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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 219
Friday, 10 May 2024
Smit E 2024. KAZA elephant survey lacks formal trend analysis.
A new report by Elephants Without Borders (EWB), summarising aerial survey results from over a decade across Southern Africa, found that overall, elephant numbers have not changed significantly. The report added that while the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) aerial survey counted 227 900 elephants, it lacked any formal trend analysis. The transboundary aerial survey of KAZA elephants was flown from August to October 2022. KAZA includes Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which share international borders along the Okavango and Zambezi River…
Schlossberg S, Chase M 2024. Population trends and conservation status of elephants in Botswana and the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area - A review of elephant aerial surveys, 2010 - 2022.

In 2022, an aerial survey for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) was conducted over the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) in southern Africa. KAZA is a 520,000-km² network of protected areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The aerial survey found that KAZA holds ~228,000 elephants, confirming that this is the world’s largest population of savanna elephants and a critical stronghold for this endangered species.

Tan J 2024. Analysis of largest elephant surveys ever shows stable population, but disturbing trends.

New research comparing data from the two largest-ever elephant surveys reveals the overall population in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area is stable, but also uncovers some concerning local trends. Elephant numbers in Botswana, home to more elephants than any other country, are stable overall, but declining numbers in areas where hunting is permitted, and increasing numbers in protected areas, suggest underlying issues for Botswana's elephants.

Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 2023. The Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier elephant survey. Conservation and the Environment in Namibia 26-31

The first flight to begin an elephant survey covering parts of Angola, Botswana, Namibia,Zambia and Zimbabwe took off from a dirt strip in Zimbabwe on 22 August 2022. The survey area, known as the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), hosts over half of Africa's savanna elephants, which underlines the importance of the survey.

Bussiere EMS, Potgieter D 2023. KAZA Elephant Survey 2022, Volume I: Results and Technical Report.

Following several years of preparation, the KAZA Elephant Survey (2022) commenced on 22 August 2022 and ran until 28 October 2022. The primary objective of the survey was to obtain a relatively precise and accurate estimate of the number of African savanna elephants (hereafter elephants) in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), by synchronising data collection, particularly in areas of transboundary elephant movement.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-central Namibia - June 2022.

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 an approximate guide to species abundance.

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North Central Game Count 2022_final.pdf 767.98 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts: Nyae Nyae Conservancy - Line Transects July 2022.

Line transects were initiated 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 25 species including 6 predator species. Based on average spoor sightings and Event Book records, hyaena are the most common predator, followed by wild dog, leopard and jackal. The top 3 species in terms of sightings between 2017 and 2022 included wildebeest, elephant and kudu.

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Nyae Nyae transect count 2022 Final.pdf 670.9 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts: Kavango East - Aug 2022.

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 2022 final.pdf 651.24 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence - May 2022.

Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence - May 2022.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game Counts Kwando River - August 2022.

Since 2021 a boat transect has been undertaken along the Kwando river from the Angola border to the southern boundary of Mudumu National Park. The total transect length is 152 km. For each species, animals on each side of the river (and in the case of hippo, in the river,) are counted.

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Zambezi Game Count_River 2022.pdf 377.41 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Regional Summary - May 2022.

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) 2022.   Game counts in Bwabwata N.P. - August 2022.

Game counts in Bwabwata N.P. - August 2022.

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Zambezi Game Count_Bwabwata 2022.pdf 632.72 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Palmwag and Etendeka Concessions - May 2022.

The Palmwag and Etendeka concession areas are important refuges for at least five of the main game species. The contrast in trends between kudu and gemsbok is noteworthy. While gemsbok numbers have declined dramatically throughout the entire north-west region, the contribution of the concessions has spiked in recent years. With kudu the contribution of concessions to numbers has dropped dramatically in the same period suggesting a different causal mechanism for the decline in numbers of the two species.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in east Zambezi - August 2022.

Estimates were calculated for the current year using DISTANCE. In most cases at least the last 5 years of data were used in analysis to generate a detection profile for each species. Several conservancies have been grouped due to the low numbers of animals recorded. The bottom row of the table (hyphenated) numbers = 95% Confidence Intervals. In Sikunga, very few sightings have ever been recorded (60 for all species since 2011) and no sensible estimates for any species can be derived for this area.

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Zambezi Game Count_ East 2022.pdf 522.67 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies north of the veterinary fence - May 2022.

Game counts in north-west Namibia: Conservancies north of the veterinary fence - May 2022.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Full moon waterhole counts in northern Kunene 2022.

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_2022_Final.pdf 468.62 KB
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Game counts in north-west Namibia: Hobatere consession - May 2022.

The dramatic spike in the proportion of gemsbok seen in Hobatere relative to the rest of the north-west reflects the decline in animal numbers in communal conservancies. In 2021, Palmwag, Etendeka and Hobatere concessions (only 9% of the total area) accounted for 60% of all gemsbok seen in the north-west. Due to the higher number of animals seen in Orupembe conservancy in 2022 this ratio dropped to 31%.

Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) 2022. Nyae Nyae and N#a-Jaqna Conservancies - Full moon water counts 2022.

Nyae Nyae and N#a-Jaqna Conservancies - Full moon water counts 2022.

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Nyae Nyae waterhole 2022 Final.pdf 597.64 KB
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 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. 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 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 north-central Namibia - Total number of animals seen: last 5 years - July 2021.
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 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.

Brain C, NamPol 2021. An informal aerial count of elephants in the river systems of Kunene in December 2021.

Numbers of elephants counted by Nad Brain and NamPol observers between 16 -31 Dec 2021 as part of antipoaching surveillance work. The unstructered aerial search counts focussed on the river systems and were done from the Westair / NCE Cessna 182 V5 –IIM flying out of Palmwag airfield and using SRT's base camp Ma – I – Go. It was not possible to record demographics of the herds, but did count bulls individually. The bulls are in addition to the herd numbers.

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 in north-west Namibia: Hobatere Concession, May 2021.
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
Matthys D 2021. Kaza-Wide aerial survey of elephants launched.

The partner states of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe last week launched the first-ever coordinated aerial survey of elephants in Windhoek. Speaking at the launch, Executive Director in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Theofilus Nghitila said the survey is a fundamental component of the KAZA Strategic Planning Framework for the Conservation and Management of Elephants. "The survey will be coordinated by the KAZA Secretariat in close collaboration with designated teams in…

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. 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.

Attachment Size
Waterholes_NW_poster_2021_final.pdf 513.97 KB
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: 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 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. Game counts - line transects Nyae Nyae Conservancy, July 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. 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 north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence, May 2020.
Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) 2020. An overview of elephant conservation and management in Namibia.

An overview of elephant conservation and management in Namibia.

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. Game Counts in north-west Namibia: Palmwag and Etendeka Concessions, May 2020.
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
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: Kavango East, July 2020.
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Kavango poster 2020 final.pdf 1.17 MB
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
Craig GC, Gibson DSC 2019. Aerial survey of north-eastern Namibia - Elephants and other wildlife in Khaudum National Park and neighbouring areas, September 2019.

The 2019 aerial survey of wildlife in Khaudum National Park and Neighbouring Areas, Namibia, was commissioned by KfW on behalf of the Directorate of Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Government of Namibia as part of the survey of elephants in north-eastern Namibia.

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
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 north-west Namibia: Conservancies south of the veterinary fence, May 2019.

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