BOTSWANA – Today, the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project (NGOWP) launched a two-team expedition for its annual crossing of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. NGOWP will launch two expedition routes simultaneously: an eastern route, from Seronga to Daunara (August 1 – 21), and a western route, from Mopiri to Maun (July 31 – Aug 17). NGOWP’s annual Delta crossing serves as an annual checkup on the Delta’s water quality and ecosystem health, and is critical for understanding changes over time.
Frequent expedition updates will be shared on NGOWP’s Facebook and Instagram, and will feature highlights from National Geographic Explorer Thalefang Charles, and Botswana Wild Bird Trust storyteller Karabo Moilwa.
On the expedition, the NGOWP teams will cross the Delta using mekoro to collect scientific data and observations, adding to baseline data collected since 2010. The expedition team will work to detect changes in water quality and flow, habitat quality, and biodiversity; determine whether the changes are natural or caused by human activities (for example pollution, resource overuse such as overfishing, and water diversion); and take remedial action where needed. This year, the eastern route team will also conduct a trial of 3D drone transects to monitor vegetation structure and biomass in specific areas of interest.
Recently, NGOWP released a report on the 2022 Okavango Delta transect, which revealed that while the ecosystem is healthy, it is important to continuously monitor the effects of human activity – particularly, increasing fire frequency. The 2022 report also identified potential research priorities and directions that may be explored during the upcoming 2023 transect.
Explainer video on the Angolan Highlands Water Tower – the lifeline of the Okavango Delta
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC OKAVANGO WILDERNESS PROJECT
Since 2015, National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project has been working with communities and governments to secure permanent, sustainable protection for the greater Okavango Basin – which spans Angola, Namibia, and Botswana. A team of National Geographic Explorers, local and regional experts, and partners at the Wild Bird Trust are working to accomplish this through rigorous scientific research, impactful conservation education projects, establishment of community-driven systems of protection, and storytelling about the ecosystem and people who live there. Learn more at www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/okavango/.
ABOUT BOTSWANA WILD BIRD TRUST
The Botswana Wild Bird Trust implements the work of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project in Botswana. Founded in 2016 with the mission to conserve wild birds and their habitat through exploration, education, research and monitoring, storytelling, conservation action, partnerships, awareness-raising, and support for local citizen-led organizations. It founded the Nkashi Classic in 2018 as a celebration of the tradition and culture which are embodied by the mokoro and nkashi which is used to propel it.
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Senior Manager, Impact Communications
Coordinator, Impact Communications