Lions in Ugab – 17 January, 2018

A pair of lions, originally from further north near the Huab River mouth, now residing in the Ugab River, killed 172 small stock (goats and sheep) which were being kept by the White Lady Lodge near the Brandberg. This is recognized to be a further set-back to human-lion conflict mitigation in Kunene. Of note is that these livestock were being kept in a tourism area in which the conservancy and the operator should have an agreement in place prohibiting the presence of significant numbers of stock. If, as was reported by The Namibian, 600 head of small stock were being kept in this area, it would likely violate the conservancy zonation.

One continually-pressing issue in mitigating and preventing human-lion conflict in Kunene is when well-intentioned folks retard long-term conservation by engaging in ill-informed activities. If the actions of individuals and groups are habituating lions to human contact, it may increase the likelihood that free-ranging lions will turn into ‘problem lions.’ In the case with these lions in the Ugab, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in the interest of human safety, may take the decision to have the lions destroyed. This would be unfortunate but entirely defensible.

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