SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Monitor wild animal populations 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
253957  Monitor wild animal populations 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Nature Conservation 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 01 - Agriculture and Nature Conservation Nature Conservation 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  15 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
The qualifying learner assessed as competent against this unit standard will be able to monitor wild animal populations through the effective use of appropriate population estimation techniques and by analysing population dynamics (animal demographics). Other aspects that must be monitored are physical appearance, certain behaviours and body condition that signal decreased fitness, excessive stress or shortage of life sustaining resources. The competence to monitor wild animal populations is a vital aspect/component of effective wildlife management.

The qualifying learner will be able to:
  • Estimate animals' population size, composition, distribution and density through the use of appropriate counting or censussing techniques.
  • Relate population characteristics to the resource base and its carrying capacity.
  • Determine trends in animal population demographics through periodic comparisons of census data.
  • Conduct field assessments of physical appearance, body condition and certain behaviours of wild animals.
  • Act on out-of-norm situations regarding animal populations.

    Achieving this unit standard will improve the qualifying learner's skills and enhance his or her employability. This competence contributes to the economic and long-term viability of a conservation area, to the marked benefit of the sub-field Agriculture and Nature Conservation. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that the learner is competent in:
  • Communication Literacy at NQF Level 4.
  • Mathematical Literacy at NQF Level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Estimate the size, and composition of wild animal populations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Knowledge of different land-based and aerial counting techniques is demonstrated. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of land-based counts, censusses and population density estimates: drive counts, road strip counts, field strip counts, line transects, water hole counts, known groups/individuals, ratio counts based on known number of reference species, call stations, tag & release, swept area surveys; Aerial counts: type of aircraft, crew, counting problems, counting area-sample, strip width and length, flight pattern, speed and altitude, counting time, duration and methods of recording, topography and terrain, countability of different species; time of year, Suitability: suitability for type of species and type landform; inherent advantages and disadvantages of different methods; typical sources of counting error relevant to the individual methods.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    A selection of suitable counting/censussing methods is made. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Suitability based on type of species and landform characteristics; combinations of methods to reduce counting bias.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    A plan is developed for implementing the count/census in the operational area. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Data recording formats, timing of counts, costs, manpower requirements and practicality in the operational area context.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Selected counting/censussing methods are employed to accurately estimate population size, group composition, sex/age categories, precise location and habitat type, of a predetermined range of species. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Recorded data is processed, and arranged in required formats, and analysed. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Population size with estimates of accuracy, population demographic tables based on sex/age categories; social organisational groupings.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Relate population characteristics to the resource base and its carrying capacity. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Spatial distribution patterns are analysed as it relates to the resource base and its carrying capacity. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Proportional usage of different habitat/vegetation types is determined in respect of utilisation for a selected range of key species. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Key species:
  • Large herbivores, predators, species with significant impact on environment, specially protected species, indicator species, threatened, rare, endangered and critically endangered species; Utilisation: feeding, drinking, shelter, wallows, breeding, nesting, movements and migration.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Animal population densities are interpreted in terms of ecological significance. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Carrying capacity, under/over-populated, ratios between predators and prey species, comparisons to benchmarks.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Findings are reported, and recommendations made in accordance with animal management planning protocol. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Determine trends in animal population demographics through periodic comparisons of census data. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Population estimates via counts and censusses are conducted on a periodic basis as per operational procedures. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Annually, or more frequently for special categories, i.e. vulnerable, rare, endangered, etc.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Individual species' population characteristics from previous periods are compared to current records. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Population and demographic trends are interpreted and documented. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Increases/decreases due to natality, mortality, immigration, emigration; changed in proportions between sexes and age classes.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Findings are reported, and recommendations made in accordance with animal management planning protocol. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Conduct field assessments of the physical appearance and condition, and certain behaviours of wild animals. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Body condition, based on external bodily features of selected key species is judged visually as a measure of resource availability or physical health. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    External parasite loads on key species are assessed visually. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Animals are observed for behaviour patterns that reflect excessive physical or emotional stress, disturbance. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Act on out-of-norm situations regarding animal populations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Population parameters are inspected for out-of-norm values. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Excessively high/low population size and densities; skewed sex/age ratio's; significant increases/decreases in population size, abnormal recruitment (breeding), significant changes in spatial or social arrangement.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Evidence of significant deterioration in body condition, parasite loads or stress levels are detected. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Out-of-norm situations are reported to management and/or research staff as per operating procedures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Further investigations or remedial action by management or research staff is motivated as per organisational requirements. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing an individual against this unit standard must meet the assessor requirements of the relevant ETQA. In particular, such assessors must demonstrate that they assess in terms of the scope and context defined in all the range statements.
  • Any institution offering learning towards this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • External moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA at its discretion according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the agreed ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Wildlife counting and censussing methods.
  • Sex/age class identification criteria for all major species.
  • Population dynamics, demographics and life-tables.
  • Ecology and behaviour of all major species.
  • Social organisation.
  • Population density benchmarks.
  • Carrying capacity i.t.o natural resources, and predator-prey species ratio's.
  • Visual condition assessment of animals.
  • Animal physiology in relation to stress factors. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Self-organisation and management:
  • Individuals engaged in animal management must of necessity plan and work methodically and systematically and this supports self-organisation and management in the operational environment. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Information evaluation:
  • The identification of animal species and their utilisation supports the gathering, and evaluation of information in the operational environment. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use of science and technology:
  • Knowledge of flora and fauna; animal anatomy, Red data lists, effect of climate on habitat & wildlife, proper operation and maintenance of vehicles, equipment and machinery require the use of science and technology in the operational environment. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Inter-relatedness of systems:
  • Knowledge of the association between plants and animals promotes ecological awareness and supports the understanding of the world as a set of inter-related systems. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO CONTRIBUTING 
    Responsible citizenship:
  • The need to comply with environmental legislation enhances responsible citizenship in the operational environment. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Demonstration of the knowledge and skills outlined in this unit standard must be consistent with the principles of:
  • Maintaining essential ecological processes and life-support systems.
  • Maintaining genetic, species and ecosystem diversity.
  • Considering ecological and social rights and responsibilities, whilst ensuring sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems, thereby yielding the greatest sustainable and equitable benefit to present generations whilst maintaining the potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.

    The core unit standard "Monitor the presence or absence of wild animal species" which forms part of this qualification should have been completed before embarking on this unit standard.

    It is assumed that the learner has already completed the requirements for achievement of the qualification "National Certificate: Conservation: Natural Resource Management: Terrestrial NQF Level 4". An announcement will be made as to when this qualification will be registered on the NQF.

    Until the NQF Level 4 qualification mentioned above is registered it is sufficient that the learner embarking on studies toward this qualification has achieved an FET certificate at NQF Level 4 or the equivalent, is in possession of a Certificate in Conservation Guardianship, or has several years' relevant industry experience. In particular, good knowledge and the ability to identify a very large range of wild animal species; and to determine their sex/age classes; relate their respective distribution patterns to biogeographical and ecological parameters; and to interpret their social organisation, behaviour and activity patterns is a prerequisite. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Core  59949   National Certificate: Natural Resource Management: Terrestrial  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  CATHSSETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.