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South Africa’s plant paradise

February 10, 2015

Home to some 7000 unique plant species, South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region boasts the greatest flora biodiversity in the world. Efforts are underway to prevent its destruction in human hands.

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Image: Jürgen Schneider

Saving the plant kingdom

Project goal: Fire management, biodiversity protection, income generation in the field of conservation
Project size: 47 conservation areas and water reserves in the Western Cape province
Size of Cape Floral Region: approx. 90 00 km²
Number of plants species there: 9600 species, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site

With an abundance of 7000 unique species, South Africa's Cape Floristic Region is home to the richest flora biodiversity in the world. But this plant paradise, which also features on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, is under threat from fires, agriculture, poaching, illegal felling and sprawling urbanization. Both NGOs and the South African government are working to protect the region and the flora and fauna within. One small part of those efforts requires the help of Brin, South Africa's only Conservation Detection Dog. His job is to track down the endangered geometric tortoise, thereby enabling researchers to assess the size of individual populations. The search missions are kept secret, in order to prevent poachers from picking up the scent.

A film by Jürgen Schneider