N/a’an ku sê’s Rapid Response Unit 

With an increasing number of Namibian farmers seeking alternative “non-lethal” solutions to human-carnivore conflict on commercial freehold properties, N/a’an ku sê  responded by creating a dedicated “Rapid Response Unit”.

We are available 24/7 to respond to any conflict situation whereby Namibian landowners, usually livestock farmers, have trapped large carnivore species such as leopard (Panthera pardus), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and brown hyena (Hyena brunnea) in capture cages. Wherever possible our aim is to release the carnivore back into its home range. If the landowner believes the captured carnivore is preying on livestock, a trained professionals will fit a GPS tracking collar. The animal is then immediately released back into its existing territory for intensive monitoring.

Data Sharing

Every day the team downloads the information from the GPS collars and updates the landowners with detailed data on the animals’ movements. From the data it is often possible to identify fresh kill sites – this can then be sent to the landowner who can investigate the location to identify the prey species i.e. whether it is livestock or natural game species.

In this way farmers have much more knowledge, and a measure of control of their environment and the resident large carnivores. By knowing the patterns of large carnivores on their land, landowners can implement better livestock protection strategies by avoiding areas in which carnivores are more active. Our team is also available 24/7 to advise on proven livestock protection methods.

From the data received from the GPS collars to date, we have ascertained that in 90% of the cases, the collared carnivores is not a habitual livestock killer.

Through working with the landowner and sharing knowledge and data, we can change long-held, and often incorrect, perceptions of large carnivores. With continued dedication, we can  achieve our mission to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the need for removal of carnivores from their natural habitats; either into captivity or translocation to new environments. Thereby maintaining the natural ecological balance of carnivore populations in the Namibian landscape.

Lightning’s story

One of our study animals, a female leopard called “Lightning”, has been monitored in the wild since 2009. She is the longest continuously monitored leopard in the world. In this time she has successfully raised three litters of cubs and has never once been responsible for the depredation of any livestock. The known prey species for this amazing girl include kudu, zebra, springbok, warthog and baboon.

GPS collars undoubtedly save lives. We do not receive any government funding and are solely reliant on generous donations to continue our vital work.

Make a donation to the N/a’an ku sê Foundation Research and Conservation Projects.