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Lendelvo, S.M.W. 2018. Factors influencing the establishment of translocated eland (Taurotragus oryx) and springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) in the Nyae Nyae conservancy, Namibia. PhD Thesis, University of Namibia


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Factors influencing the establishment of translocated eland (Taurotragus oryx) and springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) in the Nyae Nyae conservancy, Namibia.

Summary / Notes:

The emergence of the Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) approach in Namibia contributed to the establishment of communal conservancies that aim to conserve wildlife outside protected areas, as well as benefit local communities. Recent translocations in Namibia involved the movement of wildlife from protected areas to communal conservancies in order to expand the range of wildlife species in the areas they once occupied, as part of effective community-based conservation efforts. Little research has been done to understand the outcome of the translocation of ungulates for the purpose of restocking wildlife populations in communal conservancies, and to determine the factors affecting the establishment of these ungulates, as well as the contribution of translocation to sustainable wildlife management in Namibia. The aim of this study was to establish the factors that contributed to outcomes of translocated eland (Taurotragus oryx) and springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) in the Nyae Nyae conservancy. The study utilised a mixed-method design that involved the employment of both qualitative and quantitative data collection methodologies in obtaining primary and secondary data. Field observations were carried out to collect data on the current population structure of the eland and springbok. A total of 56 questionnaires, 19 key-informants and 6 focussed-group discussions (FGDs) with community members and stakeholders, were administered during the period of July 2013 to March 2015. Stakeholders comprised the relevant local, regional and national institutions that worked closely with the Nyae Nyae conservancy in different aspects of wildlife and conservancy management. Secondary data, consisting of long-term wildlife count data, were obtained from the conservancy and the office of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism both in Tsumkwe and Windhoek. Following translocations, a stable trend of the overall wildlife population sizes in the Nyae Nyae conservancy (r=0.477; t10=1.574; p=0.145) was found. The springbok (r= 0.181; t10=0.580; p=0.575) showed a positive population trend while the eland (r= -0.429; t10= -1.502; p=0.164) showed a declining trend, according to the long-term monitoring data collected between 2001 and 2013. The outcome of the field assessments on the habitat utilised by the springbok was consistent with the analysis of the long-term data, indicating that the free-roaming and growing springbok population was found along the Nyae Nyae Pans in the conservancy. However, a free-roaming eland population was not detected but a population confined in the Buffalo Camp was found. The composition of the social groupings of the observed eland and springbok populations comprised solitary, bachelor, mixed, nursery and/or female groups. Perceptions gained from the surveys concluded that the factors such as availability and distribution water resources, range condition, veld fires frequency and level predation had limited negative influence on the translocated populations of the two species, while human-related activities were attributed to the translocation failure of the eland. There was little evidence of hunting of the eland for both subsistence and trophy purposes, although evidence existed that the eland had been allocated a hunting quota. Although springbok was not commonly utilised for trophy hunting, this species had been hunted sustainably for subsistence and the purposes of meat distribution since 2004. The selection of a suitable, natural habitat, coupled with limited human disturbance, contributed to the establishment of the translocated springbok population. However, the eland population not increasing after translocation in 2001 remains complex because the confined eland population that was moved into the Buffalo Camp of the conservancy since 1994 was able to survive in a similar habitat for over two decades. Suitability to natural habitat factors alone is not sufficient to contribute to the establishment of translocated wildlife species. Therefore, the anthropogenic elements of a habitat should form part of the suitability assessments during the translocation process of wildlife into conservancies because of the nature of community-based conservation areas.

Year: 2018

Type: Thesis

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