An Endangered Species Out of the Ordinary

In this field report, WeWild Africa shares insights from a recent aerial survey conducted in a protected nature reserve. Our focus was on a unique, yet-to-be-described species of Encephalartos, underscoring our commitment to conserving diverse plant life in line with one of our main pillars: landscape restoration. 

The Endangered Cycads

Cycads are among South Africa’s most endangered plant groups. Twelve of the 37 Encephalartos species in the country are listed as Critically Endangered and several are on the brink of extinction. The primary threat to these ancient plants is illegal harvesting for private collections and traditional uses.

Methodology: Aerial Surveying

Our aerial survey revealed eight distinct clusters of cycads across the area. For the first time, we were able to photograph both male and female plants, providing insights into the population’s structure and reproductive patterns.

Observations & Results: A Glimpse into Cycad Populations

The discovery of cones on both sexes offers a rare opportunity for a comprehensive population census and seed collection for ex situ conservation. We have identified a safe landing site for future visits, which will enable closer examination and further conservation actions.

Through continued research, collaboration, and innovative approaches with committed funding like this aerial survey, we strive to ensure the survival and thriving of all endangered species, including the cycads and other vegetation in line with our landscape restoration and rewilding priorities. 


How You Can Help

The work carried out by WeWild Africa is only possible with the support of individual donors like yourself. You can join us and help us to rescue wildlife, rewild animals, and restore landscapes. 


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