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Family Strife

Mushara Waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia – Sunset began with a visit from Paula and Nadia and their fraction of the Athlete family. We saw them break the clearing from the southwest, and I rushed to get two of my volunteers out on their bunker observation rotation, but we were too late. They were coming in fast.

Ozzie on Fire Again

Mushara Waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia – Ozzie was on fire again Thursday, parting a sea of 14 bulls with his parade of musthy pomp until he reached his target—Mike. Mike is one of the largest bulls in our study population, and also one of the least aggressive. Why was he the focus of the young…

The Night Belonged to Ozzie

The world’s largest land creature stood on me last night—two giant feet over my head, putting me at a disturbing eye-level vantage with a dripping elephant phallus in the dark. It has occurred to me over the course of my research that an untimely end could happen to anyone studying these larger-than-life animals, but it’s not something I ever thought I’d live to tell about.

Time Passes at an Elephant’s Pace

Time passes at an elephant’s pace here at Mushara waterhole in the northeast corner of Etosha National Park, Namibia. The mornings are slow to materialize, a few solitary bulls drifting in like a lazy late morning gust from the northeast and then later from the southwest, each gliding through on non-overlapping paths. By early afternoon…

Okavango Delta Voted 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Botswana’s Okavango Delta was voted in as the planet’s 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Our project partner Dr Karen Ross and the Minister for Environment Tshekedi Khama were present at the announcement and are celebrating this momentous achievement in Doha.Here is the official UNESCO press release: http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1159 Please share this news with as many…

UNESCO World Heritage Committee Vote On Okavango Delta Today!

Please post your comments in support of UNESCO World Heritage Listing for Botswana’s Okavango Delta below this blog! Here is a message from our Okavango Wilderness Project partner, Dr Karen Ross (African Wildlife Foundation/Wilderness Foundation/ Deustche Umwelthilfe), currently in Doha (Qatar) with the Botswana delegation for today’s vote: The big moment for the Okavango Delta has…

Hundreds of Cases of Conflict Between Farmers and Predators Defused in Namibia

In May 2014, a leopard trapped on a commercial livestock ranch in central Namibia became N/a’an ku sê’s 500th big predator conflict case. The vast majority of these animals (over 400) have been released immediately to keep contributing to the wild gene pool. In other situations, rehabilitation of an orphaned or conflict predator may be required. Lethal control is only necessary under rare circumstances and, although individual predators can cause significant economic damage, most landowners seek alternative solutions. National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Grantee Florian J Weise reports.

Sold Up The River? Hydro Power Threat Re-Opens Debate

Experts agree that the Popa Falls Hydro Power Project on the Okavango River in Namibia will a catastrophic impact on Africa’s soon-to-be newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the world’s largest, wildest inland delta. Namibia is signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971). This intergovernmental treaty provides for national action and international co-operation in…

Into The Okavango: Unique View Into 2013 Okavango Expedition

In September 2013, we embarked on our most challenging crossing of the Okavango Delta… The research data set we achieved over 15 days and 338km using a bespoke Android App was the most comprehensive ever and was shared in real-time via an open API and up-to-date satellite image. This 10-minute video documents an impossible expedition across dry,…

Warning From Past / Hope For The Future

UNESCO World Heritage Listing for the Okavango Delta would be a massive achievement for Botswana, as well as all the NGOs and individuals that have invested their time in this initiative over the last decade. Most importantly, declaration will highlight the importance of preserving the vast Angolan catchment in its current state, celebrating the Kavango…

Africa’s Okavango Delta For Future Generations

The Okavango Delta is Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness. From the air this a vast patchwork mosaic of open floodplains, simmering lagoons, never-ending reed beds, waving impenetrable papyrus, meandering channels, and thousands upon thousands of green, palmed islands and tree-lines seem to go on forever. An emerald gem in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. Visible…

Dung Beetles Gallop—Mystery Gait is a First Among Insects

The desert dwellers are the first known insects to gallop, a radically different gait from the three million other insects on Earth, a new study says.

New Theory Explains Africa’s Mysterious Fairy Circles

In dry ecosystems like Namibia, where fairy circles are common, competition for water is fierce. Therefore, while we may see a calm savannah landscape, fierce resource competition is actually being waged below the surface, at root level.

“We hypothesize that these barren spots arise due to below-ground resource competition between grasses,” states the report. “Enhanced growth in individuals that are strong competitors for below-ground resources results in the decline in growth of neighboring individuals, thus forming larger interspaces or barren patches.”

In other words, whoever wins the water war essentially condemns his neighboring grasses to death by dehydration, creating a barren patch – the nexus of the fairy circle.

2010 Okavango Wetland Bird Survey: Wilderness Worth Saving…

In September 2010, we departed from Seronga Village in two “mokoros” or dug-out canoes on an adventure of a lifetime…. No one we knew had ever done this before and the raw energy of that “first-time” was inspirational. We filmed what we could and took some amazing photographs, but remained focussed on the research and…

Namibia: The Big Empty, pt. 3

Part 3 of my video Namibia: The Big Empty has some nice aerials of something called, Fairy Circles,” a rather unique feature of the Namibia landscape that looks as if it were painted by space aliens using the desert as their canvas.  We also fly along the skeleton coast and get a good sense of…