In a changing world, the face of conservation is also changing. Unlimited spaces for wildlife to roam freely are disappearing, and the importance of fenced reserves where nature can be protected is increasing.

Unfortunately, many reserves are too small for natural ecological processes to play out, and interventions by managers are needed to replicate the balance that vast unfenced areas once provided.

This highlights the importance of larger reserves in the conservation landscape. !Khamab was established first and foremost as a conservation area, where its relatively large size can make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of the Eastern Kalahari.

With the conservation of the Eastern Kalahari landscape, its inhabitants and the ecological processes that drive the system as the only objective, the vision, mission, and key objectives of !Khamab Kalahari Reserve were developed.

!Khamab Vision, Mission and Objectives


The vision for !Khamab is to create a game reserve that:
• Comprises unspoilt landscapes and habitats that visually typify the Kalahari Bushveld.
• Sustains the full spectrum of African wild herbivores and carnivores that naturally occurred in such landscapes/habitats in the past.
• Enables the ecological processes of the system to function with as little management intervention as possible.


In realising this vision, !Khamab’s mission is to establish a conservation icon that is held in high esteem both nationally and internationally for its positive contribution to wildlife conservation and the community at large.

Key Objectives

!Khamab’s mission will be accomplished through the achievement of the following key objectives:
• Re-establish and sustain viable populations of the full spectrum of wild herbivore and predator species that occurred naturally in the Kalahari Bushveld in the past by undertaking a scientifically based reintroduction program and thereafter applying sound conservation practices
• Attain a high level of success in the conservation of endangered species such as black rhino, cheetah, wild dog, and birds of prey by conducting comprehensive research programs and state of the art conservation management
• Eliminate those plant and animal species that are deemed to be alien to this bioregion or for other reasons ethically unacceptable including domestic livestock
• Rehabilitate the Kalahari Bushveld landscape to resemble its former natural state by removing all signs of the visually unappealing structures of past farming and other land use and land development practices
• Restore/simulate the natural ecological processes (e.g., fire frequency, surface water distribution, migration, herbivory, and predation) and vegetation pattern/composition of the Kalahari Bushveld that have been disrupted/depleted/distorted by past farming practices.


As captured in the vision of the reserve, !Khamab wants to make a positive contribution to the conservation of wildlife and ecological processes, and hence the commitment to contribute to conservation at all levels. This includes the conservation of endangered species like wild dog (Lycaon pictus), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and black rhino (Diceros bicornis), and threatened or protected species like lion (Panthera leo) and elephant (Loxodonta africana), who are all historical inhabitants of the Kalahari.

In this regard !Khamab participate and partners with the following conservation groups:

Ashia Cheetah Conservation is a non-profit conservation organisation founded to help prevent the further decline of wild cheetah populations by introducing new bloodlines. Genetic reinforcement through wilding & release, (re)introduction, translocation and urgent, impromptu cheetah rescue operations take place in coordination with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) as well as local and international conservation authorities.

To ensure longevity of this project and in partnerships with relevant scientific bodies, Ashia is initiating, funding and coordinating applicable research projects in order to contribute significantly to the conservation and genetic integrity as well as the growth and range expansion of the cheetah population in southern Africa.

Read more about Ashia’s work

The Endangered Wildlife Trusts Birds of Prey Programme has been engaged in birds of prey conservation, research, and monitoring on !Khamab Kalahari Reserve for almost a decade. !Khamab forms a critical part of the Kalahari Raptor Project, which has been active throughout the Kalahari region of the North West and Northern Cape Provinces for the last 25 years.

This project monitors the population and breeding trends of vultures, eagles, owls, and a diversity of other threatened birds of prey. They undertake ringing and wing-tagging to understand birds’ movements and habitat requirements, and to identify priority conservation areas for key threatened species, which can then be implemented in targeted awareness campaigns and interact with landowners and communities to reduce their impacts on birds of prey and develop solutions to prevent further birds of prey mortalities.

They use their community engagements as platforms to raise awareness about the important ecosystem services birds of prey provide, to highlight the vulnerability of birds of prey, address the threat of poisons, electrocutions and collisions with power infrastructure, drownings in farm dams, as well as the impacts of mismanaged tree clearing (which are used by tree nesting raptors) and development. They continue to raise public awareness about birds of prey amongst different communities within the study site to develop a positive attitude towards these fascinating species, promoting them as indicators of a healthy and productive farming ecosystem.

To read more about the Birds of Prey Programme follow this link:

The Cheetah Range Expansion Project entails the management of approximately 455 cheetahs on 63 fenced reserves in southern Africa. The project is coordinated by the EWT and is supported by a multitude of partners and stakeholders, including researchers, national parks, provincial conservation areas and private reserves. The principal goals of the project are to maintain the genetic and demographic integrity of the cheetah within the network of Cheetah Range Expansion Programme reserves and to increase the resident range of cheetahs in Africa. The Cheetah Metapopulation constitutes the only growing wild cheetah population in southern Africa, with all other wild populations in decline.

!Khamab is one of the most important metapopulation reserves for the following reasons:

  • !Khamab is one of only 5 metapopulation reserves that exceed 90,000-hectares in size;
  • !Khamab is one of only five metapopulation reserves that supports a cheetah population that exceeds twenty individuals;
  • !Khamab is the only metapopulation reserve where cheetah was not reintroduced, the population was already present when !Khamab was established. This implies that !Khamab contains genetics that is unrelated to all other metapopulation reserves.

To find out more –

The Elephant Reintegration Trust (ERT) was established by four passionate individuals with the vision and dream of developing an elephant refuge reserve in South Africa which will provide a secure wild environment for elephants in need, particularly retired, commercially used elephants from various captive environments.

Our mission is to establish and maintain a refuge and reintegration reserve for elephants from any background.


  • To establish an Elephant Trust Fund equipped to address the funding of rehabilitating and reintegrating commercial elephants, and elephants whose well being is compromised.
  • To develop an elephant refuge reserve in South Africa which will provide a secure wild environment to manage full reintegration projects back into the wild where these previously captive elephants can live out their remaining years, with dignity, as wild elephants.
  • Reuniting related individuals that have been separated across captive facilities over the years. The re-establishing of family bonds will assist with the reintegration process due to the emotional support it provides.
  • To facilitate education and awareness initiatives around elephant biology and well-being for conservation authorities, researchers, local communities, and tourists alike.
  • Playing a role in expanding existing rangelands for elephant movement, with the potential to create elephant corridors to suitable adjacent conservation areas.

ERT also has two researchers who are doing research on developing welfare parameters for elephant in fenced reserves, as well as identifying stress parameters during the reintegration of elephants from captive to wild. !Khamab and ERT joined forces to reintegrate a small herd of elephants that was previously used in elephant back safaris to the reserve.

Humane Society International/Africa is a leading force for animal protection in countries across Africa, with active campaigns to improve conditions for farmed animals, protect wildlife, reduce the use of animals in testing and better protect companion animals. HSI/Africa is dedicated to protecting wildlife from cruelty, exploitation, conflict with humans and loss of habitat through, amongst other things, promoting its protection and preservation at an individual, species and population level. HSI–Africa seeks collaborative science-based engagements with government, industry, local communities and protected areas in our various programs which include practical, ‘on-the-ground projects’, disaster response, rescue and rehabilitation and animal conservation and welfare advocacy. Our organisation works with a broad network of conservation organisations committed to best practice wildlife management.

The Lion Management Forum South Africa or ‘LiMF’ was formed in 2010 by a group of conservation managers in South Africa to discuss management issues surrounding free-ranging lion populations in small reserves with !Khamab being one of the founding members of LiMF. These issues range from overpopulation to disease control, to genetics and more.

LiMF members meet regularly to share ideas and discuss possible solutions to lion management challenges. LiMF is committed to a holistic approach that mimics natural systems when developing management strategies and to following scientific principles. In 2013, LiMF members published a peer-reviewed scientific paper outlining the issues surrounding lion management in South Africa and some possible solutions.

LiMF continually strives to find and test practical solutions to the challenges faced by managers. LiMF also assisted in the development of a national metapopulation management plan for lions across South Africa.

To read more about LiMF

Panthera is the only organization in the world that is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems.

Utilizing the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and implements global strategies for the most imperilled large cats: tigers, lions, jaguars, snow leopards, cheetahs, pumas, and leopards.

Representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind, Panthera partners with local and international NGOs, scientific institutions, local communities, governments around the globe, and citizens who want to help ensure a future for wild cats.

Project Pardus is the first conservation program to span the leopard’s range. Despite the species’ broad range, it is likely the most persecuted big cat in the world.

Panthera’s scientists are dedicated to understanding where sustainable leopard populations currently exist or can be rebuilt and implementing conservation actions to reduce leopard killings. In partnership with local and national governments, corporations, NGOs, and local communities, Panthera’s efforts focus on monitoring leopard population trends, stopping the illicit fur trade, reducing human-leopard conflict, stabilizing, and increasing prey populations, and reducing unsustainable legal trophy hunting.

Panthera is currently leading or supporting conservation activities across 16 leopard range states across Africa, the Middle East and tropical Asia. Panthera will continue to develop successful, sustainable conservation models and expand Project Pardus’s reach into other parts of the leopard’s range.

!Khamab is just one of many sites where Panthera conduct regular camera trapping surveys to monitor the leopard population.

There are an estimated 6 600 (660 packs) free-ranging African wild dogs Lycaon pictus left in Africa. Wild dogs are the rarest carnivore in South Africa with an estimated population of less than 450 individuals. Despite being legally protected in many of their current range states, the remnant populations continue to face widespread persecution. Wild dogs are listed as endangered by the IUCN but are not listed on CITES. To address the conservation and species persistence problems facing the species, a Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) Workshop for wild dogs was held in 1997. The Wild Dog Advisory Group of South Africa (WAG-SA) was established after the PHVA to monitor and facilitate the development and maintenance of the metapopulation.

The group acts as a platform for reserve managers and interested parties to present and discuss wild dog metapopulation problems and issues and to, together, recommend solutions.  In this regard the WAG-SA also collaborates closely with individuals and institutions actively involved with both the captive population and unmanaged free-roaming populations. Decisions made regarding the reintroduction and translocations of wild dogs within the metapopulation are made at WAG-SA meetings (held quarterly). Participants of WAG-SA include reserve managers, landowners, researchers, veterinarians, and provincial representatives.

To read more, visit


One of the biggest threats to ecological conservation across the world is the increased threat of wildlife crime, which includes the trafficking of wildlife and animal parts and products. The high black-market value of many wildlife parts has resulted in the involvement of crime syndicates, not unlike the illegal drugs and arms trade. The scourge of poaching, especially for rhino horns, is threatening the population of many game reserves across South Africa.

The impact of rhino poaching stretches further than just the direct loss of the life of the rhino that was killed. It also threatens the conservation of other species as reserves are forced to divert funding that would otherwise have been used for ecological management and species conservation, to establish and maintain effective anti-poaching operations.

!Khamab is not immune from this. It faces the same risks as any other game reserve in South Africa. An effective anti-poaching operation has become a necessity, despite the massive pressure it adds to the budget of most reserves.

!Khamab continually tries to improve the effectiveness of its anti-poaching efforts by increasing the size of the anti-poaching team and improving their equipment. We also use technology to help detect intruders on the reserve. Unfortunately, this is costly and we are grateful for the assistance we receive from the various sources who contribute towards the wildlife security efforts of the reserve.


Part of our mission is to make a positive contribution to wildlife conservation and the community at large. One way of achieving this is to contribute to the enhancement of scientific knowledge of wildlife management and ecological systems, with a focus on the Kalahari ecosystem and how it fits into the larger ecological landscape.

Research on !Khamab is also specifically orientated to increase our knowledge and provide a basis for informed management and conservation decisions on the reserve. !Khamab is committed to increasing the ecological research output on the reserve. We encourage sensible, planned research projects, especially those that will contribute to our knowledge of the Kalahari and its fauna and flora. The research should also provide scientifically based management support to changes happening on a global scale.

The following research projects provide insight into some aspects of the Kalahari and how selected animal species fit into the Kalahari system when compared to more mesic environments.

Current Studies:

  • Evaluating the importance of establishing complete bull hierarchies when elephants are reintegrated from captivity into the wild. Tammy Eggeling & Tenisha Roos. Elephant Reintegraiton Trust, South Africa.

  • Developing welfare parameters for elephants in fenced reserves in South Africa. Marion Garai et al. Elephant Reintegration Trust, South Africa.

  • HOT DOGS: Climate change impacts in an endothermic predator. Rosie Woodroffe et al. Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom & University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Past Studies:

  • The spatial ecology, habitat preference and diet selection of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in the Kalahari region of South Africa. Francois Deacon, PhD student, University of the Free State, South Africa.

  • Evaluation of restoration and management actions in the Molopo savanna of South Africa: an integrated perspective. Christiaan Harmse, MSc student, North-West University, South Africa.

  • Testing of consistency in the impacts of burrowing on soil and vegetation across biomes. Michelle Louw, MSc student, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

  • The effect of fire on savanna vegetation dynamics in the semi-arid Molopo Bushveld region of the North-West Province, South Africa. Anja Esterhuizen, MSc student, North-West University, South Africa

  • Selective foraging strategies on multiple nutrient resources by African elephant (Loxodonta africana) across a seasonal and rainfall gradient. Henry van Leyleveld, University of Pretoria, South Africa.