COREL stands for the “Conservation of Rare and Endangered Lepidoptera”. The COREL programme was conceived and elucidated in December 2011 by Dave Edge of the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa (LepSoc) and published in the society’s journal Metamorphosis (Edge, 2011). This programme was a response to the outcome of the SABCA project which identified 61 South African butterfly taxa (species or subspecies) as threatened in terms of the IUCN (2010) categories and criteria (Mecenero et al., 2013 – see box). The COREL programme drew its inspiration from the South African National Biodiversity Institution’s successful Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers programme (CREW, 2009).
The aims of the COREL programme are to promote and ensure the conservation of all butterflies and moths Red Listed as threatened in South Africa. In view of LepSoc’s currently limited manpower and financial resources, COREL will initially focus on the Critically Endangered (CR) butterfly and moth taxa, of which there are currently 15, including the moth Callioratis millari. Taxa in this category are at imminent risk of extinction, and five of these have been assessed as possibly extinct (Mecenero et al., 2013.).
The COREL programme is a response to this desperate situation and a call for immediate action by all persons and organisations dedicated to biodiversity conservation. For each CR taxon LepSoc has identified one or more custodians who have agreed to take the primary responsibility for monitoring and preventing extinction of the taxon. The COREL programme may later be expanded to include CR taxa occurring in the rest of Africa and the Endangered, Vulnerable and Data Deficient butterflies and moths, when resources become available.
The COREL programme is also an appeal to private individuals as well as institutional and corporate funders to support this programme by making resources and funding available to prevent the tragic loss of these beautiful and charismatic emblems of our country’s amazing natural riches.
CREW. 2009. Custodians of rare and endangered wildflowers: Operations manual. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
EDGE, D.A. 2011. Custodians of rare and endangered Lepidoptera (COREL). Metamorphosis 22(3 & 4): 81-96.
IUCN 2010. Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 8.1. http://intranet.iucn.org/webfiles/doc/SSC/RedList/RedListGuidelines.pdf
MECENERO, S., BALL, J.B., EDGE, D.A., HAMER, M.L., HENNING, G.A., KRÜGER, M, PRINGLE, E.L., TERBLANCHE, R.F. & WILLIAMS, M.C. 2013. Conservation Assessment of Butterflies of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland: Red List and Atlas. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa.
CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) http://www.sanbi.org/programmes/threats/crew