispersal without human intervention.

Considering the above-mentioned definitions, and in order to provide certainty relating to the natural distribution ranges of indigenous species, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) embarked in a process to develop distribution maps for indigenous species. These distribution maps will be developed  as a phased process; hence, the distribution maps available on this website involve those indigenous species that are most commonly being translocated within the wildlife industry;

The translocation of indigenous mammals is an activity that is regulated in terms of provincial- as well as national biodiversity legislation. However, the factors considered when evaluating permit applications relating to these translocations often differ between provinces. In addition, there is uncertainty about the area/distribution range considered as the natural distribution range, which makes it difficult to determine the risks associated with a proposed translocation and whether it is within or outside natural distribution ranges. It is anticipated that the distribution maps will assist in addressing some of these difficulties and provide certainty relating to the natural distribution range of indigenous species.

The development of the distribution maps was based on a set of pre-determined principles, which include the historical distribution of mammals, as well as vegetation types to indicate the suitability of the habitat to indigenous mammals. This process involved the consultation of an extensive source of scientific references.

Distribution maps can soon be viewed on-line through a Map Portal.

 

Distribution maps have been developed for the following indigenous mammal species:

  • Black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou)
  • Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi)
  • Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus taurinus)
  • Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus)
  • Burchell zebra (Equus quagga burchelli)
  • Cape buffalo (Cyncerus caffer caffer)
  • Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra)
  • Eland (Taurotragus oryx oryx)
  • Gemsbok (Oryx gazelle gazella)
  • Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa)
  • Hartmann zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae)
  • Impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus)
  • Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros strepsiceros)
  • Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii)
  • Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus)
  • Roan (Hippotragus equines equinus)
  • Sable (Hippotragus niger niger)
  • Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis marsupialis)
  • Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus lunatus)
  • Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus ellipsiprymnus)
  • White rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum)

 

Principles used for the demarcation of the Natural Distribution Ranges of indigenous mammals in South Africa

In order to develop the distribution maps for indigenous mammals in South Africa, a process was first followed to develop a set of scientific principles on which the natural distribution ranges would be based. Thereafter, these principles were consistently applied during the development of the distribution maps. The principles are:  

  • Historical data dating up to 500 years back to be referenced. Information dating back more than 500 years will be considered and evaluated;
  • Habitat suitability based on vegetation types – the vegetation maps developed by Mucina and Rutherford (2006) were used;
  • In the absence of available scientific data, vegetation types where the habitat is consistent with current ecological habitat requirements of the species were included. Similarly, where scientificdata is available but the vegetation type is inconsistent with habitat requirements, the vegetation type is excluded; and
  • Where a larger vegetation type is suitable, but contains smaller patches of unsuitable habitat, the vegetation type would be included. If including a suitable vegetation type would result in the inclusion of larger unsuitable habitat, the vegetation type would be excluded.

 

Downloadable maps

Maps will soon be available for download from the download tab.

 

Online Web map viewer:

Will be available when comments are incorporated.