In recent weeks different groups of desert-adapted lions have moved close to two different settlement areas. Along the banks of the Huab riverbed a group of three subadult females and one male have been moving west of the village of De Riet. This group was recently collared in the same area.
In Puros Conservancy a pair of females has been moving up and down the Hoaruseb riverbed, even once coming into conflict with the community’s cattle, which are grazing in the riverbed because grass is not available elsewhere. The IRDNC Rapid Response teams have been working with the Puros Lion Rangers under the direction of Dr. Stander of Desert Lion Conservation to address this challenge. Updates on this group’s movements have been provided by Desert Lion Conservation throughout the month of January.
Most recently, on 28 January, the Lion Rangers were deployed west of De Riet, as the Huab group was getting closer to the settlement. Found resting in the shade in the late afternoon, the group appears to have been hunting on the plains near Slang Pos the previous night.
The Lion Rangers monitored the group throughout the night of 28/29 January to ensure they did not move closer to the settlement. Luckily it was a full moon so the lions could be monitored with minimal disturbance. As you can see from the above video, the Lion Rangers’ presence was not a great concern for the lions. It is important to note that lions and other wildlife must always be approached with extreme caution.
The group remained resting until after 12 midnight, when they began moving south. To ensure the group remained safely away from the settlement, the Lion Rangers kept their vehicle at a safe distance, but firmly positioned between the lions and the settlement. Thankfully the lions continued moving south into the mountains, away from the Huab and De Riet.
The next morning found the lions comfortably out of harms way. This was confirmed by foot-based tracking into the mountains. From a comfortable distance, the lions were spotted resting along a ridge, perhaps hunting groups of ostrich or springbok seen in the area.
Since that time the group has continued moving further south, and is now almost to the Ugab river.
Thanks to the community at De Riet for working with the Lion Rangers, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, and IRDNC staff to ensure that human-lion conflict was avoided. The Lion Rangers will continue to keep tabs on this group and other groups in the area as part of our work to limit human-lion conflict in northwest Namibia.