On 27 October, the Lion Rangers were proud to celebrate the dedication, commitment, hard work, and accomplishments of our top performing Rangers for the past year. Esau Matundu from TOSCO and Ehi-rovipuka Conservancy, Rinoveni Tjauira from the Namibia Lion Trust and Omatendeka Conservancy, Kaidue Uaroua from Ehi-rovipuka, and Jackson Kavetu from the Namibian Lion Trust and Ehi-rovipuka were all recognized at a special ceremony in ǂKhoadi-ǁHôas Conservancy. This event, hosted by the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, in partnership with Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, not only recognized the work of these four, but the great strides by the Lion Rangers and other committed conservationists to ensure a future for the region’s wildlife.
With the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the Hon. Pohomba Shifeta in attendance, Matundu, Tjauira, Uaroua, and Kavetu were presented with certificates of achievement, cash prizes, and five sheep plus one ram each as recognition of their efforts and successes. These four have shown exemplary commitment to the cause of limiting human-lion conflict on communal lands in the Kunene Region and we are proud to acknowledge them. Each has spent many long and tiring hours patrolling his area on foot, and many sleepless nights assisting with collaring and limiting human-lion conflict. Matundu, Tjauira, and Uaroua have each walked more than 3,000 km on foot patrol this past year. Kavetu, our lead Rapid Response Leader, has responded to more than 200 potential and actual human-lion conflict incidents.
Among the prizes received by the Rangers, livestock demonstrate the commitment of the program to supporting local farmers. Providing livestock as a prize, an initiative of the Lion Rangers Leadership Team, shows a direct commitment, not only to the financial wellbeing of these Rangers, but also to the ongoing coexistence of livestock and large carnivores such as lions in the Kunene Region.
A Lion Rangers’ work can often seem thankless and strenuous, with numerous set-backs. It is important to recognize and affirm the commitment of these men and all the Lion Rangers to the ongoing challenges of lion conservation on communal lands. Thanks to the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia and Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism for making this celebration possible and for their continued support of the Lion Rangers.