Map of northern Namibia
showing location of Ongava Game Reserve (OGR). (click on map to enlarge)
Over a period of three weeks from 20th April to 12th May 2007, under the auspices of Ongava Research Centre (ORC) and at the direct invitation of Ivan Knezovich, Director of West Midland Safari Park (WMSP), a primary sponsor of the Ongava Game Reserve (OGR), we carried out a pilot survey of the herpetofauna of the reserve.
Estabished because the Directors of OGR believed that research was an crucual to the well-being of the reserve wildlife and the maintenance of the reserve's ecosystem, Ongava Research Centre was officially opened in June 2006 by Ivan. Although the emphasis would, quite naturally, be on the larger game animals: rhinoceros, big cats etc. it was also considered important to consider and survey the smaller animals such as the reptiles and amphibians, and the invertebrates.
The purposes of the herpetofaunal survey were threefold: to capture and formally identify as many species as possible during the survey period, to assess the efficacy of different trapping and capture methods, and to ground-proof local check lists.
Part of the herpetofaunal survey was also to be filmed by a crew from Kingfisher Productions, for the UK television series "Safari Park". Into its second series, the observational documentary followed the life and work of staff and wildlife at the West Midland Safari Park, Worcestershire, UK, and on the Ongava Game Reserve. Parts 7 and 8 of Series 2 would involve Mark O'Shea's involvement at WMSP, as Consultant Curator of Reptiles, and at OGR, as a field herpetologist. "Safari Park" was first transmitted on Central TV in the UK.
Ongava Herpetofaunal Survey participants:
(Consultant Curator of Reptiles, West Midland Safari Park)
Ken Stratford (Director, Ongava Research Centre)
Frans Nujoma (Gun guard, Ongava Game Reserve)
(back, l-r) Ken Stratford (Director of ORC), Frans Nujoma (OGR gun guard), Bob Lawrence (Director of Wildlife, WMSP), Bobby Haashela (sound), Johan Jooste (camera); (front l-r) Mark O'Shea, Susan Jones (producer/director), Abigail Guerier (rhino researcher, ORC).