Biodiversity, otherwise known as Biological Diversity, refers to the variety in species found within a given area. The number of individual living organisms, as well as the number of species naturally present, depends on variables such as climate, geography, available resources, soil type, evolution, chemistry and even human impact. Biodiversity considers all life forms, from the biggest of mammals and tallest of trees to the tiniest micro-organisms. In Great Brak River the ocean, river, estuary, vegetation and unique global positioning provides us with the opportunity to live in an area that currently has a wealth of biodiversity.
According to the South African Bird Atlas Project, 238 bird species are found in the area. The river and estuary is home to 33 fish species, not to mention the numerous invertebrates, amphibians, and aquatic plants that live alongside them. The Great Brak River Conservancy Camera trap project has captured photographic evidence of and identified 15 different species of medium-sized mammals that occur within the Great Brak area. Also consider reptiles like lizards, snakes and tortoises, small mammals like rats, mice and shrews, and the hundreds of different insects and plant species!
Healthy ecosystems with rich biodiversity have the ability to support all those who contribute to it, humans included. Looking after biodiversity and the environment as a whole are beneficial to current and future generations. We all need to celebrate, conserve and take ownership of this biodiversity as it is part of our natural heritage and local identity. This April we have the opportunity to not only familiarise ourselves with what lives amongst us, but to show it off to the rest of the world.
Take part in the City Nature Challenge from 24-27 April, four days during which cities around the world will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species and get the most observers. The Garden Route has been given special permission to enter as a district (all towns and rural areas within the Garden Route Municipality fly under the flag of the Garden Route for this challenge) and will be up against big cities like Tokyo, San Francisco and Cape Town. Last year Cape Town entered the City Nature Challenge for the first time and astounded the global scientific community with its diversity and won numerous categories. This year Great Brak is entering for the first time and has the ability to beat them.
How to enter the challenge:
- Download the iNaturalist App on your smartphone for free or go to www.inaturalist.org and create a profile.
- Go out and find a critter, plant or any sign of life.
- Take a photo and upload it to iNaturalist, along with its location.
All photos uploaded from 24-27 April that are positively identified, will be automatically entered in the challenge. If you can’t identify what you found and photographed, someone in the know will identify it for you.
For more information about the City Nature Challenge or iNaturalist go to https://www.facebook.com/Garden-Route-City-Nature-Challenge-101835558021716/ or www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-garden-route