Pre-Symposium I, 20 Oct 2020
09:00AM - 10:00AM
Pre-Symposium Webinar or Meeting
The Conservation Symposium 2020: Session Chair Orientation
Format : Pre-Symposium Orientation
Moderators
Nonhle Mngadi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Michelle Tedder, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans
Greta Pegram, Environmental Law Association (ELA) Of South Africa
Craig Mulqueeny, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Ian Rushworth, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Monday Stats 1&2, 02 Nov 2020
08:15AM - 12:00 Noon
Virtual Online Webinar - Statistics Workshop
Statistics Workshop: Introduction to Data Analysis
Format : Workshop / Special Session

Workshop Description

Data management and analysis are important components of conservation research and planning. R is used in many disciplines and has become one of the most common statistics platforms in ecology. This course will focus on managing data and preparing for analysis using R including data collection, cleaning, storage, inputting into R, transformations and different graphical techniques to visualise the data.

Content

Data collection, cleaning and manipulation. Data visualisation.

Requirements to Attend

No background knowledge of statistics or R is required. The practical component will be run using R and R-Commander. Delegates must have R and R-Commander loaded on their computers. The link for downloading R: https://cran.r-project.org/. R commander is downloaded by typing the following text into the R console (after R has been installed): install.packages("Rcmdr", dependencies = TRUE)

Check-In
08:15AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

12:00 Noon - 01:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
12:45PM - 04:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Statistics Workshop
Statistics Workshop: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing
Format : Workshop / Special Session

Workshop Description

Data analysis is an important component of conservation research and planning. R is used in many disciplines and has become one of the most common statistics platforms in ecology. Hypothesis testing is the basis of inferential statistics. This course will focus on the introduction of statistical distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing and their application to ecological problems using R.

Content

Statistical distribution, simulation, estimation, basic hypothesis testing using parametric and non-parametric techniques.

Requirements to Attend

No background knowledge of statistics or R is required. The practical component will be run using R and R-Commander. Delegates must have R and R-Commander loaded on their computers. The link for downloading R: https://cran.r-project.org/. R commander is downloaded by typing the following text into the R console (after R has been installed): install.packages("Rcmdr", dependencies = TRUE)

Check-In
12:45PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Tuesday, 03 Nov 2020
08:00AM - 10:30AM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Opening Session: Conservation Approaches for Species Under Pressure I
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Joe Phadima, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Debbie Jewitt, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: David Lindenmayer, The Australian National University

Professor David Lindenmayer specializes in studies employing large-scale, long-term ecological experiments and other kinds of investigations to find ways to integrate conservation with wood production and agricultural development. He has also worked on biodiversity and ecosystem processes in a wide range of reserves and natural areas in southern Australia.


Check-In
08:00AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Opening Session Welcome and Introduction
08:30AM - 08:40AM
Presented by :
Joe Phadima, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Keynote Address: The critical role of adaptive monitoring in the conservation and management of reserves
08:40AM - 09:10AM
Presented by :
David Lindenmayer, The Australian National University

Protected areas have made a significant contribution to conserving the world's biodiversity and stemming losses of species and the degradation of ecosystems. Despite the extensive array of conservation interventions that are undertaken in protected areas, it is often not possible to determine how ecologically effective or cost-effective such interventions have actually been. A lack of robust monitoring lies at the heart of this problem - something that has been discussed innumerable times previously. This talk outlines ways in which a commitment to better monitoring might be achieved, in part through embracing 'adaptive monitoring' by building on (and improving) past monitoring efforts using some simple but fundamental guiding principles. Linking monitoring to innovations such as the IUCN Red Listed Ecosystem approach, and environmental and accounting methodology are two of several ways to build the platforms needed to instigate and maintain robust long-term monitoring programs.

Oral Presentation: Mammalian assemblages in the southern Mistbelt Forests of the northern Eastern Cape, and southern KwaZulu-Natal Provinces, South Africa, and their response to bordering land-use and edge effects
09:10AM - 09:22AM
Presented by :
Mbalenhle Sosibo, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Spatial distribution and abundance of mammalian forest species have declined worldwide because of the increasing demand for resources resulting in anthropogenic encroachment into natural habitat. Anthropogenic land-uses adjacent to forest patches may further influence the movement and occupancy of a species. We, therefore, investigated how dominant land-use surrounding a forest patch and proximity to the forest edge influenced occupancy and detectability of mammal species in selected southern Mistbelt Forests. Using camera-traps deployed at 200 points per sampling season, we determined the species richness, occupancy, and detection probability of mammalian species in southern Mistbelt Forests in southern KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces, South Africa. We applied the Royle–Nichols multi-session multi-species hierarchical model to estimate species richness and occupancy of 14 mammalian species. Large-spotted genets, Genetta tigrina, had the highest mean occupancy (0.54), and bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus, had the highest detection probability (0.14) across all sampling areas. Detection probability was low across all species (≤ 0.14), whereas occupancy varied (0.044–0.54). For the majority of mammalian species, detectability was not influenced by distance from the edge; however, forest specialists, bushbuck and tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus), were more likely to be detected at the core. The core is associated with a dense connecting canopy and dense vegetation where these species can take shelter and forage with reduced predation risk. Our results highlighted how bordering land-uses of grassland, human settlements, and commercial exotic tree plantations played varying roles in determining mammalian species occupancy and detectability in the southern Mistbelt Forest patches.

Oral Presentation: Navigating land-use conversion: Aspects of the spatial ecology of two mongoose species
09:22AM - 09:34AM
Presented by :
Jarryd Streicher, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Tharmalingam Ramesh, Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology And Natural History

The spatial ecology of the Herpestidae family remains relatively poorly studied across Africa. Small carnivore species, like mongooses, can provide models of how mesocarnivores persist with anthropogenic land-use change. We investigated how anthropogenic land-use change affects aspects of the ecology, especially habitat and home range dynamics, of two co-existing mongoose species (water: Atilax paludinosus and large grey: Herpestes ichneumon). Individuals of these two species of mongooses were trapped, collared and tracked using GPS-UHF (ultra-high frequency) transmitters to study their home range size and habitat use across a land-use gradient from the fragmented natural farmland mosaic of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to the urban areas of the greater eThekwini Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (D'MOSS) (farmlands: water = 5, large grey = 5 and urban: water = 14, large grey = 1). The overall mean home range size for natural farmland mosaic mongooses (95% Kernal Density Estimation (KDE) mean ± S.E.) differed among species: large grey (9.9 ± 3.77 km2), water mongoose (15.6 ± 2.70 km2). The overall mean home range size for urban mongooses (95% KDE mean ± S.E.) differed among species: large grey (3.24 km2), water mongoose (1.87 ± 0.32 km2). Home range sizes for 95% KDE for water mongooses differed significantly between the natural farmland mosaic vs urban mongooses (t = 6.23, df = 17 p = 0.001). Mongooses of both species avoided anthropogenically transformed areas in both the natural farmland mosaic and urban areas. This ability for water and large grey mongooses to adapt to their surroundings highlights the behavioural plasticity and generalist nature of these species, which contributes to their persistence in mixed levels of anthropogenically transformed landscapes.

Oral Presentation: Threat analysis of modelled potential migratory routes for the Natal long-fingered bat (Miniopterus natalensis) in South Africa
09:34AM - 09:46AM
Presented by :
Mariette Pretorius, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Hugh Broders, University Of Waterloo
Mark Keith, University Of Pretoria

Natal long-fingered bats Miniopterus natalensis are abundant, cave-dwelling insectivores, but their reliance on specific cave roosts for maternity and hibernation may make these bats vulnerable to roost destruction and population decline in an increasingly urbanising world. A meta-analysis of website and scientific literature was conducted to identify cave sites throughout South Africa and consolidate current know locations of maternity and hibernacula roosts for M. natalensis. The sites were assessed to determine whether roosts were located in formally protected areas, were tourist caves, and their distance to nearest primary road and nearest onshore wind facilities calculated. Next, likely migratory paths were modelled between maternity and hibernacula sites using least-cost path (LCP) analysis and threats along routes investigated. Of the 92 caves identified through meta-analysis, 37 contained M. natalensis, with 10 maternity, three hibernacula and two unconfirmed hibernacula identified. Of known roost sites, only 9% are currently located inside formally protected areas. Twelve LCP's were modelled, with more than 20% of two routes intersecting commercial agriculture. One ecologically important roost site was located less than 5 km from an onshore wind facility, with various LCP's intersecting these facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Various ecologically important roost sites were located less than 5 km to roads carrying fast-moving vehicles ( > 100 km/h). Caves, particularly in the Gauteng Province, are set to experience increased rates of urbanisation. This is the first study to identify potential migratory routes for M. natalensis in South Africa and highlights several avenues for future studies.

Oral Presentation: How wild is the bontebok on private land in South Africa?
09:46AM - 09:58AM
Presented by :
Sinozuko Silanda, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Matthew Child, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Andrew Taylor, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

The South African wildlife industry has been largely compatible with conserving biodiversity and has made a significant contribution to species conservation. However, a recent increase in intensive management has led to concerns being raised about the long-term potential consequences of the practice on species 'wildness' - the evolutionary and ecological independence of its populations. These practices may undermine the adaptive capacity of a species by disconnecting populations from demographic processes and interspecific interactions. Disconnecting populations from the broader landscape negates the ecosystem role provided by the species. Private landowners helped bring the bontebok back from the brink of extinction and currently own more than 80% of the South African population. Here, we run a case study using the Child et al. (2019) wildness framework to assess the degree of wildness of bontebok populations on private land along a spectrum from captive breeding to landscape-scale management. Between September 2019 and February 2020, a questionnaire survey was distributed to private bontebok owners. Ninety-nine completed questionnaires were received and analysed. Although wildness scores varied considerably across the sampled properties, 87% of the bontebok sample (n = 4230) could be considered wild (median wildness score of ≥ 3). Of the proportion considered wild, preliminary findings indicate that 49% have an intermediate level of wildness. While still significantly different from the protected area benchmark sites, the results highlight that, despite bontebok being managed for commercial gain, the majority of the privately-owned bontebok retain some wild adaptive capacity. However, high rates of predator persecution, fragmentation through breeding camps, and limited mate choice in many populations degrade demographic, evolutionary, and ecological processes, and will require innovative incentives or regulations to counteract this degradation. Additionally, the high rate of translocations between properties should be strategically coordinated to optimize genetic diversity at a meta-population, in support of the Biodiversity Management Plan objectives.

Oral Presentation: The conservation status of Euphorbia globosa, a species in international trade
09:58AM - 10:10AM
Presented by :
Tasneem Variawa, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Michele Pfab, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

Euphorbia globosa is a CITES-listed succulent plant species endemic to a restricted range within the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The species is in demand by specialist horticultural markets, and more than 25,000 live plants have been exported from South Africa since 2000. Inspections of local nurseries trading in the species have revealed that none of the six exporting nurseries has sufficient parental stock to supply the high quantities of plants recorded in trade. Investigations by conservation agencies further suggest that many plants may have been removed from the wild and laundered into the horticultural trade as artificially propagated specimens. According to the South African Red List assessment, E. globosa is undergoing a continuing decline due to coastal development and is Endangered. This field study was undertaken to assess the status of the species in the wild, which has re-affirmed the continued poor conservation status of the E. globosa population. The total population size, determined by physical counts and an estimate of sub-population sizes that occur at known localities throughout the distribution range of the species, appears to be less than 2,500 mature individuals. The population of E. globosa is considered fragmented in that the remaining subpopulations have a limited number of individuals and are widely dispersed. This raises the concern that this species may be faced with imminent extinction owing to its likely susceptibility to environmental and demographic stochasticity, as well as possible genetic decline. These findings will be used to inform conservation and management of the species and its habitat within the province, and will also be used in a CITES non-detriment finding assessment to determine whether continued trade in the species is sustainable.

Oral Presentation: Development of Biodiversity Management Plans for Species (BMP-S) for six threatened medicinal plant species in Ehlanzeni District, Mpumalanga.
10:10AM - 10:22AM
Presented by :
Nolwazi Mbongwa, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Thabo Makhubedu, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Cathy Dzerefos, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Domitilla Raimondo , South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

The use and trade of medicinal plants are embedded in African culture, because, despite access to western medicine, about 72% of South Africans still use medicinal plants, thus threatening their survival in the wild. This project engages with traditional healers, gatherers, and muthi traders in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Mpumalanga, to cooperatively develop Biodiversity Management Plans for Species (BMP-S) for six medicinal plant species, to ensure their conservation and sustainable use. The initial selection of species was done in October 2016, where stakeholders identified species, whose selling price was rising as they were becoming harder to find in the wild and at markets. A literature review was used to develop a priority scoring system that included conservation status, population trends, distribution patterns, demand, ease of propagation, and presence in protected areas. The top five medicinal plants located in the indicated local municipalities were: Bowiea volubilis (17.3) and Alepidea cordifolia (17.3) located in Thaba Chweu, Warburgia salutaris (16.3) at Thaba Chweu, Mbombela and Nkomazi, Haworthiopsis limifolia (15.7) at Nkomazi and Mbombela, and Dioscorea sylvatica (15.3) at Thaba Chweu, Bushbuckridge, Mbombela and Nkomazi. A sixth species, Siphonochilus aethiopicus (19.0), had the highest rating but the few remaining populations were considered too small and fragmented for a BMP-S to have an impact. The decision to exclude S. aethiopicus was reversed in 2020 when consultations and fieldwork identified several surviving wild populations in Bushbuckridge and found it being successfully cultivated by communities. Co-development of management plans that balance conservation with sustainable rural livelihoods and retain indigenous knowledge are necessary prerequisites for an effective BMP-S, especially for species that are beneficial to humanity.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Conservation Approaches for Species Under Pressure I
10:22AM - 10:30AM
Presented by :
Joe Phadima, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
David Lindenmayer, The Australian National University
Mbalenhle Sosibo, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jarryd Streicher, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Mariette Pretorius, University Of Pretoria
Sinozuko Silanda, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Tasneem Variawa, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Nolwazi Mbongwa, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
10:30AM - 11:00AM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
10:55AM - 01:00PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Two: Stormy yet Sensitive - Conservation in the Deep Blue
Format : Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT
Check-In
10:55AM - 11:00AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: The nesting turtles of KwaZulu-Natal – a long-term conservation success story?
11:00AM - 11:12AM
Presented by :
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Conservation of nesting leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site in northern KwaZulu-Natal began in 1963 following their near-disappearance from the coast due to poaching. The marine turtle programme was immediately established to monitor the recovery of these nesting species and has since taken pride of place amongst the most successful conservation programmes for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and as amongst one of the longest-running programmes of its kind globally. Despite these achievements, the recovery of these nesting populations in response to protection has met with varying levels of success. The nesting loggerhead turtle population, following five decades of active conservation and monitoring, clearly indicated a conservation success story. However, a serious decline in the population trend commencing around 2011/2012 has elicited concern. The nesting leatherback population displayed a weaker response compared to loggerheads despite being subjected to the same beach protection regime and having a reproductive strategy that should favour their population trend. Overall, the nesting leatherback population trend, after an initial increase, has stabilised over the 55–year programme duration. As the regional subpopulations of leatherbacks and loggerheads are regarded as Critically Endangered and Near Threatened, respectively, more work is warranted to investigate life stages outside of the marine protected areas. We look at current population parameters for these two nesting species, population trends, and adaptive management implementations, as well as the value and challenges associated with the maintenance of a consistent long-term conservation monitoring programme.

Oral Presentation: Nowhere to hide? The future of South Africa’s endangered Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea)
11:12AM - 11:24AM
Presented by :
Shanan Atkins, University Of The Witwatersrand
Co-authors :
Stephanie Plön, Bayworld Centre For Research And Education (BCRE)
Wilfred Chivell, Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Vic Cockcroft, Centre For Dolphin Studies
Danielle Conry, ORCA Foundation
Sasha Dines, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
Simon Elwen, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
Enrico Genari, Oceans Research Institute
Keshni Gopal, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) / Iziko South African Museums
Tess Gridley, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
Sandra Hörbst, Independent
Bridget James, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC
Gwen Penry, Nelson Mandela University
Pierre Pistorius, Nelson Mandela University
Meredith Thornton, University Of Pretoria
Alejandra Vargas-Fonseca, Nelson Mandela University
Els Vermeulen, University Of Pretoria

Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are endangered coastal predators at the top of the food web with a very limited distribution, restricted to a narrow belt in waters less than 20 m depth. They serve as useful indicators of coastal ecosystem health, because they reflect the state and functioning of the environment they live in. To combine knowledge and research efforts, a formalised network of biologists and conservationists, the SouSA Consortium was established in 2016. We aim to make coordinated decisions with the goal of conserving this endangered species and thus coastal ecosystem functioning. Our first joint project was able to refine a national population estimate and indicated that there are likely fewer than 500 animals remaining in South African waters. Combined with other information, there is strong evidence that the species is declining due to a marine environment increasingly impacted by anthropogenic developments. The various environmental causes are challenging to identify, but alarmingly high levels of various chemical pollutants, increasing noise pollution, habitat degradation, declining prey species, and by-catch in shark nets are all contributing to the rapid decline of the species. Unanimously, the Consortium members conclude that the cumulative effects of multiple factors are at play. Although striving to continue research into these factors, the Consortium acknowledges this will take considerable time and may result in another case of 'documenting extinction'. We thus feel an urgent need for a shift in thinking towards more action-focused conservation to prevent the future extinction of yet another cetacean species.

Oral Presentation: Population structure and migration links of southern African east coast humpback whales using photographic identification
11:24AM - 11:36AM
Presented by :
Bianca Tree, Cape Peninsula University Of Technology
Co-authors :
Rachel Kramer, WildTrust - WildOceans

The conservation of humpback whales is of global concern, particularly due their extensive exploitation during the 20th century. For effective conservation, continued assessments of the post-whaling status of the populations are required, which requires detailed information on population structure and migration patterns. Seven Southern Hemisphere humpback whale populations have been identified, with limited information available on the structure and inter-relationship of populations within the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), especially the C1 stock migrating past the east coast of Southern Africa. Photo-identification methods are globally used to gain information on migration patterns and can determine the population structure and connectivity of these populations. No single photo-identification catalogue exists for the C1 population and has therefore been developed for this study using the unique pigmentation patterns on the ventral surface of the tail flukes. This catalogue includes historic fluke images collected from various sources, as well as new images collected from dedicated surveys and Boat-Based Whale Watching operators. Detailed information on the WIO population structure, migration links, fidelity and accurate abundance estimates for the C1 humpback whale population can be obtained from such a catalogue. Furthermore, this research will assist in addressing the challenges of effective marine management through the increased the understanding of the population dynamics of this species (including of the South African east coast whale watching industry).

Oral Presentation: Sharks that bite, bather safety and by-catch species: Can we reduce the conflict by knowing when they co-occur?
11:36AM - 11:48AM
Presented by :
Shanan Atkins, University Of The Witwatersrand
Co-authors :
Mauricio Cantor, Universidade Federal De Santa Catarina
Geremy Cliff, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
Matt Dicken, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
Neville Pillay, University Of The Witwatersrand

The risk of being bitten by a shark is extremely low yet bites can be devastating. In KwaZulu-Natal, gillnets and baited drumlines are used to cull potentially dangerous sharks at popular swimming beaches to reduce the risk of shark bites. This bather protection programme provides public confidence and protects our valuable tourism economy, but not without environmental costs. Although only three species of sharks are considered dangerous, the non-selective nets have a high by-catch (animals caught unintentionally). We are framing the interactions between people, sharks and the by-catch as a human-wildlife conflict. Effective management of this conflict requires an understanding of the social-ecological system and, therefore, our objective is to examine the temporal patterns of bathers, sharks, and bycatch species at Richards Bay (which has a particularly high catch rate). Key questions are: Which species are caught and how often? What is the probability of catching target and non-target species in a given month, and on an annual basis? Which species exhibit temporal overlap, and which do not? We built generalised additive models based on the catch records of the gillnets and baited drumlines between 1980–2019 to describe the annual and monthly occurrence of target and non-target species. Similarly, for bathers, we counted surfers and swimmers daily in video recordings between 2017–2020. We then used simulations to estimate the probabilities of temporal co-occurrence of the target sharks, non-target species, and bathers. Our analyses reveal periods where co-occurrence is reduced and species do not overlap temporally. These findings could contribute to the ongoing efforts to decrease the mortality of marine species without affecting the current excellent levels of bather safety.

Oral Presentation: Pilot survey of an aggregation of endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks at Protea Banks on the east coast of South Africa
11:48AM - 12:00 Noon
Presented by :
Summer Newton, WildTrust - WildOceans
Co-authors :
Nikki Chapman, WildTrust - WildOceans
Jean Harris, WildTrust - WildOceans

Very little is known about the movement ecology and factors affecting the distribution of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), an endangered species with a wide distribution range in the south-west Indian Ocean region. Dive operators on the east coast of South Africa reported a large aggregation on the Protea Banks reef and canyon complex, occurring annually between October and February, which is not documented in scientific records. A pilot scuba-diver survey was conducted between December 2018–January 2019 to verify and record this reported aggregation. Both the northern and southern pinnacles of the Protea Banks (28–35 m depths) were surveyed daily for a total of 12 days, with two-diver teams conducting the count in a step-profile line-transect survey with divers positioned between 10 m and 30 m. Dive observations were recorded with a GoPro camera and a hand clicker was used to count individuals. The temperature, time, depth, and visibility at each sighting was recorded along with the direction of movement of the sharks. The start and finish GPS coordinates, and the wind, current, and swell parameters of each dive were recorded onboard the vessel. Preliminary results indicate that Protea Banks is indeed a significant aggregation site. The maximum number of individuals recorded in a single dive was 2,000 individuals, moving south to north over the southern pinnacle. Most sightings occurred at 15–24 m in December, and 20–30 m in January. Sightings were recorded at temperatures of 20–24 °C and 25–30 °C in December and January, respectively, with no sightings recorded in temperatures of less than 20 °C. These pilot surveys confirm the presence of a summer aggregations at Protea Banks, a newly proclaimed Marine Protected Area, and underline the importance of this site as essential habitat for threatened sharks.

Oral Presentation: Do submarine canyons influence zooplankton communities? A case study from the east coast of South Africa
12:00 Noon - 12:12PM
Presented by :
Njabulo Mdluli, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Jenny Hugget, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
Nicola Carrasco, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Shael Harris, WildTrust - WildLands

Submarine canyons are steep-sided valleys that commonly incise continental margins of the world's oceans. Higher habitat complexity, species abundance, biomass, and diversity observed in canyons suggest that they may be biodiversity hotspots and essential nodes for stimulating and sustaining productivity in surrounding continental shelf areas. Few studies have been conducted to investigate the ecological significance of submarine canyons off the east coast of South Africa. This research is the first to explore the influence of canyons in shaping zooplankton communities, which form an essential link between primary producers and higher trophic levels in marine food webs. This project aims to investigate the differences in zooplankton community structure and biomass between the canyon and adjacent non-canyon environments, explore relationships between oceanographic variables and zooplankton assemblages, and investigate whether submarine canyons function as an essential source of zooplankton for the shelf region. We collected zooplankton samples in June 2018 and 2019 from three canyons and three non-canyon sites off the north-east coast of South Africa. Preliminary results indicate higher zooplankton biovolumes from canyon sites (1.77 ± 0.71 ml/m3) compared to non-canyon sites (1.50 ± 0.54 ml/m3), although the difference was not significant (= 0.22). Biovolume was greatest during 2018 at Leven Canyon (2.79 ± 0.61 ml/m3), possibly attributable to the higher phytoplankton biomass recorded during this survey. Zooplankton communities associated with the canyons in this study appear to be diverse, with at least 39 Copepod taxa identified so far. This research forms part of the African Coelacanth Ecosystems Programme (ACEP) Canyon Connections project, a multidisciplinary initiative aiming to understand the ecological significance of submarine canyons and their role in influencing biological patterns in the pelagic zone. Ultimately, this study will provide valuable information biological in support of submarine canyons as potential areas for marine conservation tools such as marine protected areas.

Oral Presentation: Remotely operated video surveys of the Comoros Archipelago, to assess the mesophotic reef biodiversity and increase ocean protection
12:12PM - 12:24PM
Presented by :
Ayesha Bobat, WildTrust - WildOceans
Co-authors :
Lucy Woodall, University Of Oxford / Nekton
Jean Harris, WildTrust - WildOceans
Ryan Palmer, South African Institute For Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
Rosalie Wright, University Of Oxford
Ramadhoine Ali, University Of Comoros

The ecology and biodiversity of mesophotic reefs are poorly studied in the western Indian Ocean, despite their importance for sustaining fisheries and resilience of biodiversity. This paper presents results of biodiversity and fish community surveys undertaken in the Comoros Archipelago using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The overall objectives of this study are to i) improve the knowledge of the biodiversity of deep marine ecosystems in the Comoros Archipelago, ii) improve knowledge of fish species composition and abundance on deeper mesophotic reefs, and the role of these reefs in sustaining inshore fisheries, iii) build civil society capacity in generating marine science knowledge, and contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of fisheries. This project has enabled the first visual mesophotic surveys conducted in the deeper habitats (40–200 m) of the Comoros Archipelago and enabled a repeat of shallow reef surveys. Analyses show a shift with depth from the hard corals, which dominated the photic reefs, to high percentage cover of various species of sponges and soft corals, in the deeper mesophotic reefs. In general, the conditions of the deep reef benthic invertebrate communities at Grande Comore and Anjouan Islands were good but the very low numbers of fish were striking. The shallow reefs on these two islands showed signs of severe degradation, likely due to bleaching and possibly dynamite fishing. Large amounts of plastic and general trash were observed on both shallow and deep reefs. Reefs within the Moheli Island Marine Protected Areas (MPA) were in comparatively good condition, and the shallow reefs had healthy, hard corals that appear to have escaped recent bleaching, and groupers were relatively abundant compared to areas outside of the MPA.

Oral Presentation: Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in South Africa: Revisions, status assessment and proposed management
12:24PM - 12:36PM
Presented by :
Linda Harris, Institute For Coastal And Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University
Co-authors :
Stephen Holness, Institute For Coastal And Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University
Stephen Kirkman
Kerry Sink, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) are areas of importance in the ocean that are recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity if they meet at least one of the seven EBSA criteria. Although originally conceived as an approach to secure marine biodiversity in the high seas, EBSAs were also recognised as a tool that could assist countries in making progress towards Aichi Target 11. South Africa's original EBSA network was proposed and adopted at the 12th Convention of Parties in 2014. It comprised 18 EBSAs, eight of which were transboundary EBSAs shared with neighbouring countries and/or the high seas. In 2016, the MARISMA Project started, including an EBSA workstream, where the original EBSA network across South Africa, Namibia and Angola was revised, updated, and new EBSAs were proposed. South Africa's new EBSA network comprises 23 EBSAs, where two original EBSAs were each split into two, and three new areas have been proposed. Following this, a status assessment was conducted based on maps produced during the National Biodiversity Assessment 2018 of ecological condition, ecosystem threat status, and marine protected areas. To align with the emerging Marine Spatial Planning process in South Africa, EBSAs are zoned with proposed management recommendations based on the management objective of each zone and compiled into a coherent set of sea-use guidelines. Both the zoning and sea-use guidelines align with the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Biodiversity Plan, and are subject to continued updates and revisions based on engagement with stakeholders.

Poster Presentation: A collaborative campaign for 10% protection of South Africa’s oceans in Marine Protected Areas by 2020
12:36PM - 12:39PM
Presented by :
Rachel Kramer, WildTrust - WildOceans

Protection of the oceans in the African region has been lagging far behind most other parts of the world both in terms of contributing to global targets for the percentage within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the effectiveness of management of these areas. This project, led by the WildTrust, is aimed at unlocking the MPA expansion process in South Africa by way of a high-profile, intensive, and multi-faceted campaign to achieve MPA coverage of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to 10%. The project has worked to support and encourage the government in achieving its commitments, which is mandated to designate and manage MPAs, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) which provides technical support to Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). The following overall objectives were identified at the outset for the project:

1. To secure the formal proclamation of a network of new and/or extended MPAs in South Africa in 2018, increasing the area protected from 0.4% to at least 5% of the continental EEZ.
2. To establish an effective coalition to advocate for the proclamation of additional new MPAs to take the total area of protected South African continental waters to at least 10% by 2020.
3. To launch a campaign to build support amongst both the public and ocean stakeholders for MPAs.
4. To counter the positioning of the mining sector (hydrocarbon and mineral extraction), as a viable and important driver of blue ocean economies, which is in competition with MPAs.
5. To contribute to a regional movement for increased protection across all African national waters and Africa's southern ocean territories, aimed at meeting the current MPA target of 10% by 2020, but paving the way for African states and supporting a global target of 30% strongly protected waters by 2030.

This presentation will give an overview of the projects to date, its successes and next steps.

Poster Presentation: The Ocean Stewards initiative – incubating young ambassadors for marine conservation research and management
12:39PM - 12:42PM
Presented by :
Summer Newton, WildTrust - WildOceans
Co-authors :
Nikki Chapman, WildTrust - WildOceans
Jean Harris, WildTrust - WildOceans

The WildOceans Ocean Stewards Program offers young marine science students in southern Africa and the western Indian Ocean an experiential journey that gives them unique insights into the practice of offshore marine research and contemporary conservation challenges. Students participating in the Ocean Stewards Program are afforded an experiential learning opportunity working closely with field scientists, gathering research data offshore aboard the R.V. Angra Pequena. The program also provides a platform for exposure to topical issues in marine conservation, networking opportunities with marine management professionals, continued studies support, internships, and honing communication skills. It aims to inspire the pursuit of a career in marine science-based conservation, whether as scientists or future decision-makers. The ability for developing countries to deliver sustainable growth for a 'blue economy' will depend not only on scientific knowledge and experience from established scientists and conservationists, but also on ensuring that future capacity for offshore marine science is fostered, traversing demographic and fiscal barriers. This will allow emerging challenges to be dealt with in a holistic manner that sees citizens as part of the greater ocean ecosystem. A key goal is the strategic placement of informed and committed individuals in key decision-making, communication, and policy development positions in the marine science, management, and conservation sector which is centred around supporting a blue economy. The programme has developed into a fellowship that has grown to include 102 third year, Honours and Master’s students from eight universities, including students from the Comoros region. The students' efforts have thus far contributed to three key national research projects aimed at identifying offshore areas in need of protection in support of an expanded Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network in South Africa.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Stormy yet Sensitive - Conservation in the Deep Blue
12:42PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans
Co-authors :
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Shanan Atkins, University Of The Witwatersrand
Bianca Tree, Cape Peninsula University Of Technology
Summer Newton, WildTrust - WildOceans
Njabulo Mdluli, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Ayesha Bobat, WildTrust - WildOceans
Rachel Kramer, WildTrust - WildOceans
01:00PM - 02:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
01:55PM - 03:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Three: Keeping it Coastal - Marine Conservation in Practice
Format : Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans
Check-In
01:55PM - 02:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: Marine and coastal alien species – what’s the latest?
02:00PM - 02:12PM
Presented by :
Siyasanga Miza, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Tamara Robinson, Stellenbosch University
Kerry Sink, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Prideel Majiedt, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Shannon Hampton, International Ocean Institute - African Region
Koebraa Peters, Cape Peninsula University Of Technology

Alien species are species that have been introduced to areas outside of their natural range via human-induced activities, and invasive species are alien species that have self-sustaining populations that have spread from their point of introduction. Previously, the reported number of marine and coastal alien species in South Africa was 17, but recent research has increased the known number of alien species to 96. More than half (55) of these are considered invasive. These 96 marine alien species represent 14 phyla, the majority are Crustaceans (33%), Cnidarians (16%) and Molluscs (14%). The majority of these species are thought to have been introduced through shipping. Many of these marine alien species have been recorded in artificial habitats such as aquaculture facilities, ports, and harbours, while a few occur in natural habitats. Rocky shores are the most invaded ecosystems with the majority of invasions recorded in the Southern Benguela ecoregion. Ports and harbours remain the main points of introduction of marine alien species, supporting 62 of the known 96 species. The high number of recorded alien species in ports and harbours is attributed to their nature as the points of entry for the shipping and recreational boating industries. Recreational boating has been identified as a significant vector in the local spread of invasive species. This presentation highlights the current state of knowledge on marine alien and invasive species in South Africa. A monitoring protocol is recommended in order to facilitate early detection and rapid response that includes clear roles and responsibilities, and sufficient resources needed to ensure appropriate invasive species management for the marine and coastal realm.

Oral Presentation: Biodiversity monitoring for rocky shores in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
02:12PM - 02:24PM
Presented by :
Philile Mvula, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Angus Macdonald, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Maya Pfaff, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts

Monitoring is an essential component of the conservation and management of ecological systems, as it ensures that the most recent status of a system is captured and sudden changes detected, thus action can be taken. This study characterised changes that have occurred on the community structure of intertidal rocky shores along the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) coastline in the past 20 years. In 2018, biodiversity surveys were conducted on 14 rocky shore ledges along the KZN coast where baseline surveys had been conducted in the late 1990s, using the same sampling methodology. Total species richness was significantly greater at the majority of sites in 2018 as compared to 1996 (265 vs 215) (p < 0.001), and the increase was more pronounced in the mid- and low shore zones. Significant changes in the community structure were also observed in all intertidal zones (p < 0.001). Most notable, and of particular concern, was the decline in the abundance of harvested mussels, increases in coralline algae, the new arrival and establishment of two species of invasive alien barnacles, Megabalanus tintinnabulum and M. coccopoma, and the range expansion of a subtropical barnacle southward into the study area. Mussels are important ecosystem engineers in the intertidal zone, and a loss of mussels can thus transform communities, especially when it is combined with other disturbances, such as the introduction of alien and invasive species. The two non-native barnacles found in this study are the first invasive species known to have established on KZN rocky shores, which is of great concern, especially since invasive species have had severe impacts on the west and south coast of South Africa and elsewhere in the world. This study, therefore, constitutes a significant contribution to management and conservation of intertidal rocky shores in KZN.

Oral Presentation: Groundtruthing pressure-based condition assessments using in-situ fish and benthic community data from rocky reef ecosystems
02:24PM - 02:36PM
Presented by :
Kaylee Smit, Institute For Coastal And Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University
Co-authors :
Anthony Bernard, South African Institute For Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
Kerry Sink, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Mandy Lombard, Institute For Coastal And Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University

To manage the ocean effectively, it is important to be able to measure ecological condition. To achieve this, it is necessary to identify suitable methods and indicators that can be used to (1) accurately portray the condition of ecosystems and (2) determine the impacts of human pressures on ecosystem structure and function. The South African National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) uses cumulative impact scores (CISs), from multiple human pressures, as a proxy for condition assessments at a national scale. Here we present results from data-derived condition measurements of subtropical rocky reef ecosystems that were used to validate the suitability of CIS as a proxy for condition. A total of 144 baited remote underwater stereo-video systems were deployed between Durban (highly impacted area) and the no-take zone of the Pondoland Marine Protected Area (MPA), which constituted a low-impact reference locality. Suitable indicators, based on fish and benthic community trait data, were identified within the reference locality. Measures of these indicators were aggregated into multimetric indices (MMIs) over the entire study area. Results showed that MMIs were significantly correlated with CISs. However, fine-scale differences in condition categories between results from this study and the NBA can have important management implications. For example, poor condition was observed at the controlled zone of the Pondoland MPA, which was predicted to be in good ecological condition, based on CIS. This research constitutes the first attempt in South Africa, and one of the few globally, to groundtruth pressure-based condition assessments using an integrated data-derived approach.

Oral Presentation: Building ecological resilience in Durban Bay and surrounding coastal areas – a regionally relevant case study from South Africa
02:36PM - 02:48PM
Presented by :
Rachel Kramer, WildTrust - WildOceans

Globally, ports are highly important in trade and transportation networks, have major significance as import and export facilities and the development of surrounding coastal and urban areas. However, they are also hotspots for pollution related to the different operations they support which impact on environmental and social sustainability. The Durban Port is a modern and highly industrialized port. Whilst the Port remains significant from an ecological perspective, it is considered a degraded and transformed ecosystem. In addition to the current degraded system and continuous input of pollution and runoff from the city, the Port experienced an extreme storm in 2017, during which over 49 tons of plastic pellets were released into the port and dispersed along the entire eastern seaboard of South Africa. The challenges experienced, in responding to a pollution event of this magnitude, highlight the growing scourge of marine plastic pollution. This problem presents an opportunity for a coordinated project to create action-based research to create awareness to prevent further degradation and a clean environment that further stimulates nature-based industries as well as improving efficiencies of all activities in the Port. The Blue Port Project, established in 2019, focuses on progressively cleaning-up the natural ecosystem in the Port and trialling a series of sustainable mechanisms to manage waste input from its catchments. Since its inception, the Blue Port crew has collected over 50,000 kg of waste from the Port, reporting on both spatial and temporal characteristics and type of waste collected. In addition, the Blue Port Project has enabled capacity building and work experience for 50 unemployed youth. The Blue Port Project's goal is to establish the profile and reputation of Durban Port, not only as the busiest port in Africa, but also as a prime contributor to a vibrant blue-green economy that creates jobs while ensuring sustainability for the future.

Oral Presentation: Towards climate resilient Marine Protected Areas: Resistance and recovery potential of coral communities in Kenya
02:48PM - 03:00PM
Presented by :
Juliet Karisa, Kenya Marine And Fisheries Research Institute
Co-authors :
David Obura, CORDIO East Africa
Chaolun Chen, Academia Sinica

Coral bleaching has become more severe, more frequent, and is covering larger scales. Coral reef managers worldwide are now focusing on mechanisms to enhance the resilience of coral reef ecosystems. Ecological resilience encompasses two major properties: resistance to and recovery from disturbance. This study presents an analysis of the spatial pattern on the resistance and recovery potential of coral communities from bleaching events. Four resistance indicators (bleaching resistant, bleaching susceptible, sea surface temperature variability, and depth) and 12 recovery indicators (bleaching intermediate; large colonies; > 80 cm colonies; mature colonies; 11–80 cm colonies; crustose coralline algae; macroalgae; turf algae; soft coral; bare substrate; rubble; recruitment; 1–10cm colonies; hard coral; genera richness) were quantified at 22 sites across different geographic zones, habitats, and management levels. Two indices were eventually derived for each site: resistance and recovery potential. Results showed that there was a spatial pattern of resistance and recovery potential at the habitat level which evened out across geographic zones. Highest resistance potential was found to be at deep sites ( > 5 m) and highest recovery potential at shallow sites ( < 5 m). Exposed sites had higher resistance potential, while recovery potential was high at both exposed and sheltered sites. However, there was no influence of management on the resistance and recovery potential. Results suggest that relevant resilience-based management frameworks can be formulated by taking into consideration the ecological resilience at the resistance and recovery level. The current Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Kenya did not influence the level of resistance and recovery potential at reef sites. MPAs in Kenya were designed to conserve biodiversity and there is uncertainty about their effectiveness in enhancing the ecological resilience of coral communities. This study recommends redesigning or creating climate-resilient MPAs for the persistence of coral reef ecosystems and the services they provide.

Oral Presentation: Are Marine Protected Areas effective? The case of Table Mountain National Park
03:00PM - 03:12PM
Presented by :
Ndiviwe Baliwe, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
Co-authors :
Maya Pfaff, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
George Branch, University Of Cape Town

Efforts to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as conservation tools have intensified, to the extent that over 1,300 MPAs exist worldwide. This has raised questions regarding their effectiveness in mitigating anthropogenic impacts. This study assesses the effectiveness of Table Mountain National Park MPA in protecting the biodiversity of intertidal rocky shores from the impacts of harvesting. Surveys were conducted in harvested and no-take areas to compare the densities and sizes of exploited species and community composition between different protection levels of the intertidal rocky shores. Some clear patterns emerged. Firstly, no-take areas had significantly greater densities of the commonly harvested limpets Cymbula granatina, C. oculus and Scutellastra argenvillei, particularly on sandstone ledges. Yet densities of the rarely harvested limpets, S. cochlear, S. longicosta and S. granularis did not differ between protection levels. Secondly, C. granatina and S. argenvillei were significantly larger in no-take areas, while C. oculus displayed the opposite pattern. None of the rarely harvested limpets showed differences in sizes between protection levels. Thirdly, community composition differed significantly between protection levels. No-take areas were characterised by harvested limpets and mussels, while harvested areas were dominated by ephemeral and corticated algae, which flourished under reduced grazing pressure by limpets. In conclusion, this study provided congruent evidence that this MPA is effective in maintaining densities and size structures of exploited species on rocky shores, which is an important finding in support of the management success of Table Mountain National Park.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Keeping it Coastal - Marine Conservation in Practice
03:12PM - 03:30PM
Presented by :
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Siyasanga Miza, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Philile Mvula, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Maya Pfaff, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
Qhawekazi Jafta, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
Rachel Kramer, WildTrust - WildOceans
Juliet Karisa, Kenya Marine And Fisheries Research Institute
Ndiviwe Baliwe, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Oceans And Coasts
03:30PM - 04:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
03:40PM - 05:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Four: More Than a Map - Clever Plans for Biodiversity Gains
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT
Santosh Bachoo, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: David Takacs, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

David Takacs is a Professor of Law at University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, specializing in biodiversity law, climate change law, environmental human rights, Public Trust Doctrine, and Environmental and Ecological Democracy.


Check-In
03:40PM - 03:45PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: Making elephants fungible: Biodiversity offsetting and the law
03:45PM - 04:20PM
Presented by :
David Takacs, University Of California, Hastings College Of The Law

Humans are decimating nonhuman species and ecosystems, undercutting our own life support systems. In response, conservationists are crafting new ideas to sustain the biodiversity that sustains us all, and lawyers and policymakers are sculpting those ideas into law. Laws facilitating 'biodiversity offsetting' are now on the books or in process in over 100 jurisdictions. Where biodiversity offsetting is permitted, developers may degrade or destroy biodiversity in one place in exchange for 'offsetting' the damage elsewhere. But is life fungible? What does it signify — for human and nonhuman communities — when laws permit us to destroy koalas with certainty, right here and now, in exchange for offsetting hypothetical koalas in the future, over yonder? This talk describes this burgeoning practice of biodiversity offsetting, drawing on fieldwork in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The article explores the many, vehement objections to the process, and counters with the responses to those objections. It concludes that given the shortcomings of laws that guide traditional conservation efforts, and the spectre of increasing human demands on a planet threatened by global climate change, offsetting done right can be one tool in a reconfigured approach to preserving nonhuman (and thus human) life on Earth. But how can offsetting be done 'right'? Can it ever be anything other than a sop to developers? This talk discusses criteria for what effective biodiversity offsetting would look like, explaining how offsetting could potentially fit into landscape-level planning that serves human and nonhuman needs, and illustrates some examples of 'best practice' offsetting from the field. It concludes with observations about what biodiversity offsetting says about conservation in the 21st century and what sustainable biodiversity conservation in the 21st century requires of biodiversity offsetting as we careen into a future of exploding human needs, chaotic climate change, and a renewed need to acknowledge our oft-overlooked crucial dependence on the natural world that sustains us all.

Oral Presentation: Unravelling regional geodiversity: A systematic approach to geodiversity assessments as a primer for landscape characterisation in the uThukela District, KwaZulu-Natal
04:20PM - 04:32PM
Presented by :
Jonathan Atkinson, University Of Cape Town
Co-authors :
Willem De Clercq, Stellenbosch University

Geodiversity (abiotic complexity) has not received the same level of attention as biodiversity (biotic complexity) despite their intrinsic and indivisible linkages to the characterisation of ecosystem and landscape richness, and, therefore, must have its potential explored. The present work outlines the findings of a semi-quantitive assessment of geodiversity in the entire uThukela District Municipality (UTDM), KwaZulu-Natal. Foremost, this work aims to provide a first approximation methodology for a Geodiversity Index (GDIx) quantification adapted to a regional context scaling-up potential to a national level. It is expected that the GDIx digital coverage will be a flexible decision-support tool, even for the most agnostic of users, allowing straightforward interpretation regardless of specialist background. We evaluate the contribution of seven ensuing partial-diversity covariates that take into account hydrographic, lithostratigraphic, pedological, climatic, topographic, solar morphometric, and geomorphometric information to obtain a final GDIx calculated from the sum of these partial thematic indices. We further highlight the utility of the derived GDIx dataset as a decision-support tool for landscape characterisation by relating the geodiversity distribution to several strategic land-use planning spatial coverages currently in the public domain: National Land Cover, National Land Capability, Provincial Bio-Resource Units and Vegetation Status. Our results highlight the significant contribution of topographical, pedological, and geological as well as the geomorphometric diversity to overall regional geodiversity representation. Our results further indicate that both Grassland and Savanna Biomes are considered to be high GDIx hotspots. Beyond the regional merits for decision-makers and practitioners, the novelty of this research is its contribution to unravelling local-application enigmas as well as cementing specific affirmations regarding GDIx quantification optimisation gained through the use of GIS, including limitations due to feature scale, appropriate abiotic feature selection, and ease of cartographic interpretability.

Oral Presentation: Biodiversity Management Plans for Ecosystems (BMP-Es): An untapped resource for urban biodiversity conservation and management
04:32PM - 04:44PM
Presented by :
Nicholas Galuszynski, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) / Nelson Mandela University
Co-authors :
Andrew Skowno, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Anisha Darayam, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Shayla Tricam, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Alastair Potts, Nelson Mandela University

The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA, 2004) makes provisions for Biodiversity Management Plans to be developed for target Species (BMP-S) or Ecosystems (BMP-E) of conservation concern. Biodiversity Management Plans for Species have proven useful in managing and protecting South Africa's natural resources, with plans published for both plant and animal taxa. However, (and for no clear reason) no BMP-Es have been published. Through attempts at initiating BMP-Es across a range of land use contexts (rural, peri-urban, and urban), we describe the potential challenges that may have slowed the adoption of BMP-Es as a conservation and management tool. Furthermore, by highlighting our success in an urban ecological context, we present the case of the BMP-E as an untapped resource for ensuring the long-term management and protection of biodiversity in privately-owned urban landscapes.

Oral Presentation: Surface mining in the South African Grassland Biome: Proximity and threat to biodiversity
04:44PM - 04:56PM
Presented by :
Bernard Olivier, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Robert Buitenwerf, Aarhus University
Wayne Truter, University Of Pretoria
Michelle Greve, University Of Pretoria

Surface mines, though smaller in area than most anthropogenic land-uses, can have long-term, and long-distance, impacts on biodiversity. Meeting conservation goals within the biodiversity-rich, yet poorly protected, Grassland Biome, one of the most densely mined biomes in South Africa, requires careful land-use planning. To assess if surface mines have disproportionate proximities to Biodiversity Priority Zones (BPZs), the observed mine establishment within BPZs, and within 1 km, 1–5 km, and 5–10 km buffers of protected areas, important bird areas, and wetland boundaries were determined. The observed surface mine area within these zones was compared to the expected mine area if mine establishment was randomised. We assessed if the number of endemic plant species in a vegetation type was related to the surface mine area. Mining area was significantly higher than expected within 1–5 km, and 5–10 km of protected areas; and within 1 km of wetlands (all p < 0.001) from the randomised placement of mines. Conversely, mining area was significantly lower within, and within a 1km buffer of protected areas; in all zones of important bird areas; and within, in a 1–5 km, and 5–10 km buffer of wetlands (all p < 0.001). Of the currently legally designated protected areas, 99 have mines within their borders. There was no link between the endemic species richness and mining within a vegetation type. We conclude that protected areas are at disproportionate risk from long-distance (1–10 km) impacts of surface mining, whilst wetlands are at high risk of the direct, and short distance impacts of surface mining (e.g. water pollution) ( < 1 km). These patterns of surface mine establishment highlight the importance of considering the proximity of conflicting land-uses given the often ignored, long-distance impacts of mining.

Oral Presentation: Testing the spatial and temporal avoidance hypotheses: Do subordinate carnivores change behaviour in response to dominant carnivores?
04:56PM - 05:08PM
Presented by :
Kyle Smith, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Jan Venter, Nelson Mandela University
Mark Keith, University Of Pretoria
Michael Somers, University Of Pretoria

Interspecific relationships among carnivores are important components of ecosystem functioning. Carnivore species coexist according to dominance hierarchies that force behavioural changes in subordinate carnivores. Subordinate carnivores will, therefore, change their spatial use or activity patterns, or a combination of both to avoid risk. To determine risk avoidance patterns, we examined coexistence, and the related temporal and spatial avoidance behaviour within three carnivore communities. We used data from 21 camera traps in Pilanesberg National Park (PNP), 46 in Madikwe Game Reserve (MGR), and 19 in Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) that were active for approximately 19, 8, and 11 months respectively to assess temporal and spatial overlap of carnivore species pairs within each site. Our data show varying differences in activity patterns and space use overlap among species pairs between study sites. Large and medium-sized carnivores like spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), brown hyenas (Hyaena brunnea), and aardwolves (Proteles cristata) presented mostly overlapping space use, yet had no significant temporal overlap with the dominant predator in each study site, namely lions (Panthera leo). Apart from the cathemeral activity patterns of leopards (Panthera pardus), activity differences were restricted to nocturnal or crepuscular periods for all carnivores. Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) showed minimal spatial and temporal overlap with competitors such as spotted hyenas in MGR and caracal (Caracal caracal) in PNP while temporal and spatial overlap were observed with lions in MGR and MZNP but not in PNP. Small carnivores showed more overlap with lions than medium-sized carnivores. Overall, we found that avoidance behaviour among carnivore species are complex, species and area-specific, and influenced by carnivore species composition of a community, body sizes, and likely overlap in prey preferences. We, therefore, recommend that managers consider all possible interactions when considering management interventions on any of the species considered here.

Poster Presentation: Biodiversity and resource survey on the Pongola Bush fragment in KwaZulu-Natal
05:08PM - 05:11PM
Presented by :
Timothy Hall, University Of The Witwatersrand
Co-authors :
Robert Scholes, University Of The Witwatersrand
Mary Scholes, University Of The Witwatersrand

Deforestation has plagued ecosystems around the globe for centuries and has resulted in both the fragmentation and loss of systems, with South Africa being no exception. During the late 19th century, forest exploitation in South Africa, driven by demand for timber, resulted in a decrease in abundance and diversity of tree resources. The need for conservation of these habitats is essential to maintain biodiversity and prevent ecosystem collapse. Conservation will safeguard the necessary ecological functionality and promote whole system resilience. Various forested ecotypes are largely under conservation, but some have fallen through the cracks due to lack of information or reason to conserve. The Pongola Bush is such a case. Conservation management efforts have been hindered due to a lack of a systematic assessment of the systems flora. The chosen forest fragment is the largest remaining fragment of the Pongola Bush forest subtype in the region. Total forested above-ground biomass (AGB), species above-ground biomass, and diversity indices were conducted. Of the 780 tonnes of AGB per hectare of forest, 70% of the AGB was dominated by four emergent species. Interestingly, the four species with the highest stem density were not those that dominated the forest biomass. A high frequency of the species sampled had a small stem diameter with fewer species having larger stem diameters. Species diversity and evenness of the forest was high with a low species dominance. In terms of functional diversity, there was a clear biomass dominance and functionally rich species diversity. This survey is the first formal resource survey conducted on the Pongola Bush and has shed light on the functionality and composition of the forest to better aid future conservation decision making.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: More than a Map - Clever Plans for Biodiversity Gains
05:11PM - 05:30PM
Presented by :
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT
Co-authors :
David Takacs, University Of California, Hastings College Of The Law
Jonathan Atkinson, University Of Cape Town
Nicholas Galuszynski, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) / Nelson Mandela University
Bernard Olivier, University Of Pretoria
Kyle Smith, University Of Pretoria
Timothy Hall, University Of The Witwatersrand
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2020
08:00AM - 09:30AM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Conservation and Bioacoustics Collision Session I: Keynote Address: From the Heaviside’s to the humpback: 13 years of bioacoustics research in southern Africa
Format : Keynote Presentations | Moderated Discussion

For the first time ever The Conservation Symposium and the African Bioacoustics Community are teaming up! Conservation and Bioacoustics collide in a full-day session exploring the uses of sound to aid in the efforts of conservationists and managers dedicated to preserving life on earth.

African Bioacoustics Community

Bioacoustic research from Africa and by African scientists is not well represented in the global field and thus the African Bioacoustic Community strives to shine a light on the achievements of science in Africa. We strive for equal representation, access to crucial learning and networking opportunities, and to provide an environment where information flows freely between scientists, research labs, countries and continents. We at the African Bioacoustics Community want to make the science of sound accessible to the continent of Africa. We cannot achieve this without a diverse and inclusive mindset, without valuing new ideas, without celebrating different approaches. We hope to foster connection and relationships between like-minded people who are passionate about a unique and fascinating field of science. Our ultimate goal is to provide a socially and environmentally conscious place for researchers to network, to learn and to share their research in the field of bioacoustics.


Keynote Speaker: Tess Gridley, University of Stellenbosch

Dr Tess Gridley co-directs Sea Search and the associated Namibian Dolphin Project, and is the founder of the African Bioacoustics Community. She has been working in Africa for almost 20 years - working in both the NGO and academic sector - spanning community outreach to academic research and policy. Her research covers a wide spectrum of species and topics with a core focus on individual signature whistle use dolphins. This presentation will summarise key research by Tess and her team over the past 13 years, including many first species accounts and pioneering research on acoustic communication in humpback whales and high-frequency specialists such as Heaviside's dolphins. A journey of bioacoustics research and exploration with lessons learned and reflection along the way.


Check-In
08:00AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

From the Heaviside’s to the humpback: 13 years of bioacoustics research in Southern Africa
08:30AM - 09:30AM
Presented by :
Tess Gridley, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University

Bioacoustics is an increasingly important tool in conservation science - but often the links between purely ethological and applied science are difficult to see. In Africa, many species and habitats suffer from direct conservation challenges or data deficiency, while generating new information is hindered by small budgets and often remote locations. Acoustic methods offer a cost-effective way to generate important information on a wide range of behavioural and conservation questions. In this presentation, I will summarise research highs and lows from 13 years of working in four African countries. I will draw on key findings that range across the spectrum of science from pure ethology to applied conservation with a focus on research conducted on marine mammals in coastal Africa, from Heaviside's dolphin to humpback whales and more. Results demonstrate how genetic, ecological, and learned differences can all generate variation in acoustic behaviour and caution against generalisations between areas and species. Long-term acoustic monitoring has highlighted occurrence and behavioural patterns contrasting with accepted knowledge and emphasised the importance of thorough sampling. By understanding vocal repertoires, insight into spatial and temporal differences in habitat use can be acquired. By cataloguing individual signature whistles, individual ranging patterns and robust estimates of abundance can be made. Through production and acoustic parameters, the arousal and welfare state of our study animals is better understood. Bioacoustic science has an important role to play in conservation and I will conclude the presentation by drawing on areas of overlap between The Conservation Symposium and African Bioacoustics Community in this important first-ever cross-over session.

09:30AM - 10:00AM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
09:55AM - 12:00 Noon
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Conservation and Bioacoustics Collision Session II
Format : Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Check-In
09:55AM - 10:00AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: A review of bioacoustics in Africa
10:00AM - 10:15AM
Presented by :
Frowin Becker, Victoria University Of Wellington / Te Herenga Waka / National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project
Co-authors :
Tess Gridley, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
Fannie Shabangu, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Fisheries Management

Bioacoustics is a rapidly growing field of research and applied science which has benefitted hugely from technological advances in the past 20 years. Despite the large biodiversity and research interest, bioacoustics science in Africa remains more underexplored than in other geographic regions. Here we undertake a comprehensive systematic review of bioacoustics-related research in Africa and its territories providing an overview of the current state of research and areas for development. We investigate the chronological, geographical, and taxonomic distribution of African bioacoustics publications, as well as the distribution of intellectual property among contributing authors and their affiliations. We defined bioacoustics as "all matters related to the production, transmission, and reception of sound in nature, as well as the investigation and use of natural sound by people and impacts of anthropogenic sounds on animals". We were able to extract more than 750 publications on African bioacoustics research spanning from 1953 to 2020. Our analyses include illustrating the proportionality of taxa, habitat type, geographical location (country and locality), publication type, author affiliation (African or non-African), as well as keywords (where applicable). Preliminary results suggest that the overall publication rate increased exponentially over time, with southern and East Africa, as well as Madagascar, facilitating the majority of research efforts. These efforts were overwhelmingly directed at behaviour and taxonomy – especially pertaining to mammals. Terrestrially based research was dominant, with only a small proportion of the literature focussing on freshwater or marine habitats. With a recently established and active bioacoustics forum, there is the promise of increased collaboration, knowledge exchange, technology transfer and research output to optimise the field's multiple facets. This review should stimulate future research in Africa and facilitate allocation of finances in areas which have thus far been poorly studied.

Oral Presentation: Environmental integrity: Is South African legislation adequately protecting marine life from seismic survey noise?
10:15AM - 10:30AM
Presented by :
Adelaide Aquiline Karomo, Nelson Mandela University
Co-authors :
Patrick Vrancken, Nelson Mandela University
Stephanie Plön, Bayworld Centre For Research And Education (BCRE)

Since the wake of industrialisation anthropogenic activities for the exploration and exploitation of marine resources have been on the increase and the noise produced by these activities has also intensified. Among these activities are seismic surveys, widely used by the petroleum industry to detect hydrocarbon-bearing formations before wells can be drilled into the seabed. These seismic surveys involve the use of "pneumatic sound energy sources such as" towed airguns used in clusters and fired in quick succession. Unfortunately, airguns have been documented to emit high and low-frequency noise with the potential to negatively impact marine species. In order to grow its gross domestic product, seismic surveys for the exploitation of oil and gas reserves have been conducted within South African waters since the 1980s. Initiatives such as Operation Phakisa have accelerated the rate of marine oil and gas exploration and this has led to growing concern among the environmental protection community that the preservation of marine biodiversity is under threat. To ensure the maintenance of environmental integrity it is, therefore, necessary to effectively regulate these marine activities, and to monitor the compliance of the petroleum industry with the adopted regulations. Due to the controversial nature of seismic surveys, this paper aims to identify and assess the current South African legislation regulating seismic survey noise emissions, as well as its ability to effectively protect marine life. However, because noise is transboundary in nature marine environmental protection regulations by international fora will also be discussed. Particular attention will be drawn to global instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on Biological Diversity, as far as they relate to South Africa's obligation to protect the marine environment and the species therein from underwater noise. This paper will also discuss the United Kingdom's offshore seismic survey legislation, mitigation and monitoring guidelines as a means of identifying the gaps in the South African regulations, if any, and consequentially provide recommendations on how they can be developed.

Oral Presentation: Noisy margins: A new approach using ecoacoustic assessment to determine the relative conservation value of natural vs anthropogenic ecotones
10:30AM - 10:45AM
Presented by :
Aileen Van Der Mescht, University Of The Free State / Stellenbosch University
Co-authors :
James Pryke, Stellenbosch University
René Gaigher, Stellenbosch University
Michael Samways, Stellenbosch University

Ecoacoustic methods are applicable for a wide range of ecological studies, as soundscapes vary in accordance with both the landscape and the species present within the landscape. In all landscapes, ecotones occur naturally, and each has unique ecological conditions to which species show specific responses. Since ecotones are maintained by both natural and anthropogenic processes, we investigate whether soundscapes can help determine the relative conservation value of these ecotone types in a complex landscape of natural grasslands, indigenous forests and alien plantation trees. To do this we use the calls of male bush crickets – conspicuous members of nocturnal soundscapes – and use species composition, acoustic activity and total call times to determine the relative conservation value of ecotones in this landscape. 90,000 calls were analysed and 11 bush cricket species identified in both natural and anthropogenic biotopes and ecotones. We found the different ecotones to have characteristic species assemblages, with the constituent species belonging to both, or one of the adjacent biotopes. The soundscape reflects the substantial heterogeneity within this complex landscape. The natural forest-grassland ecotone was found to be of substantial conservation value as it supported the most species. Surprisingly, despite its anthropogenic nature, the grassland-plantation ecotone was also high in bush cricket diversity, yet it is not a replacement for the naturally occurring forest-grassland ecotone.

Oral Presentation: Impact of shipping noise on the diving behaviour of grey seals
10:45AM - 11:00AM
Presented by :
Leah Trigg, University Of Plymouth
Co-authors :
Feng Chen, University Of Plymouth
Georgy Shapiro, University Of Plymouth
Simon Ingram, University Of Plymouth
Cecile Vincent, Centre Of Biological Studies Of Chizé - CNRS / University Of La Rochelle
Clare Embling, University Of Plymouth

Commercial shipping generates underwater noise pollution and is associated with several negative ecological effects. Seals have been observed exhibiting alert behaviour and fleeing from haul-outs in response to approaching ships and boat noise playbacks. Specifically, grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) exhibit high spatial co-occurrence with shipping and are known to experience 24 hour weighted sound exposure levels (10–1000 Hz) up to 170 dB re 1µPa²s from shipping noise in the United Kingdom. However, there is little information about the at-sea response of grey seals to such noise. Consequently, this study aimed to investigate the influence of shipping noise on the diving behaviour of grey seals. Generalised additive mixed models were used to model the change in dive metrics derived from GPS/GSM telemetry tags before, during, and after exposure to high levels of predicted shipping noise for 8 adult seals in the English Channel and 8 pups in the Celtic Sea. Weighted sound exposure levels were predicted using ship location data, the RANDI ship source model and the acoustic propagation model RAMSurf. Adult seals significantly increased the ascent rate of benthic and shallow dives in response to shipping noise. The mean ascent rate before, during, and after exposure to shipping noise varied by 0.01 to 0.31 ms⁻¹. Seal pups significantly decreased the descent rate of pelagic dives in response to shipping noise. However, the difference in mean descent rate between noise categories was only -0.05 ms⁻¹. Median sound pressure levels during ship noise exposure events were 122 and 111 dB re 1µPa² in the English Channel and Celtic Sea respectively, which were 7 to 15 dB higher than the before and after categories. The results can inform future assessments of the impacts of shipping noise including efforts to determine if transient behavioural change can impact population stability.

Oral Presentation: Passive acoustic monitoring as a conservation tool for amphibians
11:00AM - 11:15AM
Presented by :
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Anna Che-Bastian, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Tristan Silver, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Tenita Padayachee , University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Ryan Du Toit, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jiba Magwaza, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

Monitoring plays an important role in the conservation toolkit as a means to gauge responses to conservation interventions, as well as to detect population declines in the long-term. Both are important considerations for amphibian conservation and research, with this taxon currently experiencing major declines globally. Frogs have mastered the acoustic space, availing themselves to being monitored using sound. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has developed and implemented monitoring protocols for KwaZulu-Natal's four threatened frog species. This has included the use of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) to record amphibian assemblages at sites where the endangered Pickersgill's reed frog, Hyperolius pickersgilli, occurs. Through the use of Song Meters, we accumulated 688 hours of acoustic data between 2016 and 2020 at 10 sites. In partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, three studies are underway to analyse these data to answer the following questions: 1) Do South African frogs partition the acoustic space?; 2) Can PAM be used as a tool to assess the presence/absence of an endangered frog species?; 3) How can unique acoustic identifiers in frog calls be used to distinguish species? Analytics approaches will include hierarchical cluster analysis, a discriminant function analysis and Mahalanobis distance measures to determine call parameters for different species. Recordings will be processed using Kaleidoscope Pro software. Cluster analysis with bootstrapping will be used to group the calls. Discriminant function analysis will be used to distinguish the species with a confusion matrix and a cross-validation matrix to determine the accuracy of the species identification. Results of these studies will assist in determining population dynamics for target threatened species and refining monitoring protocols going forward, as well as answering questions about acoustic partitioning for South African frog species, not yet tested for amphibians in this part of the world.

Oral Presentation: Modelling the potential overlap of vessel noise and humpback whale song of shipping lanes for a proposed port in the Gulf of Tribuga
11:15AM - 11:30AM
Presented by :
Laura Huertas Amaya, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

One of the most acoustically pristine places in the world is the Gulf of Tribugá located in the Colombian North Pacific. Declared a Hope Spot (any special place that is critical to the health of the ocean; https://mission-blue.org/hope-spots/) in 2019, conservationists are working against a plan by the Colombian government to possibly build an international maritime port in this region. In 2018 and 2019, 2 months of acoustic data on a 33.3% duty cycle at a sampling frequency of 15 kHz were collected with EARs (Ecological Acoustic Recorders), positioned near Morro Mico and Nuquí. Spectrograms from Raven pro 1.6.1 software were used to manually measure temporal and spectral features of whale songs and boat engine noise during the 'baseline', or the current relatively undisturbed state. Using some of these extracted features, the parabolic equation was used in a propagation model to make two kinds of simulated maps. First, maps of the reduced communication space of singing humpback whales during current whale-watching conditions will be presented. Second, maps of the noise generated by potential shipping lanes will be presented. These will illustrate: (a) the space over which shipping noise could occupy in the Gulf of Tribugá if a port is ever built, and (b) how much these different shipping route configurations could decrease humpback whale communication space in comparison to current whale-watching traffic. This propagation modelling will help us understand how boat noise masks biological signals and changes the communication space of humpback whales.

Oral Presentation: Gunshot monitoring using passive acoustic technology: Implications for anti-poaching efforts
11:30AM - 11:45AM
Presented by :
Bobbi Estabrook, Cornell University

As African wildlife continue to face increasing habitat fragmentation, habitat destruction, and poaching, there is an urgent need to monitor and mitigate the impacts of those activities on threatened and endangered species. However, successful monitoring of human activities and wildlife occurrence is particularly challenging in the dense rainforests of central and western Africa. Advancements in passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) technologies provide scientists and forest management officials with unique opportunities to monitor the occurrence of acoustically active species, as well as gunshots, across large temporal and spatial scales. In this study, we recorded the soundscape at 19 sites within Kakum Conservation Area (KCA), a well-managed, 366 km2 protected forest in southern Ghana. PAM devices recorded continuously June–August 2018. KCA is home to forest elephants, olive colobus, white-thighed colobus, Lowe's monkey, African grey parrots, and many other endangered and vulnerable species that poachers target for hunting or trade. While Forestry Commission rangers regularly conduct anti-poaching patrols throughout the KCA, poaching still occurs, prompting a need to monitor KCA more thoroughly. Use of guns is one of the primary poaching methods in KCA, and gunshots can be recorded at distances of several kilometres in the forest. Our acoustic analyses focused on the intensity and distribution of poaching throughout KCA, using gunshots to estimate poaching effort. Our data illustrate that poaching in KCA primarily occurs one day before the market days, and that most gunshots occur between sunset and midnight. We examine the spatial relationship of gunshot activity to the fringe communities around KCA, and highlight locations and times during which additional patrolling efforts may mitigate poaching. We also present sounds of targeted vulnerable and endangered species that were recorded during the survey, and explore the implications of large scale monitoring for anti-poaching and wildlife conservation using PAM.

Oral Presentation: Individual acoustic based monitoring of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea): Is it possible?
11:45AM - 12:00 Noon
Presented by :
Sasha Dines, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
Co-authors :
Shanan Atkins, University Of The Witwatersrand
Simon Elwen, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University
John Measey, Stellenbosch University
Els Vermeulen, University Of Pretoria
Tess Gridley, Sea Search Research And Conservation NPC / Stellenbosch University

The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and, therefore, constitutes South Africa's most threatened resident marine mammal. Low numbers, cryptic behaviour, and extreme inshore habitat of the species restrict monitoring potential using traditional boat-based and visual survey techniques. Passive acoustic methods offer a cost-effective option for monitoring, particularly if animals communicate using individually distinctive signature whistle vocalizations. Signature whistle (SW) use has been most widely documented in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), but it has also been reported in other odontocete species. Some studies have documented potential SW use within the genus Sousa, but these have been limited by opportunistic events of recording. Here, we present strong evidence for SW use in S. plumbea and demonstrate how they could be used as effective tools in acoustic-based monitoring of individuals. We demonstrate long-term stability (11 years) in the stereotyped whistle contour used by an individual free-ranging humpback dolphin inhabiting Mozambican waters, providing evidence for SW use in this species. Using a bout analysis approach (signature whistle identification, SIGID) from 35 hours of acoustic data, we identified more than 800 whistles and 21 likely signature whistles. From these, we found four repeated SWs across recording days, with one SW identified three times over a three-year period, and between separate geographic locations. These results were corroborated using photographic identification data that showed animals present across recording days where whistles were recaptured. Therefore, we were able to demonstrate spatial and temporal recapture of individuals through SW monitoring. Finally, we looked at two datasets from the same geographic area, collected over the same period, and detected identical SWs in both moored and active acoustic datasets. Together, this provides strong evidence that passive acoustic monitoring of individuals over space and time using SWs appears feasible.

12:00 Noon - 01:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
12:55PM - 02:00PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Conservation and Bioacoustics Collision Session III: Keynote Address: The importance of sound to fishes
Format : Keynote Presentations | Moderated Discussion

Keynote Speakers: Arthur Popper, University of Maryland, and Anthony Hawkins, Loughine Limited

Arthur Popper is an Emeritus and Research Professor at the University of Maryland. Most of Professor Popper's work throughout his career has focused on fish bioacoustics and the physiology and evolution behind it. His current research and consulting work focus on understanding the effects that anthropogenic noise has on aquatic life. His personal website gives up to date insight into his current work. Dr Anthony (Tony) Hawkins received his PhD on fish sound production from the University of Bristol and later became the Director of Fisheries Research for Scotland and Coordinator of Fisheries Research of the United Kingdom, working on fisheries management in both European and tropical waters. After retiring in 2002, Professor Hawkins is now a fish biology and fisheries consultant and has worked on the significance of underwater sound to marine and freshwater fishes through his consultancy company, Loughine Ltd. He set up the North Sea Commission Fisheries Partnership, bringing together fishermen and scientists, and then set up and worked as Rapporteur for the North Sea Regional Advisory Council (NSRAC), providing advice to the European Commission on the management of North Sea fisheries.


Check-In
12:55PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: The importance of sound to fishes
01:00PM - 02:00PM
Presented by :
Arthur Popper, University Of Maryland
Co-authors :
Anthony Hawkins, Loughine Limited

Many sounds are present in aquatic environments, and fishes have evolved sophisticated auditory systems to detect and use them in their daily lives. Indeed, hearing in vertebrates likely evolved in fishes in order to provide them with a 'view' of the soundscape, thereby providing them with information about things around them at far greater distances than possible with other senses. Since sound is of such importance to fishes, anything that interferes with their ability to detect sounds might have profound effects on the fitness, and even survival, of individuals and populations. This talk will be built around the bioacoustics of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), and its relatives, since they are commercially important and because more is known about their bioacoustics than any other fishes. The Atlantic cod is, in this talk, a basic model for understanding sound and fishes more broadly. We will first consider the aquatic soundscape and critical aspects of underwater sound. We will then explore general issues of fish bioacoustics, including how fishes generate, use, detect, and process sounds. At the same time, we will share thoughts about the problems and limitations of doing bioacoustics studies with fishes. We will then examine what is known, and not known, about the potential effects of anthropogenic sound on fishes and focus on the idea that we actually know very little. In this context, we will share thoughts about major gaps in our knowledge and suggest the most important questions that must be answered before we have an understanding that can move us to develop guidelines and criteria upon which to base future regulation. Finally, we will make the argument that in developing criteria and regulations, it is important to examine anthropogenic sound from the perspectives of the receiving animals, including fishes.

02:25PM - 03:15PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Conservation and Bioacoustics Collision Session IV
Format : Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Check-In
02:25PM - 02:30PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: A new method to estimate animal populations with passive acoustics
02:30PM - 02:45PM
Presented by :
Laura Kloepper, Saint Mary’s College

Passive acoustic monitoring is widely used to identify animal species and corresponding spatial and temporal activity patterns by analysing individual calls. Recently, a new method was developed that uses passive acoustics to census dense bat populations during roost emergence. Instead of determining population by counting individual calls, this method uses the overall acoustic amplitude from a specific time window to estimate the nightly population of the entire roost. Once a cave location is initially ground-truthed with synchronised video and acoustic recordings, the nightly population can be estimated with low-cost acoustic recorders. Here, we will describe the details of this method and report on its performance across multiple caves and with two species of bats. We will also describe, and include pilot data, on how this method can be used to estimate anuran populations in patchy environments such as ponds.

Oral Presentation: Modelled sound exposure levels for marine fauna encountered during a seismic survey in Algoa Bay, South Africa
02:45PM - 03:00PM
Presented by :
Jean Purdon, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Marc Pienaar, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
Fannie Shabangu, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries: Fisheries Management
Michael Somers, University Of Pretoria
Ken Findlay, Cape Peninsula University Of Technology

Algoa Bay, South Africa, has a diverse array of marine top-predators, including Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea), long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis), Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei), southern right whale (Eubalaena australis), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), African penguins (Spheniscus demersus), and Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). Algoa Bay also has a number of anthropogenic activities that may acoustically affect marine fauna, including seismic surveys conducted to locate oil and gas reserves in the sub-surface of the seabed. We modelled the estimated level of sound received by marine top-predators observed during a seismic survey conducted in 2013. To do this, we used an airgun array simulation tool (Agora) to model the source level of the airguns and a range dependent acoustic model (RAMSGeo) to model the transmission loss. Using recently published sound exposure criteria, we determined whether marine fauna encountered by marine mammal observers during this survey were exposed to sound exposure levels that could result in temporary or permanent hearing damage. The results of this study are aimed at informing the development of legal instruments to mandate acoustic modelling before conducting seismic and other acoustic activities in South Africa's exclusive economic zone, particularly in relation to sensitive biodiverse areas, or proximities to marine protected areas.

Oral Presentation: Variation in wing area and echolocation detection range of the Cape horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus capensis) in response to different climates
03:00PM - 03:15PM
Presented by :
Aurora Duncan, University Of Cape Town
Co-authors :
David Jacobs, University Of Cape Town

Wing shape and echolocation pulses of bats are affected by environmental conditions. Wing shape is primarily influenced by environmental clutter, which includes buildings, plants, trees, or shrubs, and possibly also by temperature, given the potential for wings to act as thermoregulatory appendages. Similarly, echolocation pulses must successfully reach a target and generate an audible echo despite atmospheric attenuation and the scattering effects of environmental clutter. Wing shape and echolocation form an adaptive complex, which allows optimisation of foraging. Climate change poses a risk to a bat's foraging success because rising ambient temperatures may influence wing size (due to the potential thermoregulatory benefits) as well as the bat's prey detection volumes (because sound propagation is influenced by temperature). The potential impact of climate change on the foraging efficiency of bats can be gauged by the bats' adaptive responses to different climatic conditions over their geographic range. This study examined wing size and prey detection volume in different localities across the geographic range of the Cape horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus capensis, to determine if wing and echolocation parameters are adapted to local climatic conditions. Wing areas were measured using digital image analysis software, and echolocation parameters were measured using a microphone array system. Temperature was a predictor for both wing area and prey detection volume. Body mass was a significant predictor for wing area, which may also be influenced by environmental conditions. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), latitude, and average winter minimum temperature significantly explained differences in prey detection volume. Increases in ambient temperature, due to human-induced climate change, are, therefore, likely to have an effect on the foraging efficiency of R. capensis. Given the range of ecosystem services, such as pest control and pollination, cognisance should be taken of the threats to bat habitats posed by future climate scenarios.

03:15PM - 03:30PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
03:25PM - 05:45PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Conservation and Bioacoustics Collision Session V: Special Session: The Hearing of Harms - Acoustic Monitoring for the Prevention of Illegal Activity
Format : Workshop / Special Session | Moderated Discussion

Special Session: The Hearing of Harms - Acoustic Monitoring for the Prevention of Illegal Activity, with input Topher White, Rainforest Connection, Ian Lester, Beyond Wireless, and Gil Braulik, St Andrew's University

In many parts of Africa, and globally, illegal activity runs rampant, especially in natural areas. Animal poaching, wildlife capture for illegal trade, illegal logging in rain forests, dumping of waste, and many more. In far removed and remote areas, these crimes often go unnoticed until it's too late. However, in some cases, listening in can provide a lifeline. Acoustic monitoring has proven to be an effective method of environmental protection. Ever-present ears listen for the sound of chainsaws and gunfire, often reporting the information in real-time to authorities who take action immediately. In this special session, we focus on the use of sound to protect animals and biodiversity and the people that make all this happen. Join us as we show a true picture of the vital part that bioacoustics can, and does, play in conservation and preservation.


Check-In
03:25PM - 03:30PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Thursday, 05 Nov 2020
08:00AM - 10:30AM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Five: Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World I
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Michelle Tedder, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

Keynote Speaker: Katherine Forsythe, WWF South Africa

Katherine gained her BSc in Ecology from the University of Sydney (2008) and her MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town (2013). She's worked in research, consulting and conservation. Her interests lie in applying spatial and ecological understanding to multi-disciplinary problems to find practical solutions that allow people and nature to co-exist.


Check-In
08:00AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: Protected area expansion in the Succulent Karoo: Small plants, big wins and the power of partnerships
08:30AM - 09:05AM
Presented by :
Katherine Forsythe, WWF South Africa

The Succulent Karoo is an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot and the most diverse arid region in the world. This area, which covers approximately 6% of South Africa's landmass, is home to only about 3% of the population. Transformation rates of natural veld are some of the lowest of the country, with over 95% of the Biome still considered 'natural'. This situation has given rise to several unique challenges and opportunities for conservation. Over the past three decades, the protected area network (PAN) has more than doubled in size. As it currently stands, approximately 8.5% of the Biome is formally protected, 66% of vegetation types have some form of protection, and an estimated 50% of species are contained within the PAN. This recent growth of the PAN is the direct result of a strong history of collaboration and partnership between individuals, government, and non-government organisations. The WWF Expanded Programme of work in the Succulent Karoo, funded by the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust, works to strategically expand protected areas across the Biome. We work together with partners to promote biodiversity stewardship with private and communal landowners, as well as building capacity within government conservation agencies. Over the next five years we aim to further increase the area under conservation management through innovative mechanisms, capacity building, targeted research, promoting partnerships, and leading liaisons throughout the Biome. Here we reflect on the status of the Biome, the success of the protected area expansion thus far, and plans for the future. We take stock of the lessons learnt and their broader relevance beyond the Succulent Karoo. Finally, we detail the current threats to the Succulent Karoo Biome including the illegal harvesting of plants, a rapid expansion of the mining and renewable sectors, and climate change.

Oral Presentation: 21st century ecology and the critical need for restructuration
09:05AM - 09:17AM
Presented by :
Bruce Page, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Throughout human history, knowledge has existed in different representational infrastructures. For example, Galileo described the laws of motion in Italian as he had no algebra. The term 'structuration' defines the representational infrastructure used to express knowledge, and a 'restructuration' the shift from one infrastructure to another. I give a few examples in the presentation. In the past few decades, ecological processes have changed and continue to change dramatically. Practically everything, including all biogeochemical cycles, plant and animal community structure and dynamics, climate, electromagnetic radiation, and the concentrations of novel chemicals are changing radically. I present a quantitative overview of these changes and some expected consequences. For some, for example, the effects of climate change on species distributions, the effects are relatively well understood. For others, such as the potential effects of elevated CO2 and nitrogen on community composition, and the effects of species loss of key groups, such as insects, on extinction cascades, the outcomes are uncertain. Mostly we are ignorant of potential impacts. If we are to ameliorate impacts, we need to accelerate our understanding of what these are. Currently, science is failing to provide effective amelioration. The problems of climate change and the sixth extinction, and the current SARS Cov-2 pandemic, are good examples of how and where science is failing. These failures can all be ascribed to a massive lack of understanding of the dynamics of complex systems and the prevalence of simplistic cause and effect explanations of how the world works. I provide evidence and give examples. The restructuration that I argue for is the reframing of our understanding of the world in a representational framework of complexity, and a redefinition of ecology that includes the complete global system. I provide some ideas about how this might be rapidly achieved.

Oral Presentation: Catastrophic collapses of sensitive species, including the quiver tree (Aloidendron dichotomum), following fire in the arid Nama-Karoo, South Africa
09:17AM - 09:29AM
Presented by :
Justin Du Toit, Department Of Agriculture, Land Reform And Rural Development: Grootfontein ADI
Co-authors :
Loraine Van Den Berg, Department Of Agriculture, Land Reform And Rural Development: Grootfontein ADI
Timothy O'Connor, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
Victoria Goodall, VLG Statistical Services
Minette Van Lingen, Department Of Agriculture, Land Reform And Rural Development: Grootfontein ADI

Fire is rare in arid ecosystems owing to low fuel loads and unadapted species face catastrophic population collapses if burnt. Slow-growing, rare species are particularly susceptible, especially if germination and establishment are uncommon. Increased grassiness, plus drought-induced increases in the flammability of normally non-flammable species, can increase fuel and therefore fire in arid systems, and both may increase with climate change. An accidental fire (4 ha) in the northern Nama-Karoo occurred in a stand of quiver trees (Aloidendron dichotomum) in 2017 during a severe drought. There is no evidence that fires have previously occurred there. The vegetation comprises an under-storey of grass, succulent, and woody species, and a population of quiver trees. Grass cover was likely low at the time of the fire owing to drought, and desiccated shrubs provided the fuel load. The fire occurred mainly on steep slopes, which aided fire spread. Vegetation responses were recorded two years post-fire at 12 paired sites along the fire boundary. A four-state mixture model demonstrated that the quiver tree population had developed through pulsed recruitment. Statistically significant (≤ 0.05) fire-induced collapses in the abundance of shrubs, dwarf-shrubs, succulent shrubs, and succulent dwarf-shrubs occurred, with six species eliminated. Fewer than 10% of quiver trees survived, and survival was positively related to tree size. Total canopy cover was lower post-fire (p < 0.001), with only micro-grasses increasing. Because suitable climatic conditions for germination occur rarely, and because shaded micro-environments such as those provided by shrubs and dwarf-shrubs are required, it is predicted that the quiver tree population is unlikely to recover within any reasonable time-frame. Furthermore, owing to the likelihood of occasional increased grassiness as well as severe droughts, quiver-tree populations may face increased mortality risks in the future as climate change progresses.

Oral Presentation: The interactive effect of elevated CO2 and rising temperatures on the growth of Leucosidea sericea, Festuca costata and Themeda triandra
09:29AM - 09:41AM
Presented by :
Evalt Lebese, University Of The Witwatersrand
Co-authors :
Robert Scholes, University Of The Witwatersrand
Sally Archibald, University Of The Witwatersrand

The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, including CO2, have been rising for the past two centuries, leading to a rise in global air temperature. The rise in both is projected to continue in the coming decades. It has been noted that the tree, Leucosidea sericea and patches of the C3 grass Festuca costata are encroaching into the high-altitude C4-dominated grasslands of the eastern escarpment. This research sets out to test the effects of elevated CO2 and rising temperatures on Themeda triandra (C4 grass), F. costata, and L. sericea. A factorial experiment in an artificial growth-chamber, with two levels of CO2 and temperatures, was conducted over a six-month period. The experimental units were pots with pairwise combinations of the three species, allowing both the inter- and intra-specific effects to be studied. Saplings of L. sericea are not advantaged by either elevated CO2 or rising temperatures (p < 0.05), which suggests neither CO2 nor rising temperature account for their upward movement. Festuca costata seems to be advantaged by both elevated levels of CO2 and rising temperature (p < 0.05), however, it is not influenced by an interaction between the two. Themeda triandra responds mostly to CO2 with a smaller additional effect due to rising temperature (p < .05). Leucosidea sericea saplings have a competitive advantage over both T. triandra and F. costata (p < 0.01). However, there is no significant difference in inter-specific competition between T. triandra and F. costata across any treatments (p > 0.01), suggesting that both can coexist regardless of changes in CO2 and temperatures. This study showed that CO2 and temperature can have a complex effect on plant performance, which differs between different plant functional types. Therefore, the results of this study can inform future decisions into the conservation efforts for these plants.

Oral Presentation: Long-term reconstruction of rainfall and fire for the Kavango-East and Zambezi Regions, Namibia, and the impact of people on past fire regimes
09:41AM - 09:53AM
Presented by :
Tamryn Hamilton, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
Co-authors :
Sally Archibald, University Of The Witwatersrand
Stephan Woodborne, IThemba Labs
Gregor Feig, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

African savanna structure is driven by climate and fire, which have been well documented in modern observations and palaeo-studies, but is lacking on intermediate (decades to centuries) timescales where much of the ecosystem dynamics occur. Long-term rainfall and fire records were generated from environmental proxies from the semi-arid Kavango-Zambezi region of South-Central Africa. The records were radiocarbon dated in high resolution and modelled with Bayesian accumulation models to generate ~600-year chronologies. The proxy time series were analysed in time-frequency space to elucidate the relationship between rainfall and fire at different timescales within local and regional fire histories. Wavelet analysis shows periods of time in the past when fire had a positive relationship with rainfall, and also a negative relationship, and a switch from local to regional-scale fire response to rainfall is observed in the Little Ice Age (1700–1750). A shift to a regionally dominated fire regime thereafter is attributed to human population increases and associated land-use change. The results show that, over time, savanna landscapes can shift between load-limited and moisture-limited fire regimes, and that savanna structure has been affected by human activities both directly, and via changes in fire regimes.

Oral Presentation: The southern African inland fish tracking programme (FISHTRAC): Monitoring the response of free-swimming fishes, remotely and in real-time, to altered flows in the Letaba and Olifants Rivers, Kruger Park, South Africa
09:53AM - 10:05AM
Presented by :
Matthew Burnett, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Gordon O'Brien, University Of Mpumalanga
Melissa Wade, Rivers Of Life
Robin Peterson, South African National Parks
Bayanda Sonamzi, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Globally, fishes are considered as ecological indicators for aquatic ecosystem well-being and are used when understanding impacts on water resources. Fish behavioural responses to environmental changes can be used as a line of evidence in assessing these changes. Fish telemetry methods are used to monitor fish behaviour and can measure the response of tagged fish to altered water quality, flow, and instream habitat variability. The southern African inland fish tracking (FISHTRAC) is one such tool that has been developed to monitor the behaviour of fish remotely and in real-time. Kruger National Park (KNP) is on the receiving end of water quality and quantity stressors placed on the river upstream outside of their control. To understand these impacts three species of fish (tigerfish, Hydrocynus vittatus, large-scale yellowfish, Laboebarbus marequensis, and congoro, Labeo congoro) were telemeter-tagged and released within an established remote network from May 2018 through to November 2019 in KNP. The locomotive movements of tagged fish were recorded and assessed against water quality parameters recorded at Mamba and Balule Weir gauging stations on the Olifants River; this included water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. Hydrocynus vittatus were shown to be susceptible to predation during the low flow period, especially when the Letaba River flow stopped. Labeobarbus marequensis and L. congoro varied in their responses to water quality variables, including flow. Despite this, the behavioural changes of tagged fishes positively correlated with changes in the environment. This is important in developing a way forward when managing multiple stressors and using free-swimming fish responses to determine ecosystem well-being. The use of the FISHTRAC programme to monitor fish responses to environmental stressors in real-time and remotely can change the way water resources are monitored.

Poster Presentation: Diversity of small non-volant mammals across different levels of bush encroachment in a mesic savanna
10:05AM - 10:08AM
Presented by :
Thabile Zwane, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Zivanai Tsvuura, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Ntuthuko Mkhize, Agricultural Research Council
Tlou Tjelele, Agricultural Research Council
Manqhai Kraai, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

The Savanna Biome comprises 32% of the land in South Africa and contributes significantly to the economy through agriculture and ecotourism. However, the agricultural productivity, diversity, and tourism potential of this biome are under significant threat from anthropogenic activities and climate change, including bush encroachment. The increased growth of woody plants at the cost of palatable herbaceous species is one cause of rangeland degradation. Bush encroachment also reduces habitat heterogeneity and, as a result, affects the abundance and richness of several species. This study was undertaken to assess the influence of different levels (non-encroached (0%), low ( < 10%), medium ( < 25%), and high ( > 25%) woody cover) of bush encroachment on the diversity of small non-volant mammals at the Roodeplaat Farm, Pretoria. Small mammals were trapped using Sherman live traps, marked, and released. The habitats where the small mammals were trapped were characterised by measuring vegetation height and grass biomass. A total of 125 individuals were recorded from six species in 1,568 trap nights. A decrease in abundance and species richness of small mammals was observed among the different levels of bush encroachment. The non-encroached habitat showed the highest species richness with three unique species, which were absent in the low, medium, and highly encroached habitats. Noticeably, the abundance of the common generalist species, Mastomys natalensis, decreased in the highly encroached habitat, which showed a shift in habitat structure. The highly encroached habitat had the unique specialist species Aethomys namaquensis. In addition to vegetation density, the small mammal community was influenced by vegetation height and food availability. These results show that bush encroachment may influence the diversity (both abundance and species richness) of small non-volant mammals. The conservation implications of our findings are discussed in terms of the potential impact of bush encroachment on the biodiversity of small mammals in savannas.

Poster Presentation: The Cape porcupine may ameliorate the effects of bush encroachment in savannas
10:08AM - 10:11AM
Presented by :
Unathi Kraai, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Zivanai Tsvuura, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Manqhai Kraai, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Ntuthuko Mkhize, Agricultural Research Council
Nokubonga Mgqatsa, Rhodes University
Tlou Tjelele, Agricultural Research Council

The Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) is a large semi-fossorial herbivorous rodent with a generalist foraging behaviour, consuming above- and belowground plant parts. Porcupines, when foraging, dig pits resulting in plant community and soil disturbance. The extent of soil and vegetation perturbation may be so pervasive on the landscape that these animals may be considered as ecosystem engineers. However, the ecological effects of their foraging behaviour are not well understood or quantified. The study explored the effects of digging by Cape porcupines on nutrient cycling and quantified vegetation on the soil mounds over a nine-month period. Data were collected in South African savannas, with one study area in Gauteng Province, and two other study areas in KwaZulu-Natal Province. We collected soil samples from the mound soil and from adjacent sites 0.5 m away from the pit for analysis of total carbon (C) and total nitrogen (N). Pit measurements comprised of two perpendicular diameters and the maximum depth of the pit. Metal pegs were used to mark the positions of the foraging pits for measurement of pit longevity. Total C and N values were similar between the mound soil and adjacent sites. Total C ranged between 6.2–18.4 mg.g-1, while total N values were between 0.6–1.7 mg.g-1 across study areas. Pits took over six months to be completely covered in areas where there was minimal animal activity. During the dry season, we found that porcupines dug out and consumed roots of encroaching Vachellia species, resulting in nearly 70% mortality rate of seedlings. Although foraging activities resulted in high Vachellia seedling mortality, the establishment of new grass and forb seedlings occurred on the mounds compared to non-mound sites. Therefore, we argue that porcupines through tree thinning during foraging activities are able to ameliorate woody plant encroachment in mesic savannas.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World I
10:11AM - 10:30AM
Presented by :
Michelle Tedder, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Katherine Forsythe, WWF South Africa
Bruce Page, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Justin Du Toit, Department Of Agriculture, Land Reform And Rural Development: Grootfontein ADI
Evalt Lebese, University Of The Witwatersrand
Tamryn Hamilton, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
Matthew Burnett, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Thabile Zwane, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Unathi Kraai, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
10:30AM - 11:00AM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
10:55AM - 01:00PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Six: Conservation Approaches to Species Under Pressure II
Format : Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Michelle Tedder, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Check-In
10:55AM - 11:00AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: Implementation of the Biodiversity Management Plan for Pickersgill’s reed frog (Hyperolius pickersgilli) – the third year
11:00AM - 11:12AM
Presented by :
Adrian Armstrong, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Ian Du Plessis, Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo
Antoinette Kotze, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Felicity Elliott, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

The Biodiversity Management Plan for Pickersgill's reed frog (Hyperolius pickersgilli) (BMP-PRF) is being implemented through the action of multiple stakeholders. The uMlalazi Local Municipality's June 2019 Spatial Development Framework includes the wetlands with PRFs. Spatial data for PRF were incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal's Working for Wetlands Strategic Plan and the National Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Tool. A conservation importance ranking of the known localities with PRFs was completed and three additional sites were discovered. A detailed husbandry manual for PRF has been completed. Disease monitoring showed no occurrence of chytrid fungus at the captive breeding facility. Forty-one tissue samples and many DNA extracts are stored in a biobank. Seventy captive-bred PRFs (including 20 tadpoles) were released at River Horse Valley near Durban. Two standard operating protocols were developed: a risk assessment before release and a release protocol. Monitoring using acoustic equipment took place at four sites. Biodiversity Stewardship Site assessments have been completed for three sites, each qualifying for Protected Environment status. Negotiations for the proclamation of the Adam's Mission site are underway. Forty locally employed community members are clearing alien invasive plants at three sites, and Ecological Goods & Services assessments are conducted to measure the impact. Ecological and social data are collated for each site. Media coverage included parts of two video series, a wild chat series on frogs, a community cinema, and more than 28 social media posts. Learners from five schools have participated in the Frogs in the Classroom programme. The Zamani Community Skills Development Centre was launched. Four specialist frog guides have been accredited. A large number of visitors to the Joburg Zoo were informed about the captive-breeding facility. Articles on work done were published. The co-operative nature of all involved has proved very fruitful in achieving the outcomes thus far.

Oral Presentation: Side-lined, side-necks: Aspects of the ecology of two freshwater terrapin species (Pelomedusa galeata and Pelusios sinuatus) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
11:12AM - 11:24AM
Presented by :
Cormac Price, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa's freshwater systems are under increasing pressure due to a growing population, land-use change, and climate change. There is a paucity of knowledge of terrapin ecology in South Africa, despite their importance in freshwater ecosystems. Measures of movements, regularity, and activity regimes can provide valuable insights into an animal's behaviour and general condition. We investigated aspects of terrapin (Pelomedusa galeata and Pelusios sinuatus) ecology, using several different techniques. Ten individuals of each species had UHF telemetry tags attached to monitor activity patterns at two different field sites in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In addition to the two sites where telemetry was used, eight other sites throughout KZN were surveyed, terrapins were permanently marked on their marginal scutes using a standardised numbering system to recognise recaptured individuals easily. Recaptured individuals had their location and all their metrics re-recorded, all specimens had bio-morphometric data collected to evaluate general condition, and a tissue sample was collected for genetic analysis. During this research, we recorded a drastic size class bias towards mature individuals, with very few juveniles recorded, representing just 11.3% of the total number of P. sinuatus sampled and 7.8% of the P. galeata respectively. This is a worrying trend for both taxa considering the continued escalation of land-use change and increasing environmental stress in the province due to climate change. A total of 336 days of telemetry tag data was retrieved from P. galeata individuals and 105 days for P. sinuatus. Comparing the locomotive tag data to climatic variables, the most significant variable to affect activity was the ambient temperature. Rainfall also showed a significant effect, whereas wind showed no effect on activity. Pelomedusa galeata showed a greater ability to maintain tag temperature above ambient temperature in the first 10 hours of a day than P. sinuatus.

Oral Presentation: Slippery customers for conservation: Freshwater eels (Anguilla spp.) range distribution, decline, and associated drivers in South Africa
11:24AM - 11:36AM
Presented by :
Céline Hanzen, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Martyn Lucas, University Of Durham
Olaf Weyl, South African Institute For Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
Gordon O'Brien, University Of Mpumalanga
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Four freshwater eel (Anguilla) species occur in South Africa: A. mossambica, A. bengalensis, A. marmorata, and A. bicolor. These catadromous, migratory fishes face multiple stressors including habitat loss and deterioration, barriers to migration, pollution, and adverse impacts by alien species. The level of understanding regarding their occurrence, abundance, diversity, and ecology in Africa remains relatively poor. The African endemic A. mossambica has recently been listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), similarly to A. bicolor and A. bengalensis. Due to its widespread distribution, A. marmorata is listed as Least Concern. We investigated their present and historical distributions, and associated drivers of declines in South Africa, particularly in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Over 1,000 geographic location data points were collected since the end of the 19th century from historical records and our sampling. Extent of Occurrence (EOO) analyses were carried out at a regional level in KwaZulu-Natal. Our extensive sampling in the last four years showed a significant decline in the EOO of the four eel species of between 31% and 48% in KwaZulu-Natal in the last 30 years, and between 35% and 82% since the 1950s. We highlight the effects of altered catchment morphology, ecological connectivity impairment, habitat characteristics, and water quality on eel abundance and distribution across South Africa. With growing anthropogenic threats exacerbated by increasing demand for both fish and water resources and the impact of global change, in parallel with poor regional management (O'Brien et al., 2019), it is not naive to fear a continued decline for the four African eel species. Future conservation efforts need to implement regional transboundary environmental flow policies in an ecologically sensitive manner, and frameworks that specifically address river connectivity and the requirements of indicator migratory fishes such as eels.

Oral Presentation: The African Wildlife Poisoning Database – a valuable tool in conservation decision-making
11:36AM - 11:48AM
Presented by :
Andre Botha, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Lizanne Roxburgh, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Darcy Ogada, The Peregrine Fund

The African Wildlife Poisoning Database was established in 2012 and is jointly managed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and The Peregrine Fund under the auspices of the Vulture Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The database aims to capture available data of all past and present wildlife poisoning events that happen in Africa through engagement with an extensive network of organisations and individuals throughout the continent and also by means of a user-friendly mobile phone application that simplifies the electronic capture of these data. We will reflect on the findings of an initial analysis of various aspects of the threat of poisoning to Africa's wildlife, such as the drivers of wildlife poisoning and the methods and substances used by the perpetrators. We also share insights in terms of the challenges in the management of this database and the value of access to such data in terms of enabling informed decision-making with regard to appropriate conservation interventions in identified target areas across the continent. 

Oral Presentation: Assessing the state of the blue crane population, focusing on the Western Cape
11:48AM - 12:00 Noon
Presented by :
Christie Anne Craig, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Peter Ryan, University Of Cape Town
Tanya Smith, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Sally Hofmeyr, University Of Cape Town

The blue crane (Anthropoides paradisea) is near-endemic to South Africa and is categorised as globally Vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This follows an estimated decline of up to 90% of blue crane numbers in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa between 1982 and 1989. This decline was countered by a steadily increasing population in the agricultural landscapes of the Western Cape Province. Today, more than half of all blue cranes are found in these intensively farmed wheat lands. However, there is some uncertainty about the long-term viability of the population in these human-driven habitats. Therefore, we seek clarity on population trends across the species' range to inform management of the species. We updated an earlier analysis of datasets from two citizen science projects - Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) and the South African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) - to look at range-wide population trends over the last two decades. SABAP data revealed marked declines in reporting rates across 27% of the range, specifically in the grasslands where the species is no longer recorded in over 17% of its former range. Results from CAR revealed steady increases in the Western Cape up until 10 years ago, when numbers began to stabilise in the Swartland and decline in the Overberg regions of South Africa. We then focused our analyses on the Western Cape population. Aerial surveys gave us further insights into the Swartland and Overberg populations; for example, winter densities were 3.5 times higher in the Overberg than in the Swartland. This may be due to higher summer rainfall in the summer over the breeding time. Ultimately, this assessment forms the foundation of a broader research project that aims to explore population dynamics and assess the long-term viability of this species.

Oral Presentation: The implications of land-use and climate change on the persistence of southern ground hornbills in South Africa
12:00 Noon - 12:12PM
Presented by :
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
David Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Brent Coverdale, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jarryd Alexander, Mabula Ground Hornbill Project
Lucy Kemp, Mabula Ground Hornbill Project

Southern ground hornbills (Bucorvus leadbeateri) are globally classified as Vulnerable and as Endangered within South Africa where they have experienced a 65% reduction from their historic range. Currently, it is considered that the highest population density of the species occurs within the Kruger National Park and Associated Private Nature Reserves in Limpopo Province. However, an ecological census of the population outside of protected areas has not been formally assessed. Quantifying the current population status, establishing the influence of land uses, and considering the minimum requirements needed for ecological connectivity to support populations at a national level, is critical for the conservation planning of this species. Incorporating 20 years of opportunistic data derived from the annual Cape Parrot surveys, monitoring data from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Conservation Authority, personal observations, and citizen science data from BirdLasser, eBird, and iNaturalist, we constructed the contemporary and predictive niche for the species within South Africa, based on current and future climatic scenarios using the 'Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Model' toolbox in ArcGIS. The calculated niche widely expanded upon the current extent of occurrence into the Western Cape Province beyond what is considered the most southerly distribution limit of species. However, despite climatic suitability, much of the niche was limited by habitat availability and inhospitable land-use types. The species was tolerant to agricultural and silvicultural practises, though an ecological disturbance threshold may exist. The predicted niche indicated a contraction of grasslands along the eastern seaboard of South Africa, which has implications for the future persistence of the species. Our results show the importance of considering land-use and climate change scenarios for planning population expansion and gene flow via connectivity corridors.

Oral Presentation: Wattled crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) movement and habitat use – understanding the importance of space
12:12PM - 12:24PM
Presented by :
Lara Jordan, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Jarryd Streicher, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Brent Coverdale, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Wattled crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) are Critically Endangered in southern Africa with an estimated population of 359 individuals. This study aimed to expand the understanding of the movement ecology of wattled cranes at different life stages. Wild and captive-reared wattled crane chicks were tracked to investigate their integration into the non-breeding floater flock. The chick's behaviour (wild and captive-reared) were compared to an adult wattled crane's movement within the non-breeding floater flock. Seven wattled crane chicks (= 5 wild, = 2 captive-reared) were colour-ringed and fitted with leg-mounted solar-powered GPS/GSM transmitters set to record a GPS fix every 15 minutes. One adult wattled crane was tracked using a back-pack GPS/GSM set to record a GPS fix every two hours. Three age stages were utilised for home range estimation for the wattled crane chicks (3–4 months, 5–6 months, and >7 months). The pre-fledging (3–4 months) home range size was estimated to be 0.5–2.3 km2. There was a noticeable increase in home range size (2.2–4.9 km2) at the post-fledging stage (5–6 months) and at >7 months (4.2–12 km2). Chicks showed an increase in movement range with age up to one year. The results from this study support previous studies on home range and habitat utilisation of the wattled crane. Behavioural comparisons between wild and captive-reared wattled crane chicks will serve to determine the success of the isolation rearing processes.

Oral Presentation: What are the landscape-scale drivers of avian species richness and functional diversity in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Mistbelt Forests?
12:24PM - 12:36PM
Presented by :
Thobeka Gumede, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
David Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Landscape configuration influences the distribution and abundance of species, and its transformation through anthropogenic developments affects biodiversity through various processes. In South Africa, forest habitat consists naturally as small fragments in a broader fire-prone landscape. Landscape transformation results in changes in forest area, patch size, isolation, shape, composition, and edge dynamics. Therefore, avian species assemblages and distribution are expected to be influenced by changes in the landscape. We surveyed bird communities in 58 patches of Mistbelt Forests in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa to identify whether avian assemblage diversity and species functional trait diversity show consistent patterning across different landscapes in a forest ecosystem mosaic, and to examine the landscape-scale drivers of avian community composition. We quantified avian species richness and various measures of functional diversity based on species' traits in the breeding and non-breeding season in each forest patch. We measured the influence of forest patch size, habitat structural complexity, isolation effects, and landscape configuration on each diversity measure. Bayesian generalised linear modelling was used to determine how the landscape influenced the diversity of avian communities in the forest. Distance between forest patches, patch diversity, forest patch size, patch shape index, and extent of exotic timber plantations surrounding forest patches were drivers of most diversity measures and forest patch size had a significant influence on species richness. Forest patch diversity and proportion timber plantations surrounding forest patches significantly influenced avian functional richness, evenness, and dispersion across seasons. Reduction in forest size and complexity reduced avian species richness and functional diversity. Increasing isolation distance negatively influenced avian diversity. Therefore, protection of natural forest habitats and maintaining diverse landscape mosaics is recommended for preserving avian communities. Forest connectivity should be considered in timber plantation management plans.

Oral Presentation: Long-term range dynamics of Cape parrot in response to climate and land cover change
12:36PM - 12:48PM
Presented by :
Riddhika Ramesh, Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology And Natural History
Co-authors :
Tharmalingam Ramesh, Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology And Natural History
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Long-term research is critical to monitor the responses of tropical bird species to climate and land cover change at the range scale. Citizen science reveals the long-term persistence of a poorly known nomadic parrot, namely the Cape parrot Poicephalus robustus, that occupies fragmented indigenous forest patches of South Africa. We applied dynamic occupancy models to 13 years (2002–2014) of citizen science-driven presence/absence data on the Cape parrot, endemic to South Africa and listed as Endangered according to the South African Red Data Book for Birds. We modelled the colonisation and extinction patterns that reflected its range dynamics as a function of resource distribution, and environmental change. The range occupancy of Cape parrot changed little over time (ψ = 0.75–0.83) because extinction was balanced by recolonisation. Colonisations increased with temperature and area of orchards. Although colonisations were higher in the presence of nests and yellowwood trees (Afrocarpus and Podocarpus spp.), the extinctions in small forest patches (≤ 227 ha) and during low precipitation years (≤ 41 mm) are attributed to resource constraints and unsuitable climatic conditions. Loss of indigenous forest cover and water bodies increased extinction probabilities of the Cape parrot. The land-use matrix (fruit farms, gardens, and cultivations) surrounding forest patches provides alternative food sources, thereby facilitating spatiotemporal colonisation and extinction in the human-modified matrix. Our models show that Cape parrots are vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions (drought) which is predicted to increase with climate change. Our novel application, of dynamic occupancy models to long-term citizen science monitoring data, showed their range shifts south-eastwards in recent years. The complex relationships between environmental dynamics and range fluctuations of the Cape parrot indicate that the management of optimum sized high-quality forest patches is essential for the long-term survival of their populations.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Conservation Approaches to Species Under Pressure II
12:51PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Jeanne Tarrant, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Adrian Armstrong, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Cormac Price, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Céline Hanzen, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Andre Botha, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Christie Anne Craig, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Lara Jordan, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Thobeka Gumede, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Riddhika Ramesh, Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology And Natural History
Fortune Ravhuanzwo, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Poster Presentation: Native carnivores feeding on birds in an Important Bird Area (IBA), Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa
12:48PM - 12:51PM
Presented by :
Fortune Ravhuanzwo, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Lourens Swanepoel, University Of Venda
Samual T Williams, University Of Venda

South Africa has several Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that contribute to bird conservation. Predation by native carnivores inhabiting IBAs, however, can offset the conservation value of IBAs for birds. We aimed to investigate the potential impact native carnivores have on bird species. We assessed carnivore biodiversity in Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve using camera traps and quantified the extent to which birds make up carnivore diets using literature. We supplemented the literature data with dietary analysis (using scats analysis method) of carnivore species with the highest bird remains in their diet. We then explored the relationship between bird habitat preference from the Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve bird list and carnivore habitat use for potential bird predation using occupancy models. We detected ten carnivore species in the Reserve. According to the literature, the carnivore species present that consumed the largest proportion of birds was serval (Leptailurus serval). However, our dietary analysis showed that birds only constituted a minor proportion of the serval diet (1.28% percentage of occurrence). From the occupancy, Serval habitat use was not affected by any vegetation variable. Our findings suggest that while Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve supports rich communities of both birds and mammalian carnivores, predation by native carnivores does not currently appear to play a large role in bird population dynamics.

01:00PM - 02:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
01:55PM - 03:45PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Seven: Governance in the Anthropocene I - Nature Needs a Lawyer
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Craig Mulqueeny, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Greta Pegram, Environmental Law Association (ELA) Of South Africa

Keynote Speaker: Makane Moïse Mbengue, University of Geneva

Makane Moïse Mbengue is Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva and Director of the Department of International Law and International Organization. He is also an Affiliate Professor at Sciences Po Paris (School of Law). He holds a PhD in Public International Law from the University of Geneva. Since 2017, he is the President of the African Society of International Law (AfSIL). He has acted and acts as an expert for the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) among others. He also acts as a Professor for courses in International Law organized by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Professor Mbengue acts as counsel in disputes before international courts and tribunals (in particular, before the International Court of Justice and in investment cases) and as advisor for governments. He is the author of several publications in the field of international law.


Check-In
01:55PM - 02:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: How do international lawyers interact with science?
02:00PM - 02:35PM
Presented by :
Makane Moïse Mbengue, University Of Geneva

Science is fundamental for environmental law-making but also for effective protection of the global environment. Yet, international lawyers are quite often confronted with difficulties when dealing with science, and more specifically when dealing with scientific uncertainty. This keynote speech will show how international law has progressively evolved to better encompass the scientific challenges posed by environmental protection and regulation. It will also highlight the epistemological hurdles that limit a more efficient integration and treatment of science in the making and implementation of international environmental law.

Oral Presentation: Climate change and the ownership of game: A concern for fenced wildlife areas
02:35PM - 02:47PM
Presented by :
Andy Blackmore, EKZNW

As the impacts of climate change manifest at a protected area or game farm level, negatively affected wildlife, and particularly economically valuable game, are likely to be displaced as a result of habitat change. This displacement is expressed, inter alia, in the emigration of wildlife to more suitable habitats. The impacts of climate change, therefore, may have significant consequences for the economic wellbeing of wildlife areas which are derived from, amongst others, sale of excess animals, hunting, and tourism. This paper investigates whether South African statute and common law provide sufficient protection to landowners, from a game ownership perspective, as the impacts of climate change become evident. It was discovered that the complex derived between land ownership, legislation and common law: (1) required wildlife areas to be isolated fenced areas, (2) may lead to loss of ownership of game which may escape as a consequence of climate change, and (3) provided for the possible loss of ownership of all game occurring in the wildlife area and those emigrating when all or part of an encircling boundary fence is removed to establish a wildlife or climate change corridor. It is further recommended that the Game Theft Act 105 of 1991 requires a substantial amendment to enable owners of wildlife areas to retain ownership of game that escape or emigrate in response to climate change. Finally, it is recommended that landowners acquire and include into their fenced wildlife areas an additional area as an interim measure to mitigate the impacts of climate change, until such time that the desired legislative change is implemented. Conservation implications: Climate change has serious implications for continued ownership of escaped wildlife as well for the implementation of adaptive strategies to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate on fenced wildlife areas. The South African law needs to be revised to protect wildlife owners as impacts climate change become evident.

Oral Presentation: Ban on trophy hunting in Botswana: Community perceptions
02:47PM - 02:59PM
Presented by :
Lelokwane Mokgalo, Botswana Accountancy College
Co-authors :
Peet Van Der Merwe, North-West University

This study was aimed at investigating the perception of communities on the hunting ban which was in place in Botswana between 2014 and 2019. Two communities were selected for this research, namely Sankuyo Village in northern Botswana and Mmadinare in the eastern part of the country. A qualitative approach, using semi-structured and structured interviews, was utilised to collect data, which were then analysed through the use of thematic and descriptive statistical analysis methods. The findings revealed that the two communities felt differently about the benefits of hunting tourism; the ban on trophy hunting had a bigger impact on Sankuyo, which has a smaller population than Mmadinare. Benefits due to trophy hunting were experienced through employment contribution, sale of meat, and a financial contribution to community development. However, both communities experienced similar challenges due to the ban on trophy hunting, such as an increase in wildlife numbers, which escalated the human-wildlife conflict (HWC). Both communities also consider their involvement in tourism development to be minimal. They view the role of government to be too far-reaching, as the government gives directives that do not take the views of the community into consideration. The contribution of this research lies in the fact that it looked at the communities' voice regarding the ban on trophy hunting. The study, therefore, recommends a re-look of the policy approach in the implementation of the CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management) framework by the government with a view to maximising its effect on communities and conservation as the current approach has culminated in adverse effects on both.

Oral Presentation: Profiling risks associated with invasive alien 'black-faced' impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) in South Africa
02:59PM - 03:11PM
Presented by :
Dikonketso Tlaamela, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

Biological invasions pose massive threats to biodiversity, agriculture, and human well-being both globally and in South Africa. Profiling risks and impacts associated with invasive alien species is important to ensure their proper management and regulations. The evidence to support the listing of species under national legislation is largely available for plants but few efforts have been made to collate such information for currently less common but invasive taxa. 'Black-faced' impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) was introduced for wildlife ranching and hunting purposes, and the species currently listed as Category 2 under the national legislation (NEM:BA Act 10 of 2004 and its Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, 2014). Information on the impacts associated with black-faced impala was collated from online publications, databases, and other resources. Risk analysis of black-faced impala was performed using the latest published risk analysis framework. Recommendations to change the category of this species from Category 2 to Prohibited in the regulations are made based on occurrence records, risks, benefits, and management options. More efforts and resources are needed to collate information and data on impacts of such species with invasion debt. This work will provide evidence-based decision-making for listing, planning, and prioritising management of such species in South Africa.

Oral Presentation: Who let cat out of the bag? Effective governance of fragmented lion populations in South Africa
03:11PM - 03:23PM
Presented by :
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Brent Coverdale, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Johan Kruger, Limpopo Department Of Economic Development, Environment And Tourism
Sam Ferreira, South African National Parks
Dan Parker, University Of Mpumalanga

Lions (Panthera leo) are declining across their range, mainly due to human-induced habitat fragmentation and prey declines. In contrast, the South African lion population continues to grow. Unlike other range states, South Africa actively manages free-ranging lions across a continuum of landscapes and constraints. Authorities seek to maintain ecological processes in landscapes without constraints, restore ecological processes in large landscapes with some constraints, and mimic ecological processes in small landscapes with intense constraints. Given that meta-population dynamics allow species living in fragmented habitats to persist, we evaluated how South Africa's lion population complies with meta-population criteria using national audit data from 45 properties holding lions, classified as 'managed-wild', between 2015 and 2019. In addition, several policies guide lion management locally and internationally. Thus, we also evaluated compliance with these policies. South Africa's approach to lion management appears to be effective at conserving lions. The collective of properties holding wild lions fulfils meta-population functionality. However, this functionality was sometimes inadvertently achieved through haphazard and uncoordinated management actions. We provide a series of recommendations to improve the management of lions in South Africa within a meta-population framework. Lion conservation functionality may further improve if authorities integrate the fragmented populations with larger populations. Our recommendations also focus on improving policies that facilitate compliance with relevant legislation and aim at achieving high levels of lion conservation-governance efficiency.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Governance in the Anthropocene I - Nature Needs a Lawyer
03:35PM - 03:45PM
Presented by :
Craig Mulqueeny, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Makane Moïse Mbengue, University Of Geneva
Andy Blackmore, EKZNW
Lelokwane Mokgalo, Botswana Accountancy College
Dikonketso Tlaamela, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Michele Pfab, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Oral Presentation: The future of rhinoceros conservation in South Africa: Is rhino horn trade key?
03:23PM - 03:35PM
Presented by :
Michele Pfab, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

South Africa has been struggling to curb the poaching of white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) since its emergence in 2007 when 13 animals were poached. Peaking in 2014 when 1,151 animals were killed by poachers, levels of poaching had dropped to 4.6% of the national population by 2018. Dependent on significant financial inputs into the foreseeable future, the national population of white rhinoceros is now starting to show a negative trend in spite of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) ban on the international trade in rhinoceros horn. Impacted by poaching to a lesser degree, the national black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) population is on the increase. In accordance with CITES provisions, non-detriment findings (NDFs) for the export of live rhinoceroses and hunting trophies were conducted using the CITES NDF checklist and published for public input by South Africa's Scientific Authority in August 2019. While current trade was found to be of a low risk and non-detrimental, a key finding was that a legal trade in rhinoceros horn should be explored as an alternative source of funds for the protection and conservation of the species. With rising security costs, economic incentives to conserve rhinoceroses are very much reduced, this being of particular relevance to the white rhinoceros as animals in private ownership now outnumber those owned by the state. Nevertheless, there are interest groups and stakeholders who oppose a legal trade in rhinoceros horn, and a summary of their major concerns will be considered in this presentation. The legal parameters within which rhino horn trade can take place currently and options for the future will also be examined

03:45PM - 04:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
03:55PM - 05:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Eight: Governance in the Anthropocene II - Nature Needs Rights Too
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Greta Pegram, Environmental Law Association (ELA) Of South Africa
Craig Mulqueeny, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: Kees Bastmeijer, Tilburg University

Kees Bastmeijer is Professor of Nature Conservation and Water Law at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. The two main pillars of his research relate to the role of international, European and domestic law in protecting nature and the international governance of the Polar Regions. Since March 2017 he has been the Program Director for Sustainability of Tilburg University.


Check-In
03:55PM - 04:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: Wilderness protection in the Anthropocene: A legal perspective
04:00PM - 04:35PM
Presented by :
Kees Bastmeijer, Tilburg University

This presentation focuses on the concept of 'wilderness' and the status of wilderness under international and national law in an era many refer to as the Anthropocene. It starts with discussing different definitions of wilderness and the main values that have been assigned to the concept of wilderness. Next, a brief overview is provided of the extent to which wilderness and wilderness values have become the subject of protection under international and national law in different parts of the world. On the basis of these introductory discussions, attention then turns to a dilemma. On the one hand, there is a growing awareness that large, relatively pristine, and freely functioning ecosystems are of great importance for addressing manifestations of the Anthropocene, such as loss of biodiversity and climate change. On the other hand, manifestations of the Anthropocene may also force humankind to actively intervene in these wilderness areas to protect the core values of wilderness, which is contrary to the non-intervention principle that is fundamental to the wilderness concept. This dilemma is illustrated with examples from Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America. Based on these discussions and building on research cooperation with David Takacs, Phillipa C. McCormack and Benjamin J. Richardson, the presentation closes with reflections on whether the concept of wilderness and legal protection of wilderness still make sense in the Anthropocene, and if so, whether wilderness law is ready to deal sensibly with the dilemma discussed.

Oral Presentation: We are the river: Rights for nature around the world
04:35PM - 04:47PM
Presented by :
David Takacs, University Of California, Hastings College Of The Law

The New Zealand Parliament has recently granted the Whanganui River and the Te Urewera Mountain Ecosystem rights as legal persons, with a Māori governing board to speak for the nonhuman entities, based upon traditional cultural precepts. Far from an isolated precedent, in what the United Nations Secretary-General calls 'the fastest-growing legal movement of the 21st century', legislatures, courts, or voters in Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, Bangladesh, India, Uganda, and the United States have also declared that rivers and other living systems have legal rights. This talk chronicles the movement to grant nonhuman entities legal rights. I analyse the statutes and judicial opinions driving this legal evolution, drawing extensively from interviews I conducted with key figures negotiating and advocating for these initiatives. I explain what the current and developing laws and judicial opinions seek to achieve. Deriving from disparate historical, philosophical, and legal backgrounds, they pursue disparate goals; yet all of the moves to grant legal rights to nonhuman entities aim to enshrine in the law the fundamental symbiosis between human and nonhuman ecological health, and to empower suitable stewards who will nurture that symbiosis. I describe how newly vested spokespersons for nature seek to turn novel legal theories into real legal work that protects human and nonhuman communities. I explain who now represents the nonhuman entity, and discuss what improvements — for human and nonhuman communities — they hope will redound that would not have resulted from more traditional legal protections. I also discuss early results that have emerged from grants of legal personhood to nonhuman entities. As these laws inscribe new legal relationships between people and nature, they ask: what does it mean to convert from 'we own the river' to 'we are the river'? I conclude that by sanctifying the interdependent relationship between human needs and healthy ecosystems, granting legal rights to rivers may contribute to reversing ecological degradation in this century and beyond.

Oral Presentation: How to reduce rhino poaching. Experiences from South Africa, Namibia and Nepal
04:47PM - 04:59PM
Presented by :
Benjamin Smale, University Of Hamburg

The current rhino poaching wave has been going for over a decade now. While South Africa and Namibia continue to lose rhinos, albeit on a lower level than in previous years, Nepal is celebrating its third consecutive year of zero poaching losses. However, after a decade of struggle against commercial poaching, policymakers, criminal-justice actors, and conservation practitioners in rhino range states are still struggling to identify effective strategies for reducing the poaching pressure on one of Africa's most endangered species. I will present the findings of my PhD research in green criminology (from October 2017 to July 2020) on ways to reduce rhino poaching in South Africa, Namibia and Nepal. The findings are based on a qualitative research design (expert interviews and participatory observation). The presentation will take stock of the lessons learnt, and map the policies and approaches that have successfully reduced rhino poaching in three significant range states across Africa and Asia. With the help of these case examples, I will discuss:

* the development of rhino poaching in South Africa, Namibia and Nepal, including a recent reduction of poaching due to the COVID-pandemic
* a description of the criminogenic environment (enablers of wildlife crime) and factors that contribute to the resilience of syndicated poaching
* an overview of the current efforts of state and non-state actors to reduce wildlife crime

Against this background, different elements (recurring weaknesses and success factors) will be highlighted:

* bottom-up approach versus top-down approach
* factors that influence the potential for community-based conservation programmes, including the role of the contemporary culture
* effective on-site protection (ranger patrols)
* loopholes in the judicial system
* the role of intelligence through networks of informants (reaching higher into syndicates)
* process of capacity-building, including the role of technology (value of high-end technology vs incremental innovations)
* dehorning
* Asian demand (only briefly)
* how do the elements influence each other in a comprehensive approach?

Oral Presentation: Leading the way on sustainable use – certifying wildlife-based land uses to re-centre the narrative on rejuvenating local economies
04:59PM - 05:11PM
Presented by :
Matthew Child, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Roland Vorwerk, Department Of Environment, Forestry And Fisheries
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Andrew Taylor, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

Africa has abundant rangelands and wildlife from which thriving social-ecological systems can sustainably utilise natural resources. However, policies remain locked into the protected area model and preservationist thinking, abetted by the 'compassionate conservation' movement who appear to be winning the race for the public's hearts and minds. To mainstream the evidence documenting the positive impacts of sustainable use, we require innovative regulatory models and public communication vehicles. One of the outcomes of Biodiversity Economy Phakisa was to develop a voluntary, market-driven certification scheme to expand consumer markets for ethical and sustainable wildlife production systems. Here we describe the first conceptualisation of this certification scheme and its possible integration into policy and practice. We propose the certification scheme uses an agro-ecological framing centred on sustainable wildlife 'working lands' where biodiversity conservation is an outcome rather than an explicit goal. We describe three main impact areas corresponding to socio-economic improvement and justice, sustainable rangeland management, and ethical wildlife population management. We suggest ways in which the opportunity costs of a continuous improvement model could be offset by accessing diverse revenue streams and a wider range of markets. Finally, we describe a conceptual monitoring and evaluation system that could measure the landscape impact of positive management adjustments and measure progress towards both national development targets and international biodiversity goals. We use an integrated database on wildlife ranches and management interventions to visualise some of these concepts. By empirically demonstrating that ranches under the certification scheme contribute to both economic and conservation goals, South Africa has the opportunity to show the world what sustainable use means in practice.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Governance in the Anthropocene II - Nature Needs Rights Too
05:11PM - 05:30PM
Presented by :
Greta Pegram, Environmental Law Association (ELA) Of South Africa
Co-authors :
Kees Bastmeijer, Tilburg University
David Takacs, University Of California, Hastings College Of The Law
Benjamin Smale, University Of Hamburg
Matthew Child, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Friday, 06 Nov 2020
08:00AM - 10:00AM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Nine: Sharing the Load - Partnering for Sustainable Solutions I
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Ian Rushworth, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: Assaf Shwartz, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Human's actions have pushed species to the brink of extinction and beyond resulting in a huge biodiversity crisis. Assafs' research explores how human activities influence biodiversity, but also how people can benefit from biodiversity conservation. His aim is to find substantial solutions for planning and managing human-dominated and pristine environments for the mutual benefit of people and nature. This is a multi and interdisciplinary research which involves several disciplines such as ecology, geography, sociology, psychology, economy and landscape planning. Assaf graduated in Biology and Geography with honors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2003, where he continued to do his MSc in Ecology, studying urban ecology and invasion biology. He then went to the Sorbonne University and the Natural History Museum (France) for his PhD thesis, where he studied the interaction between people and biodiversity in the centre of a large metropolis (Paris). From 2012, he was a postdoctoral research associate working on ecosystem services at the Natural History Museum (Paris France) and systematic conservation planning at the University of Kent (UK). In 2014 he joined the faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion, Israel, where he formed the HUB (human and biodiversity research group). Since 2020 he is the head of the Landscape Architecture program at the faculty.


Check-In
08:00AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: Conservation outside protected areas: Designing multifunctional landscapes for the mutual benefit of people and biodiversity
08:30AM - 09:10AM
Presented by :
Assaf Shwartz, Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology

Human-induced changes are jeopardising biodiversity at ever-increasing rates, with approximately 50–70% of Earth’s land surface being modified for human activities. Across the globe, agricultural intensification and urbanisation delete, degrade, and fragment natural ecosystems, pushing many species to the brink of extinction and beyond. Protected areas (PAs) have long been used to mitigate these threats by separating biodiversity and incompatible land uses. Yet, despite considerable efforts, the coverage of PAs in the terrestrial realm continues to plateau, and the biodiversity crisis is accelerating. Furthermore, the same processes that threaten biodiversity are also increasingly separating people from the experience of nature. This 'extinction of experience' is a major concern since interaction with nature plays an important role in people’s health and well-being, but also because this estrangement can undermine people’s emotions, attitudes, and behavior toward nature, eroding the broad public support needed to encourage governments to act. In response to these challenges, conservation biologists are starting to realise the importance of expanding the toolbox to off-reserve conservation that focuses on the management of the whole landscape. This can achieved by designing multifunctional landscapes that use nature-based solutions for balancing human current and future needs with nature. In this talk, I will build on my research to exemplify the importance of designing multifunctional landscapes, and highlight the challenges and potential solutions. I argue that since humans are the keystone species in human-dominated landscapes, their interests and benefits must be considered in multidisciplinary research that covers disciplines such as ecology, economy, public health, and psychology. I will provide examples from Israel and Europe for both agricultural and urban landscapes to demonstrate that designing multifunctional landscapes is not as straightforward as commonly argued. Therefore, it is important to adopt cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and optimisation approaches to identify opportunities that can mutually benefit people and biodiversity.

Oral Presentation: Beehive fences as a sustainable local solution to human-elephant conflict in Thailand
09:10AM - 09:22AM
Presented by :
Antoinette Van De Water, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Kevin Matteson, Miami University
Lucy King, Save The Elephants
Rachaya Arkajak, Department Of National Parks, Wildlife And Plant Conservation
Jirachai Arkajak, Department Of National Parks, Wildlife And Plant Conservation
Nick Van Doormaal, Future For Nature Academy
Viviana Ceccarelli, Bring The Elephant Home
Liesbeth Sluiter, Bring The Elephant Home
Vera Praet, Bring The Elephant Home
David Owen, Miami University

Human-elephant conflicts (HEC) are a major concern for many local farmers in rural communities in Africa and Asia. This study aims to better understand the human dimensions of these conflicts and evaluate beehive fences to foster long-term coexistence between farmers and wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Thailand. We first conducted household questionnaires (n = 296) to assess the prevalence of HEC and attitudes towards elephants in four rural villages in Thailand. The majority of the households reported seeing or hearing elephants near their property at least once a week (84.9%) and experienced negative impacts from elephants in the last five years (81.0%). Next, we conducted a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of beehive fencing as a sustainable solution. We installed camera-traps to record the elephants' reactions to the beehive fence and analysed the videos. The beehive fence deterred 88.4% of individual elephants (n = 155) and 64.3% of elephant groups (n = 28) that approached the fence. Most elephants (70.7%) exhibited behaviours suggesting heightened attentiveness or alarm. After the pilot study, we conducted two semi-structured interviews with the farm owner. The farm owner reported a strong reduction in crop damage after the beehive fence was installed, as well as additional benefits, including the supplemental income by selling honey and honeybee queens. We conclude that beehive fences can be a sustainable local method to reduce crop damage by elephants and also generate additional income for farmers in Thailand. The implementation of beehive fences might be prioritized on smaller farms that are most proximal to significant elephant populations or located along commonly utilised elephant pathways.

Oral Presentation: Sustainability of protected areas: Vulnerabilities and opportunities as revealed by COVID-19 in a national park management agency
09:22AM - 09:34AM
Presented by :
Kyle Smith, South African National Parks
Co-authors :
Izak Smit, South African National Parks
Louise Swemmer, South African National Parks
Mohlamatsane Mokhatla, South African National Parks
Stefanie Freitag, South African National Parks
Dirk Roux, South African National Parks

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, human mobility was dramatically reduced in attempts to curtail the spread of the disease. In South Africa, the government reacted swiftly, declaring a national state of disaster and implementing stringent lockdown regulations, including the closure of the country's borders and home confinement for the vast majority of South African citizens. Conservation organisations had to deal with dramatic reductions in tourists and revenue, the danger of an economic recession, and a direct health threat for employees. In this paper, we explore how COVID-19 and the associated lockdown influenced South African National Parks (SANParks) sustainability principles of ecological integrity/resilience, financial feasibility, and social relevance. We outline a selection of impacts, risks, opportunities, and responses on a range of spatial, temporal, and organisational scales based on a mix of observations, experience, and empirical data. A systems lens illustrates the inter-connectedness of people and ecosystems while exposing vulnerabilities and opportunities for protected area sustainability. Restrictions on tourism, travel, and the closure of all national parks directly impacted organisational income, exposing the limitations of a funding model reliant on one main income stream whilst also impacting tourism-related community enterprises. Loss of income and cost curtailment measures impacted SANParks social responsibility projects, challenged park management in accomplishing operations, and resulted in the reduction of monitoring programmes and research projects. Furthermore, the ability of people to access opportunities to benefit from national parks was reduced, thereby influencing connections between people and parks with potentially negative consequences on human well-being. However, the pandemic also provided opportunities for innovative approaches to develop relationships between people and parks and in enabling benefit sharing. Navigating this period has required reflection, re-prioritisation, adaptation, and creativity whilst forging new relationships, seeking opportunities for collaboration, and developing partnerships will be key strategies going forward.

Oral Presentation: Amagama ezinyoni
09:34AM - 09:46AM
Presented by :
Roger Porter, Independent

South Africa's official language policy requires that where words, for example, names and technical words, are missing in any of the indigenous languages, such words need to be derived that are appropriate to that language. Further, these new words must be incorporated by lexicographers into dictionaries. The Zulu Bird Names Project achieved this comprehensively for the 550 bird species found in KwaZulu-Natal through a rigorous, research, linguistic, participatory, and consultative process undertaken over six years. The publication of the results in two books provides an essential resource for use by learners, academics, birders, and nature conservation personnel working in KwaZulu-Natal. And as a repository for this information, these books enrich the cultural importance and values of birds for the Zulu people. The method developed here is recommended as the best and most applicable to be used by others to derive and list the names of plants and animals in all the other official languages. These 'common' names must be incorporated into species field guides that are compiled and published for use by people. Further, it is recommended that such common names are used in brochures and publicity material, especially that produced by nature conservation authorities. In addition, species checklists, which form part of reserve management plans, must be comprehensive by incorporating these names so that they are 'on hand' and can be used by managers.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Sharing the Load - Partnering for Sustainable Solutions I
09:46AM - 10:00AM
Presented by :
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Assaf Shwartz, Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology
Kyle Smith, South African National Parks
Roger Porter, Independent
Suvarna Parbhoo-Mohan, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Julia Wood, City Of Cape Town
10:00AM - 10:20AM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
10:15AM - 11:20AM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Ten: Sharing the Load - Partnering for Sustainable Solutions II
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Check-In
10:15AM - 10:20AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: Integrated framework to balance conservation and human well-being, moderated by the Sustainable Development Goals
10:20AM - 10:32AM
Presented by :
Antoinette Van De Water, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Rob Slotow, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Michelle Henley, Elephants Alive
Enrico Di Minin, University Of Helsinki / University Of KwaZulu-Natal

To develop elephant conservation strategies that reconcile both conservation and human well-being goals, we assessed the value of elephants and how these values contribute to sustainable development. We evaluated global conservation approaches and their fitness in the developing world. By recognizing the societal importance of elephants, beyond financial markets and boundaries of protected areas, and by framing nature investments on intended societal outcomes, rather than on biodiversity conservation alone, we fully integrate the biological and social systems. We recommend a conceptual framework that can enhance the integration of strategies to conserve elephants and increase human wellbeing, thereby up-scaling socio-ecological sustainability, engendering buy-in, and contributing to a sustainable and just world. Our framework bridges the gap between on-the-ground conservation practice and societal values, aspirations, and rights, and can be applied to other iconic species that pose conservation trade-offs in the Anthropocene.

Oral Presentation: Measuring the success of conservation planning using the Cape Flats Core Flora Conservation Programme as a case study
10:32AM - 10:44AM
Presented by :
Julia Wood, City Of Cape Town
Co-authors :
Pippin Anderson, University Of Cape Town
Cliff Dorse, City Of Cape Town

Cape Town (2,456 km2) is located at the southernmost tip of Africa and is the second-largest city in South Africa, with a rapidly growing population of over four million living in both formal and informal settlements. Cape Town is part of the unique Cape Floristic Region (CFR), the smallest of only six floral kingdoms in the world and a global biodiversity hotspot. In the late 1990s, the Botanical Society of South Africa initiated the Core Floral Sites Study in the City of Cape Town to identify and prioritise sites for conservation using systematic planning principles. Twenty years on, the outcomes of the Core Floral Sites Study have been explored and the merging themes shed some light on effective measures of the success of conservation plans. This paper also touches on the CAPE (Cape Action or People and the Environment) partnership as this was the underlying context which supported and shaped the outcome.

Oral Presentation: Evaluating success in citizen science: A case study of the CREW programme
10:44AM - 10:56AM
Presented by :
Suvarna Parbhoo-Mohan, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Ismail Ebrahim, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Vathiswa Zikishe, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

Citizen science can be defined as any process that involves data collection, transcribing, checking, collation, analysis, or the interpretation thereof for scientific purposes, where general laymen are heavily involved and do the bulk of the work. It mobilises volunteer capacity from the general public using technology to contribute meaningfully to the conservation of biodiversity. A variety of citizen science initiatives to monitor biodiversity have been initiated in South Africa over the past three decades by a wide range of institutions. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has focussed on the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) citizen science programme to conduct field surveys and monitor plant taxa of conservation concern in priority parts of the South African landscape. Just under 1000 CREW citizen scientists have provided comprehensive population, distribution, and threat information for 44% of South Africa's flora. This data is fed into SANBI's Plant Red List assessment process and is channelled into land-use decision making. With the expansion in information technology during the last decade, the use of online tools to collect and submit data has become a necessity. The CREW programme has iNaturalist, a platform where citizens are able to monitor all of South Africa's biodiversity (plants, animals and fungi). It is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society of which SANBI is the custodian. Over 100 projects are run on iNaturalist in southern Africa with SANBI support. The CREW programme has ensured, over the years, that it is optimally positioned by incorporating laypeople, botanists, academics, and students in a simple yet well-structured way within the system of government. This paper shall focus on how the CREW citizen science programme has focussed on its citizen scientists' motivation thereby maximising benefits for almost two decades.

Oral Presentation: Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in South Africa - saving our seeds
10:56AM - 11:08AM
Presented by :
Sibahle Gumede, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Victoria Wilman, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

The Millennium Seedbank Partnership (MSBP) is a collaboration between the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working together to ensure the long-term survival of South Africa's plant diversity through ex-situ conservation or seed banking. The Partnership aims to bank of 25% of the world's species (5,000 South African species), develop capacity building and training opportunities, and provide support to conservation partners through the use of collections, data, and expertise. To ensure focused work, a collection strategy was developed where priority targets and focus areas were identified:

1. species that require immediate attention and those in critical habitats,
2. endemic species,
3. those useful to humans, and
4. medicinal species and crop wild relatives.

These were further refined to individual species lists, locality information, and field partners sought, after which field dossiers were created for each species. The seeds of targeted species, together with associated herbarium specimens and field data, are collected, processed, and then sent to the Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom where they are dried, tested for viability and germination protocols, and stored in freezers at -20°C. Under these conditions, the seeds have the potential to remain viable for hundreds of years. While there is still much to be done, fieldwork has taken place in eight of SA's provinces and 7,623 seed collections have been made from the start of the project. 4,718 individual species from 176 plant families have been banked, 17% of which are threatened or of conservation concern. A new phase of the project will focus on threatened trees, and plans are in place for South Africa's own wild plant seed bank to be established that will hold our primary seed collections, working towards ensuring that no South African plant species need to go completely extinct and be lost forever.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Sharing the Load - Partnering for Sustainable Solutions II
11:08AM - 11:20AM
Presented by :
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
John Tico McNutt, Wild Entrust Africa
Antoinette Van De Water, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
11:20AM - 11:45AM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
11:40AM - 01:00PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Eleven: It's All in the Genes!
Format : Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Ian Rushworth, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Check-In
11:40AM - 11:45AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Oral Presentation: Developing guidelines for the genetic management of southern African vertebrates
11:45AM - 11:57AM
Presented by :
Deon De Jager, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Paulette Bloomer, University Of Pretoria
Isa-Rita Russo, Cardiff University
Anri Van Wyk, University Of Pretoria
Kenneth Uiseb, Ministry Of Environment And Tourism
Coral Birss, Executive Director: Biodiversity Capabilities, CapeNature
Ian Rushworth, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Genetic diversity, and its distribution within species, is fundamental to evolutionary processes, such as natural selection and speciation, and is an important factor in ecosystem stability. However, this aspect of biodiversity is often underrepresented in national and international policy dealing with the conservation and management of ecosystems and species. In southern Africa, translocations of large vertebrates for conservation and economic reasons is common but is often carried out in the absence of genetic information. Translocations can result in hybridisation between closely related species, subspecies, or differentiated populations. Extensive translocations in the absence of genetic information may threaten the genetic integrity of species and biodiversity. This project aims to collect, collate, and interpret the current knowledge of the genetic composition of southern African vertebrates and make this information accessible, via a public website, to conservation practitioners, the wildlife industry, and governments as genetic management guidelines. These species-specific guidelines will be written by taxon experts in a manner accessible to non-expert users. The project will focus on genetic differentiation within species to define evolutionary boundaries within which populations should be managed, which, together with relevant ecological data, will be visualized on easy-to-interpret maps. We propose the resource be incorporated into policy via ongoing reform of conservation legislation in two southern African countries, South Africa and Namibia. Crucially, it can be incorporated into permit decisions for translocations, thus ensuring evidence-based decision-making and process transparency. This project will also identify critical sampling gaps in species distributions, populations most suitable for genetic monitoring studies, and species for which no genetic data are available. The project will serve as a test case for a regional and continental product, driven by the Africa section of the IUCN SSC Conservation Genetics Specialist Group.

Oral Presentation: Managing samango monkey populations in the contrasting landscapes of the Soutpansberg
11:57AM - 12:09PM
Presented by :
Bibi Linden, University Of Venda, Lajuma Research Centre
Co-authors :
Stefan Foord, University Of Venda
Desire Dalton, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Peter Taylor, University Of Venda

We investigated possible effects of natural and anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on the rare arboreal forest-dwelling samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi) across the Soutpansberg Mountain Range, South Africa. We recorded data on their distribution, population genetic structure, and direct threats. Our results showed a distribution gap in the middle Soutpansberg separating eastern and western populations. We found that samango monkeys utilised the differing matrices surrounding forest fragments in the east and west, with lone or bachelor group males showing more extensive use than maternal groups. Habitat fragmentation can lead to the loss of genetic connectivity between populations, and we found that the samango monkey population is subdivided across the Soutpansberg with a lack of contemporary gene flow between and within populations in the east and west. Based on our results, we suggest that natural fragmentation and geographical distance are potential drivers for genetic differentiation observed in the west and that anthropogenic fragmentation possibly plays a role in the east. The degree of genetic isolation found raises concerns about the long-term viability of samango populations. Anthropogenic habitat fragmentation inevitably brings primate populations into closer contact with human infrastructure, and our study showed that roads constitute the greatest direct threat to samango monkeys in the study area. Analysis of roadkill data provided insights into high-risk localities, and field experimentation showed that canopy overpasses constitute a viable intervention for mitigating samango monkey road fatalities. The overall patterns found in this study, with high contrast between the east and west of the mountain range, require different adaptive strategies from the samango monkeys and different conservation approaches from practitioners across this landscape.

Oral Presentation: Wildlife ranching and the potential genetic impact of hybridisation on antelopes in South Africa
12:09PM - 12:21PM
Presented by :
Anri Van Wyk, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Isa-Rita Russo, Cardiff University
Paulette Bloomer, University Of Pretoria

Wildlife ranching in South Africa is a billion-dollar industry, estimated at USD 8.1 billion in 2015, and approximately 20% of privately owned land is used for hunting, breeding of game, meat production, and ecotourism. Over the past few decades, wildlife ranching has increased dramatically in South Africa and this has led to the rapid rise of areas enclosed by game fences and a high demand for wildlife. Consequently, populations are artificially managed and natural processes do not take place which can negatively impact individual species and the industry as a whole. In South Africa, pure antelope populations are threatened by the possible existence of hybrids since antelopes are particularly prevalent among examples of human-induced hybridisation within South Africa. Worldwide, managing anthropogenic hybridisation and the fate of hybrid animals is a contentious issue. Currently, there is no single solution or policy that is applicable to all circumstances, with most countries choosing to apply a case-by-case approach. However, current management guidelines globally state that everything practically possible should be done to remove hybrids from the wild once they have been detected. South Africa has an obligation to sustainably use wildlife resources and to conserve biodiversity as a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This review will look at the possible genetic impacts of hybridisation on antelope in South Africa and probable conservation outcomes. In order to have viable populations for the future, conservation management strategies must be directed to preserve the genetic integrity, as well as genetic diversity in local populations.

Oral Presentation: Genetic bottlenecks and inbreeding in South African buffalo populations as revealed by genome sequences
12:21PM - 12:33PM
Presented by :
Deon De Jager, University Of Pretoria
Co-authors :
Brigitte Glanzmann, Stellenbosch University
Marlo Moller, Stellenbosch University
Eileen Hoal, Stellenbosch University
Paul Van Helden, Stellenbosch University
Cindy Harper, University Of Pretoria
Paulette Bloomer, University Of Pretoria

An estimated 95% of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) in southern Africa died during the rinderpest epidemic of 1890–1900. What remained of South African buffalo was represented by relict populations in three important protected areas: Kruger National Park (KNP), Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP), and Addo Elephant National Park (AENP). Between 1999 and 2007, South African National Parks established a disease-free population of Kruger origin in Mokala National Park (MNP). Population declines (KNP, HiP, AENP) and founder events (MNP) may result in genetic bottlenecks, which leads to loss of genetic diversity and, potentially, inbreeding. In this study, we sequenced 40 Cape buffalo genomes representing the aforementioned populations to determine whether their population histories had resulted in the loss of genome-wide diversity and/or increased inbreeding. We found that genome-wide diversity in Cape buffalo was the highest for any mammal for which these data were available. We observed equivalent levels of genome-wide diversity in KNP and MNP, indicating the founder event in MNP has not yet resulted in the loss of genetic diversity. Genome-wide diversity in HiP was significantly lower compared to KNP (p = 5.16 x 10-8), while AENP in turn had significantly lower genome-wide diversity than HiP (p = 1.29 x 10-4). Additionally, AENP buffalo had high individual inbreeding coefficients (0.21 ≤ F ≤ 0.25), in contrast to HiP, KNP and MNP where individual inbreeding was close to zero. The results reflect the strength of genetic bottlenecks in each population, with no, mild and strong bottlenecks having occurred in KNP (and MNP), HiP and AENP, respectively. We propose that genetic diversity be monitored in HiP to detect any future loss of genetic diversity in a timely manner and that AENP be supplemented with disease-free buffalo from MNP to increase genetic diversity and prevent further inbreeding.

Oral Presentation: Interspecific gene flow and the evolution of specialisation in black and white rhinoceros
12:33PM - 12:45PM
Presented by :
Isa-Rita Russo, Cardiff University

The age of Pleistocene mammalian megaherbivores is largely over, however, Africa's black (Diceros bicornis) and white (Ceratotherium simum) rhinoceros are remnants of this long-gone 'golden age' of large mammals. A rich fossil record shows that both species have suffered several Plio-Pleistocene climatic and tectonic disruptions. Although black and white rhinoceros are closely related sister taxa, they have evolved highly divergent browsing and grazing feeding strategies respectively that evolved within the last 6–7 million years. The stem lineage leading to the modern-day rhinoceros was a mixed feeder, represented by a morphologically intermediate species (C. neumayri) which diverged into D. praecox and C. mauritanicum, the direct ancestors of black and white rhinoceros correspondingly. These precursor species appear in the fossil record at about 5.2 million years ago (Mya) when both species were still mixed feeders. Fossil records have shown that these two species were still mixed feeders as recently as 4 Mya and that they were even spatially and temporally sympatric at several Pliocene sites. We investigated whether D. praecox and C. mauritanicum were reproductively isolated when they came into secondary contact during the Pliocene. We sequenced one black rhinoceros reference genome (South Africa) and compared it with available genomes of other black (Kenya) and white rhinoceros (South Africa and South Sudan). We show that ancestral gene flow between D. praecox and C. mauritanicum only ceased sometime between 3.3 and 4.1 Mya. The ongoing Pliocene genetic exchange between these two species could have potentially hindered the development of obligate feeding strategies until complete reproductive isolation occurred. Furthermore, the more severe and fluctuating palaeo-climate during the early Pleistocene was probably the most important driver of ecological specialisation in modern African rhinoceros.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: It's All in the Genes!
12:45PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Ian Rushworth, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Deon De Jager, University Of Pretoria
Bibi Linden, University Of Venda, Lajuma Research Centre
Anri Van Wyk, University Of Pretoria
Isa-Rita Russo, Cardiff University
01:00PM - 02:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
01:55PM - 03:15PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Twelve: Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World II
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Nonhle Mngadi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: Barry Lovegrove, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Professor Barry Lovegrove, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, is a retired evolutionary physiologist with an interest in desert biology and the evolution of endothermy in birds and mammals. He has written two books on the topics; The Living Deserts of Southern Africa (Fernwood Press, 1993) and Fires of Life: Endothermy in Birds and Mammals (Yale University Press, 2019).


Check-In
01:55PM - 02:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: Arid zone conservation: 30 years of change
02:00PM - 02:35PM
Presented by :
Barry Lovegrove, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

This overview analyses changes in conservation efforts in the arid biomes of southern Africa - Desert Biome, Succulent Karoo Biome, Nama Karoo Biome, and Arid Savanna Biome - over the past approximately 30 years. Significant increases in additional conservation areas have been established in all biomes with the exception of the Nama Karoo Biome. The privately-owned NamibRand Nature Reserve (~220,000 ha), on the eastern boundary of the Namib Dune Sea, provides critical migration routes for desert antelope such as gemsbok, springbok and Hartmann's mountain zebras. There are also vast regions of the Namib Desert (Koakoland, Damaraland) over which conservation management has been devolved to local communities following Namibia's establishment of their Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRM) in 1996. Three important new reserves have been established in the Succulent Karroo Biome: Namaqua National Park, Goegap National Park, and the Knersvlakte Reserve. These new reserves were established following extensive scientific analyses of the most critical flora requiring preservation. The Succulent Karoo is the only desert biodiversity hotspot in the world, owing mostly to the extraordinarily fast radiation of the Aizoaceae during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. The Succulent Karoo is also, without doubt, the biome most threatened by climate change. The ongoing southward retraction of the winter rainfall region with Antarctic warming poses the greatest threat to the biome. The Arid Savanna is very well preserved with the formation of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. However, new private reserves, Tswalu Nature Reserve and Kuruman River Reserve, have added considerably to research output on Arid Savanna fauna, in particular. Important strides have been taken over the past 30 years to conserve the flora and fauna of southern Africa's deserts. These developments have been documented in a revision of The Living Deserts of Southern Africa (1993) currently being published by Penguin Random House.

Oral Presentation: Monitoring veld condition trends at Ntinini Nature Reserve (2008–2017)
02:35PM - 02:47PM
Presented by :
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

This study reports on the veld condition trends at Ntinini Nature Reserve between 2008 and 2017 based on regular veld condition assessments. Initially, these were conducted annually but, due to limited resources, the monitoring intervals were changed in 2012 to every five years. The aim of the veld condition assessments was to monitor the long-term changes in rangeland condition in relation to grazing pressure and associated environmental conditions, and to determine the current grazing capacity based on the current veld condition score (VCS). Seven 30 m x 30 m permanent plots have been surveyed since 2008 using the step-point technique to sample herbaceous species composition. The benchmark method was used to analyse the veld condition data to determine the VCS and the disc pasture meter was used to measure herbaceous plant biomass. The results indicated that veld condition had declined to 52% on the seven monitoring plots between the inception of the monitoring in 2008 and 2017, suggesting that veld condition has declined in approximately 52% of the Reserve. Three of the seven monitoring plots were in poor condition (i.e. 21–40% VCS), two were in fair condition (41–60% VCS), one was in good condition (61–80% VCS), and one was in excellent condition (81–100% VCS). The mean VCS for the Reserve had declined from 57% in 2008 to 52% by 2017. This 5% decline in VCS is attributed to both grazing pressure and drought, since most of the KwaZulu-Natal Province experienced below-average rainfall during this period. The current grazing capacity is calculated to be 182 animal units based on the current average VCS of 52%. There was a decline in herbaceous biomass on sites 2 and 4, whereas the biomass remained constant on three sites between 2012 and 2017, and slightly improved on site 7.

Oral Presentation: Functional traits vary among fleshy-fruited invasive plant species and their potential avian dispersers
02:47PM - 02:59PM
Presented by :
Nasiphi Bitani, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
David Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Yvette Ehlers Smith, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Habitat fragmentation has a multitude of negative effects on biodiversity, including the facilitation of alien plant invasion. Of concern in South Africa is the spread of fleshy-fruited invasive plant species, which in many places are replacing indigenous vegetation in infrequently disturbed and fragmented habitats. The availability of dispersers is among the most important factor for the successful invasion of fleshy-fruited invasive plant species. Dispersers differ in their dispersal capacity, and the success of frugivore dispersed plants depends both on animal and plant traits. Here, we used the functional traits of fleshy-fruited invasive plants to test for specific associations with avian functional traits in Indian Ocean Coastal Belt Forests, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The use of multivariate analyses showed that avian seed dispersers and fleshy-fruited invasive plant species differed in the functional traits between species with each group (i.e. plants and avian dispersers) that were important for seed dispersal. For fleshy-fruited plants, morphological traits (seed size, fruit size) and phenological traits (fruiting period length) were more variable between the species. For avian species, the variation was in their morphology (body size, gape width, bill length), abundance, and habitat specificity. As predicted, avian species that are potentially dispersing invasive plants were forest generalist and relatively abundant species persisting in the fragmented forest. Fleshy-fruited invasive plant species that were predicted to be effectively dispersed were small-seed, open habitat species with longer fruiting length including lantana (Lantana camara), white mulberry (Morus alba), Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and bugweed (Solanum mauritianum). Overall, our study showed that easily measured traits are important for understanding forest invasion dynamics and can give insights to management strategies that can be developed to minimise further infestations.

Poster Presentation: Aspects of the ecology of the western cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and various heron species on farmlands and in urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal
02:59PM - 03:02PM
Presented by :
Jennifer Cele, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Colleen Downs, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Although the expansion of cities has been shown globally to have negative impacts on wildlife, some species are able to persist and become 'urban exploiters'. We are investigating aspects of the ecology of the western cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and various heron species on farmlands and in urban areas of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, to determine the effects of anthropogenic land-use changes on these species. The locations of all roosting and nesting sites along a land-use gradient were identified and monitored monthly. Preliminary results show the importance of urban wetland habitats for the persistence of western cattle egrets and various heron species in these areas.

Poster Presentation: Aristida junciformis is difficult to kill with herbicide or grazing
03:02PM - 03:05PM
Presented by :
Craig Morris, Agricultural Research Council
Co-authors :
Anke Scharlach , University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Kevin Kirkman, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Michelle Tedder, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Aristida junciformis subsp. junciformis is an indigenous wiry, unpalatable, tufted, perennial grass that encroaches on poor soils and overgrazed areas of mesic grassland in south-eastern South Africa, severely reducing forage production and plant species diversity. Established populations are difficult to reduce. We attempted to kill or at least reduce the vigour of A. junciformis tufts using a targeted application of herbicide (4% glyphosate) with a weed-wiper broom or through a once-off (24 hr) high-density grazing event (HDG), applied five weeks after a spring burn to 15 paddocks (each ¬ 900 m2) in a replicated trial (n = 5) in mesic grassland in Pietermaritzburg. The survivorship of 250 tufts, regrowth of 100 grazed A. junciformis tufts (height ≤ 100 mm) per treatment, and overall species composition changes were assessed over a year. No tufts were killed by HDG and only 30% succumbed to the herbicide. At the end of the growing season, the height (p = 0.9481) and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) (p = 0.7053) of regrown tufts did not differ between the undefoliated control and HDG treatments. Species composition shifted over time in all paddocks but was unaffected by treatment. High-density stocking achieved defoliation of most (75.8%) A. junciformis tufts to a height of ≤ 100 mm but also resulted in 43% of other, more palatable grasses being severely defoliated (≤ 50 mm). We conclude that a once-off application of herbicide or heavy grazing for a short duration in spring when A. junciformis is still palatable are not effective practices for rehabilitating degraded mesic grassland. Repeated application of herbicide and HDG grazing both within a season and for a few years might have a greater impact on A. junciformis, but the risk to other extant palatable grasses should be carefully evaluated.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World II
03:05PM - 03:15PM
Presented by :
Nonhle Mngadi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Barry Lovegrove, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Nasiphi Bitani, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Jennifer Cele, University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Craig Morris, Agricultural Research Council
03:15PM - 03:30PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Tea
03:25PM - 05:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Plenary Session
Session Thirteen: Nature’s Bounty: The Business of Natural Capital
Format : Keynote Presentations | Oral Presentations | TMT (Poster) Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Moderators
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Nonhle Mngadi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Keynote Speaker: Jon McCosh, Institute of Natural Resources

Jon is a Principal Scientist at the Institute of Natural Resources. His interests lie at the interface between landscapes, agriculture, water and livelihoods. He is an active practitioner across these thematic areas having been involved in policy and strategy development for agriculture and rural livelihoods, field-based participatory research, water research in the agricultural sector and landscape management and restoration.


Check-In
03:25PM - 03:30PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

Keynote Address: “A little less conversation, a little more action” – taking investments in ecological infrastructure to scale through developing local capacity and institutions
03:30PM - 04:05PM
Presented by :
Jon McCosh, Institute Of Natural Resources
Co-authors :
Brigid Letty, Institute Of Natural Resources
Sershen Naidoo, Institute Of Natural Resources

Extensive, but largely theoretical, research has been conducted on the benefits of investing in ecological infrastructure (EI) to secure improved ecosystem services, particularly in the field of integrated water management. It has become increasingly apparent that such investments are necessary and urgent, increasingly so in the context of ensuring water and food security in a post-COVID-19 world. Using classical policy surveillance methods we show here that while this need is evidenced by calls for increased investment in the green economy in pre- and post-COVID-19 policies, the extent to which such investments are being implemented remains limited. Using case studies from South Africa, including our own research, we show that these efforts must be accelerated and accompanied by systematic monitoring frameworks and protocols that evaluate the impact of EI investments over the long-term by drawing on in situ empirical data. Using the results of a recent multi-disciplinary action research-based study on the restoration of the upper uMkhomazi River Basin, we show the value of exploring the relationships among investments in EI, governance of natural resources, and the role of local institutions, capacity building, and citizen science to maintain the ecological integrity of South Africa's strategic water source areas. To suggest a way forward, the paper also explores some novel approaches to embedding local ownership of these processes, by adapting emerging methods (e.g. farmer field schools and organisation workshops) that can assist in taking investments in EI to scale through developing local capacity and institutions.

Oral Presentation: Conceptual financing models for enhanced natural capital through Marine Protected Areas
04:05PM - 04:17PM
Presented by :
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans

Coastal communities and industries are inexorably dependent on the functional state of their ocean environment and therefore should have a vested interest in conserving and enhancing their natural capital. However, economic behaviour reflects that many coastal players operate in a financial silo with respect to safeguarding commercial livelihood, longevity, and maintaining natural capital security. Conventional insurance for uncontrollable liabilities can be envisaged as a reactive manoeuvre against uncontrollable risk. However, by not recognising that natural capital is an asset vital to the constitution of a community or business, role-players are inadvertently exposed to significant risk should the operationality of their natural capital be compromised. Here several models are conceptualised in order to approach natural capital as insurance ante, and position marine protection as a securitisation mechanism. Fundamentally, we express a win-win situation for both the state of the natural environment and stakeholders who benefit from its continued function. In lieu of apportioning liability upon coastal businesses or the state arising from compromised natural habitat, we argue that a viably funded marine region may instead serve as an asset which maintains its value as a livelihood magnet and de-risks governments and institutions from the ramifications of regional resilience failure. Through modelling and forecasting the subsidies necessitated by commercial and societal amelioration efforts, as a result of unfinanced marine custodianship, we leverage financed Marine Protected Areas as a critical and viable strategy towards reducing strain on businesses and the state, while simultaneously serving wider environmental objectives.

Oral Presentation: The barriers to entry or scale-up in the conservation business sector: An analysis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
04:17PM - 04:29PM
Presented by :
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT

South Africa is rich in biodiversity and natural assets. The province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), is located within the Maputaland-Pondoland-Biodiversity Hotspot (MPAH), a centre of biological importance recognized as one of the earth's most biologically rich-yet threatened-terrestrial regions (Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, 2020). In addition, KZN is one of South Africa's most populated provinces with high levels of poverty. Many of the people living in the province reside in rural communities, often adjacent to conservation areas which have been established to protect this rich biodiversity. Very few people living in these communities benefit from these conservation areas. Yet economic activity associated with these conservation areas does take place, often in the form of conservation area management, tourism, hunting, and other similar enterprises. Exclusion from these activities, as well as the associated value chains in the sector, has arisen for several reasons, but remain in place because of surmountable barriers. This study, through interviews with entrepreneurs, rural development specialists, and demand-side business owners and managers, has identified a number of barriers that prohibit local entrepreneurs from entering and succeeding in the sector. In order to improve the relationship between people living adjacent to conservation areas and the parks themselves, conservation and development organisations need to address these barriers with the intention of removing or reducing them. By enabling entrepreneurs to enter the economic value chain, and thus receive benefits (directly or indirectly) from conservation, we can move towards long-term viability. Barriers identified included lack of business skills; a lack of understanding of the sector and value chain and therefore associated opportunities; formalisation of business and transacting responsibly; access to a network for business and mentorship; and access to finance.

Oral Presentation: Contextualizing ecological infrastructure restoration frameworks for sustainable management in complex and dynamic catchment systems - a case study in the Blyde Catchment
04:29PM - 04:41PM
Presented by :
Silindile Mtshali, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) / University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Co-authors :
Rebecka Henriksson, University Of KwaZulu-Natal

Humans depend on healthy landscapes for natural resources and ecosystem services. The degradation of ecological infrastructure (EI) from poor land management hinders the delivery of ecosystem services. Restoring EI to improve ecosystem functioning for socio-economic gain is drastically needed. This research aims to contextualize EI restoration frameworks to facilitate collaborative decision-making in the Blyde Catchment, Mpumalanga. The aim of the study is to facilitate a long-term participatory learning process. This process will be centred on participatory approaches to interrogate socio-ecological frameworks by evaluating the dynamics of human-nature relationships through understanding the dependency, value, attitudes, and interest of individuals and groups. The research seeks to understand the feelings and perceptions of people towards EI using in-depth, open-ended data collection strategies. The research will also assess the impact of restoring EI on ecosystem services delivered, and subsequently on livelihoods through system dynamics modelling. In the preliminary assessment, natural resource dependency was identified through evaluating harvesting patterns of resources (e.g. wood and medicinal plants); this was linked to ecosystem services and benefits received. The communities desired future development was determined to be increasing tourism, natural resources management jobs, improved road infrastructure, and development of SMMEs to support livelihoods. The participants linked these findings to EI conditions and restoration needs, and reflected the perceptions on the opportunities and threats concerning the EI. Low social capital, lack of financial resources, and technical capacity were highlighted as the main constraining factors in advocating for restoration efforts. There are also long-standing issues that are not directly linked to EI but will prove to be a hindrance in restoration if not addressed, such as inequality, access, and land reform. This work is part of the Living Catchment Project by the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Oral Presentation: The benefits of wildlife ranching on marginal lands in South Africa
04:53PM - 04:56PM
Presented by :
Andrew Taylor, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Co-authors :
Peter Lindsey, Wildlife Conservation Network
Samantha Nicholson, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Claire Relton, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Harriet Davies-Mostert, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

Wildlife ranching as a land-use takes up about 20% of South Africa's marginal agricultural land and needs to justify its place under political pressures for economic growth, job creation, and food security. Despite the huge growth of the sector over the last 50 years, there are limited data available on revenues, profits, employment statistics, and game meat production, while few comparisons between wildlife-based land-uses (WBLUs) and agriculture have been made. Based on results from survey questionnaires of 276 wildlife ranchers, we describe patterns of WBLUs, estimate their financial and social contributions, and compare these with livestock farming statistics from the literature. Nearly half of our surveyed properties combined wildlife with livestock, 80% conducted some form of hunting, 46% conducted intensive breeding, and 86% diversified by conducting two or more WBLUs. Revenues and profits were highly variable, but comparisons suggest revenues were higher on wildlife-only properties than livestock farms. Mean return on investment on wildlife-only properties was 0.068, but we were unable to compare this with livestock farming. Wildlife properties employed more people per unit area than livestock farms, properties conducting ecotourism employed more than twice as many people as other properties, and local meat hunting ('biltong') properties employed 50% fewer people than non-meat hunting properties. Game meat production was highly variable, partly because it is not yet widely practised, but the top producers harvested game meat at a level comparable with some extensive livestock farms. We suggest that wildlife ranching is financially viable on marginal land, creates more jobs than livestock farming, which is the most likely alternative land-use, and has good future potential to be more competitive in the meat production sector. The conservation benefits of wildlife ranching still need to be assessed, however, to fully understand the impact of the sector.

Poster Presentation: Investigating the importance of Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra (marula) in the livelihoods of local communities in the Limpopo Province, South Africa
04:41PM - 04:53PM
Presented by :
Avhatakali Netshianane, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Co-authors :
Jeanetta Selier, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Deshni Pillay, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

Sclerocarya birrea (marula) is an indigenous tree species found in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been utilised for many years and has been identified as a species of potential commercial importance within South Africa's biodiversity economy. Extensive research has been conducted on marula trees within South Africa but research investigating the importance of the species in the livelihoods of local communities within its range area is lacking. This study aimed at exploring whether communities in the Limpopo Province of South Africa are harvesting marula products to improve their livelihoods and whether S.birrea has the potential to be commercialised within these communities. During October of 2019, 79 questionnaire interviews were conducted within the Bennde-Mutale and Masisi Villages. Households were selected at random and consenting participants were asked a number of questions around utilisation, small scale production, and legislation protecting S. birrea. The data were analysed using Minitab 19.2.0 and Excel. The number of people who trade in marula products was low (p < 0.001). The findings of this study show that most people do not use marula products for small scale production purposes, but rather for social cohesion and it, therefore, does not have an economic impact on the livelihoods of these communities. Most respondents were aware of the legislation protecting S.birrea. Whilst the trees appeared to have limited economic value, the species is important in bringing about social-cohesion within communities. The study reports on the socio-economic value and conservation of S. birrea and highlights the importance of the species within the lives of the local communities within the two communities. There is a need to educate the communities on how to benefit from natural resources especially through commercialisation without compromising the resources; an awareness campaign should be implemented such as natural resource beneficiation.

Question and Answer Session with Moderated Discussion: Nature’s Bounty: The Business of Natural Capital
04:56PM - 05:10PM
Presented by :
Petros Ngwenya, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Co-authors :
Jon McCosh, Institute Of Natural Resources
Khalid Mather, WildTrust - WildOceans
Mark Gerrard, Wildlife ACT
Silindile Mtshali, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) / University Of KwaZulu-Natal
Avhatakali Netshianane, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Andrew Taylor, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
Closing of The Conservation Symposium 2020
05:10PM - 05:30PM
Presented by :
Joe Phadima, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Monday Stats 3&4, 09 Nov 2020
08:15AM - 12:00 Noon
Virtual Online Webinar - Statistics Workshop
Statistics Workshop: Statistical Modelling using R
Format : Workshop / Special Session

Workshop Description

Statistical modelling is a key aspect of conservation research and planning. R is used in many disciplines and has become one of the most common statistics platforms in ecology. This course will focus on using R for the analysis of ecological problems using general linear models. Regression models are a commonly used technique for modelling biological data. An understanding of these techniques is required for the course, and it will focus on the use of R to run the analyses.

Content

Linear models, generalised linear models including logistic and Poisson regression, log-linear model and generalised additive models.

Requirements to Attend

A background knowledge of statistics is required. The practical component will be run using R and R-Commander. Delegates must have R and R-Commander loaded on their computers. The link for downloading R: https://cran.r-project.org/. R commander is downloaded by typing the following text into the R console (after R has been installed): install.packages("Rcmdr", dependencies = TRUE)

Check-In
08:15AM - 08:30AM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

12:00 Noon - 01:00PM
Your Home, Office or Wherever You May Be!!
Lunch
12:45PM - 04:30PM
Virtual Online Webinar - Statistics Workshop
Statistics Workshop: Animal Movement Modelling using R
Format : Workshop / Special Session

Workshop Description

GPS tracking of animals has become a commonly used method in conservation research in order to understand space utilization and behaviour of the tracked animal. Large datasets are being collected with GPS locations of the animal, with shorter periods between successive locations. R is used in many disciplines and has become one of the most common statistics platforms in ecology. This course will focus on using R for the analysis of GPS tracking data. Hidden Markov models are used to identify the behavioural patterns of the tracked individual while home range analysis investigates the areas utilized by the animals. A number or R packages have been developed which allow researchers to utilise these techniques. This course will focus on the use of the moveHMM and adehabitatHR packages in R.

Content

Hidden Markov Models, Home range analysis, Minimum Convex Polygon, Local Convex Hulls.

Requirements to Attend

A background knowledge of statistics is required and familiarity with R and GPS tracking data would be advantageous. The practical component will be run using R and R-Studio. Delegates must have R and R-Studio loaded on their computers. The link for downloading R: https://cran.r-project.org/. R commander is downloaded by typing the following text into the R console (after R has been installed): install.packages("Rcmdr", dependencies = TRUE)

Check-In
12:45PM - 01:00PM
Presented by :
Freyni Du Toit, The Conservation Symposium

Basic Instructions (more detailed instructions can be found here - Virtual FAQS) for accessing the sessions and workshops of The Conservation Symposium 2020: log in (top right-hand corner of the screen), navigate to Programme - Proceedings, click on Day, then click on the workshop or session name, and a green check-in button will be there five minutes beforehand (prior to this it will be a countdown timer). If you have not purchased a ticket (registered to attend), you need to do this FIRST - click on Register to Attend and follow the instructions!

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