Uranium explorers support Gobabeb’s research on preventing predation of Topnaar small stock
A young Gobabeb scientists has received an array of trial cameras and a sound recorder for ongoing research in the lower Kuiseb to capture incidences of predation by natural predators on the small stock of the river’s Topnaar communities.
Ruben Angala, a third-year student in Natural Resource Management at the Namibia University of Science and Technology will be using the equipment to investigate human wildlife conflict in the Namib Naukluft Park.
The 40 cameras and one recorder with a combined value of roughly N$75,000 are a donation of uranium explorer, Reptile Mineral Resources and Exploration, together with their Nova joint venture partner, the Japanese Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.
Angala’s work will build on the earlier results from research done by Eric Shiningayamwe, a masters student at the University of Namibia, who began the human wildlife conflict research in consultation with the Topnaar community and the conservation authorities of the Namib Naukluft.
Of this groundbreaking work, Angala said “Elsewhere in Namibia, human wildlife conflicts are addressed by a number of actors and are fairly well understood. The situation in the Lower Kuiseb is less obvious and more complex. I am hoping to make a contribution that will improve production practices of Topnaar farmers, while appreciating that predators are a natural component of the ecosystem and actively conserved through formal management practices in the Namib Naukluft Park.”
Speaking on behalf of the donating company, Dr Katrin Kärner said “As an operator in the protected area, we are committed to a sustainable environment in the Namib Naukluft Park. We are very pleased to continue supporting research at Gobabeb which will greatly assist in achieving this objective. The fact that the research results will impact on the livelihoods of the local Topnaar communities living in the park is particularly gratifying.”
Gobabeb Executive Director, Dr Gillian Maggs-Kölling, said “The ongoing support that we enjoy from Nova JV has enabled Gobabeb to procure innovative technologies that add value to our research initiatives. By involving local students in the deployment of this equipment, [we] put them at the front of the pack of early career scientists. Such exposure will serve to open minds and provide new tools to explore opportunities in the field of natural resource management and represents a tangible investment in Namibia’s research capacity.”
The Gobabeb Desert Research station is situated on the northern bank of the Kuiseb River about 60 km inland from Walvis Bay. It is a catalyst for gathering, understanding and sharing knowledge of the Namib Desert and arid environments. Gobabeb offers local and international scientists the opportunity to work in one of the foremost dryland research centres of the world.
Caption: Dr Katrin Kärner (left) of Reptile Mineral Resources and Exploration wishes research student Ruben Angala well with his project to determine the scope and extent of stock losses in the Topnaar communities of the lower Kuiseb River. The exploration company donated 40 cameras and a sound recorder to Gobabeb, the desert research station where Angala is currently attached for work-integrated learning.