British corporation threatens South African birds


This video is called Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa: Birds, Part 1.

Part 2 is here.

From BirdLife:

British company endangers wildlife paradise

14-11-2008

A British company wants to mine coal in the heart of one of South Africa’ most ecologically sensitive natural environments. Conservationists believe the prospecting rights obtained by Delta Mining, which is now majority owned by London Mining plc, is illegal and poses one of the most serious threats to the country’s natural heritage for decades.

The extraction of coal from almost 200 km2 of the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg region, a vast area of wetlands and grassland east of Pretoria, would destroy habitats used by over 300 bird species including South Africa’s national bird, Blue Crane Grus paradisea (Vulnerable).

More than 85% of the world’s Rudd’s Lark Heteromirafra ruddi (Vulnerable) live on the Wakkerstroom where Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus and Yellow-breasted Pipit Anthus chloris (Vulnerable) also thrive. Thousands of jobs could be lost if the development went ahead. The sources of four major rivers are found in the region and all could be heavily polluted by mining operations.

BirdLife South Africa (BirdLife in South Africa) – supported by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) – has applied to the South African High Court for a judicial review of Delta’s prospecting rights in the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg region. These prospecting rights were obtained without proper consultation with affected landowners and without adequately taking the severe conservation impact of mining into consideration. …

Wakkerstroom’s high altitude grasslands host more than 300 species of bird and more than 100 endemic plants, and more than 80% of bird-watching trips in South Africa include Wakkerstroom in their schedule.

Among sites threatened by the prospecting is the Pongola Forest Reserve, which is a formally protected area and forms part of the Eastern Grasslands region. Delta Mining claims in its Environmental Management Plan that there are “no threatened species on the site”, yet 13 of the country’s endemic bird species are found only in this grassland region and this area was designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife South Africa in 2001.

See also here.

Birds near Wakkerstroom: here.

African Important Bird Areas get conservation toolkit: here.

A pilot project in Burkina Faso, Botswana and Kenya implemented by BirdLife Africa Partners, has confirmed that communities do benefit from the sustainable use of natural resources: here.

Protecting Africa’s IBAs – People and Partnerships: here.

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