Expansion of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas
To date, BirdLife International has registered 12 000 hotspots as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), making this the largest global network of important biodiversity sites. At present, South Africa has 124 IBAs, covering over 14 million hectares of habitat for threatened, endemic and congregator birds. The NVT, in partnership with BirdLife Plettenberg Bay and BirdLife South Africa, successfully applied for an extension of IBA SA098, the Tsitsikamma IBA. The original Tsitsikamma IBA covered only parts of the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park, including the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, and stopped on the eastern side of the Groot River mouth. The extended Tsitsikamma-Plettenberg Bay IBA now runs through Nature’s Valley, along the coast, all the way up to and including the Robberg Nature Reserve and the marine protected area in Plettenberg Bay. This expansion will draw much needed global attention to the amazing diversity of birds in Bitou. Strict criteria had to be met to be considered for inclusion in the IBA, and the NVT’s research on Kelp Gulls, African Black Oystercatchers and endemic fynbos birds helped to collect the necessary data to meet the thresholds for inclusion.
For a more extensive write-up, click here.