Farming and Fences
For generations, wildlife survived in this stark and unforgiving landscape, migrating in response to changing climate and grazing conditions, moving from west to east, following the rains. In the 1950’s some of the Pro-Namib land was given as a reward to soldiers who fought for the Allies in the Second World War. These farms were known as Soldate Plaase or Soldier’s Farms. For the next several decades, livestock farmers eked out a subsistence living here in conditions unsuitable for farming (with many farms ultimately going bankrupt) – and with devastating impact on wildlife. Springbok, oryx, zebra, and other ungulates competed with livestock for grazing and were in most cases hunted to local extinction. Predators, such as jackal, cheetah, leopard, hyena, and wild dogs were actively eliminated.
As farms grew, the land was sliced into pastures and fenced, cutting off migration and sparking human-wildlife conflict. Roads and other infrastructure added to habitat loss and fragmentation. Today, some of this land is still owned by livestock farmers. Oryx and springbok migrating from the NamibRand Reserve are still hunted for meat and to reduce grazing pressure, sometimes in large numbers. Unsustainable practices have turned these farms into biodiversity sinks, where the ecosystem is crumbling, carbon released into the atmosphere, and wildlife is close to elimination with significant biomass reduction.
The NamibRand Conservation Trust
The NamibRand Conservation Trust was established in March 2020 in order to facilitate the acquisition of land for conservation and to raise funds for the Environment.