Our Commitment

Natural Selection is fully committed to making a significant positive impact on wildlife conservation in Africa. We have pledged 1.5% of our total revenue (turnover) to conservation. In our first year of operation, this amounted to 40% of our profit. We are fully committed and proud of the important work our team and our partners are doing in the field.

Our Projects

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.

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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.

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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.

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Desert-dwelling giraffe conservation in northwest Namibia

Partner: Giraffe Conservation Foundation

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) are the foremost experts on giraffe in the world. They are based in Namibia but their work extends beyond Namibia into Zambia, Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, with their pioneering focus being on desert giraffe in northwest Namibia. Through their extensive work on the ground and partnerships with zoos 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. Concurrently, the hunting pressure on giraffe in northwest Namibia has increased while rainfall has decreased, putting Namibia’s iconic desert giraffe under threat. Hence, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, together with Natural Selection and Hoanib Valley Camp will create a strong consistent presence in northwest Namibia to monitor desert giraffe and further understand population dynamics of the most arid reach of this southern giraffe sub-species.

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Anti-poaching in Etosha Heights, Namibia

Partner: Etosha Heights special rangers

A first-rate anti-poaching camp and team has been established inside the reserve to protect the rhino population in this area and to prevent illegal bushmeat hunting along the boundaries of the reserve. The dedicated rangers go through regular intensive training and are dispatched 24 hours a day.


Vulture restaurant in Etosha Heights, Namibia

Partner: Etosha Heights

A significant threat to vultures is poisoning on farmlands, which has contributed to a steady decline of all vulture species in this area. A common tactic for ridding a farm of large carnivores, a perceived threat to livestock, is to leave out poisoned carcasses. This also impacts negatively on smaller carnivores and scavengers, particularly vultures. Etosha Heights has established a vulture restaurant to encourage vultures to only feed inside the protected area and to supplement food resources for fledglings.

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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.

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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 will transport community members, particularly children on their way to school. The first shuttle will be hitting the road during the first half of 2019.

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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.

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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!

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Project: Desert Lion Conservation – early warning, conflict mitigation system

Partner: The Desert Lion Conservation Project

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. With new technology, 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.

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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.