Red List of South African Species

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Endangered (EN)
B2ab(iii)c(i,ii,iii,iv)
Assessors: Michael Samways
Facilitators: Dewidine Van Der Colff
Reviewers: Domitilla Raimondo

Rationale

Within the southern Africa region, this species has a relatively wide distribution and is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threat or Near Threatened category and is assessed as Least Concern within the region. Within South Africa the species in known from an extent of occurrence an area of occupancy (AOO) of 72 km2 and it is known from more than 10 locations, but this might have been reduced in recent years. It has a highly fragmented distribution and does not seem to be a ready colonizer making current threats a concern. It is experiencing extreme fluctuations in its AOO, EOO, number of mature individuals and number of locations, due to impacts from plantation forestry and the severe effects of drought. Some KwaZulu-Natal subpopulations were lost in the droughts of 2003-2005 and 2014-2016. Its habitat (pools and marshes) appears to be particularly susceptible to drought, and possible future climate change. Further, it is continuously threatened by habitat degradation. This species is assessed as Endangered B2ab(iii)+c(i, ii, iii, iv), a regional category downgrade is not implemented for this species as there is evidence for its lack of ability to recolonize areas that have been rehabilitated, it is thus suspected to have very little to no immigration from neighbouring countries.

Distribution

In South Africa, it was formerly known from "Klipfontein, Transvaal" and Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park in Kwazulu-Natal, but it has not been observed at St. Lucia (now iSimangaliso Greater Wetlands Park) despite intensive searches in the area. This Kwazulu-Natal site was a breeding area. There have been occasional records of the species since 2006, including in Kwazulu-Natal and Limpopo Province. Globally, it occurs from South Africa to Tanzania (and possibly Kenya) and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Population trend

Trend

Current population size and trends are unknown. However, mature individual numbers are known to experience extreme fluctuations due to impacts from plantation forestry and the severe effects of drought.

Threats

Habitat destruction is inferred to be a threat in parts of its range. In South Africa plantation forestry has been a threat. Despite the plantation trees having been removed from St Lucia (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) and associated areas, it has not re-established there (Samways 2006, Samways 2008, Samways and Simaika 2016). It has been recently recorded from the Limpopo Province, South Africa but it is not known what the threats might be apart from drought and the associated increased trampling of its breeding sites.

Conservation

No specific measures are in place or are planned at present. In South Africa at least, it is important to carry out more searches for the species (Samways 2006). Rehabilitation of iSimangaliso Greater Wetlands Park through removal of the plantation pine trees might enable the species to re-establish in years to come.

Lead agencies, Partners, Funders and Data providers

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