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Namibian Wildlife Surveys archive

This archive of reports of wildlife surveys in Namibia aims to:

  • provide easy public access to published information and statistics
  • enable easy stakeholder access to recent and historical data on wildlife populations
  • provide a comprehensive archive of wildlife survey reports in Namibia

Public access to information is a vital component of ensuring community engagement in prevalent issues. Wildlife surveys are critical to determine the health of wildlife populations and determine trends over time to guide conservation and management actions. 

Wildlife surveys are done for different species using methods that are suited to counting them (e.g. by air or road) in their natural habitats. Such surveys need to be repeated over time to detect long-term trends and inform conservation managers. The Namibian government, non-governmental organisations and private reserves all conduct regular surveys covering different parts of Namibia and targeting different species. This archive will thus serve as a repository of our collective knowledge of the trends and status of a variety of species occurring throughout Namibia.

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Displaying results 1 - 50 of 378
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in Hardap Game Park and Naute Recreation Resort - May 2021.
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NACSO Hardap and Naute Game Count 2021.pdf 805.96 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-west Namibia regional summary, May 2021.

Wildlife populations in north-west Namibia were severely impacted in the 1980s by a combination of severe drought and poaching. Community conservation, formalised in 1996 through conservancies facilitated an increase in wildlife numbers through controlled utilisation and effective control of poaching. Between 1996 and 2012 most species experienced stable or growing population trends. However, a subsequent prolonged dry phase has resulted in a steady decline in populations of many game species. It is unclear how much illegal harvesting has contributed to this decline.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-central Namibia - Total number of animals seen: last 5 years - July 2021.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies north of the veterinary fence, May 2021.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence, May 2021.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Palmwag and Etendeka Conscessions, May 2021.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Hobatere Concession, May 2021.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in southern Namibia: May 2021.
Craig GC, Gibson DSC, Uiseb KH 2021. Namibia's elephants - population, distribution and trends. Pachyderm 62 35-52

Namibia's elephants extend across the north of the country. They occur in six main areas of the known Namibian range - the north-west, Etosha National Park (NP), Mangetti National Park, northern Kavango, Khaudum National Park/Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Zambezi Region. Seasonal changes in distribution are related to water availability. There are movements of elephants between Namibia and its neighbours, particularly Botswana, and mainly from Zambezi Region. The largest populations are found in the north-east of the country, in Khaudum/Nyae Nyae and Zambezi Region.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts: Kavango East, August 2021.

The fundamental purpose of game counts in communal areas is to inform conservancies and MEFT of wildlife trends for the purposes of adaptive management of resources. While estimates of species numbers are provided, these should only be considered as an approximate guide to species abundance.

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Kavango poster 2021 final.pdf 711.16 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in East Zambezi, dry season - live sightings, October 2021.

The fundamental purpose of game counts in communal areas is to inform conservancies and MEFT of wildlife trends for the purposes of adaptive management of resources. While estimates for some species are provided, these should only be considered as an approximate guide to species abundance.

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Zambezi Game Count_East 2021 final.pdf 657.33 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts in Bwabwata NP, dry seaon - live sightings, October 2021.

The fundamental purpose of these annual game counts is to inform MEFT of general wildlife trends in the parks. While estimates for some species are provided, these should only be considered as an approximate guide to species abundance.

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Zambezi Game Count_Bwabwata 2021 final.pdf 656.34 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Full moon waterhole counts in northern Kunene, 2021.

Counts were undertaken at waterholes in the escarpment zone of north west Namibia. In 2018,18 waterholes in 7 conservancies were counted while in 2019, 2020 and 2021, the number of waterholes was increased to around 26 covering 10 conservancies. Counts were undertaken over a period of 2, 3 or 4 days during which time all animals seen were counted. Game species differ in the frequency with which they need to visit water resources with some able to acquire much of their hydration needs through foraging.

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Waterholes_NW_poster_2021_final.pdf 513.97 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2021. Game counts - line transects Nyae Nyae Conservancy, August 2021.

Line transects were started in 2017 and represent almost half of the total area of the conservancy and include most of the waterholes. The area not covered by transects has low animal densities due to reduced habitat suitability and people pressure. Transect counts have recorded 23 species including 6 predator species. Based on average spoor sightings hyaena are the most common predator, followed by leopard and wild dog.

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Nyae Nyae Game Count transect 2021.pdf 765.3 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts in east Zambezi, Dry season - Live sighting, October 2020.
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Zambezi Game Count_East 2020.pdf 937.73 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Nyae Nyae and N#A -Jaqna Conservancies full moon waterhole counts: 2020.
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Nyae Nyae waterhole 2020.pdf 946.21 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts in southern Namibia, May 2020.
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Southern Conservancy Game Count 2020.pdf 818.01 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts - line transects Nyae Nyae Conservancy, July 2020.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts in north-central Namibia, July 2020.
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North Central Game Count 2020.pdf 1.06 MB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Full moon waterhole counts in northern Kunene, 2020.

Counts were undertaken at waterholes in the escarpment zone of north west Namibia. In 2018,18 waterholes in 7 conservancies were counted while in 2019 and 2020, the number of waterholes was increased to 26 covering 10 conservancies. Counts were undertaken over a period of 2, 3 or 4 days during which time all animals seen were counted.

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Waterholes_NW_poster_2020 final.pdf 509.47 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Hobatere Concession, May 2020.
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North West Game Count_Hobatere 2020.pdf 623.55 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Palmwag and Etendeka Concessions, May 2020.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence, May 2020.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020.  Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies north of veterinary fence, May 2020.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Regional summary, May 2020.
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North West Game Count_Regional 2020.pdf 693.43 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts: Kavango East, July 2020.
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Kavango poster 2020 final.pdf 1.17 MB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game counts in Hardap Game Park and Naute Recreation Resort, May 2020.
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Hardap and Naute Game Count 2020.pdf 774.7 KB
Longden EG, Elwen SH, McGovern B, James BS, Embling CB, Gridley T 2020. Mark-recapture of individually distinctive calls-a case study with signature whistles of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) . Journal of Mammalogy 101 (5) 1289-1301

Robust abundance estimates of wild animal populations are needed to inform management policies and are often obtained through mark–recapture (MR) studies. Visual methods are commonly used, which limits data collection to daylight hours and good weather conditions. Passive acoustic monitoring offers an alternative, particularly if acoustic cues are naturally produced and individually distinctive. Here we investigate the potential of using individually distinctive signature whistles in a MR framework and evaluate different components of study design.

Martin MJ, Gridley T, Roux J-P, Elwen SH 2020. First abundance estimates of Heaviside's (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii) and Dusky (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) dolphins off Namibia using a Novel Visual and Acoustic Line Transect Survey . Frontiers in Marine Science

Knowledge of a population’s abundance is of primary importance for conservation management. However, robust estimates of abundance are often difficult to obtain, especially for cetaceans which spend most of their lives submerged. Cetacean abundance is commonly estimated using aerial or vessel-based line transect surveys and distance sampling methods. During 2012–2014, the first line transect surveys to estimate cetacean abundance were conducted in Namibian waters.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2020. Game Counts in Bwabwata N.P.: Dry season - Live sightings, October 2020.
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Zambezi Game Count_Bwabwata 2020.pdf 1.22 MB
Gondwana Collection Namibia 2020. Gondwana Canyon Park Game Count 2020.

The year’s results show a significant decrease in animals counted (-37%) and overall population estimate (-19%). The game harvesting operations done in the preceding year would have contributed to the lower game numbers. The northern sections of the park (zone 6, 7, 8 and 9) received the most rain and thus an overwhelming majority (53%) of the animals were counted in this area. For the first time in 8 years the park’s modelled carrying capacity is higher than the total grazer biomass (stocking rate).

Gondwana Collection Namibia 2020. Gondwana Kalahari Park Game Count 2020.

This year's game count results showed the drastic decrease in game numbers, with gemsbok numbers being down 86% compared to 2019 and plains zebra and wildebeest down 93% and 97% respectively. Red hartebeest have all disappeared from the park as most of them died, a few were harvested, and a few got onto neighbouring properties. Only giraffe managed to increase, as 4 more calves were born over the last year, bringing the total to 22. Naturally, successful reproduction in the other game species over the past season has been very low.

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Gondwana Kalahari Park Game Count 2020.pdf 965.72 KB
Gilbert NA, Clare JD, Stenglein JL, Zuckerberg B 2020. Abundance estimation of unmarked animals based on camera-trap data. Conservation Biology 35 (1) 88-100

The rapid improvement of camera traps in recent decades has revolutionized biodiversity monitoring. Despite clear applications in conservation biology, camera traps have seldom been used to model the abundance of unmarked animal populations. The goals of this review are to summarize the challenges facing abundance estimation of unmarked animals, present an overview of existing analytical frameworks, and provide guidance for practitioners seeking a suitable method.

Loonam K, Ausband DE, Mitchell MS, Robinson HS 2020. Estimating abundance of an unmarked, low‐density species using cameras. The Journal of Wildlife Management

Estimating abundance of wildlife populations can be challenging and costly, especially for species that are difficult to detect and that live at low densities, such as cougars (Puma concolor). Remote, motion‐sensitive cameras are a relatively efficient monitoring tool, but most abundance estimation techniques using remote cameras rely on some or all of the population being uniquely identifiable. Recently developed methods estimate abundance from encounter rates with remote cameras and do not require identifiable individuals.

Thomson G 2020. Counting Cats - An updated national leopard survey for Namibia. (2020)

Leopards are among the most enchanting big cats in the world. Their beauty, raw power and elusiveness have fascinated humans through the ages. Our fascination with leopards is a double-edged sword for the big cat, however. The value we place on seeing this beautiful big cat draws tourists and provides funding for conservation.

Elwen SH, Leeney RH, Gridley T 2019. Abundance estimates of an isolated population of common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in Walvis Bay, Namibia, 2008–2012 . African Journal of Marine Science (41) 61-70

The coastal population of common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus found in Namibia is regionally isolated and unique. This population faces several potential anthropogenic threats, especially in Walvis Bay, including boat-based tourism, a commercial harbour undergoing expansion, and aquaculture for oysters and mussels. Between 2008 and 2012, 238 boat-based surveys were conducted, resulting in 170 encounters with bottlenose dolphins. Overall, group sizes varied from 1 to 45 individuals (mean 10.7).

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Tursiops truncatus in Walvis Bay.pdf 2.67 MB
Kopij G, Paxton M 2019. Waterbirds in the panhandle of the Okavango Delta: dry season counts over two seven-year periods. Zoology and Ecology (29) 15-27

We counted waterbirds along a fixed route in the panhandle of the Okavango River in Mahango Game Reserve in the dry season during two seven-year periods (1991–1997 and 2000–2006). Palearctic migrants represented by 11 species in 1991–1997 and nine species in 2000–2006 together composed only a small percentage of all birds recorded in both periods. The two most numerous foraging guilds were birds foraging in shallow water and those foraging in deep water. The former guild was more numerous in 2000–2006, while the latter guild was more numerous in 1991–1997.

Richmond-Coggan L 2019. The Namibian leopard: National census and sustainable hunting practices.

The African Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) is one of Africa's most distinguishable big cats. As the leopard has such a broad geographical range combined with its cryptic activities there is a limited amount of empirical evidence that exists which in turn can be applied to adaptive management strategies, through practical conservation methods and monitoring across Namibia and Southern Africa.

Kolberg H 2019. Summary of the 2018 winter wetland bird counts in Namibia. Lanioturdus 52 (2) 17-20
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in East Zambezi: Dry season - Live sightings, August 2019.

From 2016 onwards Bamunu (2) was included in counts. In 2018 the two Protected Areas Mudumu (7) and Nkasa Ruparo (8) were not included in counts. It is important to bear this in mind when interpreting tables, charts and a time series of posters.

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Zambezi Game Count_East 2019.pdf 544.93 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in Bwabwata N.P.: Dry season - Live sightings, August 2019.
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Zambezi Game Count_Bwabwata 2019.pdf 748.18 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in southern Namibia: May 2019.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in north-central Namibia: May 2019.
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North Central Game Count 2019 final.pdf 875.06 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts: Kavango East, August 2019.
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Kavango East poster 2019 Final.pdf 767.43 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in Hardap Game Park: May 2019.
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Hardap Game Count 2019 final.pdf 693.66 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019.  Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Hobatere Concession, May 2019.
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North West Game Count_Hobatere 2019.pdf 581.69 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies north of veterinary fence, May 2019.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence, May 2019.
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2019. Game counts - line transect: Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Jul/Aug 2019.
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Nyae Nyae transect count 2019.pdf 705.14 KB
Craig GC, Gibson DSC 2019. Aerial survey of north-east Namibia - Elephants and other wildlife in Khaudum National Park and neighbouring areas, September 2019.

An aerial survey of wildlife and domestic livestock took place in the Khaudum National Park and its neighbouring areas from 18th to 23th September 2019 as part of a wider survey including Zambezi Region. A total area of 14029 km2 was sampled at intensities from 5% to 20%. The estimated numbers of numbers of each species are given in the table below. The increase in estimated numbers of elephants since 2013 has been greater than expected from natural reproduction, but the overall trend from 1998 shows an average rate of increase of 4.4% per annum.

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