The future survival of the Black Eagles of Roodekrans is at stake and we need your urgent help!
The planned northwards extension of the Sugarbush Estate development into the Eagle’s last remaining viable hunting territory within a 5km radius of the nesting site, will precipitate the ecological collapse of the undeveloped protea savanna located between the Paardekraal and Roodekrans ridge tops. This is the largest and most intact part of what remains of the Roodekrans natural habitat and it contains the largest populations of guineafowl, scrub hare, francolin and other prey species that these eagle’s need to survive and successfully raise chicks each year.
The direct impact of this development will permanently destroy habitat that the Roodekrans Eagle’s and many other species of wildlife and plants – many of which are either extremely rare in an urban environment or threatened with extinction – rely on for their survival in the face of relentless development pressure and loss of habitat.
Development has reduced the eagle’s natural habitat to a fraction of what it used to be, placing the birds under ever increasing pressure to fly long distances over suburbs and farmland to find viable hunting areas containing prey and safe areas to hunt it. The slightest change in their remote hunting grounds – at risk of fire, poaching and pesticides – will leave the Eagles with no option but to rely on why is left of more localised habitat.
Relentless development around the peripheries of their natural habitat reduces the extent of remaining habitat each year. Habitats have simply become too narrow and disturbed to enable the eagles to hunt without fear. Their spectacular presence once a frequent sight along the north-face of the Roodekrans Ridge, the eagles are fast running out of viable hunting areas.
The development of the Sugarbush Estate extension, together with its “edge effects” will endanger the world’s only known viable population of an extremely rare orchid, interrupt important hydrological and wildlife dispersal processes that can no longer take place in most of the smaller habitat fragment that remain, and is likely to push remnant populations of wild antelope, caracal, jackal, leopard an many others to the brink of permanent local extinction. It will also the floodgates to further development that will rapidly transform the entire natural landscape and forever change the beloved Roodekrans ridge and its rare assemblage of plants and animals.
The famous and internationally acclaimed generations of Verreaux’s eagles at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens will come to an end, forever denying future generations the privilege of witnessing their spectacular presence in their natural environment.
The BEPR has for the last 9 years actively opposed development applications threatening what remains of the Eagle’s habitat. This has contributed to the slowing down of habitat loss, thus helping to keep the areas biodiversity intact. Its most important work relates to its high court legal challenge of a decision made to authorise the extension of Sugarbush. The BEPR has with the help of a dedicated legal and technical team, held off the development of this area for 8 years to date, pending the outcome of the high court Review Application. The BEPR’s prospects of convincing the courts to stop the development or to compel the authorities to reconsider their outdated decision – in the light of new data about the sites sensitivity – are reasonable. This is the BEPR’s only chance of averting a development that will spell irreversible doom for the Roodekrans-Paardekraal ecosystem, the possible extinction of the orchid, and disappearance of a host of iconic wildlife species, including the Verreaux’s Eagles of Roodekrans.
The BEPR’s ability to conclude this matter in a court of law – to be set down for hearing in the next few months – will depend on much needed funds, and it is only through public support that the BEPR can finally have its day in court to do justice to this matter and save the eagles from inevitable demise.