From 11-15 February, Lion Rangers from Orupupa, Omatendeka, Ehi-rovipuka, #Khoadi-//Hoas, Sorris Sorris, and Tsiseb conservancies joined staff from IRDNC, Desert Lion Conservation, AfriCat North, NNF, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the University of Minnesota for Lion Ranger training at World’s End Environmental Centre in the Palmwag Concession. The training focused on bringing these recently-aligned conservancies into the full operations of the Lion Ranger program, information-sharing about program expectations and operations, and practical and classroom-based skills training. Russell Vinjevold and Cliff Tjikundi of IRDNC facilitated training while Dr. Philip Stander provided practical field training. John Heydinger of the University of Minnesota Lion Center provided background and pan-African lion information.
Highlights from the training included an opportunity to assist Dr. Philip Stander in collaring three desert-adapted lions in nearby Torra Conservancy, broad discussions about the role of Rangers in assisting and informing communities, and working to develop new ways to coordinate community conservation with government programs. The Lion Rangers have already begun operating in their conservancies and are an important part of ensuring the conservation of northwest Namibia’s unique desert-adapted lion population.