Categorising animals on Harnas is an important exercise as it helps us plan for the animal’s survival. Some species such as the African leopard tortoise can reach an age of 80 – 100 years! You see why we have to plan? In our classification we have three main classes; domestic/tame, wild and captive.
Domestication and tame
Domestication (from Latin domesticus) is the process whereby a population of animals, through a process of selection, is changed at the genetic level, accentuating traits that benefit humans. It differs from taming in that a change in the phenotypical expression and genotype of the animal occurs, whereas taming is simply the process by which animals become accustomed to human presence. Therefore, a defining characteristic of domestication is artificial selection by humans.
In many cases Harnas Wildlife Foundation rescues, or is given, young and baby animals. The only way to care for them, as they have no parents, is to interact with them. This has the kick back that they become tame. Some animals handle this better than others. Cheetahs become extremely docile and tame, as do bat eared foxes, but leopards and black backed jackal hardly ever become “tame”. Harnas has however proven that tame animals, such as the case of the cheetah called Pride, they do not always lose their hunting spirit, instinct or ability, as expected by most institutions. For a complete case study on Pride and the release of other “tame” animals, click here.
As for domestic animals, Harnas Wildlife Foundation has a strong farming background and the need and advantage of keeping certain domestic animals is a reality. Kept for their meat, milk and their market value, Harnas is home to many animals such as goats, cattle, turkeys, peacock, sheep, pigs and horses. In the same breath it should be said that Harnas Wildlife Foundation does not prefer to save any particular class of animal and dogs, horses, cats and even sheep have been rescued and doctored back to health at Harnas Wildlife Foundation.
Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, forests, rain forests, plains, grasslands, and other areas including the most developed urban sites, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While in popular culture the term refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that wildlife around the world is impacted by human activities.
Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways including the legal, social, and moral sense. This has been a reason for debate throughout recorded history. In modern times concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment.
The wildlife on Harnas Wildlife Foundation are protected and given the chance to age and live out their lives in a natural manner. There is however the flip side of the coin in that careful population planning has to be maintained. Herbivores may deplete the vegetation if numbers are kept unchecked and if there are too many carnivores in an area, they also have a negative effect on the balance of herbivore species. Harnas Wildlife Foundation therefore keeps regular game counts and stocking and destocking of camps such as the life line where large carnivores are released.
To read more on the different projects on Harnas Wildlife Foundation, such as game counting, species logging and GPS tracking, click here.
Animals in captivity
Animals that live under human care are in captivity. Captivity can be used as a generalizing term to describe the keeping of either domesticated animals (livestock and pets) or wild animals. This may include for example farms, private homes and sanctuaries. Keeping animals in human captivity and under human care can thus be distinguished between three primary categories according to the particular motives, objectives and conditions.
For better control and limitation to an animal’s movement, captivity also refers to any animal being kept within a defined area by artificial means such as fences.
At Harnas Wildlife Foundation captive animals are kept in enclosures with natural habitat, so as to give them en environment as close as possible to their own. Different animals need different types of enclosures as their habits vary greatly, as do their “danger factor”. Animals in captivity on Harnas are kept due to the fact that they were seen as problem animals at some point, or because of certain injuries and/or handicaps and therefore cannot be released back into the wild.
With the encroachment of urban areas, people are coming into contact with wild animals on a far more frequent basis. This inevitably produces a serious problem for both humans and animals. With livestock farming there are always risks involved. One of these is contact with large carnivores but also with smaller animals. These animals cause significant damage to the farmer and their livelihood. The farmer perceives this as a threat which should be dealt with decisively. Farmers resort by necessity to any means possible to rid themselves of these problem animals. The Namibian nature conservation is overburdened to help in every instances and this is where Harnas steps in to fill the void. Harnas provide advice, collects caught animals and stimulate positive solutions to the continuous problems between farmers and the wild animals of Namibia whenever possible.
Some unfortunate animals are caught in poaching traps and other devices, hit by cars, or hurt due to other human factors, and are usually hurt beyond their normal recovery state. Harnas is therefore unable to relocate these animals. Harnas receives a constant influx of hurt, malnourished, sick and abused animals. The medical care, assistance and love given to these animals on Harnas provide them with a chance to live when they would have died.
The worst and most commonly found problems arise from people that try to tame wild animals to be house pets. This human want causes secondary problems like the deliberate killing of female animals to acquire their offspring. Animals are very adorable and playful when they are infants. They have not yet gained physical strength. They mature at a rapid pace to become jealous, aggressive and protective by their instinctive nature. Their owners not being able to handle and understand these grown animals tend to use different means of treatment when dealing with them. This “treatment” usually involves the use of alcohol, drugs, and abuse towards these animal which leads to their death. These animals have lost their group structure, their intensive survival abilities and are thus dependent on man to survive. Harnas acts as a haven for these unwanted pets and where possible rehabilitate the animals over time into new group structures and natural environments.
Animals born on Harnas
Biodiversity and Biomes
“Biological diversity” or “biodiversity” can have many interpretations. It is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the “totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region”. An advantage of this definition is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional three levels at which biological variety has been identified:
- species diversity
- ecosystem diversity
- genetic diversity
In 2003 Professor Anthony Campbell at Cardiff University, UK and the Darwin Centre, Pembrokeshire, defined a fourth level: Molecular Diversity. This multilevel construct is consistent with Dasmann and Lovejoy. An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. Wilcox commissioned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference. Wilcox’s definition was “Biological diversity is the variety of life forms…at all levels of biological systems (i.e., molecular, organismic, population, species and ecosystem)”. The 1992 United Nations Earth Summit defined “biological diversity” as “the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, ‘inter alia’, terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”. This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
One textbook’s definition is “variation of life at all levels of biological organization”.
Geneticists define it as the diversity of genes and organisms. They study processes such as mutations, gene transfer, and genome dynamics that generate evolution.
A fundamental classification of biomes is:
- Terrestrial (land) biomes
- Aquatic biomes (including freshwater biomes and marine biomes)
Biomes are often known in English by local names. For example, a temperate grassland or shrubland biome is known commonly as steppe in central Asia, prairie in North America, and pampas in South America. Tropical grasslands are known as savannah in Australia, whereas in southern Africa it is known as certain kinds of veld.
Sometimes an entire biome may be targeted for protection, especially under an individual nation’s biodiversity action plan. Climate is a major factor determining the distribution of terrestrial biomes. Among the important climatic factors are:
- Latitude: Arctic, boreal, temperate, subtropical, tropical
- Humidity: humid, semi-humid, semiarid, and arid
- seasonal variation: Rainfall may be distributed evenly throughout the year or be marked by seasonal variations.
- dry summer, wet winter: Most regions of the earth receive most of their rainfall during the summer months; Mediterranean climate regions receive their rainfall during the winter months.
- Elevation: Increasing elevation causes a distribution of habitat types similar to that of increasing latitude.
The most widely used systems of classifying biomes correspond to latitude (or temperature zoning) and humidity. Biodiversity generally increases away from the poles towards the equator and increases with humidity.
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species.
According to the Smithsonian animal reference guide “Animal” and the IUCN list, the following Harnas animals are listed as:
- African Wild Dog – Lycaon pictus – endangered
- Brown hyena – Parahaena brunnea – near threatened
- Cape Griffon vulture – Gyps coprotheres – vulnerable (IUCN list)
- Cheetah – Acinonyx jubatus – vulnerable
- Leopard – Panthera pardus – near threatened
- Lion – Panthera leo – vulnerable
- Mountain Zebra – Equus zebra – threatened (IUCN list)
How do we help?
Harnas Wildlife Foundation has various protection and prevention programs in place. With active conservation policies around the above mentioned animal list we do our part to ensure the continual existence of these animals.
To read more about our African Wild Dog project, click here
To learn more about our Lifeline project, click here
To learn about anti-poaching, click here
On 18 March 1991 Namibia joined CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to learn more about their activities, click here
How can you help?
The main aim of Harnas Wildlife Foundation with its working guest programs, its outreach programs and its hospitality services is to generate revenue to take care of animals, especially endangered ones.
You can help in the following ways
- Making a donation towards a specific cause
- Adopting an animal
- Adopting an animal or making a donation in a friend’s name as a gift
- Visiting us
- Enlisting in our voluntourist program
- Enlisting in our exclusive voluntourist program
- Buying our merchandise from our shop
- Joining our social media platforms to keep updated with the latest news, and to share it with your friends to spread awareness
Harnas supports responsible buying. Please do not buy items made of animal products off the street or in any non-official or unregistered outlet.
We also support causes against poaching and animal smuggling. If you are aware of any such criminal acts please notify your local authorities and help prevent the further exploitation of animals!
Harnas Wildlife Foundation seeks to grow with the world and its many technological trends and we are continuously implementing new ways to merge technology with conservation.
Harnas uses GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to track and monitor animals released into the wild. This allows us to study the animals in their natural surroundings without interference. In some cases this is done to make sure animals are safe from further persecution, but are also to learn more about the subject to better understand how we can ensure its safety and survival and that of future release subjects.