Identifying potential corridors and conservation strategies for large terrestrial mammals in northcentral and north-eastern Namibia

As a research cooperation partner, SAVE supports master’s thesis at the Technical University of Munich.

Within the framework of Education for Conservation (E4C), SAVE also financially supports important and sustainable research projects. The master thesis of Corsa Lui is undoubtedly one of them. The student at the TUM School of Life Sciences at the Technical University of Munich investigated the movement patterns of lions and elephants on their migration routes in northeastern Namibia.

These routes, which the animals use in their search for food and water, first had to be identified in the research work in order to then protect them in the long term. Over time, the migration corridors were fragmented by agricultural fields and settlements. The habitat of the animals became smaller and smaller. At the same time, conflicts, such as when lions and elephants encountered human settlements, grew.

In her master’s thesis, the student, who was born in Hong Kong, investigated how this fragmentation could be stopped so that the animals can continue their search for food and water undisturbed on the one hand and develop greater resistance to climate change on the other. With the help of literature research, expert knowledge and telemetry data, the student was able to show that the animals have already suffered a significant loss of habitat.
The study was supported by the Ongava Research Centre and the Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism in Namibia, which gratefully provided the relevant data.

The research results also showed that only protected areas such as Etosha, Mangetti and Khaudum National Parks were excluded from habitat loss. As a next step, the student developed ideas in her master’s thesis on how these isolated reserves could be connected to allow migration in the future. Due to increasing settlement, this is a major challenge.

But certain protection strategies could secure these corridors in the long term. The focus is on alternative land use, such as encouraging the development of wildlife-based uses in community conservation areas and on private property, careful fence design, education programs, and translocation of certain species.

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