Babanango Game Reserve is celebrating the completion of its first BioBlitz – an intense biological survey carried out by a group of scientists, naturalists and volunteers to record all living species within a designated area over a continuous time period.
It’s a significant milestone for this new 22,000ha reserve that’s located in the heart of South Africa’s beautiful northern KwaZulu-Natal, offering the opportunity to enjoy a captivating bush experience and participate in a ground-breaking conservation project that’s benefitting local communities and protecting precious wildlife for future generations.
The BioBlitz was executed in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and was carried out by a group of 12 specialists, which included Masters’ and PhD students with varying specialities such as herpetology, botany, ornithology and mammalogy.
The purpose of the BioBlitz was to:
- Create a comprehensive list of species across the reserve
- Track biodiversity changes throughout the development of the reserve
- Gain insight into the diverse landscape and microclimates
- Better manage the species and ecosystems within the conservation project
During the survey, the team managed to capture and ring a variety of bird species along with a range of rodents that were all released after DNA samples were collected for research purposes
It also provided the Babanango Game Reserve team the chance to share some of their knowledge as they hosted educational sessions around the capturing, tagging and tracking of animals, while surveying the reserve for future ecological studies.
The results of the BioBlitz were favourable considering the short time period provided to collect insight and information on the local species and have revealed the following:
- The reserve is home to more than 202 different plant species, which is of significant interest to local botany communities such as Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers and the South African National Biodiversity Institute that are now taking note of the great potential Babanango Game Reserve offers.
- Some 153 different bird species were identified along with six different species of fish.
Based on these results, another BioBlitz will be organised to ensure that all species can be actively recorded during the change of seasons, ensuring a greater understanding of this new protected area.