Responding to HLC in Anabeb

Four uncollared desert-adapted lionesses.

Human-lion conflict (HLC) has been on the rise in the areas bordering Palmwag Concession. In particular, around the Mbakondja area, a recent spate of HLC incidents have led to livestock mortalities and even in lions being shot with MEFT approval. This past week the Lion Rangers received a call of a cow being killed while herded in the field west of Khowareb. A woman was tending her goats and few cattle near an ephemeral waterpoint in the mountains when she reported two lions chased a cow away from the group. IRDNC Human-Wildlife Support Teams arrived within a few hours to find the remnants of the cow’s carcass and four lionesses resting nearby.

Continue reading

Monitoring Near Base Camp

Lioness with ostrich carcass in Torra Conservancy.

Over the past five days the Lion Rangers and program partners have been intensively monitoring four separate groups in Torra Conservancy and Ombonde research area.

On Friday, the group of XPL-105, composed of three adult females, killed an ostrich, fewer than 100m south of the road to Torra Bay – right along one of our team’s morning running routes! The three females easily dispatched the ostrich and had little problem keeping the pied crows and lappet-faced vultures at bay. Follow-up tracking the next day enabled us to recreate how the ostrich was stalked in a riverbed, then taken down and dragged under a nearby tree. After feeding on the carcass into the evening the three females moved into the Springbok River, coming within 6km of Driefontein farm. However, as one Driefontein farmer noted, “I know these lions. They are disciplined and do not cause problems.”

Continue reading

Lion Rangers 2020 Program Report

We are pleased to announce the release of the Lion Rangers 2020 Annual Report! Though 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, the Lion Ranger program persevered and emerged stronger than ever. The report provides updates on our work and expected activities for the rest of 2021. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in learning more about the program.

A big thanks to all our supporters! Here’s to a great 2021!

A Difficult Week

XPL-75 in January 2021.

The desert-adapted lions of northwest Namibia inhabit arid and semiarid environments dissimilar to lions in other parts of Africa. This leads to a variety of interesting behaviors, such as massive home ranges and groups specializing in hunting giraffe in certain areas. However, life on the edge of the northern Namib desert also presents difficult challenges. Drought among them. With rains falling further east in recent weeks much of the desert-adapted lions’ home ranges have been largely emptied of available prey. This heightens the possibility that lions will turn to livestock and come into conflict with area farmers. It also means that the lions can suffer to find food.

Continue reading

Update from Huab

Desert-adapted lions near the Huab.

In recent weeks different groups of desert-adapted lions have moved close to two different settlement areas. Along the banks of the Huab riverbed a group of three subadult females and one male have been moving west of the village of De Riet. This group was recently collared in the same area.

In Puros Conservancy a pair of females has been moving up and down the Hoaruseb riverbed, even once coming into conflict with the community’s cattle, which are grazing in the riverbed because grass is not available elsewhere. The IRDNC Rapid Response teams have been working with the Puros Lion Rangers under the direction of Dr. Stander of Desert Lion Conservation to address this challenge. Updates on this group’s movements have been provided by Desert Lion Conservation throughout the month of January.

Continue reading

Cubs

Check out the first footage of a new group of cubs in the Ombonde catchment study area. These cubs were seen with a pride male and three adult lionesses just following the recent full moon. The Lion Rangers will be monitoring this group closely over the coming years to learn more about the group’s dynamics and movements as the cubs grow and gain experience in the mountainous area.

Cubs and male lion.

Lion Rangers – Covid Chronicles

Here is a brand new video from Travel Channel Namibia starring the Lion Rangers, program co-founder Dr. Philip Stander, and TOSCO founder and Lion Rangers Program Coordinator, Felix Vallat. In this video you can hear Rodney, and Rapid Response Leaders Linus and Cliff talk about the work of the Lion Rangers. Thanks so much to Covid Chronicles for spending time with the Lion Rangers and for bringing attention to the challenges they face.

Understanding Human-Lion Conflict

Lion Ranger program co-founders, Dr. Philip Stander and Russell Vinjevold, provide an in-depth explanation on the challenges of human-lion conflict within communal lands in northwest Namibia. Dr. Stander explains the challenges faced by local communities in arid northwest Namibia. In particular, Stander emphasizes the give-and-take between community needs and the lions’ needs following the outcomes of drought and livelihood reductions, which have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Continue reading