Namibia is home to seven wild cat species, from the 2kg black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) to the 200+kg African lion (Panthera atrox), the second largest cat species on the planet. In addition to these cats, there are at least 25 other species of terrestrial Carnivores that occur in this country.
Little is known of this incredible assemblage of native carnivores and the ways they interact with one another across the wild lands of Namibia. What are the current distributions? Which species commonly interact and compete with one another for resources? What is the degree of genetic diversity within these known species? To fill in these knowledge gaps, Conservation CATalyst has initiated the Namibian Carnivores project, which originally began as an outgrowth of our
Humane Trap Initiative
Through our caracal work, Conservation CATalyst has saved countless aardwolves, bat-eared foxes, African wildcats, and even endangered black-footed cats from being killed in leg-hold traps meant for caracals and jackals. Since 2009, we have been opportunistically collecting data and gathering tissue/blood samples from a suite of native Namibian carnivores. With close to 1000 samples, we are creating first genetic databank for Namibian carnivores designed for collaborative use with other conservation organizations and researchers around the globe. Moreover, we have documented range extensions for rare species, as well as unexpected absence of some carnivore species in areas where they were still thought to occur.
Ecosystems and faunal assemblages around the world are in flux. With your help, we will continue our efforts investigating the dynamic carnivores of Namibia with the hopes of arming fellow conservationists with knowledge needed to face our uncertain future.