Here are our current long-term projects. Keep your eye out for our biannual conservation newsletter with all of our conservation activities. If you would like to help us make an even greater impact on conservation, come visit us and/or make a donation to the Natural Selection Conservation Trust: Or make a US tax deductible donation to our Trust through Wild Entrust International.
Makgadikgadi Conservation Initiative: supporting Africa's longest large mammal migration
Partner: Round River Conservation Studies
This project aims to support and expand large mammal migration routes between northern Botswana and Makgadikgadi National Park and the Kalahari Desert. Before the1960’s, this area held the longest and possibly the largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in Africa, which was abruptly cut short by land use changes requiring extensive fencing. Amazingly, the migration has re-emerged over the last decade, pushing through old fences and small-hold farms. We aim to unrestrict this movement by working alongside local communities and all stakeholders to develop land use plans that benefit all and allow this epic migration to flourish.Learn More
Leopard population dynamics and conservation in the Khwai area
Partner: Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, the University of New South Wales and the Okavango Research Institute
Little is known about the leopard population on the edge of the Moremi Reserve, except that they have a safe haven within the large tracts of mopane woodland in this area but are not tolerated in villages and on farms. Within the Khwai Private Reserve, we have an opportunity to determine territory locations, sizes, overlap, and threats to leopards residing well inside the private reserve versus those at shorter distances from villages. This research will not only inform us on survival strategies and intraspecific interactions of leopard in this area but also initiate surveying of the unexplored northern reaches of this reserve.Learn More
Herbivore and bird surveying in Khwai Private Reserve
Partner: Round River Conservation Studies / Okavango Research Institute
Researchers have been surveying the herbivore and bird populations in Khwai Private Reserve across different seasons looking at population sizes and distribution. Furthermore, alongside the Okavango Research Institute, the team has been busy testing and developing guidelines on efficient surveying techniques that can be broadly implemented by government, researchers, and land managers across Botswana.Learn More
Desert-dwelling giraffe conservation in northwest Namibia
Partner: Giraffe Conservation Foundation
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) are the foremost experts on giraffe and the only organisation in the world focusing on the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild throughout Africa. Based in Namibia, GCF currently work across 12 countries in Africa including Chad, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. However, their pioneering focus was on the desert-dwelling giraffe in northwest Namibia. Through their extensive work on the ground and partnerships with Governments, NGOs, and universities, GCF have identified four distinct species of giraffe, whereas before there was thought to be only one. This finding has elevated the conservation importance of the different populations with some giraffe populations so low in the wild that they are Critically Endangered. In northwest Namibia, numbers of the desert-dwelling Angolan giraffe have increased over the past few decades,due to a concerted conservation efforts of local communities, the Namibian government, private tourism companies and NGOs including GCF and most recently the Hoanib Valley Camp. Yet the population continues to face extreme environmental conditions and their continued monitoring helps us to better understand and advise their conservation. Together, GCF and Hoanib Valley Camp have created a strong consistent presence in northwest Namibia that instills important awareness around this iconic African animal.Learn More
Connecting conservation classrooms: educating Botswana's children and Botswana's young visitors on the value of wildlife, self respect and respect of the environment.
Partner: Coaching for Conservation
Coaching for Conservation (C4C) is a conservation outreach programme for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, which teaches self-respect, respect for each other and respect for wildlife and the environment. Using the incredible characteristics of different species, the program inspires learning in fun, active games from soccer to tag to ring toss. Natural Selection has partnered with C4C, not only to support its work in rural areas, but to create visitor “classrooms” in our lodges where young visitors from overseas can partake in this integrated kids conservation program. Young visitors can then bring Africa’s conservation messages and the C4C online platform back to their overseas classrooms and begin a long-term relationship with Botswana, its wildlife and to its local children.Learn More
Natural Selection Ele Shuttle
Partners: EcoExist and Mapula Camp
For the conservationists among us, the news that certain areas of the Okavango Delta have experienced a steady increase in elephant numbers over the past 15 years has been well received. However, for villagers along the Delta’s panhandle and outskirts, the elephants’ gain could well be their loss, making agricultural land increasingly vulnerable to elephant raiding and humans at risk of fatal encounters with these enormous creatures. To combat this human-wildlife conflict, EcoExist have worked alongside communities east of the Okavango Delta’s panhandle to identify ‘elephant highways’ – the routes along which humans and elephants are most likely to encounter one another. In order to reduce risks along these routes, the Natural Selection Ele Shuttle program funds transport for vulnerable community members, particularly children on their way to school.Learn More
Living with Wildlife and Wildlife Friendly Agriculture Workshops
Partner: Elephants for Africa and Meno a Kwena Camp
The villages near Meno a Kwena fall within one of the highest human-wildlife conflict zones of Botswana. In order to help both humans and wildlife, we are working alongside local NGO, Elephants for Africa (EFA) to sponsor a series of workshops. With the help of Meno a Kwena staff and EFA, the workshops focus on the interpretation of wildlife behaviour as well as looking at viable farming practices such as chilli farming to deter elephants. The long-term goal is to improve livelihoods of all residents living next to Makgadikgadi National Park and allow the villagers and wildlife to live harmoniously in an area that has experienced a recent surge in migrating and resident wildlife.Learn More
The Khomas Environmental Education Program
Partner: Giraffe Conservation Foundation
Few projects are more exciting than those that open upthe world of conservation to eager young minds, and this one does exactly that. This children’s program addresses the need to connect urban children of Namibia to nature and build their interests in the environment and in becoming responsible members of local and global communities. Integrated with the national school curriculum, the program also includes hands on experience in the bush for primary schools within impoverished areas, allowing their homeland to really capture their imaginations. The impact and excitement from young participants is almost tangible!Learn More
Project: Desert Lion Conservation – early warning, conflict mitigation system
Partner: The Desert Lion Conservation Project and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC)
The lions in northwest Namibia are a uniquely desert-adapted population that survive some of the most challenging conditions faced by this species: water stressed desert environment, highly variable prey base and human conflict. Whilst their survival is fascinating to the visitors who travel to see them, it’s less positive for local herders whose livestock might provide an opportune meal. The population has been monitored and their survival strategies studied for over 20 years by Dr. Phillip Stander. Based on this knowledge and the important outreach work of IRDNC, the project is implementing an automatic monitoring and early warning system that hopes to prevent further conflict with livestock herders. Using new satellite collars and communications software, the system warns farmers of nearby lions so herders can corral livestock and prevent predation.Learn More
Project: Khwai Village Grass Harvesting, Botswana
Partner: Khwai Private Reserve
Each year, community members of Khwai Village move into the nearby wildlife area to harvest grass for building and selling purposes. The grass cutting takes place over three months and harvesting groups can comprise more than 100 people, including the elderly and small children. In the past, the villagers arrived with very little to sustain themselves during the harvesting period and brought domestic dogs to deter predators from the temporary and porous shelters they built. Furthermore, harvested grass often stood uncollected for months, due to a lack of transport. In response, Natural Selection and Khwai Private Reserve began an initiative to support harvesters by providing safe dome tented accommodation, food and transportation. Khwai Private Reserve rangers work with the harvesters on how to maintain a low footprint during the harvesting period with minimal disturbance to wildlife and to future grass harvesting areas. This assistance will continue for the foreseeable future, allowing for sustainable harvesting practices and also a platform where ideas can be shared between land use partners. The latter being an unanticipated and welcomed benefit we’ve seen from year one.
Project: Environmental Club at Moreomaoto Village Primary School
Partner: Elephants for Africa and Meno a Kwena Camp
In a continuation of their long-standing support of the local village school, Meno a Kwena have partnered with local NGO, Elephants for Africa, to deliver a monthly environmental club with lessons and excursions into the park. It’s incredible to think that many of the children in the village were not aware that they live next to a national park. Understanding this will also shed light on the relevance of the wildlife that passes through and might just inspire some future conservationists.
Communal Herding for Livestock and Wildlife Protection
Beyond the borders of protected areas in Botswana, wide-ranging wildlife commonly come into contact with livestock, which has led to an increasing loss of livestock to lions and other predators. Such losses have important cultural and survival implications for communities and often result in retaliatory killing of lions. When poison is used, the negative effects on other species can be enormous, particularly within the vulture population.
This project addresses the issue by establishing livestock herding practices of the past, whereby herds were accompanied by a herder at all times to reduce predation. In this case, herds and herding efforts are consolidated so that communities can better afford the costs of herding and jointly protect livestock from predators. An additional advantage is controlled grazing that can reduce the decimation of grasslands. The ultimate goal is a conservation landscape in which both livestock and wildlife can thrive.Learn More