Why collar and track wildlife?
to study the spatial ecology of wildlife is an effective approach
to develop novel solutions for maintaining and protecting wildlife
populations and their environment. It is a tool that provides us
with a baseline of information about their habitat needs, density
and distribution, demography, ecology, behaviour and social organization.
To date EWB has deployed state-of-the-art satellite tracking collars
on more than 120 elephants in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and along
the borders of Angola and Zimbabwe. Recently, EWB implemented the
large herbivore program, deploying monitoring collars on migratory
species, zebra, buffalo and wildebeest throughout the country; forest
ranging species, sable and roan; and deployed collars for the first
time ever on both giraffe and lechwe in Botswana.
Political boundaries, rapidly expanding human settlements, veterinary
fences, farming, poaching, and civil conflict have contributed to
blocking migration and dispersal routes which are essential for
wildlife to access natural resources. This project made the first
attempt to record and map large-scale elephant movements across
the international boundaries of five African countries, and continues
to do so. It now integrates other large species into the equation
providing a strong, effective visual catalyst for conservation and
land use management.
To learn more about specific projects:
Wildlife corridors across political
research is revealing that elephants are using old pathways, and
historical corridors to exploit "new lands”. One example
EWB has discovered pertains to Angola. The end of civil conflict
in Angola has provided the requisite security for elephants to return
to this previously war torn country. Elephants are trekking from
northern Botswana through the Caprivi Strip into southeast Angola,
where elephant numbers have increased from 36 in 2001 to over 8000
in 2007. The elephants have not returned to Botswana and are now
resident in Angola, despite the many unexploded landmines. This
“re-colonization” is a natural dispersal, which results
in a more dynamic ebb and flow of elephant numbers within a "natural"
Blocking elephant movements has contributed to local overpopulation
or overabundance of elephants, which is today regarded as a major
conservation and management challenge in southern Africa. The simple
reality is that elephant densities have risen in Botswana, now there
is concern about their impacts on the landscape, the viability of
other species and the livelihoods and safety of people living within
the elephant range. Management measures to control elephant numbers
by culling have been discussed, but we believe there are other,
natural solutions to release this pressure. Satellite collars on
elephant are the best way to identify wildlife corridors, migration
paths and vacant habitats, which could consequently alleviate the
factors that increase elephant numbers and their negative impact.
The collars do the long distance detective work, mapping a detailed
GPS track of elephant movements.
However, there is now a critical urgency to conserve and safeguard
these important identified ecological linkages elephants and other
wildlife are using to emigrate between countries. If the corridors
are compromised, and elephants and wildlife do not have safe passage
across political boundaries, then one of the most viable and natural
solutions to manage and maintain the largest elephant population
on the continent will be seriously threatened.
has no Boundaries!”