Cheetah Conservation fund Namibia 2010

12 03 2010

Report for the International Training Course held at the The Cheetah Conservation Fund research base, near

Ojiwarango in Namibia ________________________________________

 Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, & Predator Management Course 7 – 21 February 2010 ________________________________________

An Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management course run by Cheetah Conservation Fund which I attended was held in Namibia, 2010 at CCF under the sponsorship of the Howard G. Buffet Foundation’s Initiative. The course was aimed at wildlife managers, environmental educators, community development officers and agriculture extension officers in Southern African countries. The focus was on wildlife-livestock conflicts, the role of farmer in wildlife zones, studying outreach programs and collecting data and carrying out a survey on community-based conservancy areas such as Queen Sofia re-settlement conservancy in Northern Namibia.

The course was held at the CCF’s International Research Station and Education Centre near Ojiwanrango.

• The training received by participants in this course addressed the needs identified in the wildlife conflict areas in Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia covering research and applied conservation methodologies for professionals in wildlife conflict zones. • The information and practical skills provided by this selective training program focused on building human capacity to conserve wildlife zones and their ecosystems. It is envisioned that the course participants and other wildlife educators would pass on their newly gained skills and environmental practices to thousands of people throughout the southern African countries, with the goal of achieving a profound change in people’s attitudes toward predator-wildlife relationships in general and wildlife management areas in particular. In Botswana this means protecting the wildlife management areas and implementing Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) policies.

View of the Waterberg mountains from CCF Namibia

Waterberg mountains from the CCF farm

With many predator animal populations dwindling, such as the cheetah, wild dog and rhino’s (on the Cites endangered species list) their survival depends on educated people using proven methods to reverse this trend. Many such methods have been developed or adopted in the last 20 years by CCF and a variety of other organizations, such as holistic management practices, establishing wildlife – livestock conservancies, using guard dogs to protect livestock, proper herding, kraaling methods and correct veldt or rangeland management techniques. There is no one source of information and training for wildlife conservation professionals but the idea is to bring experts together to share ideas and experiences to recognize and appreciate utilizing natural resources to achieve world wide conservation objectives.

Classroom at CCF lecture theatre

Working hard at CCF





Leopard ecology and conservation collaborates with Mokolodi

10 03 2010

LEOPARD PROJECT UPDATES

The leopard research project which started late last year in collaboration with Leopard Ecology and Conservation has still not bore much fruit. Extensive tracking of leopards has been done and tracks have been visible in a few areas in and around the Reserve. No leopard has physically been seen as yet. So far the general perception is that the so called ‘urban’ based leopards are more elusive than their cousins found elsewhere in wilder environments. With much patience and consistency, it will eventually be possible to find, successfully collar and obtain the necessary data concerning these elusive creatures.





Reptile Park

10 12 2009

Egg eater

Common egg eater copies rhombic night adder

Snake park special report

 

Mr. P Donovan and his partner Sue have left Mokolodi and the Reptile Park is closed until further notice. The Park will now take over the management of the Reptile enclosure and other developments that need to take place. Its is hoped to set up a different vision of the snake park with a static museum display in the thatched hut with snake tanks with live specimens ,including bugs, scorpions beetles and spiders. Also the static display will include bird’s identification charts, animal skulls and horns, spoors of common animals found in the Park and other interactive fields of nature study

The Mokolodi Reptile Park and the conservation department of Mokolodi Nature Reserve and will continue to respond to call outs for injured animals or snakes for capture and relocation. At the moment Douglas McArthy and Melanie Biggadike are helping to restore this centre for opening next year as many people are fascinated by the world of reptiles and other creepy crawlies.

Snake Park Cobra





Leopard Ecology and Conservation collaborates with Mokolodi nature reserve

27 11 2009

Threatened hunters of the Kalahari Desert.

The leopard Ecology and Conservation trust Khutse game reserve

Threatened Hiunters leopards and lions of Khutse Game Reserve

Leopard ecology & conservation has been promoting research into the conditions of the population of loins (about 30 or more) and leopards in Khutse Game reserve since the year 2000. The aim of the project was to study and understand the movements of these predators, their behaviour patterns, genetics, population structures, health status as many are suffering from feline aids outbreak, and their ecological role in the food chain pyramids and to successful develop a strategy to effectively protect farm animals from these marauders. Some ideas have been to promote sustainable solutions such as maternity kraals for cows and calves, one- way gates, education programmes, community gardens and using scientific finding to further understand nature’s ways.

The study area covers the edges of the park where livestock farming and ranching comes into conflict with these predators. Many of the radio collared animals have been shot when crossing into the local human population livestock areas. The research project aims to see if fencing off territory might be of help. Much of the time the field researchers fill in holes and gaps made in the fence to keep these predators apart from the local villagers livestock.

What is the Mokolodi project trying to achieve?

 David Mills and Monika Scheiss-Meier from the leopard ecology and conservation team are keen to find out the behavioural habits of Leopard near to a high population area like Gaborone. The benefits to Mokolodi are both educational and revenue generating in that the radio collars fitted enable students to track the animals, to find and study spoor and other related evidence of a predator, and also it is of benefit to the paying guests of Mokolodi to know that they may get to see a Leopard and possibly follow it.

The radio collars are fitted with a transmitter that gives out a intermittent beep that can be heard which is exciting to the paying guest to think that they are in the vicinity of a Leopard.Mokolodi need to get an antenna to be able to pick up the sounds from the beeper, and as the locations are beamed via GPS, a GPS would be of benefit to the park also.

 The treatment of the Leopards was of some concern to David and it was stressed that the Mokolodi Rangers would need to have a day’s training in how to approach and behave near the Leopards and this protocol would have to be followed for the safety of all concerned both human and Leopard.

Techniques need to be used would be taught by David ie. How to approach the animal – not head on but from the side, watch the signs that the animal is giving, ie ears down means back off. These animals must not be allowed to become stressed or overly habituated by getting too close as this is when they become even more dangerous.

Collared leopard upa tree-a favourite habitiat niche

This leopard is being observed for on going research in Khutse





Wild dogs -spotlight 09

27 11 2009

A pack of cape wild hunting dogs

This sighting made at Khutse Game Reserve last year in the rainy season of 12 wild painted dogs “Lycaon pictus”is noteworthy. Botswana’s total population is about 700 to 800 animals including those observed in the Central Kalahari, the Trans frontier Park, and the Okavango Delta and in other parks such as Moremi Game reserve. The Cape Wild hunting dogs are on the endangered large carnivore list.

Regarded by many farmers as vermin as conflicts arose over these animals killing livestock and therefore they have been hunted throughout Africa until fairly recently. They are said to be cruel as they chase their prey until exhausted and then eat the fallen animal whilst still alive. However, there is evidence to suggest that they are more efficient hunters in killing there prey, as when compared with other predators such as lions, cheetah or leopard kills where the prey is throttled or strangled which takes some minutes for the animal usually a buffalo, giraffe or antelope to die.

Wild dog hunts in packs of anything from four to eighteen or more individuals, the larger the group the more successful they are but then conversely there are more mouths to feed They run covering large distances, with extraordinary stamina before catching up to the exhausted animal sometimes as big as a kudu but mostly smaller antelope such impala, hartebeests and wildebeest After catching their prey by hamstringing the legs or attacking the throat they hang on until the combined effort of two or three dogs becomes too much for the weakened animal.

They then bring their prey down and gorging themselves as fast as possible on the still living animal before any of other the larger predator’s even hyena chase them off. They then carry the hastily gorged meat in their stomachs and regurgitate it on demand for the young pups back at the den. The pups when very small are very vulnerable at this age and can be attacked by other predators whilst the main pack is away hunting.

 They tend to hide in the den until the pack returns and the animals communicate with a twittering sound. Only the Alpha male and female breed and the young pups are brought up in a den until they can move with the pack. They are however cared for communally by the pack sub adults and non Alpha adults, both male and female. Deaths rates are very high as they are very vulnerable to predation by other predators or through injury, by starvation or disease from domestic dogs such rabies but more often than not by shooting from stockman.

The total world population in southern Africa is said to be around 3000 animals. We need to care for these animals and protect them in the wild. Enjoy these beautiful pictures by Mr. Warwick from Thornhill primary school. He was lucky to see such a healthy pack at one of the pans in Khutse Game park.

Some of the pack of the wild dogs sighted. Each has a different pattern on its coat

Wild hunting dogs drinking





PARK NEWS Mokolodi November 2009

9 11 2009

PARK NEWS

The rainy season is upon us but the rains have not been forth coming as expected. The fragility of the park environment has been exposed after recent dry hot spells. Expectations are however high those good amounts of rain will still fall in months to come. Recent sighting of ostrich chicks have been made confirming that the ostrich population in the park is also doing well. More newborns of other species are expected to arrive as the season progresses. Rare sightings of animals such as steenboks, mountain reedbuck and klipspringers have been made recently in areas of the park.

To our friends visiting the park. Please keep to designated routes. Penalties will be applied to friends who happen to ignore the restricted areas and littering on self drives. Please obey the signs and follow instructions accordingly, Let us all work towards a common goal, taking care of the environment.

Line Up Events!

Birds by Harold Hester (Bird Life Botswana) – 22 November 2009

Carols by Candle Light – First Friday of December 2009

It’s the festive season – book early for your Christmas Parties, Bush Braai, and Accommodations/Camping

Mokoldi scene at dusk

Mokolodi sunset

 Please support the Restaurant, it continues to serve quality food and you can enjoy a lovely experience.

Star Gazing 09

According to our latest copy of the National Trust magazine, this year is the 400th anniversary of the first time Galileo looked through his telescope at the stars, and to mark this event, this year has been designated the ‘International Year of Astronomy.’  The article in the magazine goes on to suggest some dates when we might do some star gazing. What with city lights and cloud, I doubt whether we shall see much from the garden of 47 Jessopp Road, but remembering the lovely star-lit nights at Moeding, it occured to me that you might like to look out. Here are the suggested dates:

 From 24th October to 1st November the moon is ideally placed for observing, through a telescope or binocs to identify mountains, craters and seas.

From 14th to 21st November (peaks on 17th Nov.) the Leonid meteor showers (shooting stars).

From 6th to 18th December (peaks on 14th Dec.) the Geminid meteor showers.

The article also tells us to look out for Orion. When we (N.hemisphere) can see him, you (S.hemisphere) will not; but you will see the more magnificent Scorpion. You know the legend of why Orion and the Scorpion never appear together in the sky?  Orion was killed by being stung on the heel by a scorpion, so the two are bitter enemies!

K.M Smith

 News flash selling of animal skins in river walk -can this be true?

Dear All
We have been forwarded the photos attached taken at RiverWalk on Saturday.  
The man was selling the trophies and claimed to have permits for all. I know there was a DWNP Ghanzi auction recently to sell off stock so these may have been purchased there.
 
Trophy for sale

Animal skins for sale

However, what is the issue for resale for these trophies?
Is it legal to sell these at a market?
Perhaps the permits should be checked?
 
Anyway, please let us know if this trade is in fact legal.
It certainly doesnt look good to see such trophies of sale in a market in Gaborone.
 
Many thanks,
Loin head and skin

Trophy sales





Scorpion and Subaru Mountain Bike Race Mokolodi Game Reserve

13 10 2009

Kingsley & Associates presents
THE SUBARU KALAHARI CHALLENGE
2 DAY MTB RACE
BOTSWANA 2009

Report on the two day Kalahari Subaru MTB cycle race 2009— by J.P.Aves.

Day 1 was long and rough, but started well and I enjoyed cycling through Mokolodi nature reserve; sight seeing animals and bush then, on all the way to Nywane Dam and the Bing farm near Otse. Day 2 was a quicker sprint back through the village of Otse on to the Yacht club and final finish. The race route was fair but tough on the first day, approximately 97km for Day One and 95km on Day Two.

The route was set to miss out the heavy taxing “Kalahari” sandy bits and having dodged the odd patch of sand and cycling on the flat hills (‘otherwise known as the horizontal hills of Botswana’) guaranteed to blow the cobwebs from the lungs, some small but real hills were available and kept the legs working and dodging every variety of acacia thorn designed to tear at your cycle gear or face or hands or legs.

189 kms in two days thorugh Mokolodi

189 kms in two days thorugh Mokolodi

Lots of natural single track but because Botswana is flat it doesn’t mean its easy and not challenging and I soon found that ‘flat’ don’t mean ‘pedal more’, as you have to pedal all the way and as the saying goes (not rest for the wicked)! “It was very good but tiring race and long saddle sore hours (six and half on the first day and six on the second) for slow coaches like myself. The other professionals did it under four hours each day. Below are some other people comments from this race- “…the feeling of absolute elation when I finally got the hang of riding the sand…”  “…the best by far (water stops)…”

 “…you will not find a happier friendlier field at any cycling race…”

“All in all it was a great course, well marked, with good water points and a great overnight stop and it certainly it is a proper challenge for those who are looking for something different and for a true African mountain biking experience.”

Check out the “RIDE MAGAZINE“race reports of September 2007 and latest 2009 reports.

Sponsored by Pick and Pay

Sponsored by Pick and Pay

 

Mokolodi scorpion race through Park only with a 60 kms race and 20 kms fun run. Mostly through the Park seeing Giraffe and other wild animals including white Rhino.

Race through the parkMB Scorpion

Race through the park MTB Mokolodi Scorpion Cycle race








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