In northwest Namibia communal farmers and desert-adapted lions share an arid landscape. When prey is scarce, lions can predate farmers’ livestock, leading to lions being killed in response. The Lion Rangers, a group of trained, community conservationists are working to limit livestock losses and reduce human-lion conflict. One tool in the Lion Rangers’ arsenal is the Early-Warning System, an innovative new program that began operation in 2018.
It starts with the erection of an Early-Warning Tower at a farmers’ homestead. This tower searches for collared lions and alerts farmers when lions are in the area by activating a series of lights and sirens so farmers can take precautions to secure their livestock.
Lion Rangers are then deployed to the field to find lions in the affected area, to fit them with Early-Warning collars.
Working with community leaders and farmers the Lion Rangers use local information and tracking to pinpoint where the relevant groups of lions move and reside.
Lions are tracked and lured, then darted by trained and registered professionals and fitted with Early-Warning collars that respond with the erected towers. The collars’ location and status can also be monitored remotely. The goal is to inform farmers’ of lion movements BEFORE lions enter the affected farming area. This is helping limit livestock losses and human-lion conflict.
When lions move into potential conflict areas, the information can be monitored and then disseminated to the relevant people.
The result are groups of lions that are observed safely and monitored remote. The aim is the long-term transformation of human and lion behavior: so that lions no longer seek farmers’ livestock and farmers are not forced to make the difficult decision to kill lions to protect their livestock.