Durban: The unique biodiversity it offers.
South Africa is the third most biodiverse country after Brazil and Indonesia, and is the only country in the world with more than one globally recognized biodiversity hotspot. Durban is located in the middle of one of these hotspots, called the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Region.
Landscapes of Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany, consist of shrubby grassland near Pietermaritzburg; dense forest in KwaZulu-Natal; wooded savanna with Strelitzia nicolai in iSimangaliso Wetland Park; high altitude grassland near Ladysmith; shrubby savanna with tree spurge in the north of Kwazulu-Natal; coastal scrub and forest in Silaka Nature Reserve
The region around the city of Durban includes a wide variety of different habitats including terrestrial ecosystems (like grasslands and forests) and aquatic ecosystems (like rivers, oceans and estuaries). In Durban alone, there are over 2000 plant species, 82 terrestrial mammal species and 380 species of birds. There are also 69 species of reptiles, 25 endemic invertebrates (e.g. butterflies, millipedes and snails) and 37 frog species.
However, many of the vegetation types where these species occur are under serious threat. The KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt vegetation for example, used to occupy approximately 65% of Durban. By 2007, about 67% had been transformed by formal urban settlements and, to a lesser extent, cane farming. This level of habitat loss places many species in danger.