Get to Know the Desert-Adapted Lions

A member of the Omukutu pride

An important part of monitoring the desert-adapted lions is maintaining a near-comprehensive account of each individual in the population. As part of the recently-completed Northwest Lion Population Survey, the Lion Rangers and partnering researchers were able to identify and photograph what we consider to be each adult member of the population. (Of course, we keep working to identify other individuals.)

We are pleased to now include on this virtual space a comprehensive photographic account of each known individual composing the desert-adapted lion population. This roster will be updated as new information and photographic evidence becomes available. The ‘Desert-adapted Lions’ link and heading will remain at the top of this site going forward.

Checking In on the Huab Lions

Group of desert-adapted lions near the Huab riverbed.

Rainfall further east is bringing prey further up the Huab riverbed, towards the settlements of De Riet in Torra Conservancy and Rennevoote along the Torra-Doro !Nawas Conservancy border. Over the past week the Lion Rangers and IRDNC Rapid Response Teams have been working alongside staff from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to keeps tabs on lions in the area. With the low density of prey there was some concern that the lions may be struggling to find food. However, extensive video and photographic evidence was reviewed and leading scientists and field practitioners agreed the lions are doing well considering the season and relative lack of rainfall, and thus prey.

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New Early-Warning Towers

Early-warning tower materials arriving at Ganamub, Sesfontein Conservancy

This past week the Lion Rangers and IRDNC Human-Wildlife Conflict Response teams headed to the conservancies of Sesfontein and Puros to deploy another pair of early-warning system towers. This innovative new system of collecting, storing, and disseminating lion data was pioneered by Dr. Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation and has become an invaluable tool and resource for communal herders in northwest Namibia as they manage the difficulties of living alongside the desert-adapted lions.

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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

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!