Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. Sanctioned by the United Nations, it takes place on 22 May every year and highlights various biodiversity issues. This year the focus is on island biodiversity.
The need to address issues of biodiversity was raised by the UN Environment Programme in 1988. It eventually led to the creation of this important day, as well as the Convention on Biological Diversity – an international treaty focused on sustaining Earth's diversity of life.
Biodiversity is important, because the world needs fauna and flora for its ecological balance, economic worth, genetic value, health and sustenance. As Inverdoorn is situated in the Succulent Karoo – a biodiversity hotspot – I decided to highlight the amazing variety of life on the game reserve.
The Succulent Karoo is a biodiversity hotspot, and one of only two arid hotspots in the world. It is home to more than 6 000 plant species. About one third of the world's succulents occur in the Succulent Karoo, 40% of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The flora consists of mostly dwarf, succulent shrubs such as the abundant vygies and stonecrops. At the lodge and on the reserve you will find yourself encompassed by incredible plant life and during safaris, the guides will further enlighten you with details about the different types of flora. You can also stroll through our Cactus Garden to take a closer look at some of the succulents which surround the lodge.
This term refers to what we may call the animal kingdom. More specifically, it refers to the animals found in a particular region and is divided into categories such as megafauna, cryofauna and epifauna. At Inverdoorn we have plenty of groups roaming free including the great mammals of the Big 5 and the equally imposing hippos and giraffes. A walk around the lodge means you will come across the tortoises dozing in in the sun and shade, while over 80 species of birds can be found on the reserve. So whether mammalian, reptilian, amphibian or avian – they're all there in one form or another.
As you may well know, the cheetah is very important to Inverdoorn, so this species of megafauna has received special mention here. Our rescue and rehabilitation site is trying to conserve the species and the threat to biodiversity threatens cheetahs. One of the key reasons is genetics. Inbreeding, due to habitat loss, has decimated the cheetah population and resulted in weakened genes. Sustaining biodiversity is therefore important in supporting cheetahs in order to produce greater genetic variety and, consequently, stronger cheetahs.
Human beings are categorised under fauna, but because the team and guests at Inverdoorn are so diverse, I've put them in a separate section. With people coming from all over the world to work and visit at the lodge, it is not surprising to encounter an abundance of cultures and languages – experiencing diversity on a different level. On a darker note, however, humans are classified on their own, because they are the biggest threat to biodiversity. Urbanisation, agriculture, pollution, disease, war and crime threaten the world's biodiversity, impacting flora and fauna and ultimately circling back and affecting us too.
In order to conserve biodiversity, areas such as the Succulent Karoo have been declared protected areas; while national parks and game reserves continue playing an important role in sustaining and increasing biodiversity and raising awareness about the condition of our planet.