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Capetonians encouraged to be ‘out and about’ to document city’s beauty and wildlife as global challenge begins

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Cape Town is known for its bountiful biodiversity and wildlife, but this weekend residents and visitors have a perfect excuse to be out and about to explore the city’s flora and fauna — thanks to the City Nature Challenge, an annual global science competition to document urban biodiversity.

The City of Cape Town is encouraging locals to go out with cameras to capture wildlife in the city to mark the beginning of the challenge, which kicks off on Friday and ends on Monday.

Deputy mayor and spatial planning and environment MMC Eddie Andrews said after last year’s record participation of about 66,144 observations and 4,388 species in Cape Town, this year the city would open most of its reserves as part of its involvement in the challenge to give free access to those who want to participate in the challenge and capture an array of species, ranging from reptiles, birds, fynbos and marine life.

These include Steenbras nature reserve in Faure on the R44, Helderberg nature reserve in Somerset West and Harmony Flats nature reserve in Strand. Cape Point will also be open free of charge to registered participants of City Nature Challenge events only.

Andrews, who will also take part in guided walks in the city, urged participants to register on iNaturalist to participate.

“The city is encouraging anyone interested to have a look at the types of findings and be inspired to go out between April 28 and May 1 to capture their own findings. Various events at city nature reserves and other conservation areas in Cape Town have been arranged to make it easier and more fun for residents to participate,” he said.

The 2022 findings featured animals such as a Giant Squid and the strawberry theridiid, (the strawberry widow spider species) found in the Table Mountain National Park.

Swollen restio beetles, which have rounded orange bodies with stripy bottoms, were discovered in Kenilworth and a Rocksucker was found in Muizenberg.

A sighting of a caracal was also captured last year and a berg adder, which is very seldom seen in the city.

Andrews said going through some of the past challenge findings “makes me excited about what is out there for us to discover”.

A list of planned activities and events can be found here and on Facebook. Participants who make the most observations or capture the most species will win prizes, which include nature reserve accommodation from CapeNature and the City.

Source: TimesLIVE

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