What is Raptors Namibia?
Namibia's vultures, other diurnal raptors and owls are increasingly under threat from factors such as:
- disturbance, particularly at breeding sites;
- the misuse of poisons and pesticides;
- electrocution and collisions with overhead lines;
- habitat degradation;
- illegal harvesting; and
- drowning in reservoirs.
To address these issues, a workshop of raptor enthusiasts was held at Waterberg Plateau Park on 18-19 February 2005. At this meeting, a working group called Raptors Namibia was formed. Raptors Namibia consists of people who are interested in Namibia's bird and environment, and includes representatives of government, NGOs, environmental groups and many more. Working group co-ordinators were appointed and an Action Plan was developed.
Raptors Namibia will serve as the means by which the Action Plan can be implemented, and other actions relating to raptors can be coordinated.
Raptors Namibia has received funding from Sida (Local Environment Fund) , Danida (Namibia Environmental Fund) , Vultures Namibia  and GEF Small Grants Programme [2008-2009].
Functions of Raptors Namibia
The following key needs were identified.
Promote co-ordination and communication
Sub-groups for various projects have been formed. Co-ordination and communication will be promoted. Monthly newsletters and annual reports will provide information and feedback on progress and activities.
The group plans to determine needs for further information, which will be collected by means of aerial surveys, bird ringing and satellite/radio tracking programmes; the updating of the existing avifaunal database; the reinstating of the popular Raptor Roadcounts; and further research programmes. Public involvement in these activities will be encouraged.
Promote awareness and education
Relevant audiences will be targeted, working through existing initiatives where possible. These include both commercial and communal farming areas/conservancies as well as the general public, including the media, youth, tourists and tourism staff/guides. Various methods will include a regular newsletter, website, radio programmes, technical and popular articles, competitions, posters and a brochure on correct procedures for ringing birds.
Manage raptor populations and habitats by addressing threats
The results of scientific studies will be applied for developing practical conservation measures. These include prioritizing and addressing threats to Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable raptor species (see first paragraph above for threats), as outlined in the Red Data Book for Birds. Species and/or area-based action plans will be developed in consultation with local communities (commercial and communal farms/conservancies).
Target groups will be identified for capacity building, including land custodians, youth, volunteers and government institutions. Training and skills development will be promoted through existing organizations/ initiatives where possible, including the Polytechnic of Namibia and UNAM, Namringers and bird clubs. The group will lobby for ornithological posts/services and seek to increase financial capacity through partnerships and fundraising proposals.
Define protocols and policy and promote the enforcement of legislation
A list of priority species for blood sampling for DNA etc. will be compiled, and sampling protocol will be co-ordinated. Other aspects under this point will be addressed on an ad hoc basis at this stage.