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!
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.
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.
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.
In our mountainous study area prey can be difficult to come by. One lion pride based in the mountains of the Ombonde river catchment has adjusted to this challenge by becoming adept giraffe hunters. During the recent full moon period they waited until the hours just before sunrise to chase and capture a giraffe in the riverbed.
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.
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.
Dr. Stander has recently compiled new home range maps for lion prides utilizing the northern Namib coastal habitat. As outlined in his 2019 paper, Stander has uncovered extensive evidence of lions preying-upon marine species along the Skeleton Coast.
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.
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!