The Endangered Wildlife Trusts Threatened Grassland Species Programme

We aim to identify the remaining intact populations of Sungazer’s, using them as a flagship and umbrella species for the conservation of priority remaining intact grasslands within the highland grasslands of South Africa. The presence of Sungazer’s indicates healthy, ecologically functioning grassland systems that sustain ecosystem processes such as water production and carbon sequestration. The functionally intact areas identified using the presence of functional and healthy populations of Sungazer’s will be highlighted and the TGSP will promote and assist the development of species specific conservation areas (nature reserves) for each of these species using the conservation stewardship approach. This will be followed by formal stewardship agreements and proclamation to secure future habitat for this species and to complement and capacitate the existing stewardship efforts in the provinces where this species occurs, with a target of at least 10 000ha by December 2015.

The Threatened Grassland Species Programme (TGSP) proposes to conserve high altitude grassland and Sungazer’s by:


  • assisting with stewardship programmes in South African grasslands for the conservation of remaining intact grasslands in the form of Nature Reserves and Protected Environments
  • monitoring of the legal and halting the illegal trade of Sungazer’s
  • Reviewing the IUCN conservation status of Sungazer’s (they have not been surveyed since 1978!)
  • developing a species (and potentially ecosystem) Biodiversity Management Plan (BMPs)


  • basing projects on a sound spatial analysis of the grassland threats and ecological processes
  • protecting ecological processes and in turn natural resources (especially water)
  • using this species as an indicator of habitat intactness/condition and ecological integrity
  • collaborating with other NGOs and relevant role-players in grassland and Sungazer conservation
  • the development of grassland management guidelines for Sungazer conservation and sustaining ecological processes to the benefit of all people
  • collaborating with the relevant provincial authorities around grassland conservation
  • assisting and guiding the Sungazer working group which is made up of a variety of relevant role-players to oversee the progress of Sungazer related work nationally; and
  • commenting on and advising all relevant development applications within the grasslands (within the bounds of our capacity).
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