Exclusive look into the lives of Leopard, Brown Hyena & Pangolin with AFRICAT – Hosted by Ralph Kirsten
Be apart of a truly glorious conservation initiative!
6 DAYS/5 NIGHTS
R80 000 Per Person Sharing
Okonjima Nature Reserve in central Namibia is home to The AfriCat Foundation. Their mission is the long-term conservation of some of Namibia’s large carnivores – such as brown hyaena, leopard and cheetah, all of which can be seen during our stay on the 22 000 hectare Okonjima Private Game Reserve. The latest in their conservation initiatives is their Pangolin project which allows us the exclusive opportunity to go with the researchers in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ visit with each project. Being involved with whatever the researchers are doing but may include any of: Darting of the particular individuals for checking, replacing or removing collars, to following and noting their daily habits and inter-predator conflict and human conflict among others…This Safari has been handpicked by Ralph Kirsten as a truly wonderful experience that also makes a true difference in the conservation world, and allows a real look into these animals daily lives in the wild – ‘A safari like no other’
- Leopard Project
- Brown Hyena Project
- Pangolin Project
- 35 Different Leopard characters on the 20 000 hectare reserve
Okonjima’s Luxury Bush Camp
Each luxury chalet:
- Has large glass panels and canvas windows that can be completely opened for unrestricted views of the savannah that offers a truly magical African bush experience. Okonjima is a malaria-free area.
- Has an open-air sala with a semi-detached lounge area complete with a minibar, tea/coffee station and ample space to relax, and offers panoramic views of the natural surrounds.
- Is equipped with: two queen-size beds, a working desk with telephone and comfortable leather chairs.
- Has a Wi-Fi hotspot, cellphone reception as well as undercover, private parking.
- Has a birdbath that’s a highlight for any bird lover and a bird-feeding container should guests want to feed the birds.
The Leopard Project
This research project is investigating the inter- and intraspecific relationship between different carnivore species in the 200 km2 Okonjima Nature Reserve, an enclosed conservation area. Study animals include cheetah Acinonyx jubatus , leopard Panthera pardus, and brown hyena Parahyaena brunnea. Interactions between predators, both within and between species are studied with the aid of VHF-telemetry, GPS-collars and camera traps. The study will assess the extent of intraguild predation and determine the size of home ranges and territories for individual animals within the reserve and how they relate to those of other predators. In addition the study will provide valuable information on the success of carnivore rehabilitation in the reserve.
The camera trap monitoring program has been established to identify and analyze changes in size and composition of these population numbers, and to evaluate trends in resource availability, competition and spatial organization.
The traps are remotely triggered and are an effective non-invasive tool which allow for observation of the leopards over time.
Findings from the program are invaluable not only for managing the leopard population within the Okonjima Nature Reserve, but also as a body of data that helps National bodies to navigate strategies underpinning carnivore conservation at large.
We go along with the researchers and get involved with this fascinating study…
The Brown Hyena Project
Providing safe havens for wild populations of animals, such as the Okonjima Nature Reserve does, also presents challenges for the correct management of the protected wildlife within.
Whilst bringing the advantages of safety, freedom from persecution, the ability to breed, provision of diverse prey etc., so too are simultaneous threats which arise from the prevention of natural immigration/emigration. Population sizes increase beyond natural carrying capacity, intensification of competition with other species for limited resources within the confined area, and a constrained gene pool are some of the challenges which arise from the carnivore populations being enclosed in one area.
As a consequence of such perils, it is imperative that these carnivore populations are managed appropriately to ensure that they sustain themselves healthily for their ultimate survival.
The Brown Hyena population within the Okonjima Nature Reserve is one such group. It is a naturally occurring body, and since the 2010 erection of the predator-proof fencing around the reserve, little governance has been done to purposefully manage them.
Persecuted by farmers in the surrounding lands, as real or perceived threats to their livestock, they are fully in the middle of the Human-Wildlife Conflict zone! Hence the Okonjima Nature Reserve is essential for the protection and long term survival of wild populations.
The Brown Hyena Research Project was launched in 2018 as a comprehensive scheme to observe the Brown Hyenas, collect data, analyze the information, make recommendations and take action
The Pangolin Project
Okonjima Nature Reserve (ONR), home of the AfriCat Foundation, is also called home for a wide range of interesting species, one little known resident is a scaly anteater known as the Temminck’s ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) or ground pangolin. They are one of eight pangolin species worldwide and one of four pangolin species which occur on the African continent, all of which are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
There has been minimal research completed within Namibia, for this reason, AfriCat is launching the AfriCat Pangolin Project aimed at studying all details of life for the ground pangolin in Namibia. The overall aim of this project is to understand the activity patterns, population dynamics, prey selectivity, and overall ecology of wild pangolin within ONR and to gather further information about their behavior and survival strategies. The end goal of collecting this data is to shed light on biological baseline knowledge and to create conservation guidelines for ground pangolin which can be applicable across their range. Another very important objective is to increase awareness of the vulnerable status of southern Africa’s only pangolin species.
Using VHF tags attached to the scale, we are able to track pangolin in order to collect spatial data and observe their behaviors including prey selectivity, activity patterns and budgets, and survival strategies. The spatial data collected is used to determine home range sizes and changes in movement across seasons. Camera traps setup at known burrows will also assist in collecting data about activity patterns specifically determining emergence and return times at burrow locations. Remote weather stations allow us to look at the effects of weather conditions on pangolin active times and durations. All of the data collected will be used to further our knowledge on overall pangolin ecology. As we learn from ongoing research and advanced methodology, additional areas of focus will be included into the research.
$4380 Per Person sharing
$5380 Single Supplement
Specialist local expert guide & host – Ralph Kirsten
Exclusive look into Leopard, Brown Hyena & Pangolin research projects
Dedicated Leopard following and insight into their daily lives
Full Board in Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp
Transfers return to Windhoek airport
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