Re-wilding Environmental Development
The 45,000 hectares of wild land in Southern Namibia where this expedition takes place offer an opportunity to better understand the ecosystem and discover the species that exist in this wild land. The habitat is semi-arid mountainous desert in the Nama-Karoo biome and it encompasses a 50km stretch of the Orange River. It is a home to some of the most iconic species of flora and fauna such as the Quiver tree, the African leopard, the Greater Kudu, Brown Hyena, Caracal, Oryx, Honey badger, Aardvark, Giant Kingfisher and the African Black Eagle.
The area was secured by the renowned conservationist Ian Craig and the leading mega-fauna veterinary Pete Morkel for the sole purpose of conserving Namibia’s wildlife. Their vision is for re-wilding the land and linking up with the neighboring conservancies in order to one day turn the greater protected area into a national park and a home for the country’s endangered wildlife species. This is a long-standing research project on the flora and fauna which aims to archive information for one of Southern Namibia’s largest protected areas. This is a unique opportunity for a true biodiversity exploration as the region has never been studied before.
If you are an aspiring naturalist looking to focus on biology and conservation or building leadership skills, this adventure conservation expedition is the one for you! Come explore true wilderness with a great bunch of people.
While on the expedition you will be involved with many different aspects of conservation. One aspect is re-wilding as the Oana conservancy is in a transitional phase from a livestock/hunting ranch into a protected area for wildlife. You will participate in regenerating the habitat, clearing scrap, taking down fences, revegetation, vulture restaurant and developing water points for the animals.
Also, you will participate in studying and eradicating a highly invasive plant, the Prosopis, which is posing a problem. After clearing the invasive species you can work on the indigenous tree nursery.
By identifying key game trails, setting up camera traps and identifying individuals, you will get involved in an ongoing leopard survey. You will learn capture and recapture methods and map each leopard’s territory to find out their home ranges.
Engaging in biodiversity surveys will allow you to be a real cowboy/cowgirl. Mammal game counts will bring you on three-day horseback missions into the mountains with pack horses. Additionally you will conduct bird and amphibian surveys on the river.
Tracking spore with the Khwe bushmen, some of the best wildlife trackers in Africa, will include collecting scat, identifying species, logging the data and taking specimens back to base camp to conduct dietary analysis using a microscope. Spore tracking and scat identification is a means of taking stock of what species exist on the land and of monitoring their movement.
As the worldwide bee population is decreasing, bee-keeping is becoming a more relevant and important part of conservation. You will learn details about bee ecology and how to harvest a hive yourself!
Another aspect of your work may involve relocating and releasing animals. This is not guaranteed unless releasing is truly necessary and there has been a thorough assessment.
Additional fun activities in which you can get involved are cooking lessons, yoga, arts, Khwe bushman skills, community work in Warmbad, mountain biking, fishing, white-water rafting, hiking, geology, fly camps, horse-riding, star-gazing!
As a part of the expeditions you will participate in field trips to the world’s second largest canyon - Fish River Canyon, to the neighbouring conservancy, to Sandfontein where you can track special and remarkable species and for white-water rafting on Orange River.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
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