Namibian wildlife increase

This video from Etosha, Namibia, says about itself in a YouTube comment:

Squirrels, Monitor lizard, Kori Bustard, Black Korhaan, Karoo Bustard, Thick-Knee [or Water?] Dikkop. Ostrich, Pied Crow

From New Era (Windhoek, Namibia):

Namibia: Wildlife Species On the Increase

Irene !hoaës

22 June 2010

Windhoek — If there was to be any competition between countries that have managed to recover extinct wildlife species and increase dwindling numbers, Namibia would certainly have scooped the prize.

Be it the Namibian Government or private people making efforts to conserve Namibia’s biodiversity, the country would have come first in the line.

Both Government and private business people are working towards maintaining the country’s biodiversity. Imagine, southern Namibia that looks as if no animal life is possible, boasts a big number of wildlife, since farmland has been transformed into nature conservation areas.

About 120 years ago, many game species in southern Namibia were wiped out, while predators were driven away by farmers. However, since Gondwana Collections bought farmland and transformed it into nature conservation areas, plants recovered from overgrazing, game multiplied in numbers and predators started to return as well.

Gondwana Collections had its annual game count about week ago and the overall result is an increase in numbers of species in the 126000-hectare private nature reserve.

The most surprising result was the calculated estimate of 470 mountain zebra. This is over 60 percent more than the estimate (290) after the previous count during Easter 2009.

Nature conservation experts and shareholders of Gondwana, Dr Chris Brown and Jo Tagg, pointed out that the enormous increase cannot be explained by reproduction alone.

They say that large numbers of mountain zebra moved across from the neighbouring Ai Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

The animals moved east, into Gondwana Ca-on Park, due to low rainfalls during the 2009/2010 season.

In addition, the animals are easier to spot, because they seem to become more trusting and do not take flight at a large distance, as in the past. In the northern part of the park, which consists of preferred mountain zebra habitat and was only added in 2008, the previous owners used to hunt.

The other game species which were counted also showed pleasing increases, such as 600 oryx (compared to 540 last year) and 600 ostrich, (compared to 490).

Kudu remained stable at 700 animals, while the number computed for springbok went down from 5000 to 3000.

Brown and Tagg reckon that the relatively low rainfall during the 2009/2010 season plays a role in this case as well, since there is not so much grass left in the plains, the springbok herds split into smaller groups and drift to the rocky areas – mountain valleys and the plateaus.

It is much more difficult to spot them there during the count than on the plains.

They also disperse off Gondwana land to neighbouring properties.

One of the most important adaptations to arid areas for wildlife is mobility, the ability of animals to move to areas that have received better rainfall and to access water and grazing.

For this reason, the Gondwana Parks works closely with their neighbours to establish open systems which allow for such movement. When animals move off Gondwana land onto the land of friendly neighbours, this is seen as a measure of success of co-managed landscapes.

The animals will return when the conditions are right. For the species, which were recently introduced and are still at relatively low numbers, such as red hartebeest, blue wildebeest [see also here] and plains zebra, the counting method does not provide reliable data.

According to observations made by park rangers, however, these species bred well, too. Currently, there are about 110 red hartebeest, 70 blue wildebeest and 35 plains zebra in the park.

The game count in Gondwana Ca-on Park follows the same method every year so that results can be compared and trends can be established.

It is the ‘Fixed Route’ method: counting is done on standard routes, from a vehicle, without binoculars, and apart from the number of animals, their exact location and their distance from the route is recorded.

Routes have been chosen in such a manner that the park’s different habitats are covered – such as sandy and gravel plains, river courses, rocky hilltops and inselbergs.

Gondwana operates a scientifically sound game management programme in order to increase the diversity of species and restore nature’s original state as far as possible.

Red hartebeest were brought into the Gondwana park in 2006, Burchell’s zebra in 2006 and blue wildebeest in 2008.

Four black rhino followed in April 2009, as part of the custodianship programme run by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Giraffe will be added in March 2011.

All of these species used to occur in this area, many of them were hunted to extinction or driven away by human activities during the past 200 years.

September 2010. John Coppinger, of Remote Africa Safaris, reports a sighting of truly wild Black Rhino in Zambia’s remote North Luangwa, spotted by a guide from Mwaleshi camp with guests. They first thought they were looking at elephants in the distance but soon realized it was in fact a female black rhino with a calf: here.

Professional hunters and vets arrested in swoop on rhino poaching syndicate in South Africa: here.

WHILE rhino poaching in South Africa continues to rise, the situation in Namibia is ‘totally in hand’, a rhino expert in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said yesterday: here.

The history and management of black rhino in KwaZulu-Natal: a population genetic approach to assess the past and guide the future: here.

South Africa: November 2010: Lions were released in Karoo National Park near Beaufort West this month for the first time for nearly 170 years: here.

5 thoughts on “Namibian wildlife increase

  1. Rhino poaching ring arrests

    South Africa: Police reported on Wednesday that they had arrested 11 suspected members of a major rhino poaching ring. Ten were arrested earlier this week and one on Wednesday.

    The suspects include two veterinarians and a game farmer, who are said to be part of a ring linked to many rhino poaching incidents in South Africa.


  2. Pingback: World Rhino Day in Namibia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: World Lion Day in Namibia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Namibian wildlife census | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Florida, USA prehistoric horses did not travel far | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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