In the heart of the Zambezi landscape, game rangers, ministry officials, law enforcement, and support NGOs working within the community based natural resource management (CBNRM) sector came together with a shared passion to protect the wildlife that calls the region calls home. Game counts are an annual activity that started in 1999, is one of many activities that support wildlife monitoring and adaptive management within conservancies. NACSO's Natural Resource Working Group, which is dedicated to preserving the rich biodiversity of the region, recently supported the conservancies and national parks in Zambezi.
The journey began with a workshop, where members of the community gathered to learn how to properly fill in the wildlife survey form. As they meticulously filled in survey forms, they were also introduced to spoor identification - a skill that would help them track and understand the movements of wildlife. The participants were also trained to estimate distance when spotting wildlife.
The game counts were conducted by foot, car, and boat. The data collected during these counts is transferred into the CONINFO database, a vital repository for understanding the changing dynamics of Zambezi's wildlife as well as the other regions with conservancies. This invaluable data is disseminated through the yearly State of Community Conservation Report, providing a comprehensive overview of wildlife numbers in various regions. From the data, posters are produced for each conservancy and National Park where game counts took place.
In many conservancies in Namibia, conservation isn't just for experts or scientists, it's a community effort, driven by the love and commitment of those who call this wilderness home. Game counts are a shining example of what people can achieve when they come together to protect the wonders of an area for generations to come.