Namibia Crane News No 58 (July 2019)

Dear Crane Friends

Hope this finds you well! This issue brings you another update of crane news in Namibia.

Namibia is in the throes of one of the worst droughts on record. These extreme conditions have also impacted on the latest Blue Crane breeding season in Etosha, and only three chicks were produced, of which none survived. We have been conducting a number of ongoing surveys to try and record the rather unpredictable numbers, movements and breeding success of the cranes under these conditions. Our maximum for 2018 now stands at 28; and for 2019 (to date) at 33 – which is encouraging as this is the highest count since 32 in 2017 and 35 in 2011.

We have received some generous sponsorships for satellite tracking, and planning is underway to try and capture some adult birds. The Namibia Crane Working Group made a poster presentation on progress with the project at the recent Etosha112 Symposium. This newsletter also pays tribute to the late Hon. Lotto Kuushomwa, one of the founder members of our group who made an invaluable contribution to crane conservation amongst the communities in the north. We also raise some further thoughts on crane and agriculture interactions.

The second part of the newsletter (from page 8 onwards) consists of detailed records of crane sightings made over the past months. As always, we are indebted to all those who so generously send in their crane observations and the beautiful photographs – thank you very much for your ongoing interest.

We would also like to thank all our donors and supporters for their generous contributions, in particular the Hessische Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz e.V. (HGON) in Germany and their associates, Mathias Stein and Barbara Hudec; our sponsors for the proposed satellite tracking: Microwave Telemetry, the Leiden Conservation Foundation Project Fund, and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany; and the Namibia Nature Foundation and Ministry of Environment and Tourism for their ongoing support.

Best wishes

Ann & Mike