Brown hyena density survey begins in Namibia

Posted on 25 May 2020

The Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena Project has begun the first official density survey for brown hyenas in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast National Park.

Spear-headed by Emsie Verwey and supported by Wilderness Safaris and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the survey aims to gain valuable information on the brown hyena. 

Verwey believes this project will span 10 to 15 years and will help close the gap on the scarcity of studies conducted on the brown hyena of north-western Namibia.

Her research data and observations to date have been added to the Red Data Book on carnivores, as well as to range maps, which were last updated in 1998, currently being compiled by the IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group for spotted hyena, aardwolf, brown hyena and striped hyena. 

She will also supplement her work with the data collected by Rudi Loutit from the 1980s. He estimated there were around 40 brown hyenas in the Park at the time. 

 ‘Both Rudi and I are now looking forward to the new estimate, and I’m excited to be working on the first official survey in the Park, in order to ultimately help aid the ongoing conservation efforts of this threatened species.’ said Verwey,  who is also the Wilderness Safaris Field-Based Research Coordinator at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. 

In order to assist with this work, Wilderness Safaris will also be upgrading its Research Centre at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

‘My research is my absolute passion, and never fails to amaze me – in addition to a new brown hyena litter located near Hoanib, (the fourth litter from the Hoanib female Stevie, since she was collared in 2016) I was extremely lucky to see the Möwe Bay female mate last week. This was a chance sighting – after nearly 800 hours of observations – and incredible to see! This female is the mother of Bonnie, the first female I collared in 2016, and I am looking forward to new life in three months’ time’, said Verwey. 

Image: Supplied.


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