Population Survey: Finishing Up

NPL-34 and NPL-35 with two uncollared lions, Anabeb Conservancy, December 2022.

After nearly sixty days in the field, the Northwest Lion Population Survey completed this past week. Teams of Lion Rangers and MEFT staff have been working incredibly hard and it has paid off. More than 22,000 sq km have been covered by foot and vehicle. Every known lion in Kunene was observed and photographed, as well as some unexpected encounters. Lion Rangers from across the different conservancies partnered together, with many showing-off their tracking skills in areas they have not previously visited. Preliminary results indicate that the lion population of northwest Namibia is fairing well, even in the face of diminished prey numbers. Individuals and groups appear healthy, many lions were observed at recent kills, and we are heartened by the number of young cubs and conspicuously pregnant females. In the coming months lead researchers Uakendisa Muzuma and Dr. John Heydinger will be performing analysis and write-up of survey results, to be submitted to MEFT management. Watch this space for more information.

The survey closed with visits to Omukutu pride of lions, residing in Anabeb and Omatendeka conservancies, and to the Hobatere pride. All groups were observed and photographed, including six uncollared lions.

Omukutu lioness in the rain, January 2023.
Desert-adapted lions near Omukutu, January 2023.

Thanks to the generous support from the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia and all the participating conservancies. This has been the first-ever Northwest Lion Population Survey and we learned a ton along the way. The operation sets an important baseline for upcoming surveys, as the Lion Rangers and MEFT move-forward with the evidence-based management of Northwest Namibia’s lions. We could not have achieved all of this without your support!

Lioness near Omukutu, January 2023.

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