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A checklist of the reptiles and amphibians found in protected areas along the South African Wild Coast, with notes on conservation implications

Jan A. Venter, Werner Conradie

Koedoe; Vol 57, No 1 (2015), 25 pages. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v57i1.1247

Submitted: 05 August 2014
Published:  17 November 2015

Abstract

We surveyed six protected areas along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, to determine general herpetofaunal diversity as well as the representation of species of special conservation concern. Visual encounter survey methods and standard Y-shape trap arrays were used to conduct surveys from 2011 to 2013. A total of 59 species (22 amphibians and 37 reptiles) were recorded. A number of previously unknown populations of threatened species and one potential novel species were discovered in these protected areas, and the known ranges of several other species were extended. A total of 243 quarter-degree grid-cell unit records were documented, of which 90 (23% amphibians and 50% reptiles) represented the first records for the area. Amphibian and reptile diversity increased along the coast and a number of species of conservation concern were well represented in current protected areas. Our study provides a comprehensive amphibian and reptile checklist for an under-sampled region and highlights the importance of baseline data for improving conservation management.

Conservation implications: Small protected areas play an important role in conserving a number of threatened herpetofaunal species along the Wild Coast. The region is currently under significant and increasing pressure from anthropogenic-induced environmental degradation, which affects biodiversity and subsequently the local inhabitants. The information presented here represents an important baseline for future conservation management.


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Author affiliations

Jan A. Venter, School of Natural Resource Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, George Campus, South Africa
Werner Conradie, Port Elizabeth Museum (Bayworld), Port Elizabeth, South Africa; South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Grahamstown, South Africa

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ISSN: 0075-6458 (print) | ISSN: 2071-0771 (online)

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