HCI’s first project is centered on the endangered Pondo Dwarf Chameleon, a species inhabiting the Wild Coast region of South Africa’s Eastern Cape. This species is under threat due to its limited range, with available habitat shrinking by the day due to development and agricultural conversion. HCI’s goal is to purchase available land inhabited by the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon so that it may be set aside as a reserve for the species. Members of HCI have already surveyed various available patches and confirmed the species presence. Patches of habitat targeted for purchase have been carefully selected in order to maximize area protected and hopes of future corridor creation between patches. We hope to partner with local researchers on basic ecological studies of the species to better inform habitat restoration attempts of any acquired disturbed lands. To our knowledge, this would be the first ever chameleon-centric reserve in the world.

Project Pondo
Project Location: South Africa
Species: Pondo Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion caffer)
Species Status: Endangered, CITIES Appendix II

The Pondo Dwarf Chameleon is known only to occur in the vicinity of Port St Johns, South Africa. It prefers thick coastal forest and suitable habitat for the species is believed to be limited to 45 km2 (17 mi2) (Branch, 1998; Tolley & Burger, 2007). Bradypodion caffer is assessed as Endangered because of its extremely limited distribution, extent of occurrence measuring less than 5,000 km2 (1931 mi2), and threats to its habitat (Tolley, 2010).


Unfortunately, the majority of the species already limited distribution is outside of protected areas. Loss and degradation of unprotected habitat in the region are attributed to, overgrazing by livestock, conversion of forest to agricultural land, fuel-wood collection, invasion of non-native plants, and urbanization (Driver et al., 2005).

The area we will be conserving is part of the “Wild Coast” and located in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The habitat type is coastal forest known as “Afrotropical” and is considered an endangered eco-region by IUCN and WWF. The Wild Coast is best known for it’s exceptionally high level of endemism in both its flora and fauna. Unfortunately habitat fragmentation, degradation, and loss are affecting these endemic species and many are endangered.



REFERENCES
1. Branch, W.R. 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
2. Tolley, K. and Burger, M. 2007. Chameleons of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
3. Tolley, K. 2010. Bradypodion caffer. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 July 2015.
4. Driver, A., Maze, K., Rouget, M., Lombard, A.T., Nel, J., Turpie, J.K., Cowling, R.M., Desmet, P., Goodman, P., Harris, J., Jonas, Z., Reyers, B., Sink, K., Strauss, T. 2005.

 



The Plan
Our goal is to purchase available land inhabited by the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon so that it may be set aside as a reserve for the species. Members of HCI have already surveyed various available patches and confirmed the species presence. Patches of habitat targeted for purchase have been carefully selected to maximize area protected while also attempting to create opportunities for future corridor creation between patches. Corridors are crucial as they allow for gene flow among populations and therefore minimize the risk of inbreeding.  We hope to partner with local researchers on basic ecological studies of the species to better inform habitat restoration attempts of any acquired disturbed lands. To our knowledge, this would be the first ever chameleon-centric reserve in the world.
 

Financial Goal
Current estimates put the projects budget at $50,000. HCI is a federally registered 501(c)(3) public charity, and as such your contributions are tax deductible. To become an official sponsor of the project please contact us directly.
 

HABITAT TYPE
The area we will be conserving is part of the “Wild Coast” and located in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The habitat type is a coastal forest known as “Afrotropical” and is considered an endangered eco-region by IUCN and WWF. The Wild Coast is best known for it’s exceptionally high level of endemism in both its flora and fauna. Unfortunately habitat fragmentation, degradation and loss are affecting these endemic species and many are endangered. 


Other Potentially Impacted Species
The same pressures facing the Pondo Dwarf Chameleon are also shared by several other species in the area of our proposed reserve. As such, our reserve would not only benefit our target, but also a variety of other endangered and threatened flora and fauna. Further surveys would need to confirm the presence of these species. Our ideal site would encompass as many of these species as is possible in one location. 

MAMMALS:
Giant Golden Mole (Chrysospalax trevelyani)
Status: Endangered

Bronner, G. 2015. Chrysospalax trevelyani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
 
Samango Monkey (Cercopithecus a. labiatus)
Status: Endangered

Dalton DL, Linden B, Wimberger K, et al. New Insights into Samango Monkey    Speciation in South Africa. Switzer WM, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0117003.         doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117003.
 
Friedmann Y, Daly B (2004) Red Data Book of the mammals of South Africa: A Conservation Assessment. CBSG Southern Africa, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (SSC/IUCN) Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

BIRDS:
Spotted Ground Thrush (Zoothera guttata)
Status: Endangered

BirdLife International 2012. Zoothera guttata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September
2015.

 
Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus)
Status: Endangered*

Note: This species lost it’s endangered species listing per IUCN when it was reclassified as a part of a broader group, but a recent genetic study showed that this avian is not only it’s own unique species, but likely critically endangered. IUCN and CITES are both reassessing the status of this bird, which due to it’s limited, fragmented and diminishing range will likely be moved from endangered to critically endangered.
Willem G. Coetzer, Colleen T. Downs, Mike R. Perrin, Sandi Willows-Munro (2015). Molecular Systematics of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus): Implications for Taxonomy and Conservation, PLoS ONE 10(8): e0133376 | doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133376 (OA)

INVERTEBRATES:
Pondoland Cannibal Snail (Natalina beyrichi)
Status: Critically endangered

Herbert, D.G. 2000. Natalina beyrichi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.

Pondo Flat-necked Shieldback (Arytropteris pondo)
Status: Critically Endangered

Bazelet, C. & Naskrecki, P. 2014. Arytropteris pondo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.

Transkei Shieldback (Transkeidectes multidentis)
Status: Critically endangered

Bazelet, C. & Naskrecki, P. 2014. Transkeidectes multidentis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.


Castleton’s Flightless Katydid (Austrodontura castletoni)
Status: Critically Endangered

Bazelet, C. & Naskrecki, P. 2014. Austrodontura castletoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
 

FLORA: 
Pondo Weeping Thorn (Colubrina nicholsonii)
Status: Endangered

Hilton-Taylor, C. et al. 1998. Colubrina nicholsonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
 



HCI is a federally registered 501(c)(3) public charity, rated Bronze Level for transparity by accessment organization Guidestar. 

 

This campaign has ended

$19,618.11

Raised so far of $70,000.00 goal


Donors
60
Supporters
1
Funded
28%
Goal
$70,000.00