Invasive species focus at The Conservation Symposium


The impact and management of invasive species was a highlight of sessions at The Conservation Symposium on Thursday 4 November, 2021.

Presentations on invasive plants were delivered by postgraduates and parks department officials. The management of invasive animals was a new focus at the symposium and was followed by a special meeting of the CAPE Invasive Alien Animal Working Group.

Presentations and discussions included:


  • Assessing the role of cemeteries in the spread of alien invasive plants
  • Invasive alien plants as a source of traditional medicines
  • The New Zealand Christmas tree (Metrosideros excelsa) – its ecology, distribution and invasion potential in South Africa
  • New techniques and technologies for invasive alien control


  • Managing invasive alien animal species – toads, mallards, wasps, deer, birds, cats, rabbits, carp and shot hole borer beetles
  • New ideas for reducing conflict – using communication, stakeholder engagement and advocacy – on invasive animal control projects
  • A new invader in Cape Town? The Eastern Cape dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion ventrale)
  • A detailed session was held on the ecology and biology of the guttural toad (Sclerophrys guttatus). The guttural toad has invaded urban areas of Cape Town and researchers are investigating which traits drive successful invasion in amphibians.

Sessions on the complex task of managing and controlling invasive animals as per national legislation – in a world where animal rights activism is a popular movement – were an innovative highlight of this conference. They included:

Invasive animal presentationsPresenterOrganisation
FALLOW DEER, CATS AND RABBITS: A review of more than a decade of problem-causing animal control on Robben Island, South AfricaChristopher WilkeRobben Island Museum
MALLARD DUCKS AND HOUSE CROWS: Efforts to protect Cape Town's natural areas from mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and house crow (Corvus splendens) invasionsMarco MeyerCity of Cape Town
INVASIVE WASPS: Efforts to protect Cape Town's natural areas from European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) and German wasp (Vespula germanica) invasionMfundo TafeniCity of Cape Town
SHOT HOLE BORER: Managing the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle (Euwallacea fornicatus) and its fungal symbiont (Fusarium euwallaceae) in the City of Cape TownPhumudzo
City of Cape Town
GUTTURAL TOADS: Efforts to contain the spread of the guttural toad (Sclerophrys gutturalis) in the south-western Cape, South AfricaMarco MeyerCity of Cape Town
INVASIVE FISH: Alien carp (Cyprinus carpio) control in a freshwater lakeJohnny SnymanInvasive Fish Management
INVASIVE BIRDS: Keeping aviary birds out of the wild: Loopholes, lessons and the way forwardDr. Craig
Gauteng Dept of Agriculture and Rural Development
MAMMALS: The impacts of National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act: Alien and Invasive Species regulated mammal taxaClaude MoshobaneSouth African National
Biodiversity Institute

The Conservation Symposium was held as a free online symposium (1-5 November, 2021).  For more info and to see presentations, go to the programme.

Download abstracts of Session 18 – Invasive Species Session

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