Lithops colonies for conservation priority identified
The conservation status of several Lithops colonies in South Africa was assessed during visits to these colonies during March 2019. At least three colonies have been identified as in urgent need of active conservation measures. One of the Lithops aucampiae colonies near Hopetown has recently been reduced by at least 30 % due to road-building activities close to the colony. Contact is at present being made with the owners of the land where this unique colony is in great danger of being destroyed due to ignorance, in order to negotiate at strategy and prevent this colony from being destroyed totally.
A colony of Lithops lesliei near Kimberley is also in grave danger of being destroyed. Although the owner of the land is aware of the plants on his land, the part of the farm where the colony occurs is being rented out as grazing to a neighbouring farmer and the cattle grazing on the slope where the Lithops plants grow is being trampled severely with many plants being destroyed. Although this has been communicated to the landowner, the financial benefit of renting the land out is a major factor and the LR&CF will continue to work and negotiate to find a solution in order to save the colony.
A colony of Lithops hookeri is likely to be destroyed totally in that the land was acquired by a developer and the building of an hotel close to the site is nearing completion. Just below the hill where the colony occurs a recreational area from motor and motorcycle sporting activities is being developed with a 1 km2 area been cleared of all vegetation. Contact has been made with the developer but progress with safeguarding the plants at this site is minimal at present.