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From a tiny weasel to a lion, all covered in new carnivore Red Data Book

From a tiny weasel to a lion, all covered in new carnivore Red Data Book

The conservation status of Namibia’s land carnivores has just been published in a comprehensive book by a partnership comprising the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia and the Namibian Chamber of Environment. A poster showing the most important features of carnivore conservation forms part of the publishing event.

The book is available at local bookstores at N$260 per copy and posters can be collected at the offices of the Chamber of Environment at 20 Nachtigal Street in Windhoek.

Popularly referred to as the Carnivore Red Data Book, it was compiled by 25 species experts, 30 contributors and 31 reviewers. It provides the latest scientific information on the conservation status of all 34 known terrestrial carnivores. The book comprises just over 190 pages, 39 maps, more than 100 colour photographs and over 750 references.

Each conservation status assessment follows the global standard created by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which provides guidelines for deciding which of the IUCN threat categories is applicable to the species under consideration. Each assessment provides, 1) a detailed description of its distribution in Namibia alongside a map displaying records from public contributors and scientific surveys; 2) the latest population estimates and trends; 3) ecology and behaviour of the species; 4) and conservation threats, status and recommended actions.

For some species, the arid Namibian environment leads to smaller populations compared to elsewhere in Africa, while for other species, it is an ideal environment. Species like the blackfoot cat, brown hyaena, and the cheetah, thrive in drier conditions.

While the Carnivore Red Data Book provides a scientific perspective on carnivores, other perspectives are required to formulate and implement conservation actions. Farmers, conservancy members and hunters are key stakeholders, since they are at the frontline of living with and managing carnivores. Consequently, these stakeholders along with research institutions and conservation organisations will be invited to establish a Carnivore Working Group chaired by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT).

The Working Group’s primary responsibility will be to create and implement conservation action plans and to develop a research agenda to improve the understanding of Namibia’s carnivores.

A digital copy of the Carnivore Red Data Book can be accessed free of charge at


About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys