The project stems from an ongoing problem in the Kunene region where conflict between the community farmers and roaming elephants continuously rise.
Ivonne Makando, a former NUST Masters student, together with her German collaborator, Ronja Krauss, recently presented their findings on the satellite tracking of elephants at a workshop held in Kamanjab in collaboration with the MEFT and Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA).
Results of their study were shared with the audience to better understand elephant movement within the area, and the possible cause of their movement onto communal and commercial farmland. “We will now assist MEFT with monitoring satellite collared elephants across the entire Kunene-Erongo range. The understanding of corridors used by elephants and the connectivity between herds can help to predict where conflicts are likely to arise in future, as well as give possible reasons for what drives their movements onto communal and commercial farmland,” Prof Morgan Hauptfleisch from the NUST Biodiversity Research Centre elaborated.
Two PhD students from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences Department, Kosmas Shilongo and Innocent Haingura, will take charge of most of the scientific work. This will include looking at the dynamics between elephant movements and surface water provision, while considering climate change as a driver of elephant conflict.
“They will spend most of their time in the affected areas to gain some understanding of the conflict from the perspective of the affected farmers,” Prof Hauptfleisch concluded.