As team leader, Dr Hauptfleisch coordinated ground and aerial wildlife counting operations and analyses. Additionally, he trained staff on the use of technology in wildlife monitoring. The training was based on extensive research in Namibia by the NUST-Bushskies census team.
Dr De Cauwer trained park management on the use of Geographic Information Systems to analyse wildlife monitoring data in order to track the health of wildlife populations. Prior to this project, the last wildlife count in the Mole national Park was conducted in 2006.
“It is encouraging to be recognised for the strides we have made in Namibia which improve the ways in which wildlife is counted. Being selected to assist another African nation with wildlife conservation work is an honour for us. We have now forged a close relationship with the park and this can grow into exchanges for our countries to learn from each other,” said Dr Hauptfleisch.
The team counted more than 9 000 animals over the month-long project and found that wildlife populations were mostly growing in numbers, which supports healthy carnivore densities. This is positive for conservation and for the emerging industry. In future it is hoped that Namibian and Ghanaian students can interact in conducting impactful research in the park in order to enhance the conservation actions being undertaken.
The data collected from the project will strengthen the park’s bid to obtain world heritage status.