This Atlas and Red List details the outcomes of the Southern African Reptile Conservation Assessment (SARCA), the most thorough reptile assessment project ever conducted in Africa. The conservation status of the 422 recognised species and subspecies of reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland was evaluated against IUCN guidelines, based on detailed distribution maps, published literature and the collective expertise of leading herpetologists. Maps were based on records from museums, conservation agencies, published literature, targeted fieldwork, and an online virtual museum.
The assessment revealed that one-fifth of all species and subspecies are of conservation concern, mainly because of habitat alteration. Two species are now extinct, whereas 36 are classified as threatened (five Critically Endangered, 10 Endangered and 21 Vulnerable). As much as 45% of the region's indigenous taxa are endemic, including most taxa of conservation concern.
This important publication includes, for the first time, colour photographs of all snakes, lizards, tortoises, terrapins, turtles and crocodiles of the region, as well as detailed maps illustrating their ranges. Accounts for each taxon also include details on taxonomic and conservation status, habitat, and threats. Introductory chapters discuss project design, data management, taxonomy, evolutionary relationships, conservation status, endemism, threats, and diversity hotspots.
The Atlas will appeal not only to herpetologists, but also to other biologists, naturalists, conservation planners and managers, environmental consultants, legislators, and members of the public.