Mending Etosha (Kaross) Fence

Male lion outside the Etosha boundary.

Etosha National Park encompasses more than 22,000 sq km of north-central and northwest Namibia. Keeping the entire park’s fence in good working order is a tall task, verging on the near impossible given the sandy substrate underlying the fence. This becomes a particular problem when lions from Etosha transgress the park’s boundary, moving onto communal land and potentially causing problems for neighboring livestock farmers.

In October 2021, with assistance from Etosha Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism veterinary staff, the Lion Rangers collared two adult male lions in the Hobatere Concession. Known as OPL-11 and OPL-12, these brothers departed the Hobatere area for Etosha’s Kaross block in early 2022. During the first months of the year, they moved freely in and out of Etosha, causing challenges for the Lion Rangers and partnering Namibian Lion Trust (NLT) staff tasked with managing human-lion conflict in the area.

Following the lions’ lead, and in consultation with Etosha staff, it was recognized that these two males were setting up a core home range within Etosha itself. To limit the possibility of human-lion conflict the decision was taken to close the holes in the Etosha fence, along the so-called Kaross block, where these lions are spending the majority of their time. NLT Team Leader Jackson Kavetu and NLT Lion Rangers Tjangu Tjiseua and Daniel Tjivahe took the lead and dedicated their own spare field time to repairing numerous holes in the Kaross fence to support the neighboring communities facing human-lion conflict.

With the permission of MEFT and Etosha staff the contributions made by the NLT Rangers are helping reinforce the near core home-range of OPL-11 and OPL-12 within Etosha National Park. Since these repairs have been made the two male lions have confined their movements to within the park. While the sandy substrate will likely continue to allow holes to open up, when area Rangers have a good understanding of where the holes are likely to occur, it can allow them to better monitor lion movements and inform neighboring communities of possible conflict.

View of Etosha fence line.

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