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BirdLife South Africa 2021 Owl Awards

Dullstroom Trout Farm

The Dullstroom Trout Farm has been instrumental in furthering research into and the conservation of the White-winged Flufftail. Dullstroom Trout Farm purchased the property that encompasses most of the Middelpunt Wetland, where White-winged Flufftails regularly occur in summer. In fact, it is the only site in the southern hemisphere with a confirmed breeding record for this Critically Endangered species. A major motivation for the purchase was to secure the flufftail’s habitat and protect it from external threats. The wetland has been leased to Middelpunt Wetland Trust since 1994 and the surrounding veld has been used only for cattle grazing, thus ensuring that the overall integrity of the wetland is maintained. For the past 10 years the trout farm has been supporting BirdLife South Africa’s research, fundraising and awareness-fostering activities with regard to White-winged Flufftails at Middelpunt Wetland.

In 2017 Dullstroom Trout Farm joined the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment in a bid to improve the protection status of its property from threats such as mining. Together with a neighbouring landowner, it recently expressed the intention to declare Middelpunt Wetland a private nature reserve. The improved conservation status and a management plan for the reserve will ensure that Middelpunt Wetland will provide suitable breeding habitat for White-winged Flufftails for many years to come.

The Dullstroom Trout Farm has led communications with conservation bodies that are active in the area and has consistently provided assistance when requested. The Trout Farm is also represented on the Greater Lakenvlei Landowners Association committee. This committee meets regularly and has made an essential contribution to the current expansion of the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment by negotiating with identified landowners and arranging site assessments