Replacing Collars in Hobatere

Infrared photo of four lions eating plains zebra, Hobatere Concession

As the dry season deepens, humans, livestock, and wildlife are on the move in northwest Namibia. This potentially brings lions and other predators into contact with pastoralists in new areas. In the Ehi-rovipuka farming areas west of Hobatere Concession, farmers and their large herds of goats and sheep have recently moved back from wet season grazing areas. To limit the possibility of human-lion conflict, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) has prioritized replacing inactive collars within Hobatere. Two lionesses in particular, known as OPL-9 and OPL-10, are the only known lions currently inhabiting Hobatere without active GPS/satellite collars.

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Collaring in Hobatere Concession

Heydinger assisting with collaring in Hobatere.

Human-lion conflict challenges within the Ehi-rovipuka and ≠Khoadi-//Hôas conservancies bordering the Hobatere tourism concession necessitated a short-notice operation by the Lion Rangers in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT). In the past few months male lions have been causing problems for communal farmers along the Hobatere fence line. With support from MEFT veterinary services and the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, a team of Rangers and MEFT staff spent an intensive three days in Hobatere. What they found there was somewhat surprising.

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Mending Etosha (Kaross) Fence

Male lion outside the Etosha boundary.

Etosha National Park encompasses more than 22,000 sq km of north-central and northwest Namibia. Keeping the entire park’s fence in good working order is a tall task, verging on the near impossible given the sandy substrate underlying the fence. This becomes a particular problem when lions from Etosha transgress the park’s boundary, moving onto communal land and potentially causing problems for neighboring livestock farmers.

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Assisting MEFT in Hobatere

Desert-adapted lioness near Ombonde research area.

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.

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