This past week the Lion Rangers and IRDNC Human-Wildlife Conflict Response teams headed to the conservancies of Sesfontein and Puros to deploy another pair of early-warning system towers. This innovative new system of collecting, storing, and disseminating lion data was pioneered by Dr. Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation and has become an invaluable tool and resource for communal herders in northwest Namibia as they manage the difficulties of living alongside the desert-adapted lions.
The early-warning towers were deployed to Ganamub (Sesfontein) and Tomakas (Puros). Both of these areas have long been inhabited by livestock owners who have worked tirelessly with conservationists and lion researchers to productively live alongside lions. In particular, Lion Rangers Steven Kasaona and Langjohn Watokwia reside at Ganamub and have been central to human-lion conflict mitigation efforts in the area. Lions inhabiting the Hoanib riverbed have been known to come up to Ganamub when game in the riverbed is scarce, and trouble the pastoralists and livestock living there.
Tomakas was the former stomping grounds of the famed ‘Five Musketeers‘ who moved through the area in search of wildlife in the nearby rugged hills. Situated at the border of Puros and Sesfontein, and adjacent to the Giribes plains, Tomakas can serve as a funnel point for wildlife and livestock. Local headman Japie Uraravi has been a long-time supporter of conservation and the communal conservancy system, and was among the first generation of Community Game Guards. Conservation of lions in northwest Namibia simply could not occur without these types of local partnerships.
The early-warning towers will provide another layer of livestock protection to local farmers and will also serve as a key data collection point so communities, conservationists, and researchers can continue to better understand the area’s lions.