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.

Immobilized desert-adapted lion, prior to being fitted with a collar in Hobatere.

Over a period of four days the Lion Rangers worked under the direction of MEFT’s Otjivasandu Warden and Ministry Large Carnivore Coordinator and in partnership with MEFT veterinary and game capture staff. The Lion Rangers took the lead on tracking and identifying individual lions to be collared, emphasizing likely problem lions. Each day began with the Rangers taking a small team into the field for tracking in separate areas. The Rangers’ deep experience in the area helped facilitate efficient team deployment and the Rangers demonstrated their extensive experience while working with MEFT staff.

Ehi-rovipuka Lion Ranger Esau Tjeundo examining an injured donkey along the Hobatere border.

During the operation the Lion Rangers helped fit two satellite and two early-warning collars to lions considered to be a high risk for conflict along the Hobatere boundary. Early indications from available data are showing these lions move between Hobatere and neighboring Ehi-rovipuka with some frequency.

Lion Rangers and MEFT Game Capture team with immobilized desert-adapted lion in Hobatere.
Lion Rangers fitting an immobilized desert-adapted lioness with early-warning collar near Ombonde area.

This operation was part of an accelerated collaring program within the eastern range of the desert-adapted lions. Already in 2021 nine new collars have been fitted and an additional 8-12 are expected by the end of the year. This will nearly double the number of active satellite and early-warning collars currently deployed among the desert-adapted lion population.

Lion Rangers and MEFT Game Capture Team in Hobatere.

The Lion Rangers are pleased to be partnering with MEFT on these important operations and consider it a privilege to be trusted by the Namibian government to perform such delicate work. Partnering with MEFT and other conservation organizations in northwest Namibia we are optimistic for an even brighter future for human-lion coexistence in the region.

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