In a showcase of how conservation organisations can work together to meet shared objectives, the Overberg Crane Group (OCG) has partnered with the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust (OLCT). The two ABI Partners will share an extension officer to work with landowners to conserve critically endangered ecosystems.

The Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust protects renosterveld found within the Overberg Wheatbelt. Less than five percent of the original extent of renosterveld still remains today. Renosterveld provides a home for many threatened and protected bird species, such as the Blue CraneDenham’s BustardBlack Harrier and more – which the Overberg Crane Group works to protect.

The sites that the two organisations will focus on include the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in the Overberg, as highlighted by BirdLife South Africa.

In a project supported by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, the OLCT is working in these areas to conserve corridors (with an emphasis on watercourses) linking critically endangered renosterveld remnants. The aim is to maintain ecosystem functioning across this severely transformed landscape.

At the same time, Blue Crane, Black Harrier, Secretarybird, Cape Vulture, Southern Black Korhaan, Martial Eagle and other threatened birds will be monitored, with data collected passed on to partners such as BirdLife SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and CapeNature.

Another important function is to provide extension support to minimise human-wildlife conflict. Birds such as Blue Crane have in the past been impacted by poisonings, in many cases accidental. Powerline collisions are another major threat to many of these birds. The OLCT-OCG partnership will now provide on-the-ground support to address these and other issues.

The collaboration forms part of the ABI Integrated Land-Use Planning working group, where these and other conservation organisations meet. This group aims to bring the work taking place across the landscape together, to merge objectives and make conservation more effective and efficient.

For more information, contact Keir Lynch. Email:

Photographs courtesy of the Overberg Crane Group.