The Namibian conservancy programm offers local people the right to manage and benefit from natural resources on communal lands. Thus, registered conservancies acquire both rights and responsibilities for the use and management of wildlife. Conservancies need to quantify wildlife populations, create a representative committee, define clear boundaries and formulate a plan for land management. Currently, there are about 50 conservancies in the Damaraland. A well known conservancy is the Torra Conservancy that includes about 3,500 km² in which approximately 1,200 people live; using their environment in sustainable ways in order to gain economic and conservation benefits. The Torra Conservancy is a worldwide model for self-sustainability and wildlife conservation.
In the Oryx Project, we work closely with the conservancies of the Kunene region to learn about the practice of sustainable land use and to quantify the impact of human activities (extensive livestock farming, wildlife harvesting, and fencing) on the environment in general and on desert-dwelling ungulates in particular.