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African Zoology

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Patterns of distribution and protection status of the endemic mammals in South Africa

C.M. Gelderblom, G.N. Bronner

Abstract


South Africa contains the majority of southern Africa's endemic mammals and hence is an important area for mammal conservation. Moreover, there is an increase in endemism, as determined by range maps, from the northern borders of the country towards the Western Cape Province. Within this area, the Cape fold mountains have a high number of endemics, particularly those which have very restricted ranges. These mountains are at the transition of the Karoo and fynbos biomes and may be a region of high species turnover. The numerous fynbos protected areas and mountain catchments, which incorporate over 30% of the Cape fold mountains, thus protect many of the endemic mammals of this area. The majority of these endemics are small mammals and many are listed in the Red Data Book, especially those restricted to the Nama-and Succulent Karoo. This is of concern, as both areas are inadequately protected by the existing protected areas. The coastal forests also contain many Red Data Book species, particularly Insectivora. These forests are, however, inadequately protected in the Port St Johns region. In this analysis data for the Insectívora were used to compare point and range data. The results indicate that patterns emerging from range maps provide a broad picture which can then be focused with the use of higher resolution data.



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