In South Africa, relatively small, but healthy populations of Opsaridium peringueyi remain in the middle reaches of the Luvuvhu, Blyde, Sabie and Pongolo Rivers. The species may be extinct in some rivers like the Shingwedzi and lower-Olifants and its status is uncertain in the Crocodile and lower Komati/Mlumati Rivers. In many cases the rivers are transformed by the combined impact of alien species, dams and weirs, water abstraction, water regulation, pollution from industrial, agricultural, mining, forestry and urban areas as well as by sedimentation. These factors have caused the species distribution to become fragmented and have made it vulnerable to possible extinction. Because of the transformed nature of river systems in South Africa, the use of older historical data for biodiversity planning and conservation assessments might increase the risk of underrating conservation status and risks.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2