Northwest Game Count, 2020

Northwest Game Count data collection in the ≠Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy.

It is that time of the year again, for the Northwest Game Count. The world’s longest running and largest road-based game count has been an annual event among conservancies since 2000. This year marks the twentieth anniversary and it was certainly a memorable one: the first to take place in the time of social distancing.

Conservancy Game Guards in Torra spotting a black-backed jackal.

With limited funds available all conservation partners had to come together to ensure this long-running collection of data did not falter. NGO staff volunteered their time, resources, and available vehicles, while huge untold numbers of conservancy members attended planning sessions and cold early-morning game drives to ensure the wildlife of northwest Namibia are accurately accounted for.

Early mornings in chilly bakkies. Social distancing as much as possible.

The data from the Northwest Game Count is compiled across all northwest conservancies then taken to Windhoek to be analysed by the staff at WWF-Namibia. These data are used to set quotas for upcoming years and serve as an important status update of the state of conservation efforts in different conservancies. Additionally, the game count provides an opportunity for partners to come together and share their progress and challenges over the past year. To reconnect the relationships that make community-based conservation possible. Thanks to all the workers and volunteers whose tireless efforts ensured the count came off again this year.

Northwest Game Count planning session. Even the dogs understand social distancing.

Thanks to Lara Potma and Mathilde Brassine for photos.

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