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Great Southern Bioblitz challenge sees Namibia finish 10th

Great Southern Bioblitz challenge sees Namibia finish 10th

By Freeman Ya Ngulu.

Namibia finished in 10th place during the last weekend of November 2023 as scientists, naturalists and volunteers throughout the southern hemisphere joined forces during the Great Southern Bioblitz challenge.

138 projects were registered over 20 countries participating in the Great Southern Bioblitz. In the southern African region, Namibia took 6th position within the 37 registered projects.

The Bioblitz events highlight the remarkable biodiversity found across the world while fostering public engagement with nature. They help provide scientists with a rich resource for understanding species distribution throughout the natural world and within homes and farms.

The leading project was Overstrand, located in the Western Cape in South Africa. Participating teams there documented almost 15,000 observations and over 2000 confirmed species.

Namibia’s contribution to the multinational, intense four-day effort to survey all the living organisms within designated areas was coordinated by the Namib Research Institute popularly known as Gobabeb. Several teams of observers dispersed over the Zambezi Region to log more than 5,400 observations of over a thousand species of plants and animals.

Dr Laura Erculei, Principal at Wild Kids Academy said the BioBlitz has been an incredible journey into nature for many of the participants. “Our learners had a lot of fun and showed impressive enthusiasm. We learnt a lot and realised that there is still so much to learn. We are grateful to Gobabeb having introduced us to the project and happy to have contributed to the success of it!”

Observers recorded all their findings on the citizen science platform iNaturalist with an app that allows users to upload photographs and gain help identifying species from hundreds of experts and volunteer naturalists throughout the world.

The Gobabeb team worked in collaboration with Wildlife Management and Ecotourism Studies students from the University of Namibia (UNAM) and local schools for the event.

In addition to surveying species, the Gobabeb and UNAM teams delivered biodiversity educational sessions to 200 learners from five schools in Katima Mulilo.

Punaete Kandjii, a Wildlife Management and Ecotourism student at UNAM said, “Taking part in the Bioblitz was an amazing experience that made me realise our participation as Namibian youth is critical. These encounters not only teach us about the tremendous diversity of life, but they also deeply connect us with nature, instilling in us a desire to conserve our ecosystems. Through the event we became proud stewards of our environment, fighting for its protection and long-term use for ourselves and future generations.”

The event was supported by the United Nations Development Programme and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). National Park entries were kindly granted by officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

The annual Great Southern Bioblitz event has now grown to include research institutions, universities, municipalities, communities, interest groups and individual naturalists across three continents in the southern hemisphere.

The Great Southern Bioblitz is a citizen science event that takes place annually in the southern hemisphere. The 2023 event ran from 24 to 27 November when participants had the opportunity to observe ad record sounds and images of wild plants and animals in biodiversity hotspots. The Bioblitz is run by a grassroots network of citizen scientists from around the world.


About The Author

Freeman Ya Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an investigtor, an author and a keen entrepreneur. His speciality is data journalism for which he loves to dig deep into topics often ignored by mainstream reporting. He tweets @hobameteorite.