72-hour Elephant Waterhole Counts – 24-26 September, 2018.

Photo: Ministry of Environment and Tourism

Across the Kunene Region teams of Conservancy Game Guards, Lion Rangers, MET Staff, IRDNC staff, and dozens of unpaid volunteers fanned-out over 72 hours for the annual full moon waterhole counts. The purpose of this program is to survey the area’s population of desert-adapted elephants. This year particularly emphasized the subpopulation in the Ehirovipuka, Omatendeka, and Ozondundu conservancies along the western escarpment.

Not only are the full moon counts a great chance to check-in on the area’s elephant population, they serve as an important time to engage with effected communities to ensure proper human-elephant conflict mitigation and prevention programs are in-place. Keenly aware of the challenges of human-elephant conflict, and deeply engaged in the lives of effected communities, the Lion Rangers were an integral part of providing ongoing training to community members about counting protocol and elephant safety. These practices demonstrate effective community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in action. Thanks so much to all who were involved in the roll-out and to the NACSO Natural Resources Working Group for supporting the program.

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