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Namibia Ecotourism - ETUSIS Foundation

ETUSIS Foundation


The ETUSIS Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Namibia and was established to conserve the Hartmann' s mountain Zebra ( equus zebra hartmannae) . The foundation is involved with the protection of this highly endangered Zebra species, The ETUSIS Foundation was founded by Volker and Susanne Ledermann on the farm ETUSIS in central Namibia, which is now a private game reserve. In 1998 it became evident, that the population of the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra was highly endangered in all countries where this species has existed until now.

Prior to the establishment of the foundation, Volker Ledermann studied territories, densities and migrations of the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra within the ETUSIS Game Reserve and in other territories, He made observations regarding the above as well as interactions with other groups of the same species and interactions with livestock. Before the existance of the foundation, these projects where supported by guests of the ETUSIS lodge. However, the demand for a foundation that could offer research and conservation of the species, as well as education of people regarding the subject, increased so rapidly that it became too expensive to be solely supported by the owners and guests visiting ETUSIS. The ETUSIS Foundation was therefore established and functions today as a separate entity to the ETUSIS lodge in order to raise funds to support its projects. In this regard the ETUSIS Foundation also offers tried and tested advice and assistance towards the farming community involved.

Background

The Hartmann' s Mountain Zebra has its habitat mainly in Namibia , Angola and South Africa, The national and private game parks in Namibia and South Africa shelter part of the species, particularly the Namib Naukluft Park and parts of the Etosha Pan where it lives in competition with other zebras and where the danger of transmission of diseases is large. Namibian farmlands however, are an ideal habitat mainly due to the large sizes of the farms and the possibility to migrate through large areas which is the reason that Namibia today is home of the Iargest population of the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra in the world.

Unfortunately the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra lives in direct conflict with livestock farmers due to the fact that they are in direct competition regarding livestock grass and fodder, which has become particularly scarce in many parts of Namibia where very little rainfall has occurred for several years now. This is the main reason that more and more Hartmann's Mountain Zebras are culled legally or illegally or are disposed of by other means, which leads to inadequate densitity and distribution of these animals.

Furthermore the available habitat of the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra is rapidly decreasing due to the increase and spread of the human population. Another contributing factor, is unfortunately also the increase in tourism. For example, in the Kaoko Veld -with the rapid increase in game farming with its subsequent game proof fencing for tourism and game hunting. On many of these game farms the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra is often unwelcome due to the fact that the hunting thereof is restricted and often not a great attraction for hunters, who tend to prefer the more exotic antelopes.

Due to the increasing impoverishment especially of certain groups of the human population, poaching has increased rapidly over the last few years and since the zebra offers a relatively large amount of meat , it has become a preferable target of the poachers and is often culled or caught in traps, pitfalls and most commonly in snares. In Angola this species is probably extint now due to the war, i.e. hunting by soldiers and other people in need of meat.

Fortunately there are ways to avoid competition between the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra and livestock on farms, In regard to grass and fodder. Electrical fences are an option on relatively small areas, however the use of shepherds are a good alternative as wild animals are naturally afraid of people -with the exception of long existing game reserves especially if accompanied by sheepdogs, and will therefore avoid such regions.

Goals of the ETUSIS Foundation

The main goal of the foundation is to achieve short term, medium term and long term solutions to protect the Hartmann's Mountain Zebra especially in farming areas or regions used by tourism. This can be done by: information to the farmers, founding of reserves, assistance to the farmers so that excessive hunting will come to an end, cooperation with Zoological Gardens, universities and other organisations whose goals are similar to ours, Furthermore the rearing of deserted foals and rehabilation to be reintroduced into the wild, Helping official institutes in supervising the population, education of children and youngsters (these being the farmers.of tomorrow) as well as the public and state institutions.

ETUSIS Foundation houses and maintains a number of orphaned zebra foals and we are constantly involved in researching diets and the effects of these, We have also been involved in feeding trials with scientifically balanced diets on such foals with careful monitoring over a period of time. Our data is constantly being updated to be used as references by others who find orphaned foals and to contribute to the health and well being of captive Hartmann's Mountain Zebras not only in Namibia but wherever possible.

Last Updated on Wednesday 25th November 2009

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