Happy World Lion Day, 2022

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The Lion Rangers and numerous other programs across Africa take each 10 August to reflect on the past year and the ongoing challenge of lion conservation. There is still much work to be done, but we believe great progress is being made. Thanks to everyone who has dedicated their lives, time, and resources, to the worthwhile venture of ensuring a future for free-ranging lions.

Above are some of our favorite recent photos of some of our favorite lions from Kunene.

Translocation Away from Trouble

NPL-27; photo taken from trail camera.

The rainy season has brought new challenges to the lions and Lion Rangers in northwest Namibia. As game have dispersed across the area, lions have followed prey species, bringing them into different areas and into contact with livestock and farmers. One particular challenge has concerned a male lion, NPL-27, first collared by the Namibian Lion Trust (NLT) in 2019. This male had been spending the majority of his time around the Okavariona-Otjiapa waterhole complex during 2021, as was made evident in numerous photos taken from our trail cameras. However, as the rainy season began other males moved into the area, seemingly pushing NPL-27 out and towards potential human-lion conflict.

(Warning: graphic content in link)

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Law Enforcement Training

Lion Rangers Training at Waterberg Environmental Centre, April 2022

Greetings from Lion Rangers Training! From 15 to 29 April, Lion Rangers from across Kunene came together at the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism‘s (MEFT) Waterberg Environmental Centre for bi-annual Lion Ranger training. With support from MEFT, the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, and TOSCO, this training primarily focused on developing the Lion Rangers’ capacities in assisting law enforcement.

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CONGRATULATIONS, RODNEY!

GOSCAR winner, TOSCO Lion Ranger Rodney Tjavara at Wereldsend, Namibia.

Dedication and hard work pays off!

This past weekend at Wereldsend saw the First Annual Grassroots Owen-Smith Community Ranger Awards (GOSCARs). Generously supported by the Namibia Chamber of Environment, these awards, to honor the memory of the late Garth Owen-Smith, recognize and celebrate the local conservationists who work and walk in the field to ensure the future of Namibia’s natural resources. Honorees exemplify the original concept with which Namibia’s internationally-recognized community-based natural resource management program started: hard work, dedication, and a commitment to unifying rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation.

The Lion Rangers program was eager to nominate our own Rodney Tjavara, who works with Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO), for this prestigious award. We are overjoyed that Rodney’s years of hard work have been recognized by Namibia’s wider conservation community.

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Monitoring and Conflict Avoidance

XPL-131 in near the Hoanib riverbed. Photo: A. Uararavi

Lion Rangers in the Sesfontein and Puros Conservancies have been hard at work over the last few weeks managing a difficult conflict situation. The male lion XPL-131, who normally inhabits the Hoanib riverbed, has gone on something of a walkabout further east through the Giribes Plain, towards the homesteads of the Gomatum riverbed area. Not normally a conflict-causing lion, Lion Rangers Rodney Tjivara, Steven Kasaona, and IRDNC Rapid Response Team Leaders, Allu Uararavi and Cliff Tjikundi have been working tirelessly to ensure this lion does not develop any bad habits, or cost the local farmers livestock. This has long been a farming area and is far afield from the core wildlife areas of Sesfontein and Puros.

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Collaring in Hobatere

MEFT staff and the Lion Rangers, collaring a lioness in the rugged hills of Hobatere Concession, October 2021.

Over the past week, the Lion Rangers from Ehi-rovipuka, #Khoadi-//Hôas, and Omatendeka conservancies have been assisting Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) game capture and Etosha veterinary staff, to collar lion in the Hobatere Concession area. Because lions move freely, in-and-out of the concession, lions often residing in Hobatere can also cause potential human-lion conflict on neighboring communal lands. In total five lions were fitted with satellite-GPS and Early-Warning collars – data are already incoming.

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World Lion Day, 2021

Desert-adapted lion cubs near Ombonde

August 10 is World Lion Day, which is recognized as a day to focus on the conservation of African lions.

The Lion Rangers are privileged to be counted among Africa’s and Namibia’s leading lion conservation organizations. But working on communal land, we are reminded everyday that lion conservation in northwest Namibia is a communal and team effort.

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Rapid Assessment of NW Lion Population

Cub desert-adapted lion, Ombonde Research Area.

On 10 May the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) commissioned a rapid assessment of the status and condition of the desert-adapted lion population. Spanning the central (north-to-south) part of the desert-adapted lion range, this rapid assessment is being undertaken by staff from MEFT, Desert Lion Conservation, Namibian Lion Trust, the Lion Rangers, and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and is being supported by Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO).

Teams of Lion Rangers are currently at work in the conservancies of Anabeb, Omatendeka, Sesfontein, and Torra, as well as Etendeka Concession, assessing the body condition of as many desert-adapted lions as possible, as well as available prey and rainfall information to make proactive decisions about the lion population of northwest Namibia. This is in addition to the ongoing work of the Lion Rangers which is still underway.

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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.