SMART Global Congress and Lion Rangers Training

Lion Rangers showing off their new shirts at Mowe Baai.

March was a busy month for the Lion Rangers program. From 10-14 March, program leadership attended the inaugural SMART Global Congress, hosted by the SMART partnership and Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism MEFT) in Windhoek. From 16-27 March all the Lion Rangers attended our annual training in Skeleton Coast National Park at Mowe Baai. During training the Rangers gained skills in household accounting and refined their abilities in using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) which is an important part of their work monitoring wildlife and limiting human-lion conflict in northwest Namibia.

The SMART Congress brought participants from more than 40 countries to Namibia for a five day summit focusing on the use of innovative technologies for wildlife monitoring and conservation. Among other topics, sessions focused on refining the use of SMART for effective anti-poaching and monitoring patrols, integrating multiple data sources into adaptive Ranger deployment, and learning how to make technologies more user-friendly for field staff. During a session focused on the use of SMART in community conservation, Lion Rangers Patrol Leaders Benjamin Kordom, Jendery Tsaneb, and Steven Kasaona provided an overview to assembled participants of how the Lion Rangers are using SMART to limit human-lion conflict in northwest Namibia.

Steven Kasaona and Jendery Tsaneb explain how SMART is aiding the Early-Warning System.

The Lion Rangers participated in many aspects of the Congress, including providing developers with hard-won field experience for how SMART can be tailored to meet the needs of field staff and meeting with representatives from government and NGO stakeholders to discuss some of the successes and challenges of the program. The whole Congress was a chance for the Patrol Leaders to learn more about how their work fits within international conservation efforts as well as providing them the opportunity to present their hard work to an international audience.

Lion Rangers Steven Kasaona, Benjamin Kordom, and Jendery Tsaneb pictured with the Hon Minister of MEFT Pohamba Shifeta, Director of Parks and Wildlife Bennett Kahuure, and SMART Partnership Steering Committee Member and Lion Rangers Program Technical Advisor Oliver Adolph.

Our annual Lion Rangers training took place this year at Mowe Baai in Skeleton Coast National Park. This year’s capacity development portion of training focused on Rangers receiving household accounting skills. These were provided by Ms. Frederika Luanda, who is experienced working within communal conservancies on their finances and book keeping. Workshop modules focused on building a household budget, planning for unforeseen expenses, and better understanding how to make efficient use of Namibia’s banks. Many Rangers emphasized the importance of receiving such training – even asking that it be extended to other members of their communities. Training also included more skills development in the Rangers use of SMART, and an extensive review of lion biology and behavior.

Anabeb and TOSCO Lion Ranger Katukaruka Karutjaiva receiving his household finance certificate from Ms. Frederika Luanda

Support for Lion Rangers training was generously provided by Wilderness with training venue being provided free of charge by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. Thanks to the MEFT staff at Mowe Baai for helping facilitate a successful training.

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