Cameras to Limit Conflict

Trail camera photo of male and female lion, Hobatere Concession.

Among the challenges for pastoralists maintaining livestock herds in northwest Namibia, is the varying forms of land-use. While pastoralists keep their herds on mixed-use land, these can abut conservation concessions. For many conservancy members farming in Ehi-rovipuka and ≠Khoadi-//Hôas conservancies, the Hobatere Tourism Concession has long served as a refuge for, and source of, lions and other large carnivores. When lions depart Hobatere for communal farmlands, they run the risk of coming into contact with livestock. This can lead to human-lion conflict, resulting in retaliatory or preventative lion killing by certain pastoralists. An important part of the Lion Rangers’ work is assisting the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) in keeping tack of lions as they move in and out of Hobatere. At the request of MEFT the Lion Rangers Research Team has been helping monitor lion movements and group dynamics through the use of trail cameras in Hobatere. Over the past month groups of lions, including new cubs (!) were photographed within Hobatere, along with some other important images that are contributing to evidence-based conservation in the area.

Continue reading

Wildlife Credits for Lions – Community Meetings

Over the past week, a technical team composed of the Lion Rangers’ Leadership Team, in partnership with IRDNC Coordinators and WWF-Namibia Program Staff, met with core lion-range conservancies in Kunene. The agenda is developing an innovative new program to pay communities for living sustainably alongside lions. This program is called Wildlife Credits and will be an important part of demonstrating to communities the commitment of the international conservation community to recognizing the work of Africans conserving lions.

Wildlife Credits is an innovative form of paying communities for conservation performance. Unlike the majority of past conservation programs, where donations come as money or equipment with the promise of performance, Wildlife Credits supports existing work where, in this case, communities are already conserving their wildlife. It is an incentive-based performance system to reinforce the importance of wildlife conservation, while recognizing that conservation must be economically competitive. Within Namibia this program is being spearheaded by NACSO and CCFN.

Continue reading

Camera Deployment; Plus an Unexpected Elephant Encounter

Lioness, photographed by trail camera in Hobatere.

An important part limiting human-lion conflict is knowing which lions are using which areas. As communal farmers return to dry season grazing areas of eastern Ehi-rovipuka, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) is taking the lead on ensuring lions inhabiting the Hobatere tourism concession are not endangering pastoralists’ livelihoods. In partnership with the Lion Rangers, MEFT is overseeing an intensive trail camera deployment in Hobatere. This not only provides movement and demographic information on lions and other species, but helps MEFT and Lion Rangers assess which lions are using the area, and with what frequency.

Continue reading

Translocation Away from Trouble

NPL-27; photo taken from trail camera.

The rainy season has brought new challenges to the lions and Lion Rangers in northwest Namibia. As game have dispersed across the area, lions have followed prey species, bringing them into different areas and into contact with livestock and farmers. One particular challenge has concerned a male lion, NPL-27, first collared by the Namibian Lion Trust (NLT) in 2019. This male had been spending the majority of his time around the Okavariona-Otjiapa waterhole complex during 2021, as was made evident in numerous photos taken from our trail cameras. However, as the rainy season began other males moved into the area, seemingly pushing NPL-27 out and towards potential human-lion conflict.

(Warning: graphic content in link)

Continue reading

Law Enforcement Training

Lion Rangers Training at Waterberg Environmental Centre, April 2022

Greetings from Lion Rangers Training! From 15 to 29 April, Lion Rangers from across Kunene came together at the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism‘s (MEFT) Waterberg Environmental Centre for bi-annual Lion Ranger training. With support from MEFT, the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, and TOSCO, this training primarily focused on developing the Lion Rangers’ capacities in assisting law enforcement.

Continue reading

Exchange Visit and Replacing Collars

Immobilized desert-adapted lions, Hobatere Concession, November 2021.

During the past week, the Lion Rangers were visited by a delegation of community conservationists from the Omusati, Oshana, and Oshikoto regions. This exchange visit, motivated and supported by the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia (CCFN), served as a first point of contact to gauge the feasibility of expanding the Lion Ranger program to the communal areas north of Etosha National Park. Lions frequently leave the northern Etosha boundary to prey-upon pastoralists’ livestock, and are often killed as a result.

Continue reading

New Ombonde Research and Monitoring Camp

Finished look at the new ORMC.

Throughout December and early January, the Lion Rangers from Ehi-rovipuka, Omatendeka, and Orupupa conservancies joined staff from Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, as well as volunteers from each conservancy to begin – and complete! – construction of the Lion Rangers new home in the Ombonde catchment area. The Ombonde Research and Monitoring Camp (ORMC) will be the new field base for the Lion Rangers and other conservancy field staff working in the Ombonde area.

Continue reading