Pangolin Survival Strategies in Dry-land Savannahs: a Pilot Study in Namibia
Bruno Nebe & Paul Rankin
Mundulea - An Ideal Research Bed
The Mundulea Private Nature Reserve in the Otavi mountains is roughly 120 square kilometres of prime Montane bushveldt set in the unspoiled Karstveld south east of Otavi. Bruno Nebe of Turnstone Tours (see http://www.turnstone-tours.com/), established Mundulea Nature Reserve five years ago to conserve and protect the huge diversity of fauna and flora which thrives in this unique biosphere (see http://www.mundulea.com/).
Mundulea's dolomite, limestone and marble hills are millions of years old. They are riddled with caverns and pot-holes, deep gorges and underground lakes. There are ancient Leadwood trees, Marulas, Wild Fig, White Syringa, Dombeya, Mearua, Carrot trees and Nettle trees. There are also countless species of aloe, acacia, fern, grewia and combretum. The farm itself is named after a beautiful purple flowering bush Mundulea sericea, favourite food of the Eland and Kudu, and said to be possessed of healing and magical powers.
Antelope species include large herds of Eland, Wildebeest, Kudu and Oryx. Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Dik Dik, Steenbok, Duiker and Warthogs are common, whilst Giraffe and Springbok - once were plentiful in this area - are gradually being reintroduced. Recent arrivals are the endangered Black Faced Impala, Hartemann's Zebra, Tsessebe and a small group of Southern Angolan Roan. Often-seen predators include Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, Honey Badgers, Jackal, Serval and Lynx. Sightings of Aardvark, Aardwolf, Bat-eared foxes, Black Mongoose and of course rare spottings of Pangolin are possible.
Mundulea’s main objective is to respect bio-diversity and give breathing space - and breeding space - to Namibia’s rare and endangered sub-species. Without serious and accelerated protection, animals like the Southern Angolan Roan and the beautiful Black-Faced Impala (an indigenous sub-species uniquely suited to Namibia), will be lost to the world in the near future.
A number of research studies have started in Mundulea, providing us with a growing body of knowledge on this biosphere, its geology, habitats, flora and fauna, animal, insect, bird and plant interactions. This makes for an ideal research context to understand more about the pangolin's territorial and seasonal behaviour, its preferred habitats and its relationships with other pangolins, predators or with its own ant and termite prey, which in turn reflect the environment.