The Twee River in the Cederberg has been declared a protected area by the Western Cape government as the Twee River Nature Reserve. The move comes after Orren Capital’s plans to mine iron and manganese ore in the area raised environmental concerns and prompted outrage from landowners.
Landowners in the river catchment area initiated the application for the protection of certain places in the region some time ago, reports IOL.
The farm ‘earmarked for prospecting includes very sensitive river habitat that is home to a fish species, the Twee River redfin, which is critically endangered’, explained Marius Wheeler, the conservation intelligence manager at CapeNature.
The Twee River redfin is endemic to the eastern Cederberg and cannot be found anywhere else. The Twee River forms part of the Olifants River System.
There are two major threats to this fish, namely introduced fish species such as the Clanwilliam yellowfish and the Cape kurper, and habitat destruction caused by human activities.
Numbers of Twee River redfin have been declining since these fish were introduced into the catchment, even though they are indigenous to the Western Cape.
Introducing invasive alien species such as catfish and bass will likely lead to the extinction of the Twee River redfin, explains CapeNature.
Additionally, the Cederberg complex forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a Unesco world heritage site noted for its incredible endemic flora and fauna. The Cape Floral Region is one of only two global biodiversity hotspots in South Africa.
Also critically endangered is the Breede redfin. Read about an expedition to find them in the Witte River, in the June issue of Getaway magazine, on sale now.