Namibia Crane Working Group: NCWG

Namibia Crane Working Group Action Plan

The action plan, formulated in Etosha in May 2004, has the following objectives. Click on the [Expand] and [Hide] buttons to see and hide more information on the actions required for each objective:

  1. Co-ordinate conservation effort and promote networking [Expand] [Hide]
  2. 1.1 Start-up activities
    1. Establish a founder working group.
    2. Appoint co-ordinators.
    3. Obtain start-up funding.
    4. Circulate questionnaire on activities and needs.
    5. Draft a vision, mission.
    6. Design logo.
    7. Compile a "Who we are" info sheet.
    8. Identify and implement priority activities (see also 7).
    1.2 Ongoing communication and co-ordination.
    1. Identify and maintain regular contact with local area co-ordinators.
    2. Compile and circulate regular newsletters.
    3. Build up a network of supporters.
  3. Obtain information and data [Expand] [Hide]
  4. 2.1 Conduct research/ monitoring.
    1. Local crane surveys.
        - North Central.
        - Etosha.
        - Caprivi.
        - Kavango.
        - Nyae Nyae.
    2. Investigate cross-border surveys.
    3. Set up logbook of crane sightings. Data form designed and circulated as part of Namibian "events book" system.
    4. Collate crane nesting cards.
    5. Investigate local threats.
    6. Compile broad crane habitat classification, extent, status, trends.
    7. Make management recommendations (see also 7).
    2.2 Compile crane species accounts.
    1. Red Data Book.
    2. Popular accounts.
  5. Promote conservation awareness/education [Expand] [Hide]
  6. 3.1 Develop a crane resource package.
    1. Powerpoint presentation.
    2. Crane poster.
    3. Crane information sheets.
    4. Cultural/resource booklet.
    5. Media (printed).
    6. Radio & television.
    7. Theatre: songs, dance, plays, poems.
    8. Competitions.
    9. Websites.
    10. Educational talks to land custodians, schools.
    3.2 Identify target groups.
    3.3 Conduct awareness activities.
  7. Conserve crane populations and habitats [Expand] [Hide]
  8. 4.1 Integrated management of river basins.
    1. Provide decision makers and planners with good information on cranes and habitats.
    2. Provide information to basin/wetland stakeholders.
    4.2 Develop incentives for conservation.
    1. Review policy cf cranes and habitats.
    2. Enhance incentives for conservation of cranes and habitats.
    4.3 Local management initiatives.
    1. Nyae Nyae.
    2. General.
  9. Promote the economic value of cranes and their habitats [Expand] [Hide]
  10. 5.1 Promote community based resource management.
    1. CBNRM initiatives.
    2. Develop park-neighbour partnerships.
    5.2 Develop sustainable income-earning activities.
    1. Work within traditional frameworks to develop activities.
    2. Enhance the economic value of cranes and their habitats in terms of tourism, crafts.
  11. Build capacity [Expand] [Hide]
  12. 6.1 Conduct a needs assessment (see also 1: questionnaire).
    6.2 Promote training and skills development.
    1. Crane workshops (Namibia).
    2. AWAC training workshop.
    3. Guide training.
    6.3 Compile funding proposals.
  13. Develop area-based crane management strategies [Expand] [Hide]
  14. 7.1 Apply the above strategies to the local situation in consultation with local partners.
    1. General.
    2. North Central.
    3. Etosha.
    4. Kavango.
    5. Caprivi.
    6. Nyae Nyae.

Progress update, January 2009: five years of implementation of the Action Plan

The newsletter of the Namibia Crane Working Group - Namibia Crane News - is the primary method of communication of news related to the working group and it gives regular and detailed updates on progress and activities. Most of the activities listed below have been reported on in the newsletter and the dates of the relevant issues are indicated in brackets. All of the newsletter issues are available on this site.

Note that actions in italics are linked to the Action Plan, but were implemented by partners of the NCWG.

  1. Co-ordinate conservation effort and promote networking
    • Namibia Crane Working Group established (May 04). View workshop report [pdf 338 kb]
    • Over 40 newsletters produced and distributed to date - contributions received regularly
    • Ongoing international liaison with ICF, AWAC (ICF/EWT Partnership), SA Crane Working Group, Overberg Crane Group, BirdLife Botswana
    • Ongoing national liaison, e.g. with NNF, MET, Wetland Working Group (WWG) of Namibia, NNF Every River Has Its People Project (ERP) and Namibia Animal Rehabilitation Research and Education Centre (NARREC)
    • Joint Bushmanland workshop (Mar 05). View report [pdf 699 kb]. View media release [doc 108 kb]
    • Poster presentation on Namibia Blue Crane Project produced and presented at Etosha National Park Centennial Symposium (Jun 07)
    • Closer working relationship with WWG (Feb 08)
  2. Obtain information and data
    • Collation of existing/historical records and data on cranes (ongoing)
    • Continuation of existing crane and wetland bird counts (e.g. Etosha and Lake Oponono, Nyae Nyae, Mahango) by MET and others
    • North Central crane survey (Aug 04)
    • North-east Namibia aerial survey - Wattled Cranes NNF/Wildlife Science/MET (Aug 04)
    • Several Kavango crane surveys (Nov 04)
    • Crane data sheet incorporated into Events Book monitoring system for conservancies in Caprivi (Jan 05), with regular reports being submitted thereafter. View data card [doc 202 kb] and data card explanation [doc 31 kb]
    • Training crane count at Nyae Nyae for workshop participants (Mar 05)
    • Participation in genetics study of Blue Cranes at Etosha; ongoing collection of blood samples (May 05)
    • More intensive Blue Crane monitoring at Etosha by MET staff - ongoing (Jun 05)
    • Second crane awareness survey by Kavango Crane Working Group (Jul 05)
    • Cranes included in aerial survey of Etosha by MET (Aug-Sep 05)
    • Ongoing ringing of Blue Crane chicks at Etosha (Nov 05)
    • Crane data from avifaunal database incorporated into Namibian Biodiversity Database (Jan 06)
    • Combined aerial/ground census of Blue Cranes at Etosha (Apr 06). View article [pdf 1.0 mb]. View summary [pdf 1.5 mb]
    • Combined aerial/ground census of Wattled Cranes at Nyae Nyae (Jun 06)
    • Information on other wetland birds (e.g. flamingos) and associated species (e.g. Ground Hornbills) received regularly
    • Launch of Namibia Blue Crane Project (Apr 06)
    • Combined aerial/ground census of Blue Cranes at Etosha (Aug 06). View media release [doc 389 kb]
    • Investigation of satellite telemetry for Wattled Cranes in conjunction with ICF/EWT Partnership, BirdLife Botswana etc. (Nov 06)
    • Recce for Blue Crane capture at Etosha, with ICF and ICF/EWT Partnership (Feb 07)
    • Blue Crane aerial/ground census and capture at Etosha, and successful first fitting of radio telemetry (Apr 07)
    • Feeding study on focal Blue Cranes by UCT volunteer (May-Jun 07)
    • Blue Crane census at Etosha and coordinators' visit to Oponono area (Aug 07)
    • Blue Cranes: ongoing distribution/feeding/habitat/roosting/breeding observations made at Etosha; increasing numbers of records received from public
    • Aerial crane survey over southern Angola and Oponono (Sep 07). View article [pdf 39 kb]. View report [pdf 1.5 mb]
    • Wattled Crane status from aerial surveys over north-east Namibia - NNF/Elephants Without Borders (Sep 07)
    • Combined aerial/ground census of Blue Cranes at Etosha, and first fitting of a Blue Crane with satellite telemetry in Namibia (Apr 08). View media release [doc 618 kb]
    • Observations on feasibility of cranes occurring in southern Angola - RAISON (Sep 08)
    • Cranes included on poster on reporting ringed birds - Namibia Bird Club, NEWS, NARREC, NamRingers etc. (Sep 08)
    • Interim Blue Crane counts at Etosha (Jul, Nov, Dec 08)
    • See also student intern studies, point 6
  3. Promote conservation awareness/education
    • Power Point presentation on cranes of Namibia (May/Jun 04). View slide shows
    • Red Data Book accounts available for the three crane species (draft: Simmons & Brown). View species accounts
    • Flyer on three crane species produced (Jul 04). Download flyer [pdf 458 kb]
    • Flyer on Crane Working Group produced (Jul 04). Download flyer [pdf 232 kb]
    • Ongoing liaison with media - reports and articles
    • Participation in Wilderness Safaris Namibia (WSN) "Children in the Wilderness" programme at Tsumkwe (Mar 05)
    • Namibia Crane Activity Book/cultural resource book produced (Dec 05). View/download activity book
    • Ongoing distribution of crane resource materials
    • Crane awareness visit to Tsumkwe Junior Secondary School (Jun 06)
    • Website developed for NCWG (Jun 06)
    • Poster on Namibia's three crane species produced (Nov 06). Download poster [jpg 534 kb]
    • Cranes incorporated into activities of Namutoni Environmental Education Centre (Dec 07 and previously)
    • Inclusion of two pages on wetland birds in revised "Wetlands of Namibia" booklet (Jul 08)
    • Production of poster on Namibia's Red Listed wetland bird species, including cranes, as part of a series of three posters (Jan 09)
  4. Conserve crane populations and habitats
    • Ongoing liaison with:
      • MET
      • NNF
      • WWG
      • NNF ERP
      • NARREC (e.g. on correct management of poisons)
      • Integrated Resource Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC)
      • Conservation International (CI)
      • Communal conservancies
      • North Central working group (including regional government)
    • Dissemination of information/networking for World Wetland/Water Day celebrations (Jan 07 & Feb 08)
    • See other actions
  5. Promote the economic value of cranes and their habitats
    • WSN entry level field guide training for 17 participants in Bushmanland (March 05)
    • BirdLife SA guiding course in Caprivi - CI & IRDNC ( May 05)
    • WSN guide training course in Caprivi - CI & IRDNC (May/Jun 05)
    • Kasika and Impalila Conservancies in East Caprivi open tourism activities including birding - CI & IRDNC (Jul 05)
    • Caprivi Wetlands Paradise Route established - Open Africa, CI, IRDNC (Jul 05)
    • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) bird ID and guiding course in Kavango (Nov 06)
    • Namibian Academy for Tourism & Hospitality (NATH) Level III guide training course at Kavango for 19 participants (Nov 08). View report [pdf 2.3 mb]
  6. Build capacity
    • Participation by two Namibian representatives in the AWAC Building on Experience training workshop in SA (Nov 04)
    • Wattled Crane study in Bushmanland - Polytechnic of Namibia (PN) (Jan-Jul 05)
    • Study on threats to rare and endangered birds along Lower Okavango River - PN & WWG (Nov 07)
    • Study on wetland birds at four dams near Windhoek - PN & WWG (Jul-Dec 08)
    • Wetland bird student intern appointed - PN & WWG (Jan 09)
    • See point 5
  7. Develop and implement area-based crane management strategies
    • Coordinators' visit to Nyae Nyae (Jul 04)
    • Coordinators' visit to Caprivi conservancies and Kavango (Sep 04)
    • Liaison with communities north of Etosha/North Central (Nov 05)
    • Coordinators' visit to Kavango and Caprivi, distribution of crane awareness books to local communities (Apr 06)
    • East Caprivi Floodplain Bird Club established - CI & IRDNC (Apr 06)
    • Workshop for North Central and MET representatives at Etosha (Apr 06)
    • Second workshop for North Central representatives at Etosha (Apr 07)
    • Kavango Bird Club established (Jul 07)
    • Rundu workshop, "Cranes and other wetland birds - communities and conservation" (Jul 08). View report [pdf 1.1 mb]
    • Launch of three sub-clubs of Kavango Bird Club (Jul 08)
    • Two Caprivi bird conservation workshops (Nov 08). View report [pdf 1.3 mb]

Download a Presentation on progress to November 2008 [ppt 1.5 mb] or Report on progress to January 2009 [pdf 152 kb]

Discussion and the way forward

Much has been achieved with the implementation of the Namibia Crane Action Plan; however, there is no room for complacency. Namibia's cranes and wetland birds are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of humans on their habitats and populations, including through climate change, and close monitoring is required in order to detect changes that require intervention.

The further implementation of the plan rests largely in the hands of the local working groups in the five main crane areas: Caprivi, Kavango, Bushmanland, North Central and Etosha. What is needed is to continue to promote communication and co-operation; the collection of information and data (monitoring); education/awareness; capacity building; and the development of the economic value of these birds and their habitats.

The Namibia Crane Working Group will continue to support the implementation of the Namibia Crane Action Plan in the following ways, i.e.:

  • Promote communication and networking through the newsletter and website
  • Provide ongoing support in the form of advice/mentorship to the local working groups
  • Assist with the analysis and dissemination of information, and the distribution of resources on cranes and wetland birds and their habitats
  • Continue with the implementation of the Namibia Blue Crane Project
  • Promote the conservation of Namibia's cranes and other wetland birds and their habitats in any other way possible, through collaboration with individuals and organisations


The implementation of the Namibia Crane Action Plan would not have been possible without the ongoing assistance of an ever-widening circle of supporters, in particular Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF). The donors below are thanked for their generous financial contributions, and many other organisations and individuals for support in kind; the local communities and conservancies in crane areas for their interest and passion for the conservation of these and associated birds and their habitats; and all the other friends of Namibia's cranes for their concern.

The Namibia Crane Action Plan was funded directly, as follows:

  • 2004-2006: SIDA (Local Environment Fund) through NNF
  • 2007: Subsidised privately
  • 2008-2009: GEF Small Grants Programme / UNDP through NNF

Further financial contributions (including for the Namibia Blue Crane Project) and support in kind for the Action Plan were provided by The Overberg Explorer, Polytechnic of Namibia, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ramsar Fund, Wilderness Safaris Namibia and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, University of Cape Town, International Crane Foundation and the ICF / Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership. Other local partners include Integrated Resource Development and Nature Conservation, Conservation International, Namibia Wetland Working Group, NNF Every River Project, Namibia Animal Rehabilitation Research and Education Centre, Namibian Academy for Tourism & Hospitality, Namibia Bird Club, NamRingers and Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS).


AWACAfrican Wattled Crane Programme
CIConservation International
ERPEvery River Has Its People Project (NNF)
EWTEndangered Wildlife Trust
GEFGlobal Environment Fund
ICFInternational Crane Foundation
IRDNCIntegrated Resource Development and Nature Conservation
METMinistry of Environment and Tourism
NARRECNamibia Animal Rehabilitation Research and Ecucation Centre
NATHNamibian Academy for Tourism & Hospitality
NCWGNamibia Crane Working Group
NEWSNamibian Environment and Wildlife Society
NNFNamibia Nature Foundation
PNPolytechnic of Namibia
RSPBRoyal Society for the Protection of Birds
SASouth Africa
UCTUniversity of Cape Town
WSNWilderness Safaris Namibia
WWGWetland Working Group of Namibia

Web design by Alice Jarvis. This page last updated March 8, 2011