Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) in Namibia face the same challenges as many species around the world; sustaining a viable population in areas where human-wildlife conflict is increasing. N/a’an ku sê works to monitor spotted hyena populations at two locations in the south of Namibia. This crucial research project aims to assess spotted hyena-human conflict in these areas and offers 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 the degree of human-wildlife conflict present remains largely unknown and unrecorded.

N/a’an ku se’s research

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 aimed 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 further assisted the BHRP and NWHP to establish how the spotted hyena populations in the south of Namibia are distributed. Furthermore, our project looked to unearth the degree to which the populations are connected by monitoring spotted hyena at Kanaan Desert Retreat (approx 100 km north of Garub) and Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate (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;
  • Gather data on 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.