THREATENED: Cheetahs are a threatened carnivore in Namibia. Photo: FILE
THREATENED: Cheetahs are a threatened carnivore in Namibia. Photo: FILE

Spotlight on Namibia's carnivores

Ellanie Smit
Namibia is taking a closer look at the conservation of its carnivores with the recent publication of the Conservation Status and Red List of the Terrestrial Carnivores of Namibia.

This publication, also known as the Carnivore Red Data Book, provides the latest scientific information on the conservation status of Namibia’s 34 terrestrial carnivore species.

This is only the second Red Data Book to be published on the fauna of Namibia. The first was on the birds of Namibia in 2015.

This joint publication between the environment ministry, the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia (LCMAN) and the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) involved 25 expert species assessors, 30 contributors and 31 reviewers.

The book comprises just over 190 pages, 39 maps, more than 100 colour photographs and over 750 references.

Each species assessment includes a detailed description of its distribution in Namibia alongside a map displaying records from public contributors and scientific surveys; the latest population estimates and trends; the ecology and behaviour of the species; conservation threats status; and recommended actions.

Threat status

All 34 species fell within the IUCN categories ranging from least concern (meaning not threatened) to critically endangered. Eleven species were classified as near threatened or worse, including five cat species, two hyaena species, the African wild dog, two otter species, and the African striped weasel. All of these, except the weasel, face known threats to their survival.

The three most common threats facing Namibian carnivores are human-carnivore conflict, bycatch and habitat-related threats. Human-carnivore conflict becomes a threat to carnivore species when farmers respond to livestock losses by killing carnivores, or when they kill carnivores as a way to prevent livestock losses.

While the Carnivore Red Data Book provides a scientific perspective on carnivores, other perspectives are required to formulate and implement conservation actions.

The frontline

Farmers, conservancy members and hunters are key stakeholders since they are at the frontline of living with and managing carnivores. Consequently, these stakeholders, along with research institutions and conservation organisations, will be invited to establish a carnivore working group chaired by the environment ministry.

The group’s primary responsibility will be to create and implement conservation action plans and to develop a research agenda to improve the understanding of Namibia’s carnivores.


Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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