Extinct and Threatened in Cape Town.

The following list is just for the City of Cape Town.
This explains why Cape Town is the world's biggest environmental disaster!


It is a sad reality that Cape Town leads the world in terms of species that are threatened with extinction or extinct. Some 13 plant species that used to occur in Cape Town are now globally extinct in the wild. A further 306 of Cape Town’s plant species, and 27 of its animal species, are in immediate danger of extinction. Contrary to what most people think, it is not in the tropics that the greatest concentration of threatened species occurs, but in Cape Town.

What are they?

Most threatened species in Cape Town are plants:
almost 320 species are threatened with extinction, of which 13 are already extinct.
A quarter of the city’s frogs and toads (amphibians) are threatened with extinction.
Unfortunately, we know very little about the ‘creepy crawlies’, and Cape Town probably has many
threatened invertebrates as well.

Note for ‘Extinct’. This refers to species that are globally extinct. All mammals over 50 kg were hunted out in Cape Town by the year 1700, but most still survive in southern Africa. Large mammals currently present (such as at Cape Point) have been reintroduced from elsewhere.

What are the Extinct species?

The following species that used to occur in Cape Town are now listed in the IUCN Red List as “Globally Extinct”. Below, the date and cause of extinction are given for each:

Buchu family: Hairy Buchu Macrostylis villosa subsp. minor (1960s; vineyards in the Bottelary Hills)
Daisy family: Hairy Boneseed Osteospermum hirsutum (1800s; urbanisation)
Heath family – six species:
Kraaifontein Heath Erica bolusiae var. cyathiformis (1970s; urbanisation of northern suburbs; in cultivation at Kirstenbosch);
Showy Heath Erica turgida (1970s; housing at Kenilworth; in cultivation at Kirstenbosch and reintroduced to Kenilworth, Rondevlei and Tokai);
Whorl Heath Erica verticillata (1950s; flower picking and wetland destruction; in cultivation and reintroduced to Rondevlei, Kenilworth and Tokai);
Alexander’s Heath Erica alexandri subsp. acockii (1940s; urbanisation of Kraaifontein);
Steenbras Heath Erica foliacea subsp. fulgens (1890s; pine plantations); and
Pyramid Heath Erica pyramidalis (1950s; urbanisation of southern suburbs).
Pea family – two species: Cape Flats Gorse Aspalathus variegata (1890s; urbanisation of southern suburbs); and
Grass Mountain Pea Liparia graminifolia (1820s; urbanisation of Mowbray).
Protea family: Wynberg Conebush Leucadendron grandiflorum (1800s; vineyards at Wynberg)
Reed family: Table Mountain Window Reed Willdenowia affinis (1910s; pine plantations at Kloof Corner)
Sedge family: Green-and-red Isolepis Isolepis bulbifera (1950s; urbanisation of southern suburbs)
Snapdragon family: Peninsula Snapdragon Nemesia micrantha (date and cause of extinction unknown)

Velvetworm: Lion Velvetworm Peripatopsis leonina (1950s; Signal Hill; cause of extinction unknown)

Other threatened taxa:

Apart from plants which have a whopping 85 species in immediate danger of extinction, other groups with Critically Endangered species include amphibians (Table Mountain Ghost Frog and Micro Frog), reptiles (Geometric Tortoise) and butterflies (Dicksons Monkey Blue Lepidochrysops methymna dicksoni; these have not been seen for 40 years in Tygerberg).
Some species are precariously close to extinction: the Kraaifontein Spiderhead Serruria furcellata exists as only a single plant on the commonage. Such ‘living dead’ species are as good as extinct, unless rescued by conservation authorities.


Urbanization is the largest threat to the plants and animals in Cape Town. Historically, cultivation was the main cause of species loss (mainly wheat in the Renosterveld, and pines and vines in Granite Fynbos). Currently, the second-greatest threat is invasive alien plants (such as wattles, pines, hakeas and gums). There are many other threats, such as fire, grazing, picking, climate change and dumping. However, these threats are minor compared to the big three, which result in habitat transformation. Through this transformation, natural ecosystem processes become compromised, with fire ecology changing, water tables being abstracted, wetlands destroyed, and water, soils and air polluted.

Is there any hope?

Of course there is, but not if we continue in the same old way. We have to deal with disasters happening in our own backyards (tropical forests and coral reefs, notwithstanding), and take responsibility for the amazing plants and animals that live in Cape Town. Urban sprawl must be converted to densification. We need nature reserves that are big enough and properly managed.
Natural fire regimes must be maintained in nature reserves.
Threatened species must be rescued from extinction. This rescue must be done locally in nature reserves – species cannot just be moved somewhere else, as many occur in specialised niches, which do not occur elsewhere, and must be conserved for the species to survive. There is still time to prevent the situation from getting much worse, but we have to act now. It is estimated that we have ten years before the situation becomes hopeless. We need to do something immediately, and you can help.

As can be seen the most Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable species within the city occur in the southern and northern suburbs in what used to be Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, followed by Renosterveld (which was converted to wheatlands and vineyards). Note that the Sandstone Fynbos of the Cape Peninsula also has lots of species, and most of these are threatened by invasive alien plants and inappropriate fire management. The
ecosystems most affected by extinction are the Renosterveld types, as their large herds of game (hartebeest, zebra, eland, ostrich and rhinos) were shot out by the 18th century, resulting in a change from a grassland to a shrubland, followed by a large-scale conversion to wheatland in the 20th century. Although the large mammals are local extinctions, their loss has contributed to the threats affecting local Renosterveld species, which are now globally threatened with extinction.


An extinct species is lost forever. Many species have cultural, medicinal and aesthetic value, and many support many other species, such as parasites, predators and symbionts. Some species are keystone species, and maintain entire food webs. Lastly, species have a right to exist, just as much as we have a right to exist – this is called ‘intrinsic value’. Species that occur nowhere else on earth have a right to exist in their habitat in Cape Town! Capetonians have a responsibility to conserve their unique natural heritage.

What you can do:

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the Millennium Seed Bank have a plant rescue programme which saves plants, bulks them up, and reintroduces them into the wild. The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) monitors rare species, so that we know when we need to act. Many nature reserves have Friends groups, who help with reserve management and maintenance. Some groups focus on certain species, such as
those that prevent road deaths of the Western Leopard Toad during its spring breeding season, when thousands of toads migrate to and from their mating pools. Join these groups, and help to conserve our wild life.

Extracted from
Get your poster here: http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Graphics%20and%20educational%20material/Biodiv_fact_sheet_08_ThreatenedSpecies_2011-03.pdf

Threatened Species


Critically Endangered (CR)

Afrolimon purpuratum CR
Aristea ericifolia erecta CR
Arctotheca forbesiana CR
Aspalathus aculeata CR
Aspalathus horizontalis CR
Aspalathus rycroftii CR
Babiana leipoldtii CR
Babiana regia CR
Babiana secunda CR
Cadiscus aquaticus CR
Cephalophyllum parviflorum CR
Chrysocoma esterhuyseniae CR
Cliffortia acockii CR
Cotula myriophylloides CR
Cyclopia latifolia CR
Diastella proteoides CR
Disa barbata CR
Disa nubigena CR
Disa physodes CR
Disa sabulosa CR
Erica abietina diabolis CR
Erica bolusiae bolusiae CR
Erica heleogena CR
Erica malmesburiensis CR
Erica margaritacea CR
Erica ribisaria CR
Erica sociorum CR
Erica ustulescens CR
Erica vallis ‐aranearum CR
Geissorhiza eurystigma CR
Geissorhiza malmesburiensis CR
Geissorhiza purpurascens CR
Gladiolus aureus CR
Gladiolus griseus CR
Hermannia procumbens procumbens CR
Holothrix longicornu CR
Ixia versicolor CR
Lachenalia arbuthnotiae CR
Lachenalia purpureo ‐caerulea CR
Lampranthus tenuifolius CR
Leucadendron floridum CR
Leucadendron lanigerum laevigatum CR
Leucadendron levisanus CR
Leucadendron macowanii CR
Leucadendron stellare CR
Leucadendron thymifolium CR
Leucadendron verticillatum CR
Marasmodes oligocephala CR
Marasmodes polycephala CR
Metalasia distans CR
Mimetes hottentoticus CR
Moraea angulata CR
Moraea aristata CR
Muraltia satureioides salteri CR
Oxalis natans CR
Podalyria microphylla CR
Polycarena silenoides CR
Protea odorata CR
Psoralea glaucina CR
Restio acockii CR
Serruria aemula CR
Serruria furcellata CR
Serruria hirsuta CR
Serruria trilopha CR
Watsonia amabilis CR
Watsonia humilis CR

Data deficient (DD)

Antimima concinna DD
Arctotis angustifolia DD
Cliffortia cymbifolia DD
Cliffortia reticulata DD
Drimia minor DD
Erica velitaris velitaris DD
Gnidia parvula DD
Lampranthus calcaratus DD
Limonium scabrum corymbulosum DD
Lotononis perplexa DD
Ruschia umbellata DD
Senecio coleophyllus DD
Staavia dregeana DD
Thesium repandum DD

Endangered (EN)

Agathosma corymbosa EN
Agathosma glabrata EN
Agathosma latipetala EN
Arctopus dregei EN
Argyrolobium velutinum EN
Aristea lugens EN
Aspalathus varians EN
Athanasia capitata EN
Athanasia crenata EN
Babiana odorata EN
Cliffortia ericifolia EN
Cliffortia hirta EN
Cliffortia marginata EN
Echiostachys spicatus EN
Elegia acockii EN
Erepsia hallii EN
Erica caterviflora caterviflora EN
Erica cyrilliflora EN
Erica ferrea EN
Erica patersonii EN
Geissorhiza radians EN
Gethyllis kaapensis EN
Gladiolus jonquilliodorus EN
Gladiolus quadrangulus EN
Gladiolus vigilans EN
Hessea cinnamomea EN
Ischyrolepis sabulosa EN
Ixia maculata fuscocitrina EN
Ixia tenuifolia EN
Lachenalia liliflora EN
Lampranthus aureus EN
Lampranthus dilutus EN
Lampranthus explanatus EN
Lampranthus leptaleon EN
Lampranthus scaber EN
Lampranthus stenus EN
Leucadendron argenteum EN
Leucadendron lanigerum lanigerum EN
Leucospermum cordatum EN
Leucospermum grandiflorum EN
Leucospermum gueinzii EN
Leucospermum parile EN
Limonium depauperatum EN
Liparia laevigata EN
Lobostemon hottentoticus EN
Macrostylis cassiopoides cassiopoides EN
Macrostylis cassiopoides dregeana EN
Macrostylis villosa villosa EN
Marasmodes dummeri EN
Metalasia octoflora EN
Mimetes arboreus EN
Moraea elegans EN
Moraea tricolor EN
Muraltia brevicornu EN
Muraltia decipiens EN
Passerina paludosa EN
Pentaschistis ecklonii EN
Phylica thunbergiana EN
Podalyria argentea EN
Prionanthium pholiuroides EN
Protea stokoei EN
Pterygodium cruciferum EN
Pterygodium inversum EN
Rafnia angulata ericifolia EN
Restio harveyi EN
Restio micans EN
Senecio verbascifolius EN
Serruria brownii EN
Serruria cyanoides EN
Serruria decumbens EN
Serruria incrassata EN
Serruria linearis EN
Sorocephalus clavigerus EN
Sparaxis grandiflora grandiflora EN
Spatalla prolifera EN
Spiloxene minuta EN
Steirodiscus speciosus EN
Stoebe gomphrenoides EN
Stylapterus barbatus EN
Tritoniopsis elongata EN
Tritoniopsis flexuosa EN
Xiphotheca lanceolata EN
Xiphotheca reflexa EN

Extinct (EX / EW – Extinct in wild)

Babiana blanda EW
Erica bolusiae cyathiformis EW
Erica turgida EW
Erica verticillata EW
Erica alexandri acockii EX
Nemesia micrantha EX

Near Threatened (NT)

Babiana angustifolia NT
Chondropetalum rectum NT
Diastella thymelaeoides thymela
Leucospermum bolusii NT
Leucospermum conocarpodendron viridum NT
Moraea villosa villosa NT
Muraltia trinervia NT
Nemesia strumosa NT
Otholobium bolusii NT
Paranomus sceptrum‐gustavianus NT
Paranomus spicatus NT
Pentaschistis aspera NT
Podalyria sericea NT
Protea lepidocarpodendron NT
Protea lorea NT
Protea scabra NT
Satyrium carneum NT
Serruria adscendens NT
Serruria elongata NT
Serruria rubricaulis NT
Spatalla longifolia NT
Spatalla racemosa NT
Thamnochortus fraternus NT
Thamnochortus punctatus NT

Vulnerable (VU)

Aloe commixta VU
Antimima aristulata VU
Aspalathus acanthophylla VU
Babiana villosula VU
Calopsis impolita VU
Cotula duckittiae VU
Cotula paradoxa VU
Diosma dichotoma VU
Drosanthemum hispifolium VU
Drosanthemum striatum VU
Echiostachys incanus VU
Elegia fenestrata VU
Elegia prominens VU
Elegia verreauxii VU
Erepsia patula VU
Erepsia ramosa VU
Erica capitata VU
Euchaetis schlechteri VU
Euphorbia marlothiana VU
Geissorhiza humilis VU
Geissorhiza purpureolutea VU
Gladiolus recurvus VU
Gnidia spicata VU
Helichrysum dunense VU
Hermannia rugosa VU
Ischyrolepis duthieae VU
Ixia curta VU
Lachenalia orthopetala VU
Lachnaea capitata VU
Lampranthus bicolor VU
Lampranthus filicaulis VU
Lampranthus glaucus VU
Lampranthus peacockiae VU
Lampranthus reptans VU
Lampranthus sociorum VU
Leucadendron coniferum VU
Leucadendron corymbosum VU
Leucadendron linifolium VU
Leucospermum conocarpodendron conocarpodron VU
Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron canaliculatum VU
Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron hypophyllocarpodendron VU
Leucospermum rodolentum VU
Leucospermum tomentosum VU
Lobostemon capitatus VU
Lotononis prostrata VU
Metalasia capitata VU
Mimetes hirtus VU
Moraea elsiae VU
Muraltia macropetala VU
Pentameris longiglumis longiglumis VU
Polyxena corymbosa VU
Protea longifolia VU
Protea scolymocephala VU
Satyrium foliosum VU
Serruria decipiens VU
Serruria glomerata VU
Serruria inconspicua VU
Serruria krausii VU
Steirodiscus tagetes VU

Vulnerable (VU D2 ‐ single small population)

Acmadenia nivea VU D2
Agathosma pulchella VU D2
Amphithalea ericifolia scoparia VU D2
Aspalathus borboniifolia VU D2
Dimorphotheca walliana VU D2
Erica annectens VU D2
Erica fairii VU D2
Erica limosa VU D2   Erica marifolia VU D2
Erica nana VU D2
Erica paludicola VU D2
Erica pilulifera VU D2
Euryops pectinatus lobulatus VU D2
Liparia parva VU D2
Liparia splendens splendens VU D2
Moraea villosa elandsmontana VU D2
Muraltia comptonii VU D2
Muraltia guthriei VU D2
Muraltia orbicularis VU D2
Roella goodiana VU D2
Serruria collina collina VU D2
Tetraria graminifolia VU D2
Thamnochortus nutans VU D2
Trianoptiles solitaria VU D2  


Critically Endangered (CR)

Heleophryne rosei Table Mountain Ghost Frog CR
Kedestis barbarae bunta Barber's Ranger CR  
Microbatrachella capensis Micro Frog CR

Endangered (EN)

Amietophrynus pantherinus Western Leopard Toad EN
Kedestes lenis Unique Ranger EN
Lepidochrysops methymna dicksoni Dicksons Dark Opal EN  
Mystromys albicaudatus Whitetailed Mouse EN
Psammobates geometricus Geometric Tortoise EN
Trimenia malagrida malagrida Lions Head Copper EN
Xenopus gilli Cape Platanna EN

Extinct (EX)

Pseudobarbus sp Eerste River Redfin EX
Galaxias zebratus? Diep River Galaxias? EX

Vulnerable (VU)

Anthropoides paradiseus Blue Crane  VU
Breviceps gibbosus Cape Rain Frog VU
Cacosternum capense Cape Caco VU
Capensibufo rosei Rose's Mountain Toad VU
Chrysoritis dicksoni Dicksons Strandveld Copper VU  
Circus ranivorus African Marsh Harrier VU
Damaliscus pygargus pygargus Bontebok VU
Equus zebra Cape Mountain Zebra VU
Eremitalpa granti Grant's Golden Mole VU
Polemaetus bellicosus Martial Eagle VU
Pseudocordylus nebulosus Dwarf Crag Lizard VU
Sarothrura affinis Striped Flufftail  VU
Spheniscus demersus African (Jackass) Penguin VU

Posted on 12 June, 2018 11:22 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo


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