The potential for an increase in poaching and retaliatory killing of carnivores is concerning to Cheetah Conservation Fund’s communal conservation partners throughout Namibia. Communities are facing challenges in a lack of presence on-site and financial pressures due to financial losses from tourism. Eighty-six communal conservancies in Namiba have been left with little to no income to carry out vital activities. As we move past the government shutdown, these communities will need CCF more than ever.
The Human-wildlife Conflict field team was registered on May 15th as essential services by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. We can continue our important role as support for rural farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
On our first day out, CCF's field team comprised of Game Guards: Nelson, Izapi, Uno and Community Coordinator, Nadja LeRoux operated in the Okakarara communal conservancies where they responded to farmers’ reports of wildlife conflict with carnivores. Of particular concern, the denning season for the endangered African Wild Dogs has just started and reports are coming in all over about sightings of the canid, and generally conflict follows.
Snaring continues to be a problem we are coming across. Snares are strategically placed next to places like a water point that is leaking to catch animals that visit. These snares are set for birds or small mammals like rabbits, which are a shared food source for humans and jackals alike. The team educates communities on wildlife ecology and the negative effect of snaring species that are a food source to some of the smaller carnivores like jackal and caracal. When faced with lack of wild prey species, these small predators may turn to predation on farmers’ small stock. As general practice, the team removes all the snares they find. They can pose a lethal threat to larger wildlife species causing damage to limbs that can become infected.
As the pans that held water from the rains have started to dry out, broken water pipes are an important source to look for spoors as wildlife visit them regularly. It was good to spot spoors of Leopards and Brown hyenas and Kudus as well as those of the juveniles.