Very little of the Riverine Rabbit’s remaining habitat is protected within provincial nature reserves or national parks; the survival of the Riverine Rabbit is thus literally in the hands of private landowners, consisting mostly of Karoo farmers.
The EWT-DCP works in partnership with provincial conservation departments to involve private landowners in biodiversity conservation through the process of ‘stewardship’. Stewardship refers to the wise use, management and protection of that which has been entrusted to the landowner, or is rightfully theirs.
The EWT-DCP works closely with four Riverine Rabbit conservancies, encompassing an area of approximately 360,000 ha in the Northern and Western Cape provinces. The long-term goal of the EWT-DCP is to facilitate sustainable habitat management principles in partnership with farmers and the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Landcare.
The EWP-DCP’s awareness activities target farmers, farm workers and their families, school learners, teachers, and the general public in order to provide the public with knowledge and empower them to make a difference in Riverine Rabbit conservation efforts. We aim to establish custodianship by cultivating a sense of ownership for the Riverine Rabbit, its habitat and the river ecosystems of the Karoo. A critical component of the EWT-DCP’s work is to promote and encourage sustainable land use practices amongst landowners and land managers in the Karoo through developing partnerships with the relevant stakeholders. Thus the EWT-DCP strives to mainstream sustainable land management principles into agricultural practices in the Karoo and into decisions made by policymakers.