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NAWDP 2013 General Report

Population and Conflict Assessment of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), with a focus on the Greater Mangetti Complex, Kavango Region, north-east Namibia.

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Namibia Mangetti Wild Dog Project – April Update

Fantastic news . . . . the first camera visuals and aerial sightings of the elusive Wild Dogs were recorded over a four-day (22-25.03) visit to the Kavango Cattle Ranch and Mangetti Park.

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Trail camera visual of the pack of 6 wild dogs.
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Bush fire in Mangetti National Park, April 2013.

 

The /Na’ankuse, NNF and AfriCat Teams gained much insight into the recent Wild Dog movements from the herdsmen on the cattle ranch, including a confirmed sighting of one Wild Dog, showing an increasing interest in our programme. Introducing the finer details of the Namibia Wild Dog Project to all the herdsmen and their families is imperative to the long-term success of this venture: not only do we need to establish numbers and the whereabouts of the resident Wild Dogs in this vast area, but also get 'buy-in' from the people on the ground . . . . if the farmers, both commercial and communal, are not convinced of the value of this programme and that it could provide workable mitigation options to the ever-present Human-Wildlife Conflict in these farming areas, our work may be worthless!

 

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Ariel view of vast Kavango cattle ranch.
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Namibia wild dog project ariel survey team.

 

Dr. Conrad Braine, a well-known conservationist and once-Etosha National Park Veterinarian, kindly offered up his weekend to fly the /N’ankuse light aircraft for an aerial survey of the approx. 200 000 hectare Kavango Cattle Ranch; with Rudi (/Na’ankuse) and Sydney (AfriCat) as 'spotters', two wild dogs were briefly sighted from the air before they disappeared into the dense Mangetti vegetation. A large number of elephant were also spotted from the air as well as a raging fire which moved into the Mangetti National Park from communal farmland.

The visit to the Mangetti National Park proved successful once again – Warden Mathias Kaveto’s support is always appreciated and his insight & experience into the HWC conflict along the Park boundaries is invaluable and will continue to guide us in the right direction.

During our last visit to the Mangetti NP, trail cameras were placed at each of the 8 waterholes – this time, visuals of 6 Wild Dogs were recorded; a confirmed sighting by one of the Mangetti NP Rangers was also reported as well as the bad news of two incidents of farmer-wild dog conflict along the northern Park border.

Much was achieved during this visit, with the first aerial survey safely concluded and plans for the next visit, probably by mid-April, on the table.

 

If anyone would like to support the Namibia Wild Dog Project, we are in dire need of trail cameras – your support would be sincerely appreciated.

Please contact Tammy Hoth-Hanssen in Namibia if you can support this project.

The AfriCat Foundation / non-profit organisation / No: T48/93

info@africat.org       africatnorth@iway.na

 

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Flying into the sunrise on the aerial survey.

 
UPDATE: - March 2013

MANGETTI WILD DOG PROJECT: 23, 24 & 25 March: First aerial survey conducted and ground work follow up:
Sydney, AfriCat's Project co-ordinator, joined the N/a'an ku sê team (Rudi & Florian) on the Mangetti Cattle Ranch for the first aerial survey, essential ground work with the herdsmen and checking on the trail cameras in the Mangetti National Park.

Following our visit during February and Rachel's in early March, much information was gathered from the herdsmen posted at each watering point on each of the 45 plus farms, as well as paging through files full of general reports which may include vital clues to the Wild Dogs' historical and present whereabouts.

Warden Matthias of the Mangetti National Park was of great help and encouraged us to include an Education element into our programme. He insisted that we bring along posters and branded T-shirts/caps which will encourage all to volunteer information and to become involved.

 

With regards to the persecution of Wild Dogs along the boundaries of the Mangetti NP:
Reports show a decrease in persecution, rather calling the Wardens to assist than taking the law into their own hands. This reiterates the importance of the Namibia Wild Dog Project: Human-Wildlife Conflict is rife and if we are to secure the long term survival of these rare and endangered species, we have to ACT NOW and not wait any longer.

Boundary farmers should be visited and the need to co-operate should be combined with some promise of support from the Namibia Wild Dog Project; the latter being the most demanding aspect as there is no easy way to protect livestock from a pack of hungry Wild Dogs - a follow up report due in a few days' time when Sydney returns from 4 days in the Mangetti.

 

UPDATE: - February 2013
The collaborative AfriCat, N’aankuse and Namibian Nature Foundation (NNF) Wild Dog Project commenced in earnest 8-10 February 2013, when Florian Wiese (N/a’an ku sê), Rachel Futter (NNF Researcher) and Tammy Hoth (AfriCat) spent the weekend introducing the aims and objectives of the project to the herdsmen of the Mangetti Cattle Ranch. Upon arrival, the Team discovered that a number of Wild Dog packs had been recently sighted, one group seen just 2 days prior; unfortunately, due to dense vegetation and large numbers of cattle frequenting the waterholes, fresh tracks could not be found. Despite the fact that two calves had been killed by these Wild Dogs, the ranch Manager welcomed the start of the programme which aims at establishing the whereabouts and numbers of wild dogs on the 200 000 hectare property. Conflict Mitigation methods will also be tested, providing the Team with effective, practical solutions for wild dog conflict on surrounding farmland as well as on the communal farms to the east.
Also on the programme was a visit to the Mangetti Park where a number of Trail cameras were set up at waterholes. It is hoped that footage of the resident wild dog population will be available when the Team visit the area again during early March.

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Florian, Rachel & Tammy meet with Mangetti Park Warden, Matthias.

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Florian setting a trail camera at Mangetti Park waterhole.

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Project trail camera in Mangetti Park.

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Mangetti Park waterhole.

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Florian, Rachel and herdsman Augustinus, follow Spotted Hyaena tracks on Mangetti Cattle Ranch.

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Large Acacia tree where a pack of wild dogs were spotted on 29 January.

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Mangetti Cattle Ranch.

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Mangetti Park

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Mangetti Park 44 000 hectares

 

Locality
Greater Mangetti Complex, Kavango Region, north-east Namibia including the Mangetti Cattle Ranch and Mangetti National Park.
The selected study site (Mangetti Cattle Ranch and Mangetti National Park) is situated in the Kavango Region along the boundary between commercial farmland and Kavango communal farmland, to the east of the Etosha National Park. The study area includes about 40 farms and covers approximately 200 000 hectares, where wild dog packs are regularly sighted and farmer-predator conflict threatens their long-term survival.

 

The M.E.T (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) Permit for the Mangetti Wild Dog Research Project received; NDC (Namibian Development Corporation) has granted access to a research facility on Mangetti Ranch; full-time researcher, possibly with assistants, will be based on the ranch.

 

Remote camera traps, images will be used for spot pattern identification to document re-visit rates and change in group structures, as well as activity patterns.
Reliable spoor records will be GPS recorded and mapped to aid distribution and range pattern assessments.
Direct observations will be recorded and documented photographically where possible to assist in population structure and ecology efforts;
Aerial monitoring;
Where feasible captured wild dog will be tagged with GPS satellite monitoring collars.
The consulted veterinarian will further be responsible for taking relevant blood samples for DNA identification, disease screening;
Field immobilisation Indiscriminate captures by the farming community will also be utilised to mark and release wild dogs.

 

AfriCat’s contribution will be approx. N$275 000.00 for the first year (US$30 556,00 or £20 000,00)
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS PROJECT AND HELP AFRICAT HELP ONE OF THE MOST ENDANGERED MAMMALS SURVIVE!

 

Read more:
The various ways you can help support AfriCat.

How to make an online donation with paypal or virgin money giving.

The international Wild Dog Management Workshop.

AfriCat and Okonjima - a Symbiosis @ Work PART 1: AfriCat visits the proposed Mangetti Wild Dog Project study site.

AfriCat and Okonjima - a Symbiosis @ Work PART 2: AfriCat visits the proposed Mangetti Wild Dog Project study site.

 

MAY 2012: AFRICAT VISITS THE PROPOSED MANGETTI WILD DOG PROJECT STUDY SITE!

The proposed Mangetti Wild Dog Research Project Proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) end 2010 - for the necessary permission and is the first collaborative effort between the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), N/a’an ku se Foundation and AfriCat.
The selected study site (Mangetti Cattle Ranch andMangetti National Park) is situated in the Kavango Region along the boundary between commercial farmland and Kavango communal farmland, to the east of the Etosha National Park. The study area includes about 40 farms and covers approximately 200 000 hectares, where wild dog packs are regularly sighted and farmer-predator conflict threatens their long-term survival.

The AfriCat 'recce' team, comprising Sydney & Tammy, set out for the Mangetti Cattle Ranch on Thursday 26.03.2012, leaving the AfriCat North base at first light, arriving mid-afternoon in time for the first meeting with the farm manager and his wife as well as Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren (and their two sons) of N/a’ankuse Foundation and Julien Fennessy & Rachel Futter (designated researcher) of the NNF.
Rachel, our researcher, will be based at the cattle ranch and will conduct this project for our group for approximately 2 to 4 years.

Basjan and Marianna du Toit, the managers of Mangetti Cattle Ranch are perfect hosts, having spent the best part of 25 years developing this parastatal farming conglomerate for the Namibian Development Corporation. The beautiful avenue of Burkea (seringa) and Manketti trees (‘Mangetti’ refers to this predominant tree species) with well-cared for gardens and homes, as well as the large-scale farming business, is tribute to the du Toit’s dedicated perseverance. Rachel will call this little 'village' her home and we are all happy to know that she will have all the support she needs.

For 3 days, the Mangetti Wild Dog team spent quality time, driving for hours along the deeply fissured, sandy roads now covered in tall grass (their average rainfall is 400-600 mm per annum), through dense Terminalia (yellow wood) and Acacia 'forests' (with a glimpse of a bull elephant), planning the start of the first phase of this project.

We were mystified at the impenetrable forests and underbrush, yet felt optimistic in the fact that with modern technology (trail cameras strategically placed at the water points, aerial tracking, etc) this project could take form and produce reliable and essential data to facilitate the effective conservation of some of the last remaining wild dog packs in Namibia.

FAST FACTS: Manketti Tree (Schinziophyton rautenenii), found in the north-eastern regions of Namibia; grows to 15-20m in height, producing a nut-like, fleshy fruit. The flesh can be eaten raw or cooked, rich in protein and contains 37% oil. This oil is used cosmetically by the local people. The wood is soft and light and is used to make drums, cutlery and bows and arrows. Elephant eat the fruit. (ref. Mannheimer, C. and Curtis, B. 2009. Trees & Shrubs of Namibia).

 

Read more: The Namibia African Wild Dog Project Annual Report Sept. 2013

 

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