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Sable Success Factors in the Okavango Delta

Sable in the Okavango Delta - Sable Research in the Okavango Delta | Best Luxury African Safaris | Classic Africa

Publications Resulting From the Study

While safari connoisseurs may debate which is Africa's most majestic antelope species - the sable or the kudu - there is no question as to which is more threatened: the sable antelope Hippotragus niger has shown a dangerous decline over its African range in recent years, to the point where it is classified as Conservation Dependent by the IUCN. Very little is known about the reasons behind the decline and, being a relatively low profile species, the plight of the sable has gone largely unnoticed. But anyone who has seen one of these regal creatures in the wilds of Africa will understand why Classic Africa was delighted at the opportunity to support a sable research project in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

The study is being conducted on the Kwedi concession within the Delta, a prime habitat area that is home to a (currently) healthy sable population. The objectives of the study are:

Darted sable in the Okavango Delta - | Best Luxury African Safaris | Sable Research in the Okavango Delta | Best Luxury African Safaris | Classic Africa | Classic Africa1) To determine critical aspects of the conservation ecology of a healthy sable population in order to determine what allows the sable to thrive in this area. The findings will guide strategies for conserving the species in regions where the sable is in decline.

2) To evaluate potential threats and opportunities in the in situ population.

3) To add to the understanding of this species (particularly home range and habitat utilization), and thus to contribute to its sustainable management.

GPS collars have been deployed onto three sable herds in the Kwedi area, and the movements of these herds will be evaluated in relation to water, habitat, competing herbivores and predator densities. Continuous observation of these focal herds will be supplemented with grass species and dung analysis, and all results will be forwarded to the regional Rare Antelope Network, which is at the forefront of measures to reverse the decline in sable populations.

The sable project is one of the most important studies on this species in recent years, and has the potential to generate valuable guidelines for practical conservation measures for Hippotragus niger in large protected areas.

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