Thursday, May 31, 2012

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cabinet approves opening of hunting season

WINDHOEK - Cabinet officially approved the opening of the 2012 hunting season.
The type of game species that may be hunted are three large game species or two large game species and four small game species, or one large game species and eight small game species or 12 small game species.
Large game species are kudu, oryx and red hartebeest. A hunter may not hunt more than one kudu during the hunting season. Small game species are springbok and warthog.
Various bird species may also be hunted. Hunting permits will only be issued to farm owners or lessees and in case of a conservancy, to the Conservancy Committee, while no permits will be issued directly to a hunter.
Permits are issued upon submission of a written invitation to the prospective hunter. The invitation must contain the name and address of the farm owner or lessee or conservancy, name and address of hunter, name, number and district where farm or conservancy is situated, type of fencing and whether it is registered, total number of animals to be hunted, period of hunt and the invitation must be signed by the farm owner or lessee or committee.
Each permit costs N$100 and is available at the offices of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Karasburg, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Gobabis and Otjiwarongo.
For the Kunene and Otjozondjupa regions, permits can be obtained at the ministry’s offices at Outjo, Grootfontein, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

Derived from: New Era

Monday, May 28, 2012

Namibia's Wild Horses grow in number

AUS - The number of feral horses in the Namib Desert has been increasing and now stands at 220 horses.
The figure for the horses roaming the area around Aus settlement and Lüderitz in the Karas Region had increased from 160 in 2010 to 180 in 2011.
During the most recent count some two weeks ago, a total of 220 feral horses were observed.
Sperrgebiet National Park ranger Alex Mowa, an employee of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, provided the figures to Nampa upon enquiry on Friday.
The figure of 220, however, only accounts for the wild desert horses that were counted at Garub Waterhole, so it is not clear whether there are more animals in the plains.
Mowa told Nampa that apart from vehicles that hit and kill feral horses, as the animals frequently cross the roads in search of grazing and water, the animals’ lives are normally not in any danger, as there are no predators in the desert to hunt them.
“As a result of this, their numbers continue to rise, which is good for tourists, as these amazing animals fascinate visitors who come to our beloved country,” he said.
The ranger, who is stationed at Aus, explained that the horses are also reproducing well, especially because the area received good rains over the past two years.
“The area where the horses roam can support more than 220 horses so there is no problem with the carrying capacity. We have also not detected any signs of disease. The ones that die are those that are old when nature takes its course,” Mowa said.
The horses graze in an area covering approximately 350 square kilometres in the Namib Desert.
The actual origin of these animals is still not clear. However, speculation is that they might be descendants of horses used during the German colonial war in Namibia.
Some theories point to a ship with a cargo of horses and other domestic animals, which ran aground along the Skeleton Coast in the late 19th century, about 25 km south of the Orange River mouth – roughly 200 km from Garub.
Some feral horses might also have originated from the Schutztruppe mounts, or from those belonging to a South African Expeditionary Force that took control of the Lüderitz- Keetmanshoop line during the First World War. - Nampa

Derived from: New Era

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Namibian baby rhino beats Yellowstone grizzlies hands down

It's a fair bet that most people have heard about Yellowstone National Park, in the USA, famous for its grizzly bears. If you live near there, and want to find real adventure, you come to ..... Namibia.
That’s what Gary and Terry Trauner did with their son Aaron in April, when they witnessed the birth of a black rhino calf in the Klip River valley, near Grootberg Lodge, in the Kunene Region.
Finding rhino’s in the valley is tough at any time of the year, but that’s part of the attraction for tourists to Namibia, where endangered species have been translocated out of national parks and into communal conservancies, to roam freely as they did in the past.
In ≠Khoadi //hoas Conservancy, which owns Grootberg Lodge, rhino tracking is a top attraction. There is no guarantee of finding them, but the conservancy guides do their best, and get just as excited as the guests when they find a rhino that they have not seen for a while.
When Gary, Terry and Aaron set off, they were not sure what they would see.  They thought they knew the wild. After all, they live right next door to Yellowstone and see Moose and Grizzlies in their backyard, says Gary, but in comparison the Klip River is .... “rugged”.
The trip starts at 6am, just as the last stars are extinguished by the winter dawn. Although midday temperatures reach 38 degrees, its pretty near freezing at the start of the day. The climb down into the valley in an open Land Rover jars the bones, as the vehicle jolts through rocky river beds.
“The guides were fantastic,” says Gary. They know about the topography, how the landscape was formed, and can point out countless plant and bird species. Larger game is more a matter of luck, and on the way down the family were fortunate to see desert dwelling elephant and mountain zebra.
By 2pm the rhinos had proved elusive, and it was almost time to turn back. But the guides were not giving up. Although the walkie-talkie had packed up, the guide in the car and trackers on foot know the area so well they were able to meet at pre-arranged points, and at the last moment one of the trackers reported rhino down a side valley.
In the main valley there are sandy tracks for a vehicle. Traversing side valleys has to be done on foot. Despite the thick bush, guides and visitors pressed on, climbing the rocky valley sides for over an hour, when suddenly they caught sight of  a rhino in a wooded thicket below.
At last, it all seemed worthwhile. Indeed, after the hard trek it could hardly have been better. But then suddenly one of the trackers emerged from the bush to say he had seen a female rhino and a new-born calf on the other side of the valley. The baby was so fresh that the mother was still licking it.
“We crossed the valley gingerly,” says Gary, “and got within 50 feet of the mother and calf. We were very careful. Although the mother was preoccupied, you never know with wildlife.” But the family were close enough to take some pictures, and the trackers were able to record that the mother was a rhino called Horns, which they had not seen for four months.
The gestation period for a rhino calf is 15 months. For the family and trackers to have seen a calf just after birth, in the true wilderness of the Klip River valley, was close to a miracle. For the family who love the wild in the USA, this was something new and special.
Back home, Gary is on the board of an American NGO dedicated to the conservation of the Teton Mountains. As an environmentalist, he believes that ≠Khoadi //hoas Conservancy is doing a remarkable job. “In such a sparsely populated region, locals are sustaining wildlife through eco-tourism: that’s impressive.”
And Namibia? Gary says that he is telling everybody he meets that if you want adventure, it is the country to visit. Grootberg Lodge and ≠Khoadi //hoas Conservancy will be at the Tourism Expo from 6-9 June at the Windhoek Showgrounds, where visitors can learn more about tourism in Namibia’s communal conservancy areas.

IN THE WILD ... A Rhino, called Horns with its calf after she gave birth to it in April. An American family on a visit to the Klip River valley near Grootberg Lodge encountered the animals just after Horns gave birth to the calf.
Derived from: The Namibia
By: Steve Felton
Photo: Contributed

Monday, May 21, 2012

Namibia under eagle’s eye for adventure summit

The Inspection Committee of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is currently in the country for a site inspection - the final step before the announcement on whether the country will host the Adventure Travel World Summit in 2013.
Namibia has been short-listed as one of three finalists to host the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), an international gathering of over 600 influencers in the adventure travel industry.

According to Maggy Mbako, Corporate Communications Practitioner at the Namibia Tourism Board, a team of six inspectors from ATTA arrived in the country on Tuesday afternoon to verify Namibia’s bidding documents.
On Wednesday morning, the inspection team met with various stakeholders in the tourism industry and was also treated to a display of more than 50 vehicles from various tour operators in Namibia. With the display, the tour operators intended showing the inspectors that they will be able to handle the influx of people that is expected in the country during the World Adventure Travel World Summit.
After a breakfast meeting, the team of inspectors was taken on a tour of Windhoek before being hosted on Wednesday night by Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The following day, the inspection team split up in three groups travelling to the country’s west coast, Etosha National Park and the Sossusvlei/ Twyfelfontein areas where they will do site inspections. All three groups will meet up in Swakopmund again as the proposed plan is to host the Adventure Travel World Summit Tourism summit at the coastal town, should Namibia win the bid to host the event.
The team will leave Namibia on Sunday.
Mbako also added that the ATTA President, Shannon Stowell will be in Namibia for a short visit and he will be the guest of honor during the official opening of the Namibia Tourism Expo on the June 6 at the Windhoek Show Grounds.
The tourism sector in Namibia will experience significant spin-offs should the country be chosen to host the summit. The ATWS summit has never taken place on the African continent and if Namibia hosts it, it is bound to position the country as a true leader in the tourism sector on the continent.

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), which organises the summit, is a global organisation and home to more than 20 000 businesses, destinations and media that focus on adventure travel.

Adventure travel is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry that represents US$89 billion in annual sales. The annual Adventure Travel World Summit sells out every year to over 700 executive level adventure tourism professionals.
The announcement for the summit host country will be made between June and August.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

India rejects Nam cheetahs

A MULTI-MILLION project to introduce Namibian cheetahs to India after 60 years of extinction there was halted by the Indian Supreme Court yesterday.
The court hearing was a result of objections filed by the state of Gujarat against the Indian government’s decision to undertake Project Cheetah, armed with a budget of about N$452,4 million, to restore the animal’s lost heritage in that country. The cheetahs were supposed to be reintroduced to the Palpur-Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh which is in the state of Gujarat.
In 2009 Namibia’s Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was invited by the Indian authorities to participate in the planned programme, but the Supreme Court with its judgement yesterday killed the project in its tracks.
In the first phase 15 cheetahs would have been imported by the Indian government from Namibia and then supplemented every two to five years as needed. Overall about 45 cheetahs, donated by CCF, would have been reintroduced to India. The court said that the imports from Namibia would not have help conservation in India in any way, therefore, the project was being stayed.
“Why are you bothered about cheetah in Africa? Let us give priority to our own species,” the top court observed while hearing a case relating to the proposed shifting of a few Asiatic Lions to the sanctuary from Gujarat.
The court further stated that proper approvals were not given by the National Board of Wildlife.
“The cheetah reintroduction project is poorly conceived scientifically and has very little probability of establishing a viable population of wild cheetahs in India over the longer term. It therefore is a distraction and waste of scare conservation resources” says wildlife biologist Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bangalore.
In the meantime Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah told The Namibian that she is aware that the Indian government was interested in importing cheetahs from Namibia.
However, she said her office did not receive any export application in this regard. “Cheetahs form part of the endangered species in terms of CITES’ classification and I have to give permission for the movements of these animals.”
Executive Director of the CCF Dr Laurie Marker is currently in the US and told The Namibian that she does not want to comment on the issue at this stage.

Derived from The Namibian