In the late afternoon hours of 4 October, the Lion Rangers were informed by our colleagues with the Desert Lion Conservation Trust, that one of our research animals’ – OPL-1 – collar was no longer responding. The collar had not communicated satellite information for more than two days and it was feared something had happened to this male. While it is not uncommon for collars to not transmit GPS points for a day – perhaps the lion is under a tree, or resting against a cliff face – two days with no transmitted information is cause for alarm.
Over the past week the Lion Rangers provided field and technical support to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) within and along the border of the Hobatere Concession. Lions inhabiting the Hobatere Concession frequently move beyond concession boundaries to cause human-lion conflict (HLC) on adjoining lands. The Lion Rangers from Ehi-roviupuka and Lion Ranger Patrol Leader Jendery Tsaneb were requested by MEFT to help track lions in Hobatere so satellite and early-warning collars could be fitted to help limit HLC.
The rains are bringing unforeseen wildlife movements to the northwest, increasing the importance of active patrol to better account for lion, wildlife, and livestock movements. Last week’s Lion Ranger patrol in the Ombonde research and monitoring area emphasized uncovering seasonal waterpoints to better anticipate prey and lion movements during the rainy season.
Over the past months the rainy season has begun getting underway in Etosha National Park and further east. However, it had not made it to the Lion Rangers’ conservancies. That all changed in Ehi-rovipuka, Omatendeka, and Orupupa this past week. While performing foot-based patrol in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), some of the Lion Rangers got separated from their camps near Palmfontein when the rivers began running.
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.