The Bronberg is in dire straits PDF Print E-mail
News - Ons Omgewing
Sunday, 24 April 2016 17:04
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A group of people formed a new organisation, called Friends of the Bronberg, to create awareness about the plight of the Bronberg, an ecology in dire straits.

Michele van der Westhuizen

He’s a little guy, he doesn’t have a horn, but he is more endangered than a rhino . . . and he lives in our neck of the woods.

You may even have one in your garden without knowing it. Juliana’s golden mole is not to be confused with a mole rat. It doesn’t eat any vegetation, bulbs or roots, but feeds on small insects. It is called a golden mole because of the characteristic golden colour of its fur.

The Bronberg region is internationally recognised because it is the only remaining natural habitat in the whole world of a certain sub-classification of Juliana’s golden mole.

The continuation of the life of these creatures here on earth is dependent on this area being kept natural and protected. We need to realise how serious this is!
The Bronberg eco-system is listed in the Government Gazette on a national level as a critically endangered eco-system.

Besides the mole, there are at least another 18 different species of threatened and critically endangered animals, birds and plants that the eco-system supports. These range from the spotted-necked otter, African golden cat, secretary bird, blue crane, Verreaux eagle, Gunning’s rock scorpion to plant species such as the climbing green lily, Ceropegia and several types of orchids.


The Bronberg

Some of these species are likely to become extinct should we continue to ignore the plight of this living eco-system. It will be impossible to save the eco-system should it be further tampered with, as these species are dependent on the unique habitat found here in the Bronberg and surrounding region.
The big problem is that less than 1% of the ecosystem remains.

Because the Bronberg area is demarcated as a protected area, Atterbury Road stopped at the Mooikloof entrance and was not tarred beyond, and building and development in the area was restricted.

This helped to conserve the eco-system for many years until it was targeted for development. Developers have found ways to get permissions to do so. Permissions granted have been against the national protection policies and guidelines for the region.

Scientists who are experts in the various aspects of the Bronberg eco-system and have studied it for years, even those working for our provincial and national government, have repeatedly advised that no development in the area should be approved.

And yet, time and again, the approvals have been granted against their advice, and piece-by-piece the area has been chopped up by people who are either ignorant of the sensitivities of the environment or who know about it and couldn’t care less.

So, it all ends up in a big fat mess, which is lucrative for those willing to line their pockets with the death of species that we are intelligent enough to identify, but not moral enough to protect, even though we are more than capable of saving them.


Juliana’s golden mole

Although the eco-system has taken a hard knock, there are still natural areas remaining. We can still save it, but then the development and application approvals need to stop straight away. Those wanting to develop need to move to another region without these critical ecological concerns.

We are all aware that much that should not be allowed is allowed in South Africa these days, but if we were to act in accordance with the responsibility that accompanies privilege, morals and education, we would be wisely considerate in the choices we make so as not to contribute to the problem.

Those in favour of tarring and extending Atterbury Road usually imagine a little road as it is now, just tarred, or they have development interests in the area that the tarring would assist.

The truth is, tarring the road would have disastrous ramifications for the eco-system. There are numerous applications hovering, hoping that the road will be developed so that they can push for approval for high-density commercial and residential complexes, complete with main roads, traffic, highways and on-ramps and they will ignore the needs of the critically endangered eco-system that exists there.

Is that really what should be planned here?

We are in the position to make choices that will make a difference here, in our neck of the woods, which will impact the continuance of life for generations to come. We are more than capable of acting responsibly, taking a stand and making that difference.

If you want to save the Bronberg, please e-mail the word ‘yes’ together with your contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also find the Friends of the Bronberg on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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