The wildlife in Iona National Park, Angola

From 5th of September to 30th of October

An important aspect of SCIONA is understanding the wildlife of the area. This is not only for conservation, but wildlife are a key attraction for tourism, and discovering where they are can help with future tourism planning.

As part of this program we have installed a camera trap system in Iona as a pilot for future continuous monitoring.  After the first 29 days we captured 72069 pictures of mammals and birds. As expected Oryx, springboks and Hartmann’s zebras dominated the images. Black-backed jackals and brown hyenas were the only carnivores, although cheetah droppings were positively confirmed. The brown hyena images are exciting, as literature cites them being extinct in Iona. A number of bird species were also captured by the cameras, including ostriches, pied crows and ring-necked turtle doves.

A conservation issue which the camera traps helped us identify was the presence of a number of donkey – Hartmann’s zebra hybrids – known commonly as zonkeys or zeburro in Portugese. Little is known about this animals but interbreeding between zebras and donkeys may be viewed with some concern. It known that the hybrids are unlikely to be fertile, if interbreeding were to become a common occurrence, this would have a detrimental effect on the Hartmann's mountain zebra’s reproductive potential, which can hamper the increase in their population.

Author(s): 
Milciades Chicomo and Dr. Morgan Hauptfleisch