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Location South Africa, Northern Cape
Central coordinates 20o 20.00' East  25o 40.00' South
IBA criteria A3
Area 959,103 ha
Altitude 500 - 700m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Situated in the sliver of land between Botswana and Namibia, 320 km north of Upington, the Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park forms a relatively small, but vital part of the large semi-arid southern Kalahari ecosystem. This Park supports several raptor species including White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus, Lappet-faced Vulture Aegypius tracheliotos, White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis and Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres.

Site description Situated in the sliver of land between Botswana and Namibia, 320 km north of Upington, the Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park (KGNP) forms a relatively small but vital part of the large semi-arid southern Kalahari ecosystem. The park adjoins Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park and the Mabuasehube Game Reserve (IBA BW012), forming a huge area (3.6 million hectares) under official conservation. The vegetation is largely Kalahari thornveld, occurring as open tree-, dune- or shrub-savanna. Tree- and dune-savanna are found adjacent to the Nossob and Auob rivers, with scattered trees of Rhus, Terminalia, Boscia and Acacia. Occasionally, narrow dune-belts separate the extensive flat plains that occur between the two rivers. Locally, the broad plains hold shallow, grassy depressions. The Nossob and Auob rivers are important features of the park, holding the greatest densities of tall trees. All along the river course, trees of Boscia and Acacia dominate, with grassy ground-cover. The park’s abundant calcareous and salt pans are mineralogically richer than the surrounding sandveld and consequently support different vegetation.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The park supports over 214 bird species. Only 75 of these are resident; the large majority of the remainder are characteristically nomadic. This park supports important populations of several raptor species, especially vultures. Gyps africanus and Torgos tracheliotus occur in good numbers.The vultures show a preference for the Nossob and Auob riverbeds as both have large trees suitable for nesting and roosting. Other breeding raptors include Terathopius ecaudatus, Polemaetus bellicosus and Aquila rapax. The wide plains of the reserve are home to Ardeotis kori, Neotis ludwigii and Eupodotis vigorsii. Waterholes attract Pterocles burchelli and P. namaqua, which occasionally gather in very large numbers. The Kalahari thornveld holds typical Kalahari basin birds, such as Cercotrichas paena, Laniarius atrococcineus, Lamprotornis australis, Vidua regia, Mirafra passerina, Bradornis mariquensis and Philetairus socius, which constructs huge communal nests in the larger trees. Wherever seeding grasses sprout, Amadina erythrocephala, Estrilda erythronotos and Uraeginthus granatina are found. Eremalauda starki and Eremopterix australis are nomadic species that sporadically occur in the park when conditions are favourable.

Non-bird biodiversity: Typhlosaurus gariepensis is endemic to the vegetated sand ridges in the dune fields of the southern Kalahari, and is almost restricted to the park. The southern African endemic Dipsina multimaculata, Monopeltis leonhardi, Meroles suborbitalis, Colopus wahlbergii and Zelotomys woosnami are all common within the park.The KGNP is the second largest national park in South Africa and one of a few remaining wilderness areas in the country supporting natural populations of large mammals. The park supports important populations of Acinonyx jubatus (VU), Hyaena brunnea (LR/nt) and Manis temminckii (LR/nt).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Burchell's Sandgrouse Pterocles burchelli resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Barred Wren-warbler Camaroptera fasciolata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Burchell's Glossy-starling Lamprotornis australis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kalahari Scrub-robin Erythropygia paena resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sociable Weaver Philetairus socius resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high favourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (domestic use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - suppression in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Desert Gravel and sand plains  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Forest Woodland - riparian  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Savanna Bushland & thicket - deciduous  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Saltpans  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park National Park 947,555 protected area contains site 959,103  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, dry  -
Forest Woodland - riparian  -
Desert Gravel and sand plains  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - deciduous  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Saltpans  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry 10%
nature conservation and research 3%
water management 1%

References Bothma and de Graaf (1973), Broekhuysen et al. (1968), de Villiers (1958), Fitzsimons and Brain (1958), Herholdt (1995), Herholdt and de Villiers (1991), Herholdt and Kemp (1997), Knight (1987), Labuschagne (1959), Leistner (1959), Leistner and Werger (1973), Maclean (1966, 1970, 1971), Mills (1976), Prozesky and Haagner (1962), Werger (1973), Winterbottom (1969).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/07/2015

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