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.

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TOSCO Lion Rangers Video

See this great video, created by Lion Ranger partner TOSCO, focusing on the work of Dr. Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation and including Puros Lion Ranger Berthus Tjipombo in a star turn. Felix Vallat, TOSCO Founder and Lion Ranger Program Coordinator, has been integral to supporting the conservation of Northwest Namibia’s desert-adapted lions for years. Dr. Stander is a co-founder of the Lion Ranger program and has been performing in-depth field research on the desert-adapted lions since 1997.

Puros Lion Ranger Berthus Tjipombo

Prey Returning to the Hoanib

Video of lioness stalking prey, provided by Desert Lion Conservation.

The past months have brought scanty rains to the northern Namib desert. However, wildlife have started returning to the ephemeral riverbeds. In addition to lions, oryx, giraffe, ostrich, and elephants have been seen moving through the landscape. Dr. Flip Stander, who has remained steadfast in monitoring the desert-adapted lion population during the ongoing lockdown recently reported that all residents lions are looking well-fed and healthy. Good news!

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Death of XPL-69

XPL-69 in June 2018.

One of the great privileges of working closely with wild animals is getting to know individuals, their behaviors, tendencies, and quirks. Over the past few years the Lion Rangers have spent large amounts of time monitoring an older lioness known as XPL-69. This great privilege can also be a source of sadness when a known individual passes-away. This past week the body of XPL-69 was discovered by Dr. Stander after she died due to an apparent punctured lung from a porcupine. She was 13.5 years young. You can read his full account at desertlion.info.

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New Desert Lion Documentary!

In December 2019, reporters and camera operators from the Eastern Broadcasting Company of Taiwan spent time with Lion Ranger co-founder, Dr. Philip Stander. The resulting documentary follows Dr. Stander as he monitors and collects data on XPL-69 and XPL-114 (‘Charlie’), giving viewers an incredible glimpse into how his life and the lives of the desert-adapted lions intersect. Of particular interest are extended discussions with Dr. Stander about his more than thirty years working with lions in northwest Namibia and his devotion to his calling. It is so great that the story of the desert-adapted lions continues to be communicated around the world!

An Urgent Translocation

Orphaned Kowarib cubs being translocated.

In February a female lioness, XPL-121, was shot near a farm in the Anabeb Conservancy. She had been struggling to feed her three cubs, due to low numbers of prey in the area, and was increasingly encroaching on farmers’ livestock. In the following days the IRDNC Rapid Response Teams, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism staff, and Lion Rangers, worked tirelessly to try to capture the newly orphaned cubs. They were unsuccessful. This was considered an urgent matter as the cubs were unable to feed themselves. Thankfully, the Anabeb Conservancy stepped in. In the ensuing months conservancy management and members donated donkeys to feed the orphaned cubs and ensure their survival until they could be safely captured and translocated away from danger.

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New Logger Tower in Anabeb

Another Early-Warning System tower, this one at Otjitoveni.

Over the weekend the Lion Rangers of Anabeb Conservancy, led by IRDNC’s Rapid Response Team, and partnering with Conservancy Game Guards and local villagers, erected another Early-Warning System tower at Otjitoveni. This farm is home to Lion Ranger Ronald Karutjaiva as well as IRDNC Rapid Response Team Leader Linus Mbomoboro. For more than two years Karutjaiva and Mbomboro have been working to limit human-lion conflict across the northwest, including setting-up Early Warning towers at numerous farms. During that period their attention has been taken from their own livestock and they have lost numerous goats and sheep to lions. Despite consistent efforts by local herders to play their part, a group of lions has made themselves too comfortable near Otjitoveni and it was decided the time was right to erect another Early Warning tower. Thanks to the Anabeb Conservancy for their help and for assisting Karutjaiva and Mbomboro so they can continue their work across the region.