Cape Town the most biodiverse city in the world

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 27 June 2019

Cape Town came out on top in the City Nature Challenge 2019, a worldwide event where people find and document plants and wildlife in their city.

The bright and cheery colours of spring blooms on the Cape’s West Coast, on Kersefontein Guest Farm, near Hopefield. Image: Elise Kirsten.

The challenge was first launched in 2016 in honour of Citizen Science Day. How it works is that anyone in the world can get involved, and are challenged to help identify and record the plant- and wildlife they find in their city. Cities or specific areas are entered into the challenge every year, and are judged across three categories: the number of observations made, number of species recorded, and the number of people who participate.

This latest accolade might not come as a surprise to South Africans, however. As small as it is, the Cape Floral Kingdom, for example, is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

This year, Cape Town ranked top of the lot, dominating in two of the three categories, with 54,120 observations made and 4,610 species identified within the stipulated period, 26 to 29 April, earlier this year. Over 150 cities in the world participated this year. The San Francisco Bay Area ranked highest in the category for the number of people involved.

The City Nature Challenge is hosted by iNaturalist, a global forum and joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society. There are over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who belong to the community, and ordinary people from around the globe are encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and take an interest in nature, helping to diversify and add to the quality of research and existing knowledge out there.

For more info on this year’s rankings, visit the City Nature Challenge website.

Also read:

South Africa’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Image: Elise Kirsten

 

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