Nata Fire Management Strategy

May 18, 2021

For a long time people of Nata have been affected by reoccurring of veldfires which pose risk to their life, property/infrastructure, local economies as well as the flora and fauna. Nata Conservation Trust which is a community based organization is one area which needs strategic framework to protect and manage the beauty of nature found in the area. The sanctuary has plethora of wild species amongst them the greater and lesser flamingos. Unfortunately the lesser flamingo is decreasing in population according to the IUCN red list of threatened species, if people don’t do nothing about the veld fires which continues to affect the ecosystem soon we won’t have any lesser flamingos roaming around Nata a problem which will affect the business specifically Avi- tourism or bird tourism. Nata Bird Sanctuary is an important reproduction site for flamingos, one of the most important in the world, the waters of the salty lake are rich in food for these beautiful birds; the pink greater flamingos are fed with artemies, a family of shrimp living in salt and alkaline waters, worms and small crustaceans, while the pink lesser flamingos feed on algae, usually found in hot and brackish waters. The flamingos build tapered nests using soil clay and lay eggs; the timing of egg deposition is crucial, it is a race against time: the eggs have to be opened and the chicks must be able to fly before the pan water dries completely, otherwise the little ones, without food and incapable to fly, would meet with certain death. There is an elevated wooden platform on the Eastern edge of the delta, from which you can admire the flamingos without disturbing them. The best time to visit the Sanctuary is during the rainy season, from December to March, as the Nata River is full at this time and its waters flow into the Delta and in the Sua Pan; this attracts many species of birds. Other bird species which are found at the sanctuary includes, the grebe, the cormorant, various ducks, the plovers, the pelicans, the pink-backed pelican, the great white pelican, the avocet, the black winged stilt, the blacksmith lapwing, the bustard, the African fish eagle, the pied kingfisher, the black-chested snake-eagle, the blue-cheeked bee-eater, the martial eagle, the secretary bird, the African spoonbill, the Hottentot teal, the red-knobbed coot and the white-faced whistling duck. In addition to birds, some mammals can be seen including red hartebeests, kudus, common reedbucks, springboks, elands, zebras, jackals, foxes, monkeys and squirrels. Strategic planning is therefore important because it explains shared understanding of veldfires together with their risks and ways of combating the risks. This fire management strategy empowers people of Nata and neighboring villages to work together and overcome the problem which continue to affect their area. The management plan also will enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystem through sustaining biological diversity and human livelihoods in times of fire outbreaks. To perform and achieve all this, people from relevant departments, stakeholders, communities and experts were consulted to benefit from their skills and knowledge. This helped identify information, opinions and local factors around the villages.

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