Wildlife in Trade Programme


Visit our Cycad website http://www.cycads.org.za/

South Africa has been recognised as one of the global hotspots for cycad diversity. South Africa has 38 cycad species (37 species of Encephalartos and one species of Strangeria). Cycads, which date back 280 million years, will all have a trunk, leaves and cones, all of which are covered with stiff, sharp spines. Cycads will either be male or female in gender and when they are in a reproductive condition they bear large cones.

Cycads are seed plants typically characterized by a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have pinnate leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female.

  • South Africa has 37 species of cycad of which 29 are endemic (occurring only in South Africa).
  • All 37 species are protected in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004.
  • Any activity relating to cycads requires a permit issued by the relevant conservation authority.
  • Cycads are collectors items and some cycads retail at R 3000 /cm Threats
    * Illegal harvesting by collectors and traders has resulted in 5 species becoming extinct in their natural habitat in the last 5 years.
    * Habitat destruction - agricultural activities, mining and development.
  • They typically grow very slowly and live very long, with some specimens known to be as much as 1,000 years old.
  • They bear a superficial resemblance to palms and ferns. Certain palms and ferns are also protected by legislation.

Amazing Species: Middleburg Cycad

Most threatened taxonomic group globally

  • many species facing extinction in the wild - direct result of human activities
  • traded both locally & internationally

Globally - 308 species of Cycads

  • 38 species occurs in SA
  • 29 (76%) are endemic to SA

Court Cases

  • Kirkwood cycad case was concluded today in the Kirkwood regional court. The four accused were arrested on the 4th of June 2014 for being in possession of 25 Cycads to the value of R314000 00 which were illegally stolen from the farm Blaauwkrantz of Mr Arthur Rudman. All the accused are from Gauteng....READ MORE
  • Cycad trafficking...READ MORE
  • Criminal: Cycad smugglers get heavy sentence Four men convicted of stealing R314 000 worth of cycads in Kirkwood earlier this year have been given one of the heaviest sentences yet imposed by a court for stealing and smuggling endangered Eastern Cape plants out of the country. A report in The Herald notes that the sentencing has been called a breakthrough in the fight against cycad smugglers who target the province. Norman Maphari (39), Joseph Mudyandarira (30), Lucas Mbatha (30) and Jeremiah Ngwenya (26) were each sentenced to an effective four years’ imprisonment for theft, picking, possession and transporting of cycads. They were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, of which three years were suspended for five years. The case formed part of an investigation by the Green Scorpions, who maintain that the men were merely couriers supplying a larger syndicate selling to domestic and overseas buyers, the report states.
    http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20140930105956295 30.9.14