"You can’t manage what you can't measure"
Wildlife management requires an understanding of what is going on and so conservancies developed their own custom monitoring system: the Event Book. Within conservancies, the Event Book system is used for recording all observations, on a monthly basis. The Event Book is designed to meet the needs of conservancy managers and game guards. Its name derives from monitoring events that occur randomly such as fire, poaching, human-wildlife conflict and mortalities. However, it also makes provision for systematic monitoring of resources, such as records of predators and other iconic wildlife.
The Event Book differs from traditional monitoring in that the community decides what should be monitored and the recording and analysis is undertaken by the conservancy committee and their game guards. The entire system is paper-based, which is appropriate for remote communities and avoids the maintenance problems of computers and ever-changing technology. There is an audit each year of the Event Book, and a summary of the records are captured into a national conservancy database. Much of the summarised information can be accessed on the NACSO website.
The objective of the Event Book was for local communities to improve their decision-making. Communities have used the results towards improving their management, which has contributed to spectacular increases in wildlife numbers in many parts of Namibia. They have also used the results to reduce human wildlife conflicts, thereby making wildlife more acceptable to rural people.
Apart from direct conservation benefits, one of the greatest benefits has been empowerment. Communities can now confidently communicate to Government and other conservation partners on what is going on in their area. The increase in conservancy pride and commitment has been remarkable.