Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) face the same challenge as species around the planet are facing everyday: sustaining a viable population in a world where human-wildlife conflict is increasing in light of ongoing anthropization. In 2016, N/a’an ku sê will be monitoring spotted hyena populations at two locations in the south of Namibia, assessing spotted hyena-human conflict in these areas and offering solutions to mitigate this conflict.

Spotted hyena were first recorded in the Khomas region of Namibia in the early 1990’s. Due to a lack of research, the spatial ecology and population dynamics of the species in the area as well as the type and degree of human-wildlife conflict present remains largely unknown and unrecorded.

In 2014 and 2015 N/a’an ku sê assisted in the installation of camera traps in the Garub, Klein Willem and Hasenberge areas in the south of Namibia as part of a research project being led by the Brown Hyena Research Project (BHRP) and Namibia Wild Horse Project (NWHP). The project aims to assess spotted hyena presence and abundance in the Garub area in response to an increase in spotted hyena predation on the local wild horse population.

In 2016, N/a’an ku se will further assist the BHRP and NWHP to establish how the spotted hyena populations in the south of Namibia are distributed and the degree to which the populations are connected by monitoring spotted hyena at Kanaan Desert Retreat (Kanaan) (approx 100 km north of Garub) and Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate (Neuras) (approx 250 km north of Garub) in the Karas and Hardap Regions of south-west Namibia.

Information gathered from site explorations, camera trap images, cage captures and GPS transmissions from collared individuals will be used to:

  • Determine whether the spotted hyena causing conflict in the Garub area are connected to the Kanaan and Neuras populations;
  • Determine the population dynamics of the spotted hyena at each site including clan size, social structure within clans, identification of individuals within clans including their age and sex;
  • Determine spotted hyena prey preference through scat analysis and kill site recording;
  • Better understand best practice capture methods for spotted hyena focusing on the use of anthropogenic calls, capture cages and bait sites; and
  • Better understand spotted hyena spatial ecology.

Most importantly, the results of the project will provide a better understanding of the type and level of spotted hyena-human conflict. With this understanding we will begin developing a toolbox for the effective and efficient mitigation of such conflict not only in the south west of Namibia, but across the country as a whole.

The project is currently seeking funding for much needed equipment, such as camera traps and collars and any assistance would be very much appreciated.