New Monitoring Project

Pair of Rüppell’s korhaan near Wereldsend. Photo by AJ Wattamaniuk

Very little is known about the Rüppell’s korhaan (Eupodotis rueppellii). This small bustard species is endemic to the rocky plains and hillsides of northwest Namibia. Sandy brown on the top with white below, these korhaans are reluctant fliers, territorial, and usually found in pairs, or a pair with a juvenile. Considered to be more common in the southern Namib, many maps of the species’ range do not include the northern Namib. Yet, any of the Lion Rangers can tell you that these birds are relatively common. Often our mornings in the field begin with the low croak of these korhaans calling to one another. It only takes one morning to understand why they are colloquially known as the ‘Damara frog.’

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Relief Food Distribution

Grateful food recipients and community conservationists.

The Covid-19 pandemic has touched all parts the globe, including limiting incomes to northwest Namibia conservancy residents. Beginning in March, staff at tourist accommodations and working for touring companies were sent home, with little certainty about when they will return to work. This dramatic and unexpected hit to local incomes immediately began affecting livelihoods and eroding people’s savings. Many parents rely on schools to provide their children with meals during the school year – the closure of schools is exacerbating food insecurity.

Conservation of wildlife cannot take place when people cannot meet their basic needs. Alongside IRDNC staff, and with support from TOSCO, and Oliver Adolph and Family, the Lion Rangers have been helping to distribute food relief in the southern Kunene Region. This past week Lead Field Assistant Jendery Tsaneb helped spearhead relief to affect farmers and community members. Packages of mealie paap, pasta, soup packets, oil, sugar, and tea were loaded on to trucks and delivered to meet the greatest needs.

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Memorial for Garth Owen-Smith

Yesterday a large and diverse group paid tribute to IRDNC founder, committed conservationist, and hero to many Garth Owen-Smith at Wereldsend. Said TOSCO founder and Lion Ranger program coordinator Felix Vallat, “It was sincere, moving, inspiring…a perfect between Himba traditional funerals and a western one. Garth left a big space for us to grow and bloom, which we will!” The ceremony brought together people from across Namibia and the thoughts and prayers of a world of partners who could not return due to travel restrictions. There were private planes and traditional Himba marches, headmen from the north and local friends, hunters and wildlife advocates, a truly cross-cultural crowd of partners, all of whom were inspired by Garth’s message and commitment to making the world a better place.

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Garth Owen-Smith, 1944-2020

Garth Owen-Smtih

On 11 April, 2020, Garth Owen-Smith, co-founder of Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), and the widely-regarded ‘father’ of Namibia conservation passed-away peacefully. Garth dedicated his life to advocating for Namibia’s wildlife and wild places. His commitment to community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), was on-display throughout a career spanning six decades, which he primarily spent in northwest Namibia. His loss is felt keenly by all who work to maintain wildlife conservation in Namibia.

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