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Hipondoka M.H.T.,University of Namibia | Dalal-Clayton D.B.,Environment and Development Services EDS International | van Gils H.,Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal | Year: 2016

Ten strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) were undertaken in Namibia between 2008 and 2013, although it is not yet a legal mandate. Efforts are currently underway to establish a formal instrument for SEA processes. To inform the drafting of such regulations or at the request of proponents, seven of these SEAs were reviewed using a methodology developed for the OECD-DAC and based on principles of SEA good practice. The reviews examined the processes followed by the SEAs, appraised stakeholders’ reflections, and assessed the outcomes and contributions to decision-making. Although all analysed SEAs delivered on their respective terms of references (ToRs), inadequacies encountered were largely attributed to shortcomings in their ToRs. They showed inadequate public consultation or strategic dimension; failed to address alternatives to, and cumulative effects of, the policy, plan or programme assessed; and paid limited attention to synergies or antagonisms. The majority had some influence on decision-making and proposed monitoring procedures for identified mitigation measures. SEA regulations and measures to strengthen institutional and human capacity to sustain effective SEA application are critically needed in Namibia. © 2016 IAIA


van Coeverden de Groot P.J.,Queens University | Putnam A.S.,San Diego Zoo Global | Erb P.,Ministry of Environment and Tourism | Scott C.,Queens University | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2011

Poaching and habitat destruction across sub-Saharan Africa brought the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) close to extinction. Over the past few decades, however, one of four subspecies, D. b. bicornis, has experienced a significant population increase as a consequence of its protection within Etosha National Park (ENP), Namibia. We report here on the level and spatial distribution of black rhinoceros genetic diversity within ENP. Using nine microsatellite loci, genetic variation was assessed from 144 individuals. Our results are consistent with the observation of lower levels of genetic diversity in D. b. bicornis, when compared to D. b. michaeli, but greater diversity when compared to D. b. minor. We also showed that ENP's black rhino genetic diversity is well represented in Waterberg National Park, originally founded with ENP individuals. We found no genetic signature of a recent bottleneck in ENP, however, suggesting that the genetic diversity within ENP has not been adversely affected by the recent severe population decline. Using Bayesian clustering methods, we observed no significant population structure within ENP, but positive spatial genetic correlation is observed at distances up to 25 km. This relationship exists in females but not males, suggesting reduced dispersal among females, the first evidence of limited female dispersal or philopatry in any species of rhinoceros. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Simmons R.E.,University of Cape Town | Kolberg H.,Ministry of Environment and Tourism | Braby R.,Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project | Erni B.,University of Cape Town
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

Many long-distance migrating shorebird (i.e., sandpipers, plovers, flamingos, oystercatchers) populations are declining. Although regular shorebird monitoring programs exist worldwide, most estimates of shorebird population trends and sizes are poor or nonexistent. We built a state-space model to estimate shorebird population trends. Compared with more commonly used methods of trend estimation, state-space models are more mechanistic, allow for the separation of observation and state process, and can easily accommodate multivariate time series and nonlinear trends. We fitted the model to count data collected from 1990 to 2013 on 18 common shorebirds at the 2 largest coastal wetlands in southern Africa, Sandwich Harbour (a relatively pristine bay) and Walvis Bay (an international harbor), Namibia. Four of the 12 long-distance migrant species declined since 1990: Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and Red Knot (Calidris canutus). Populations of resident species and short-distance migrants increased or were stable. Similar patterns at a key South African wetland suggest that shorebird populations migrating to southern Africa are declining in line with the global decline, but local conditions in southern Africa's largest wetlands are not contributing to these declines. State-space models provide estimates of population levels and trends and could be used widely to improve the current state of water bird estimates. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.


Brodie J.F.,University of Montana | Muntifering J.,Apple Inc | Hearn M.,Save the Rhino Trust | Hearn M.,University of Kent | And 6 more authors.
Animal Conservation | Year: 2011

Curtailing overharvest, whether illegal or legal, is often a critical conservation objective. Yet even if overexploitation can be stopped, subsequent rates of population recovery can be highly variable due to Allee effects, alterations to age and sex structure and disruptions of animal social systems. Moreover, understanding the influence of density dependence can be difficult but important for long-term management. Here, we investigate the dynamics of black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis in the Kunene region of Namibia as they recover from illegal hunting. We use multi-strata mark-recapture models to examine survival and stage-transition rates from 1992 to 2005. Survivorship estimates ranged from 0.793 for calves to 0.910 for adult males and 0.944 for adult females. The annual reproductive rate in adult females was estimated at 0.315. Model selection showed that these vital rates were time invariant, suggesting that Allee effects and transient dynamics did not have an important effect upon population dynamics, even in the early stages of recovery. Relative population density increased significantly from 1992 to 2005 once illegal hunting had ceased in Kunene. However, the best-fit models did not include relative density in the estimation of survival or stage-transition rates. We then used the vital rates generated from our mark-recapture analysis to build matrix projection models that assessed overall population dynamics. The female-only model gave a population growth rate estimate of λ=1.011. Two-sex models suggest that the growth rate of the population could range from 0.990 to 1.012. The relatively slow growth rate of this population, even without hunting or density dependence, could stem from the low productivity of the region. Adult females had the highest reproductive value and their survival had the highest elasticity among vital rates. Translocating adult females would lead to the fastest initial population growth rate in founder populations but would have the most impact on the source population. © 2011 The Authors. Animal Conservation © 2011 The Zoological Society of London.


Alexander K.A.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | McNutt J.W.,Predator Conservation Trust | Briggs M.B.,African Predator Conservation Research Organization | Standers P.E.,Ministry of Environment and Tourism | And 3 more authors.
Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

A retrospective serosurvey of multi-host feline and canine viruses among carnivore species in southern Africa (n=1018) identified widespread pathogen exposure even in remote protected areas. In contrast to mortality experienced in East African predators, canine distemper virus (CDV) infection among African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Botswana was not associated with identifiable change in pup survivorship or disease related mortality of adults. A disease outbreak of unknown aetiology occurred in the same population over 4 weeks in 1996. Outbreak boundaries coincided with ecotones, not the spatial distribution of contiguous packs, highlighting the potential importance of landscape heterogeneities in these processes. Direct management of pathogens in domestic animal reservoirs is complicated by the apparent complexity of pathogen maintenance and transmission in these large systems. Conservation effort should be focused at securing large metapopulations able to compensate for expected episodic generalist pathogen invasion and attention directed to addressing underlying causes of population depression such as habitat loss and wildlife conflict. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

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