Namibia Predator Research
Namibia is an incredible place - The arid South of Namibia is know for dramatic desert landscapes, but it is also home to some iconic wildlife species, such as Africa’s largest cheetah population, leopard and hyena. You can join a team of wildlife researchers at their two research locations and study the movement and behaviour of these predators and their role within the ecosystem.
Some of the work you would beinvolved in includes:
Predator field research
You would work alongside experienced wildlife biologists at three different sites: A wildlife sanctuary near Windhoek and two research camps further South. The team use telemetry tracking to obtain close-up sightings of predators and monitor their health, breeding success and hunting behaviour.
There is an ongoing Kanaan capture-mark-release programme for cheetah and the more elusive predator species like leopard and brown hyena run from the research sites. You would be involved in identifying areas of regular carnivore activity, setting up cage traps and checking the cages. If a predator is captured, the animal is immobilised and fitted with a suitable GPS or VHF tracker. This makes it possible to monitor the predators continuously, and helps with understanding how wildlife utilise the reserve.
Human-wildlife conflict mitigation
The knowledge gained from the capture-mark-release programme is used successfully to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The team alerts local livestock farmers if the predators are moving close to their properties. The close monitoring enables an understanding of the predators’ hunting behaviour, so that farmers can see for themselves whether their livestock is being targeted or not, which prevents indiscriminate persecution of wildlife. The longevity of the project allows for very special insights: One leopard has been continuously monitored since 2009, and in thjose years she has raised several cubs and hunted successfully without resorting to any livestock kills - An incredible story to be a part of!
Contribute to wildlife and habitat mapping
Accurate maps are crucial for good monitoring work! Volunteers will participate in compiling maps of the area. You will use a GPS unit to survey habitat features as well as important wildlife observations and infrastructures like water holes, roads and fences. The maps will be used for the scientific management of the reserve and will help with making future decisions with regards to animal populations and vegetation management. Mapping is done predominantly on foot, so you will need to be reasonably fit to join this project, as you would spend several hours walking in rough terrain and in a hot climate. This is a great opportunity to view wildlife and enjoy the spectacular wilderness around you though!
Baseline wildlife survey
The research sites need of data on the populations of ungulates, so you will record sightings and population sizes of the predominant species like oryx, springbok, kudu and klipspringer. The information is needed to ensure sufficient water supply in this arid region and to anticipate any problems for the ecosystem due to potential overgrazing.
Camera trap census
Camera traps are an important resource for 24/7 monitoring - and they yield great pictures! The research teams therefore make extensive use of camera trap surveys. You will be involved in finding good sites for camera traps, help with rigging and maintaining them, and also learn how to analyse the information gathered from the camera traps. The findings are used to develop a detailed database on individual large carnivores.
Behavioural observation of captive, semi-captive and wild cheetah
Working from different sites enables the team to study the behaviour of cheetah in various stages of captivity and human interaction. The sanctuary near Windhoek is home to several captive cheetah while one of the research camps has established a 7 hectare enclosure for 5 rescued cheetah, who can roam quite freely, but are provided with food and who are quite habituated to human presence.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. African Conservation Experience should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.