Conservation Status and Red List of the Terrestrial Carnivores of Namibia

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Red Data Books provide information on the level of threat to the earth's biodiversity, identify the causes, and make recommendations on what can be done to address the problem. As such, they are used to: Direct attention and resources to the greatest conservation priorities; Provide guidance for prioritised conservation action; Improve planning and environmental assessments; Monitor the status of species and groups of species over time; and Educate students, conservation scientists and managers, policy makers and the general public about the status of biodiversity, its threats and conservation needs. Eleven of Namibia's 34 terrestrial carnivore species were found to be either Threatened (six species) or Near Threatened (five species). Of the Threatened species, one is considered to be Critically Endangered in Namibia, the African wild dog; one is Endangered, the cheetah, and four are Vulnerable, being the leopard, lion, black-footed cat and spotted hyaena. In Namibia, large carnivore species are generally more threatened than medium and small species, and the cats (Felidae) have a higher proportion of species threatened (four of seven) than other carnivore families. The Near Threatened species are the serval, brown hyaena, Cape clawless otter, spotted-necked otter and African striped weasel. One species is near-endemic to Namibia, the black mongoose which is listed as of Least Concern, i.e. no significant threats and conservation issues, but which warrants monitoring because of Namibia’s special conservation responsibility to this species. There are a number of common threats faced by the Threatened and Near Threatened carnivore species in Namibia, with most facing multiple threats. The most important of these are: Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) - when the species is deliberately killed in response to real or perceived damages caused by that species. A wide variety of methods are used, including poisons, trapping, shooting, digging out breeding dens and killing pups; Habitat loss, fragmentation or degradation. A particularly concerning trend is the expansion of game-proof fencing across the country resulting in habitat loss to carnivores, land fragmentation and the prevention of mobility for wildlife generally, one of their most important adaptations to arid conditions; Bycatch - when the species is killed in snares, gin traps or by poison aimed at other animals. Poisons are a particularly unselective and damaging form of predator control which has a devastating impact on non-target species, particularly birds of prey; Species killed or captured deliberately to use their parts, traffic their skin, bone or teeth, or sell them live (often as cubs) in the illegal wildlife trade; Accidental road mortalities. By addressing these key root causes, the conservation status of the threatened carnivores can be significantly improved. The threats and recommended priority actions needed to address the threats are set out for each of the 11 Red Data species. The next step is to develop these recommendations into strategic conservation actions plans. Where there is potential for synergy, this should be exploited. An appropriate institution, such as a national Carnivore Working Group should be established to (a) develop the action plans, (b) implement the plans, (c) monitor and assess their impact on carnivore populations, and (d) update the information on both threats and actions as may be relevant to each species. This Carnivore Red Data Book is available in hard copy, and can be downloaded in electronic form at

Windhoek, Namibia
Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism; Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia; Namibian Chamber of Environment
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Book or Magazine

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This record was an output of the Symposium on Red Data status of carnivores in Namibia held on 8th-10th November, 2017 at Otjikoto Environmental Education Centre. You can see all outputs of this symposium here.