Wild Dog And Elephant Conservation In Namibia!

Wild Dog And Elephant Conservation In Namibia!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 17th May 2016

The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary is one of our most popular volunteering projects, and because of this the project is always looking for ways to expand and help more animal. It was this burning desire and passion to preserve the wildlife in Namibia that caused the sanctuary team to venture slightly further afield and plan a new site intended to help two of the country’s most recognisable animals. They have created a new project site which will be situated in the Mangetti, and it is being made to help two very different species, the African Wild Dog and the African Elephant, who are both coming under increasing pressure from human-wildlife conflict issues. The creation of this new site gives us the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at two species which are equally fascinating, and to see just how the staff and volunteers in Namibia will be helping them out!

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog

The African wild dog roams the open plains and sparse woodlands of Sub Saharan Africa in large packs of anywhere up to 20 strong. They are formidable hunters and this is what has caused an issue in northern Namibia. As human populations have expanded, the wild dogs have begun to develop a taste for livestock, and more often than not farmers will kill them to protect their animals. Unfortunately for the wild dogs the human-wildlife conflict is not the only issue they are facing, as habitat encroachment by humans is forcing them into smaller and smaller areas, and these animals are also particularly susceptible to infectious diseases spread by domestic animals.

The African wild dog is classified as endangered on the IUCN Redlist with its population decreasing all of the time, and this is why the new site is so badly needed. The staff and volunteers will be helping out in various ways, some of which could include:

  • Community Outreach Programmes – Teaching locals about the ecosystem and attempting to change the perception of landholders who feel that their livestock is threatened by the wild dogs
  • Camera Traps – Helping with spot pattern identification, judging group demographics, and planning capture methods
  • Capture, Collar, Release, and Monitoring – Releasing any dogs which have been captured by farmers into areas which are safe for them to roam
  • Domestic Dog Vaccination Workshops – Helping the locals to learn about the best ways of vaccinating their own pets to ensure the diseases which are only inconvenient to them, are not spread as they are fatal to the wild dogs

Once these various programmes are up and running the hope is that there will be a strong base from which the wild dog numbers can recover, but a lot of volunteers are going to be needed to achieve this!

African Elephant

African Elephant

The African Elephant is the largest land animal on earth, and being able to reach a size of up to 6,350kg means that when they come into contact with human settlements they can do a lot of damage. To sustain their huge mass, African elephants will cover huge distances in an attempt to locate a source of food and water, and this often means they visit places in which humans have set up a base. This results in infrastructure being damaged and people who want to protect what they have from the elephants. This is why help is needed from the project. The volunteers will be helping in a variety of ways including:

  • Community Outreach – The aim here is to change landholders perception of the elephants and prevent future conflict from arising
  • Camera Traps and Direct Sightings – To help the team learn about heard composition and behaviour
  • Building Alternate Water Sources and Implementing Methods to Deter the Elephants – By creating dedicated watering holes for the elephants and deterring them from using the ones the humans in the area are, this will alleviate the human-wildlife conflict at its source

By helping monitor and prevent the elephants and humans coming into conflict as often as they currently do, the project should make a big difference to an animal whose population is considered “vulnerable”.

The site in the Mangetti opened this month, and volunteers will now have the chance to assist in the new an exciting programme that is taking place there. Keep an eye out for future updates and how you can book, but for now why not take a look at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary?


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