Mangetti Cattle Ranch

The Naankuse elephant and wild dog project is situated in the north-eastern Kalahari woodlands approximately 100 km south-west of Rundu in the Kavango region of north-eastern Namibia. Based in the Kavango Cattle Ranch (KCR), a government parastatal farm conglomerate administered by the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA), the ranch is approximately 168,900 hectares in size, and is comprised of over 40 individual farms primarily for livestock production.

Naankuse first came into contact with the KCR in 2010, when 14 African painted dog pups were excavated from their den at a very young age. Following that, the Naankuse Foundation has been involved in the long-term monitoring of African painted dogs and African elephants in the Greater Mangetti Complex since 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Since the involvement and collaboration of Naankuse with the KCR and NIDA, a policy of no longer persecuting the magnificent and critically endangered African painted dog has been adopted.

In 2014 two elephant cows from a resident herd were fitted with GPS Iridium tracking collars. One of the two elephant cows, belonging to the largest known family group in the area, was re-collared in May 2018 to allow the continued long-term monitoring of the elephants’ movements across the area.


Human-Wildlife conflict:

At Mangetti, we work with two aspects of Human-Wildlife Conflict: Human-Carnivore Conflict and Human-Elephant Conflict.

Human-carnivore conflict is the clash between Namibia’s carnivores and landowners. At Mangetti, due to its nature as a cattle ranch, African painted dogs are caught up in human-carnivore conflict as they will hunt cattle as a prey sources alongside native prey animals. While they have some protection under government law and are no longer actively persecuted by the KCR, they are still considered by many as a ‘pest’ species. The Mangetti research team work with the KCR, NDF and local commercial (private) farmers to not only monitor the resident painted dogs packs but also to work towards finding ways to reduce the losses faced through various methods such as kraaling calves under 8 months old.

Human-Elephant Conflict is largely due to human habitation in areas elephants also inhabit. Particularly where elephants damage infrastructure, crops and water sources. On the KCR, in their movement through the land, the resident elephants cause damage to fences, water dams, water pipes and occasionally the crops grown by the local people. This damage leads to costs of repairs, maintenance and labour.

The Mangetti research team is monitoring the elephants and working with the KCR, NDF and commercial farmers to find ways to reduce the damage caused and the resulting conflict with the resident elephants.

Elephant Project:

Monitoring the movement patterns and range size of the main elephant herd through the data received from the collared female the research team gain valuable information about this isolated population of elephants. This data is also used to give local farmers warning when the herd is approaching their property in an effort to reduce conflict.

Evidence of conflict levels is gathered in the field from direct observations such as tracks and physical damage to property and through the use of camera traps. The team also interacts with the local farming community who regularly report on elephant conflict in the area.

VHF tracking of the collared female allows occasional glimpses of these magnificent animals and allows the research team to monitor the size and health of the herd.

Monitoring of one of an estimated 110 elephants as part of the main herd on the Kavango Cattle Ranch, as well as the activity of a suspected second smaller herd and a large number of bull elephants based on spoor, occasional sightings (both physical and in camera traps) and damage reports. Working with the KCR and local farmers to better understand the level of concern.

The African Wild Dog Project:

The African wild dog project is designed to support Naankuse’s work in reducing human-African wild dog conflict inside the Mangetti Complex area. The Mangetti Research Team monitors the activity of local resident packs through camera traps, reports of sightings and livestock loss by farmers with the long term aim of monitoring the pack through the use of GPS collars.

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About the area

The Mangetti Complex comprises two main areas – the Kavango Cattle Ranch, a government farm conglomerate in the Kavango region of northern Namibia, and the nearby Mangetti National Park. In total the study area comprises more than 2,000kmof north-eastern Kalahari woodlands and mixed acacia Savannah. The vegetation is thick and dense allowing even the largest species of wildlife to simply vanish before your very eyes.

Namibia Nature Foundation, Naankuse and The AfriCat Foundation have been granted access to the property for African wild dog research purposes.

Mangetti welcomes volunteers to assist our researchers in elephant and African wild dog conservation research.

Although this research site focuses on the research of the African Elephant and African Wilddogs,  there is no guarantee of sighting these other than on camera trap footage.