Rainbows over the old farm of Wereldsend.

© Gail Potgieter

 

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News, views and true stories from Namibia

 
 
Two fishng vessels moored at a quay.
 

Why the Namibian moratorium on sardine fishing must continue

 

The sardine fish stock off Namibia's coastline collapsed by 99.5% between the 1960s and 2015, prompting the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) to impose a three-year moratorium on sardine fishing in 2018. It is now time to review the moratorium, but it is clear that this fish stock has not recovered sufficiently to sustain any level of commercial fishing. Three seabird species provide ideal indicator species for sardine stocks, and none of these have recovered. Keeping the moratorium in place until the ecosystem recovers is therefore essential.
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A rocky mountain slope.

Climate Change in Namibia Part 4: Local Actions

Namibian Chamber of Environment

In the final article of our series on climate change in Namibia, we consider a few of the ways that rural Namibians can adapt to projected climate conditions. These include the sustainable harvest of bush, agricultural diversification and conservation agriculture. Developing a strong wildlife economy and markets for valuable non-timber forest products will also have positive impacts on rural livelihoods and biodiversity.
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A rocky mountain slope.

Climate Change in Namibia Part 3: National Actions

Namibian Chamber of Environment

World leaders, including Namibia's President Dr Hage Geingob, are currently attending the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. In this third article on climate change, we outline a plan that the government can implement to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. Adapting to climate change is particularly important to reduce the vulnerability of our rural communities.
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A graph showing changes in temperature with time.

Climate Change in Namibia Part 2: Current and Projected Changes

Namibian Chamber of Environment

Namibia is among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Climate projections reveal that Namibia will become hotter faster than most other countries, with subsequent increasing frequency of drought conditions. Climate change will intersect with how the land is used and managed to determine Namibia's future.
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A bar chart showing rising temperatures.

Climate Change in Namibia Part 1: Defining the Terms

Namibian Chamber of Environment

The science and politics of climate change are complex and could be overwhelming for the interested layperson. In this first article in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties in Glasgow this year, we unpack some of the most common terms used in this field.
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A game guard kneels in the shade of a tree while he fills out his event book. The ground is parched and dry.

Understanding the Kunene Wildlife Numbers

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Associations (NACSO)

Community conservation in the Kunene Region has been criticised due to recent wildlife declines reported by the Namibian Association of CBNRM Organisations (NACSO). In response to the critics, NACSO explains how the data are collected and outline possible reasons for the decline. They put these numbers into context and reveal why the CBNRM programme remains resilient despite the drought and COVID-19.
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A Vulture and a jackal fight over a carcass
 

How do you like your meat? Unleaded, please!

 

Lead is a toxic substance to humans and all other biological organisms, yet it is still used in bullets and fishing sinkers. Lead bullets fragment into hundreds of tiny pieces upon impact. These fragments pose a threat to game meat consumers, including people and scavenging species like vultures. Namibian stakeholders are working together to switch to lead-free bullets as a matter of urgency for the sake of human health and the environment.
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A lion chews on the corner of a canvas tent, while camp chairs sit in disarray behind him.
 

Can we take the Angolan giraffe back to Angola?

 

Despite their name, the Angolan giraffe no longer occurs in Angola, as it was eradicated during the 40-year conflict in that country. Hope remains, however, as Namibia's population of Angolan giraffe is thriving. Jackson Hamutenya investigated whether or not Iona National Park in Angola will be suitable for a giraffe introduction from Namibia. Read all about his findings here.
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A lion chews on the corner of a canvas tent, while camp chairs sit in disarray behind him.
 

Recognising community rangers in honour of Garth Owen-Smith

 

In the early 1980s Garth Owen-Smith joined forces with traditional leaders and rural communities in Namibia to stop poaching. Together they did something unthinkable at the time - employ people from within rural communities to look after wildlife on behalf of their people. Community rangers thus sit at the heart of Namibia's community-based conservation success story. A new annual awards event for community rangers is thus a fitting memorial to this conservation giant.
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A lion chews on the corner of a canvas tent, while camp chairs sit in disarray behind him.
 

The plot thickens – Euphorbia bushes do not cause fairy circles

 

Following the recent revival of the theory that Euphorbia bushes cause fairy circles in the Namib Desert, a team of researchers revisit dead Euphorbia bushes after 40 years to show that this is not the case. Based on this and other evidence, they suggest that neither Euphorbias nor termites explain the phenomenon of fairy circles.
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A lion chews on the corner of a canvas tent, while camp chairs sit in disarray behind him.
 

Brandberg Lion Attack – a minor drama in a complex conservation landscape

 

When a desert-adapted lion attacks Helge Denker in his tent near Brandberg, it sets him thinking about the complex situation these lions find themselves in today. Lions are coming ever closer to human settlements after the recent drought followed by scattered rainfall that dispersed their few remaining prey. Communal conservancies bear the brunt of the resulting conflict, but is there a way to create real benefits from these lions? Managing the situation will be difficult, but today we have better knowledge and systems in place to handle it.
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An overhead view of the Namibian desert showing dozens of fairy circles interspaced with Euphorbia bushes.
 

It's not too good to be true – Elephants are thriving in Namibia

Namibian Chamber of Environment

African savannah elephants are declining in many countries, but not in Namibia, where their numbers are increasing. This good news has been met with some scepticism and questions have been raised about how elephants are counted in the country. Here, the methods used for counting elephants using aerial surveys are described and the oddly controversial issues surrounding these counts are addressed.
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An overhead view of the Namibian desert showing dozens of fairy circles interspaced with Euphorbia bushes.

Spotty cats, solid data – Namibia's first national cheetah survey

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research of Berlin

The Namibian cheetah population is critical to the long-term survival of this species. This nation-wide survey based on thorough understanding of cheetah movement ecology is therefore a highly welcome development. A more accurate population estimate will be valuable for guiding future cheetah conservation efforts.
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An overhead view of the Namibian desert showing dozens of fairy circles interspaced with Euphorbia bushes.

Are Namibian Fairy Circles Euphorbia Tombstones?

Namibian Chamber of Environment

A new study brings to light a possible cause for Namibia's fairy circles – large succulent bushes called Euphorbias. These plants produce highly toxic milky white latex that inhibits the germination and growth of other plants, effects that last long after they are dead. The new theory explains many features of fairy circles and even predicted where previously unrecorded ones would be found. Large-scale die-offs of these plants could be linked to past climate change and is therefore a concern for the future.
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An elephant breaking down a fence.
 

The Story Behind the Namibian Elephant Auction

Namibian Chamber of Environment

The recent proposal by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to auction 170 elephants has been met with harsh criticism and many unsubstantiated accusations. This article provides the historical and current context required to understand this decision and calls for support to help Namibian farmers coexist with elephants in future.
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Closeup view of a pangolin.
 

Namibian Pangolin Working Group: collaboration for conservation success and World Pangolin Day

Namibian Pangolin Working Group

Pangolins are severely threatened by the illegal trade for their scales and parts, yet their ecological needs are poorly understood. The Namibian Pangolin Working Group was established in early 2020 to coordinate and drive efforts to reduce illegal trade, rehabilitate and release individuals seized from poachers and traffickers, conduct priority conservation research, and create awareness of the pangolin's plight in Namibia.
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The clearly stunted form of a dwarf giraffe - with an almost normal looking body, but very short legs.
 

Living From the Veld in Namibia

Namibian Chamber of Environment

Danene van der Westhuyzen's new book, From the Veld, showcases all-Namibian recipes for food obtained from nature. Danene and her family live off the land by hunting, gathering, milking and picking the ingredients needed for the delicious meals at home and at their two game lodges. We ask her more about life on the farm and the philosophy behind her new book and hunting in Namibia.
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The clearly stunted form of a dwarf giraffe - with an almost normal looking body, but very short legs.
 

Dwarf giraffe - Seriously?!

Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Researchers from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation recently recorded not one, but two dwarf giraffes! This is the first time the condition known as skeletal dysplasia has been found in giraffe. Using a technique called photogrammetry, the scientists measured the bone lengths of each giraffe (one in Namibia and one in Uganda), with interesting results.
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The red rocks of the desert mountains of Namibia gleam under the rising sun.
 

An airborne Christmas present for anti-poaching teams

 

The period between and around Christmas day and New Year’s is a time of increased criminal activity, thus requiring a bigger anti-poaching effort to protect Namibia’s free-ranging black rhinos. Dr Conrad Brain, an experienced bush pilot and veterinarian, joined the joint anti-poaching efforts with a Cessna aeroplane to provide valuable aerial support. He provides insight into why aerial support is necessary and what flying at low altitude in the rocky desert of north-west Namibia is like.
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Five Namibian ladies display their stunningly crafted necklaces.
 

Friends will be friends – even in the midst of a pandemic

Omba Arts Trust

The Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions on international travel has had a devastating impact on the arts and crafts market in Namibia. Omba Arts Trust, which has empowered Namibian women to hone their craft-making skills and marketed their products to tourists since 2004, experienced a 90% income cut. Yet Director Karin le Roux is determined to find ways to help the local artisans who have partnered with Omba over the years. Find out how you can help.
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