Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
3 minute read
27 Feb 2021
5:42 am

Bark strippers hurting Table Mountain park

Nica Richards

Medicinal plant users are causing long-term harm to the environment.

Signal Hill, one of Table Mountain National Park’s many attractions, is being inundated with an influx of visitors due to lockdown gathering restrictions, making crime prevention strategies even more challenging. Visitors are urged to look out for their own safety, and to treat the area with respect. Picture: Nica Richards

Despite being one of South Africa’s smaller national parks, the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has no shortage of problems facing the area’s flora, fauna and marine life. TMNP rangers have begun to notice alarming rates of a trend known as bark stripping, in which large portions, or whole trees, are stripped bare using sharp objects such as pangas or spades. The bark is then dried and crushed to chew or consume. In addition, the park’s fynbos species is also being unsustainably harvested for medicinal purposes. The Cape Peninsula has more than 2 200 plant species – more plants than...