Namibian wildlife census

This is a video about Caprivi in Namibia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Aerial game census of the wetlands of the Caprivi Strip

03/08/2010 01:12:21

Aerial census carried out in December 2009

August 2010. The Caprivi is defined by its wetlands; including the large tropical river systems of the Okavango, Kwandu-Linyanti and Zambezi-Chobe. These river systems all have associated floodplains. Some are permanent or semi permanent, others are highly ephemeral. Together, they create a huge and dynamic wetlands system spreading into neighbouring countries and, in years of high floods, becoming interconnected. In Namibia alone, these wetlands covered more than 470,000 hectares during the high floods of 2009.

Richest biodiversity in Namibia

The Caprivi wetlands define not only the landscape and hydrology of the area, but also the region’s biodiversity, land uses and people’s livelihoods. The Caprivi is the region with the richest biodiversity in Namibia. It has more species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and fresh water fish than elsewhere in the country. Because of its higher rainfall and diversity of ecosystems, it also has the highest carrying capacity for wildlife.

‘Biodoversity renaissance’

In the past, because of unfavourable policies and military conflicts, wildlife numbers were severely depleted in the Caprivi, however today the area is undergoing a biodiversity renaissance. Namibia’s CBNRM / Conservancy policy has created strong incentives for rural communities to protect their wildlife and natural resources. This, in combination with a growing tourism sector in Namibia, has resulted in growing economic opportunities for rural people to embark upon and benefit from wildlife and tourism-related enterprises.

10 conservancies

There are currently 10 conservancies and five community forests gazetted in the Caprivi and one community trust, with a number of new conservancies and community forests emerging. There are also a number of collaborative co-managed landscape initiatives, involving conservancies, national parks, community and state forests and private sector operators. All these initiatives have led to strong conservation measures being implemented within a partnership of community, private sector, NGO and state (Ministry of Environment & Tourism and the Forestry Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry) players working closely together.

Regular counts

One of the areas of collaboration has been on the monitoring of wildlife numbers. Different methods are used including fixed foot patrols, boat patrols and aerial surveys. A complete count of all the wetland areas of the Caprivi has now been carried out on three occasions; in August 2004, September 2007 and September 2009. These counts give us good information on wildlife trends, and reflect how effective the conservation measures have been (see table below of selected species).

Species 2004 2007 2009

Buffalo 3,262 5,951 9,633

Elephant 860 3,062 3,450

Hippopotamus 1,387 1,269 1,291

Impala 742 1,361 1,457

Kudu 98 234 171

Lechwe 738 767 777

Reedbuck 77 162 105

Sitatunga 2 7 19

Waterbuck 60 30 130

Wildebeest 6 35 64

Zebra 1,084 1,653 1,689

Lion 4 10 24

Wattled Crane 8 24 41

It must be remembered that these counts cover just the wetland systems of the Caprivi, which in turn make up about 20% of the area of Caprivi. It is clear from the counts that wildlife numbers are stable or increasing dramatically, as in the case of Buffalo, Impala and Waterbuck. The last two species have been aided by some reintroductions by the Ministry of Environment & Tourism in response to the very favourable conservation environment in the Caprivi.


Of concern are the floodplain ungulates, specifically Lechwe and Reedbuck. These species occurred in vast numbers in the Caprivi in the past, and their present recovery is slow.

Namibia: A Bird Lover’s Paradise: here.

African Forest Elephants, African Savanna Elephants: here.

11 thoughts on “Namibian wildlife census

  1. Re #1: I found this six year old article. Maybe the disease is over by now:

    The Namibian (Windhoek)
    Namibia: Anthrax in Caprivi Confirmed

    Absalom Shigwedha

    22 September 2004

    Windhoek — THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism has confirmed that anthrax was the cause of deaths of wild animals which were reported in the Caprivi last week.

    Sacky Namugongo, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management, said the Ministry’s probe found that five elephants and four buffalo which died had anthrax symptoms.


  2. From the USA:

    With their massive size, long lives and strong sense of community, elephants have captured our imagination and inspired us for centuries.

    Slaughtered for their precious ivory tusks and confined to ever-shrinking habitats, these ancient symbols of wisdom and family bonds are facing severe threats today.

    Nothing less than our biological heritage is at stake.

    In a matter of weeks, Congress will be voting on some extremely important pieces of funding legislation for international conservation. Now is the time to let your lawmakers know that you want the U.S. to help this magnificent species.

    Ask your members of Congress to expand international conservation programs that give elephants and other species another chance for survival.

    Agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) provide critical support to international monitoring and anti-poaching efforts, and help to range-state governments to establish new parklands and preserves to protect key habitats – exactly the kind of work we need to do and expand if we want to ensure a future for threatened species including elephants. While a miniscule part of the budget, this support provides a potentially lifesaving opportunity for these charismatic and magnificent giants.

    In the coming weeks, Congress will be setting the budget for these agencies – and before they vote they need to hear from you.

    Already, conservation efforts overseas, backed by our government, have helped pave the way for significant progress in countries including:

    * Myanmar – Through the continued deployment of Elephant Protection Units and increased monitoring and training of local personnel in the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, the USFWS Asian Elephant Conservation Fund backed efforts have been able to reduce the threat of illegal captures of wild elephants.
    * Indonesia – As a result of negotiations between the Indonesian government and the U.S., Indonesia is freeing up $30 million to restore tropical forests that elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans call home.
    * Gabon – A study in Central Africa showed that forest elephants avoid crossing roads at all costs, as these highly intelligent animals now associate roads with danger. The findings will allow development engineers to help plan future roads that are less disruptive to wildlife movement patterns.

    Partnerships like these are key if we’re going to save elephants – but they depend on adequate support from the United States as a leader in the conservation of elephants and so many other species.

    Take a minute to send a message to your members of Congress now – help save elephants for generations to come.

    With your help, we can send 60,000 letters to Congress and make sure the U.S. reaffirms its global leadership by expanding support for conservation efforts around the world.

    Thank you for taking action today.


    Liz Bennett
    Vice President, Species Conservation
    Wildlife Conservation Society


  3. Piano man guilty of ivory smuggling

    UNITED STATES: A piano importer pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of smuggling internationally protected elephant ivory into the country.

    A-440 Pianos boss Pascal Vieillard faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 (£62,500).

    Prosecutors say his company illegally imported 855 elephant ivory key tops, totalling 1,710 pieces of ivory.


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