News Release

Southern Africa's freshwater species in firing line

19 March 2009
Fishing on Lake Kosi, St Lucia, South Africa (Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Jim Thorsell)

Many freshwater fish, crabs, dragonflies, molluscs and aquatic plants are at risk of extinction in southern Africa if its rivers and lakes are not protected from developers, according to IUCN.

The study by the IUCN Species Programme, in collaboration with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, shows that seven percent of species are known to be regionally threatened or extinct. But this figure will skyrocket unless freshwater species conservation is considered in development planning.

These species provide food for local people and some of them, such as the mollucs, help purify the drinking water. The study shows that while 77 percent of species are not threatened with extinction, there is not enough information for the remaining 16 percent to determine their threat status.

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