South Africa covers about 2 percent of the world’s land area• but it has about 10 percent of the plant species and 7 percent of the world’s reptiles, mammals, and birds.
National parks – I i-re are 20 national parks in South Africa. They have had success with the conservation of rare species.
Numbers of white rhinos in Kruger National Park more than doubled from 1989 to 1995. Mountain Zebra National Park was set up in 1937 with the aim of saving the Cape mountain zebra, which was near extinction.
There are now 300 zebras in the park.
South Africa is famous for the ‘Big Five’ animals: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, and buffalos. The term “Big Five” refers to the fact that they were once thought to be the five most dangerous animals to hunt and kill
. Today, these animals are protected, and the chance to see I hem on safari proves to be a major attraction for tourists.
Whales and penguins 1/2■VItale Coast, ❑ear Cape Town, is Teat tor la:lc-based whale watching. Southern right whales visit between June and November and can be seen with their calves all along the coast. Penguins have also established two colonies on the mainland near Cape Town. In 2000, African penguins were rescued by a huge international conservation effort after an oil leak threatened their breeding ground on Dassen Island,
Cape Floral Kingdom South Africa has its owl ecosystem, Cape Floral Kingdom. Its eight protected areas cover less than 03 permit of Africa, but they contain 20 percent of all the plant species on the continent. It is the only one of the world’s six floral kingdoms to be found within a single country.
Environmental issues The worlds biggest solar power pant is being built in Northern Cape to produce a tenth of the country’s power.
The government had been criticized for plans to build a coal-fired power plant. The country gets over 90 percent of its power from burning coal. Solar power is renewable energy, while coal is not, so solar power is much less damaging to the environment.
Many rivers al wetlands in South Africa are polluted with agricultural fertilizers. Mining has also caused problems. Streams near Johannesburg were found to contain poisons such as cyanide and arsenic. In areas near cities, factories and car exhausts cause air pollution.
Water Water conservation is extremely important in South Africa, as water shortages are common. The west of the country is particularly affected. Not only is there not enough water, but the water quality is also often not very good.Namaqualand is a semi•desert area. But when it rains in the spring, millions of wildflowers come into bloom.
South Africa has over 500 darns. The largest is Gariep Dam on the Gariep River, built as pan i of the Orange River Project in the early 1970s. The project allowed water to be redirected and used for irrigation. It is used to produce hydroelectric power and to provide water for homes and industry.