The Namibs’ existence hangs in the balance

Tough drought conditions and hyena predation have taken a drastic toll on the wild horses and their numbers have dropped tragically from 286 to 76 over the last few years.  Sadly, since 2012 and up until late February, none of the foals have survived and the youngest mare is now 8 years old.  Yet could there be the slimmest chance that the wild horses can come back from the brink of extinction? Hope now rests with February’s newborn foal,  a little filly, just a couple of months old ……..

But let me pick up the story where i left off in the previous post!

As the horses drew closer to the water trough it appeared to us there was raucous delight in their greetings, upbeat nickering and neighing.   From a distance we could hear the thrum of galloping and watched in awe as a group of bachelor stallions came roaring in, stirring up dust clouds and arriving in a swirl of energy.

The scene was filled with their dynamic presence.  After slaking their thirst, it was time to sandbathe and attend to additional dietary needs by feeding on nutrient-rich dried manure.  Coprophagy is a natural behaviour and an energy-efficient way of deriving nutrients.  The Wild Horses’ manure contains almost three times more fat than the area’s dry grass (Stipagrostis obtusa) and almost twice as much protein (6.1 instead of 3.1%).*

Coprophagy manure adds nutrients to a sparse diet.

To give a contrasting glimpse at the hardships and the tough conditions which the Wild Namibs endure at the edge of the Namib-Nauklauft desert, here are a couple of shots taken in 2017.   Drought seared the land and the animals were so pitifully emaciated, but for the dedicated work undertaken by the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation, it is doubtful whether they would survive.   Through the years the foundation has raised finances to provide supplementary feed for the horses as well as pursuing with dogged determination negotiations with the Namibian MET (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) in saving the herd from extinction.

Further details in my next post will reveal “Zohra, the Little Foal”.  Keep a lookout it’s coming soon!  Below is a link to the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation and the critical work which they undertake.


* More information can  be found here.


19 thoughts on “The Namibs’ existence hangs in the balance

  1. A very interesting read and great photos. However quite strange that drought is also a problem here with me at Berlin in Central-Europe. Looking forward to continuation.

      1. Actually it is cool with us, even some rain passed by, I fear not enough, last year large parts of Europe looked more like a semi-desert, very strange. Take care @ Ulli

  2. It’s almost heartbreaking to see your photo documentation, Liz. What a though life they. Awesome action shots of the stallions.

  3. What a beautiful story, on such magnificent creatures….And, THANK you so much for these wonderful organizations in helping them through such insanely difficult times.

  4. Beautiful photography. Your pictures took me to Mongolia and our experience with Takhi. Takhi were endangered and were reintroduced into their original habitat (in Mongolia). The conservation program has been quite successful. There’s a rare joy of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. I hope these horses make it. 😦

    1. Thanks for your comments, Cheryl …. always appreciated. I was curious to check out your experience of the Takhi, and got quite lost in the settings of those wide valleys, and the scope and size of the landscape. Mongolia is on the bucket list, would love to experience that isolation you write of. The horses look so sturdy, long in body, low in girth. Glad to know that they have come back from the brink, and back in their original habitat. Had a super meander through your posts…. the destinations are so enticing through Basil’s pics and you write beautifully.

      1. Thank you so much! Means a lot to me. 🙂 Mongolia will always be special. Recently, I saw a documentary about the toxic air pollution in UB City and was heartbroken. I hope they can find a solution to the problem. The countryside is still untouched. You will truly enjoy every experience there!

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