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  • Writer's pictureORC Student

Identifying potential corridors and conservation areas for lions and elephants in northern Namibia

Hello, I am Corsa Liu, a recent graduate of the Technical University of Munich. In 2021 and 2022, I had the opportunity to work on my Master’s thesis to study potential corridors and conservation areas for lions and elephants. The work was done in collaboration with Ongava Research Centre, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism in Namibia, and SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund. The study examined changes in the distribution of lions and elephants between three time periods (1925-1935, 1965-1975 and 2005-2015) (Figure 1), and then identified potential corridors to link fragmented populations (Figure 2 and 3).

Figure 1. Distributions of lions and elephants over the past 100 years.

Figure 2. Potentially suitable habitats and least-cost paths for lions.

Figure 3. Potentially suitable habitats and least-cost paths for elephants.

Over the past 100 years, lions and elephants have experienced substantial range contractions, largely as a result of the privatisation of land into fenced blocks and consequent loss of suitable habitat. Presently, the most largest blocks of suitable habitat are in the protected Etosha, Mangetti and Khaudum national parks, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and along the unfenced Omatako River. While potential least-cost paths connecting these major habitats can be found, connecting the pathways will be challenging because of fencing and the presence of people. Alternative strategies to facilitate connectivity between populations should be considered, such as encouraging tolerance and wildlife-based land uses; the re-design, removal or prohibition of fences; and the translocation of animals.

Visit this website for a copy of the research thesis:

Author: Corsa Liu, ORC student


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