In August, the Gondwana Conservation Foundation (GCF) did the annual count of Satyrium muticum, a very rare and endangered orchid species known from four small, severely fragmented subpopulations.
When the Orchid was first found on Gondwana in 2017 it was listed as critically endangered on SANBI’s red data list (South African National Biodiversity Institute). No plants had been located for a number of years. The GCF scouted the reserve for more of the Orchids over the years and found a few populations with over 1000 plants. Due to the research done by the GCF this orchid has come down in status to endangered. A Huge victory for biodiversity.
Today, the largest known populations of Satyrium muticum exist on Gondwana. The annual count is done making use of transects at different locations on the reserve where the plant exists. This year the GCF was assisted by WEI (Wildlife & Ecological Investments.) students, who participated in the count.
During the transects the GCf capture data such as the size, and number of blooms, number of plants in total, plants that are consumed or have been utilised. One interesting observation was the marks caused by rodents, seen by the teeth marks left on the plant stalks. To identify which rodents, the GCF set out little traps to catch, identify and release the little critters.
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