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Namibia Land Animals

 
 
 

Unspoilt nature forms a large part of the Namibian experience. Public land set aside for conservation purposes covers about 106 000 square kilometres, or 13% of the country. In addition, the environment is protected in other parts of Namibia , over an even bigger area, in the form of private nature reserves and the Sperrgebiet, a restricted wilderness adjacent to diamond fields.

Of 18 parks and reserves under government control, the 22 270 square kilometre Etosha Nature Park holds the biggest concentrations of large herbivores, along with a fair number of the bigger carnivores.

Some 250 mammal species, terrestrial and marine, are indigenous to Namibia. While the few endemic species are generally inconspicuous, the country provides a haven for large mammals that belong to endemic sub-species, as well as hot species that are classified as threatened elsewhere.

There are about 20 species of indigenous antelope, with Damara dik.dik the smallest and eland (Taurotragus oryx), the biggest in Africa, roughly the size of a grown ox. Namibia is the only country in southern Africa with two kinds of impala . Wildlife includes both species of zebra indigenous to southern Africa, the mountain and the plains (or Burchell’s - Equus burchelli) and both species of rhinoceros, the black or hook-lipped and the white or square-lipped. (Ceratotherium simum)
Apart from the desert-dwelling elephant, two other populations roam Etosha and the Kalahari woodlands with a total of around 9 000 elephant overall.

Gemsbok (Oryx gazelle) and springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), the latter being the only gazelle in southern Africa are probably the most numerous antelope in Namibia. They are distributed throughout the central parts and the south, both in reserves and on farms, with the highest densities on open plains on the edge of the Namib.

Giraffe (Giraffe camelopardalis) and blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) are common in Etosha while kudu (Tragelaphus strepsicecros) are mostly found outside reserves in bush and woodland on private farms.

Cheetah, leopard (Panthera pardus) and lion (P.Leo) – the big cats – prey on the herbivorous animals. Leopard are secretive and hard to count but they are fairly abundant. Lion are estimated to total 500 to 1000, with 3 sub-groups distributed in Etosha and the Koakoveld, in Nyae-Nyae, Kavango and Caprivi. The largest number roam Etosha.

Wildlife changes in character in the north-eastern Kalahari as woodlands replace savannah. Typical of central Africa, the large herbivores include roan sable (Hippotragus equines/niger), tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus), sitatunga (Tragalapus speke), red lechwe (Kobus lechwe) and African buffalo. (Syncerus caffer).

In pursuit of prey come wild dog (Lycaon pictas), endangered in Africa as a whole and critically so in Namibia where only a few hundred survive in the north-east.

The only hippopotamus in Namibia (H. amphibians) are found in the Zambezi, Kwando and Okavango rivers and their branches. Nile crocodile (Crocodyles niloticus) inhabit the rivers in substantial numbers.

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