Current locations - The "Terrace Male"

Xpl-68 "Terrace Male" Xpl-68 Summary Fly with Xpl-68

Xpl-68 was born during Nov 2007 in the Agab River. He moved to the Huab River in 2010/2011. On 7 Aug 2012, Xpl-68 left the Huab River and embarked on an adventurous journey that took him deep into Angola. The information collected on his movements has never been recorded before and is truly remarkable. On 24 Aug 2014 the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was shot near Tomakas village on the Giribis plains.

28 Aug 2014. Information on Xpl-68. The day was spent reconstructing the events that unfolded during the killing of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) by systematically following the tracks of the lion and other related activities. An autopsy was also performed on the decomposed carcass of Xpl-68. The conclusion is that the lion was shot and that he died quickly after a bullet entered his heart. A detailed analysis of the findings and a summary of all the data collected on Xpl-68 will be compiled and presented to the local authorities and to the Ministry of Environment & Tourism.

27 Aug 2014. The Terrace Male is Dead. The Desert Lion Project is sad to report that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was killed near Tomakas village sometime after midday on 24 Aug 2014. Xpl-68 was with the Okongwe lionesses when the incident occurred. Data from their satellite collars show that the Okongwe females immediately moved into the northern Okongwe Mountains – possibly due to the disturbance caused by the killing of Xpl-68. Furthermore, the satellite collar of Xpl-68 was removed and burnt. The charred remains of the satellite collar were located +-100 metres north of the carcass (photo: top right). It would appear that the people responsible for killing the “Terrace Male” wanted to hide the evidence. This is an unfortunate development because the incident could stimulate a public outcry that may question many fundamental aspects of the conservation, communal conservancy and tourism efforts in the Region.

26 Aug 2014. Concern for “Terrace Male”. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is still not transmitting any new information. Although the Okongwe lionesses moved deeper into the mountains there is real concern as to why the satellite collar of Xpl-68 suddenly stopped working. Two vehicles are currently en route to his last location to investigate the cause of the problem. The Floodplain Pride spent the day at Oasis spring and then moved 15 km southwards during the night.

25 Aug 2014. Oasis. The Floodplain lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” crossed the dunes to the mouth of the Hoanib River. They were located in thick mist resting between the hummocks at Oasis spring. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) stopped transmitting locations at 12:33 yesterday afternoon. It is possible that Xpl-68 followed the Okongwe lionesses into the narrow gorges of the northern Okongwe Mountains where his collar may not have a clear view of the sky to send the data via satellite. However, there is concern because the last position at 12:33 was not far from the main Giribis road.

20 Aug 2014. Okongwe Water. The “Terrace Male (Xpl-68) drank at the Okongwe waterhole shortly after a single lioness of the Okongwe Pride was photographed (photos: below left & middle). Groups of up to seven spotted hyaenas have been observed in the Okongwe area (see photo: below right).

16 Aug 2014. Replacement for "Rosh". The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has connected the Okongwe Pride and they are currently together on the Giribis Plains. Ever since Xpl-73 “Rosh” was shot on 1 July 2014, the “Terrace Male” has been frequenting the area regularly used by Xpl-73 and the Okongwe lionesses. This development unfortunately puts the “Terrace Male” in danger because the Okongwe lions are well adapted to living close to people and their livestock. They are cautious and distrustful of vehicles & people whereas Xpl68 is naïve and oblivious to the dangers. For example, when Xpl-56 (a young male from the Floodplain Pride) joined the Okongwe lionesses in Nov 2010 he was killed near the Tomakas village (see News: 14 - 18 Nov 2010). Management options to prevent conflict and keep the “Terrace Male” out of harms way are now limited due to his association with the Okongwe lions.

15 Aug 2014. Ostriches. Several large groups of ostrich chicks have been observed between the Uniab and Hoaruseb Rivers. The breeding success and survival of the ostrich chicks are probably due to the high rainfall earlier this year. After their encounter with Xpl-68, the Floodplain lions moved back to the Hoanib Floodplain. Whilst the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) returned to the northern section of the Okongwe Mountains and the Okongwe females moved to the western edge of the Giribis Plains.

14 Aug 2014. Zebra Kill. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) killed a Hartmann’s zebra against the slope of a mountain near the Sawarugab River. It is not possible to access the area by vehicle, but the lion was spotted and photographed from a distance of 1.68 km (see photos below).

12 Aug 2014. Okongwe Lions. The tracks of the Okongwe females were followed for 22 km to the Okongwe waterhole and they were resting in a deep rocky gorge during the day. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was captured on a camera-trap at 03h20. He then moved south towards the Floodplain Pride. Both Xpl-68 and the Floodplain lions were roaring and an encounter was inevitable. When Xpl-68 approached the Floodplain lions they all ran away and headed towards the Floodplain. Xpl-68 did not follow them.

11 Aug 2014. Okongwe Pride. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved into a narrow canyon along the southern bank of the Gomatum River and it was not possible to monitor his movements during the day. The high cliffs and rock formations blocked both the VHF transmitter and the GPS/Satellite functions of his radio collar. Fresh tracks of the Okongwe Pride were observed at a weather station on the Giribis plains (photo: bottom right). Their tracks were followed for 6 km in an easterly direction.

10 Aug 2014. Okongwe Menuevers. Monitoring the movements of both the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and the Floodplain Pride has been challenging in the mountainous terrain of Okongwe and the Gomatum River. The use of an iPad with GIS applications and topographic maps or satellite imagery has been invaluable to navigate between the mountains at night.

9 Aug 2014. Active Waterhole. Both lionesses of the Floodplain Pride are currently in oestrous and they moved towards Okongwe waterhole during the night. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) missed a golden opportunity to meet-up with the lionesses by less than 12 hours because he moved northwards to the Gomatum River whilst the Floodplain lions were approaching from the south. The camera-trap at the Hoanib Camp waterhole have produced valuable photos during the past five days (photos: below), including a collared brown hyena and a collared Cape fox on the same image (photo: bottom left).

8 Aug 2014. Okongwe Mountains 2. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was followed and monitored throughout the night as he moved along narrow valleys to the Okongwe waterhole (photo: left). A new camera-trap was mounted at Okongwe waterhole (photo: middle). The camera was placed inside a protective metal casing because spotted hyaenas and lions have damaged and removed a number of cameras. A Martial eagle was observed along the Okongwe River (photo: right).

7 Aug 2014. Okongwe Mountains. An hypothesis that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has joined-up with the Okongwe lionesses was rejected last night when he was observed in the Okongwe Mountains 9 km south of the Gomatum River. Xpl-68 was alone. The number of lion tracks in the immediate area and the movement patterns of Xpl-68 during the past four days suggest that the lionesses may still be in the vicinity.

6 Aug 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) left the Gomatum River and during the early morning hours he moved through the mountains towards Okongwe.

5 Aug 2014. Floodplain. All the camera-traps in the Hoanib River and Floodplain were checked and serviced (photos: below). The resident lions have not utilised these areas recently and there were no signs of other lion activities. Based on his movement patterns it is suspected that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is interacting with the Okongwe females. He moved back to the Gomatum River and even though there are currently no livestock in the River, it remains a risky situation because of the proximity of the Purros settlement.

1 Aug 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) left the Okongwe Mountains and moved to the Hoaruseb River to settle in thick vegetation 8 km north of Purros. The Floodplain lions have been spending a lot of time between the granite ridges south of the Hoanib Floodplain (photos: below).

31 Jul 2014. Mountain Lions. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and the Okongwe lions are still together in the Okongwe Mountains south of the Gomatum River. They are moving along the high mountain ridges at an altitude of 3,800 feet (1,150 m) – this translate to 2,400 feet (730 m) above ground level at the Gomatum River. Last night Xpl-68 moved 5.2 km with altitude fluctuations of >750 feet (230 m).

30 Jul 2014. Rosh's Vacuum. It can be expected amongst social mammals, like lions, that the sudden death or removal of a prominent breeding male will result in unusual movements & behaviour until a new male or coalition of males claim the vacancy. The curious movement patterns of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) during the past month coincide with the shooting of Xpl-73 “Rosh” on 1 Jul 2014. During this period the “Terrace Male” explored some of the core areas utilised by “Rosh”, which he had not ventured into previously. Last night the “Terrace Male” encountered the Okongwe females in the Gomatum River 22 km east of Purros. It was an interaction charged with social conflict and with a lot of roaring. The Okongwe lions and Xpl-68 then moved over the mountains towards Okongwe.

29 Jul 2014. West of Tomakas. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved westwards along the Gomatum River and settled for the day in a narrow valley on the south side of the mountain range (photo: top). The training course held at the new Hoanib Camp was completed (see 24 & 26/27 Jul 2014). Ten staff members completed the course and passed the final examination. The trainees were subjected to a basic-knowledge test at the start of the course where the average score was 55% (see graph: bottom left). At the end of the two days they were given a comprehensive and substantially more difficult test. In this exam the average result was 71% with all ten individuals scoring above 60%.

28 Jul 2014. "Terrace Male" in Danger. During the night Xpl-68 moved through the highest and most rugged of the Okongwe Mountains and was very close to the Tomakas Villages at 02h00 this morning. By 06h30 he had moved a few hundred metres towards the mountains. All available resources have been pooled and a major effort is underway to avoid or limit livestock losses and conflict with the Tomakas community. And to prevent the iconic “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) from being killed.

23 Jul 2014. Salvadora Bush. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) dragged his Oryx carcass inside a thick Salvadora bush on the south bank of the Hoanib River. Several brown hyaenas were observed nearby at sunset (photos below). The Floodplain Pride is currently 14 km to the southwest. The movements of both Xpl-68 and the Floodplain lions are being monitored closely.

22 Jul 2014. "Joey". With the influx of wildlife to the lower Hoanib River the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) succeeded in catching an Oryx on the southern bank of the River just east of the Floodplain. Several brown hyaenas, including the radio-collared female “Joey” (Xhb-16), were observed at the kill (photo: top right).

21 Jul 2014. Hoanib Desert Camp. Monitoring of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) continued and he is still in the lower section of the Hoanib River. Substantial numbers of prey animals, such as Oryx & springbok, have returned to the Hoanib River after they dispersed following the high rainfall earlier in the year. This is good for the lions as they are less likely to move towards human settlements and livestock in their search for food. Building of the new Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Camp is nearing completion. The Hoanib Camp is expected to open on 1 Aug 2014 (photos: bottom row).

19 Jul 2014. Roaring. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved a short distance along the Hoanib River. He was observed roaring often and he will hopefully make contact with the Floodplain Pride.

16 Jul 2014. Xpl-68. Since his translocation to the Hoanib River the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has been kept under observation during the daylight hours. His behaviour is normal and thus far there is no obvious indication that he wants to return to the Purros area. Repairs to the research vehicle were delayed by the monitoring of Xpl-68, but needs to be completed before any serious work can continue.

15 Jul 2014. Repairs. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) recovered fully from the long sedation and translocation from the Gomatum River. Okahirongo Elephant Lodge is thanked for their support and assistance with the monitoring of Xpl-68 during the past week. The rough conditions and extensive use of the specialised equipment on the research vehicle, especially during the last week with Xpl-68 at Purros, resulted in a breakdown of the solar power system and equipment failure. It is essential to the success of the Project that the vehicle and all its equipment function properly, especially in crisis situations. For example, on 14 Jul 2014 when Xpl-68 was darted there was an electrical failure that prevented the use of important equipment, such as the sound system and lights. These problems will have to be repaired in the field during the next few days.

14 Jul 2014. Necessary Action. At sunset the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came out of the narrow gorge where he spent the day and headed along the Gomatum River straight towards Tomakas village (photo: top right). An anthropomorphic, but all too realistic, view of a “suicide mission” seems appropriate to describe the behaviour and movement patterns of Xpl-68 during the past week. For reasons of human-lion conflict, public safety in the Purros area, and the survival of the “Terrace Male”, it was decided to relocate him to the Hoanib Floodplain. After a seven-hour drive Xpl-68 was release near the Floodplain in a thick blanket of fog at 05h40 this morning (photo: bottom right). By 06h50 he had recovered sufficiently to start feeding on a springbok carcass (photo: bottom left). The “Terrace Male” was immobilised less than 200 metres from the place where Xpl-73 “Rosh” was shot.

13 Jul 2014. Gomatum River. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) started moving at dark and reached the Gomatum River at midnight (see top image). He then followed the Gomatum valley in an easterly direction. This was fortunate since the route took him away from a large cattle post south of Purros, but also concerning because he walked past the place where Xpl-73 “Rosh” was shot two weeks ago and towards Tomakas where there are large numbers of livestock.

12 Jul 2014. Xpl-68 in Mountains 2. The movements of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) were monitored intensively from a high vantage point using a combination of VHF telemetry, satellite collar locations and the quad-copter. This was necessary because of the lion’s close proximity to the village and cattle posts. Xpl-68 remained inactive until 01h00 when he started moving through the mountains towards the southwest (see bottom image). At 03h00 he changed direction to the east and may have captured a prey animal because he is still in the same position.

11 Jul 2014 11h00. Xpl-68 in Mountains. It would appear that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) made a kill in the mountains 12 km northeast of Purros (map: bottom left). The kill was possibly made at around 04h00 on 10 Jul 2014. At sunrise he left the location (see red X, map: bottom right) and spent the day between the rocks of a high mountain peak. At sunset he returned to the same place and only vacated the area at dawn. This behaviour is somewhat unusual and it can be speculated that he may have been disturbed at the kill during the daylight hours. This area is inaccessible by vehicle, but small groups of Ovahimba pastoralists are known to utilise the area when surface water is available for their livestock. The Purros Conservancy are not aware of the current locations of these families because they are nomadic and live in temporary settlements.

10 Jul 2014 10h00. Xpl-68 Update. During the night the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed hunting donkeys on the gravel plains to the west of the Hoaruseb River. It was possible to capture several photos in the moonlight using long exposure settings (see below). Judging by his condition it is unlikely that Xpl-68 killed any prey during the past 4 days near Purros. Nonetheless, his movement patterns into areas occupied by people and livestock (see map below) are worrying because of the inevitable conflict that will ultimately result in his death.

10 Jul 2014. Xpl-68 at Purros 3. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved closer to Purros during the night and rested inside dense vegetation during the day. Despite intensive monitoring of his movements and the presence of a vehicle close to his actual location (using radio telemetry) for the past three days, Xpl-68 has not yet been seen.

9 Jul 2014. Xpl-68 at Purros 2. Thus far there is no evidence that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has killed livestock in the upper Hoaruseb River. He wondered into the mountains to the east during the night and returned to the river shortly before daybreak (see map). The situation is tense because there are people and livestock occupying the area to the north of his current location.

8 Jul 2014. Xpl-68 at Purros. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) walked more than 60 km last night and ended up at the same location (12 km north of Purros, see photo: top), which he visited several times during the past few months. There are still many donkeys in the area and it is assumed that he killed one early this morning. The “Five Musketeers” were observed at sunrise this morning as they moved northwards along the Tsuxib River (photos: bottom row).

7 Jul 2014. Floodplain Pride. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) missed an encounter with the Floodplain lionesses by several hours – Xpl-68 moved northwards towards Okongwe at sunset and the lionesses arrived from the south at his earlier location near Amp’s Poort sometime after midnight. The Floodplain pride, including the “Five Musketeers”, was located with the aid of the quad-copter (photos: top & bottom left). By morning the “Terrace Male (Xpl-68) had reached Purros and he returned to his usual spot in the Hoaruseb River where he kills donkeys.

24 Jun 2014. Cameras. The array of camera-traps along the Hoanib River provides valuable and accurate data on the movements of lions. The “Terrace Male” was captured on four different cameras during the past week.

23 Jun 2014. Hoanib. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is spending more time in the Hoanib River than previously and moved from Auses to the Mudorib Junction.

16 Jun 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located on the northern bank of the Hoanib Floodplain. He was hunting Oryx and giraffes during the time he was observed.

10 Jun 2014. Hoanib Camp. During the night the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) walked through the construction site at the new Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Camp. He appeared to be searching for the Floodplain lionesses, but they had moved into the mountains to the southeast.

9 Jun 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved eastwards from the Hoanib Floodplain and was observed close to Amp’s Poort.

3 Jun 2014. Lion Movements. At midnight the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) crossed the Ganias track on his way towards the Hoanib Floodplain (map: bottom left), but Xpl-73 “Rosh” was still lying amongst the Salvadora thickets at Elephant Song in the Hoanib River (map: bottom right).

2 Jun 2014. Lion Movements. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and Xpl-73 “Rosh” have both moved away from the conflict areas where they have been “tempting fate” for the past few days.

30 May 2014. Camera-trap Images-3. The Floodplain Pride and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) were captured by the array of camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain during the past six weeks. Xpl-73 “Rosh” has not moved for 24 hours and he is close to human settlements. Emsie Verwey of Wilderness Safaris is currently investigating the situation.

29 May 2014. "Terrace Male" at Purros. The Desert Lion Project has not been able to respond to the potential problem of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at Purros. Pieter de Wet of Okahirongo Elephant Lodge is thanked for monitoring the situation and providing updates. Emsie Verwey of Wilderness Safaris at Hoanib Camp has been instrumental in facilitating communications.

24 May 2014. Dunes. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) crossed the dune-belt to the mouth of the Hoanib River and then turned northwards following the western edge of the dunes (approximately 5 km from the coast) towards the mouth of the Hoaruseb River. The prey animals that he normally relies on (mainly Oryx) have not yet returned to the area after they dispersed following the unusually high rainfall earlier in the year.

23 May 2014. "Terrace Male". The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed at the base of Auses spring in the Hoanib Floodplain. He is in good condition despite the food shortage that he and the other lions inhabiting the western section of the Desert had to endure over the past few months. The Floodplain Pride and all “Five Musketeers” have been reunited.

15 Apr 2014. Desperate Tactics. The use of fireworks and flares to disturb and chase the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) away from the problem area north of Purros was only partially successful. It was the use of heavy rock music, especially tracks with a strong high-pitched voice component (such as songs by AC/DC, Deep Purple & Led Zeppelin) played at full volume (±4,500 Watt peak power) through the sound system that caused the lion to vacate the area (see attached Mp3 example). Even though care was taken to “hide” the research vehicle behind thick vegetation when the music was played, there is little doubt that the “Terrace Male” will associate the disturbance with the research vehicle. This will limit future opportunities of observing and following the lion. These desperate measures are unfortunately required because if the “Terrace Male” remains in the area he will be shot or poisoned.

Spectacular rainclouds during the late afternoon Sound playbacks Movements of Xpl-68

14 Apr 2014. Saving "Terrace". The wanderings of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) across the harshest sections of the northern Namib Desert during the past 2.6 years have been nothing short of remarkable. But, it was his voyage into Angola, where he swam across the Kunene River, that captured the imagination of the public and he has become somewhat of an icon, which has arguably benefitted wildlife conservation and tourism in Namibia. Unfortunately, his recent visits to Purros have taken him into harms way. Management efforts to deter him from the area have failed when he returned to the settlement for the third time two nights ago. With the invaluable support of Wilderness Safaris (Emsie, Gerhard, Bertus & Jannes), the Purros Lion Rangers (Collin, Bertus & Kooti), Purros Conservancy (Hiskia) and Okahirongo Elephant Lodge (Pollen & Pieter) a desperate effort was made today to scare Xpl-68 away from the Purros Settlement using fireworks and flares (see photos below by E Verwey). Due to the extensive rains most of the wildlife have vacated the areas that Xpl-68 utilised during the past 2 years and he has presumably been attracted to Purros because of the donkeys that occupy the river habitat. Hopes are that the disturbance will cause him to leave.

9 Apr 2014. Lower Hoaruseb River. The Hoaruseb River came down in flood again during the night and it was not possible to cross the river. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was monitored for another 16 hours and it is pleasing to know that he has recovered fully from the long anaesthetic and the relocation from Purros. The sub-adult male “Tullamore” (Xpl-93) has still not rejoined the rest of the Floodplain Pride. This rather surprising development will be investigated as soon as the flooding rivers can be crossed.

8 Apr 2014. "Terrace Male" Recovered. Transporting the immobilized “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) in the new Land Cruiser was a great success. The specially designed vehicle with all its extra equipment and the OME suspension made for a smooth and effective operation. The lion was put on a Ringer-lactate drip and his heart rate, respiration and general status were monitored and recorded every 30 minutes. A heart rate monitor, used mainly by athletes, was fitted to the lion and this helped to monitor his status whilst driving through the rough terrain. The Hoaruseb River was reached at daybreak and Xpl-68 was offloaded next to a thick acacia bush and his recovery was monitored. By 07h10 he started walking and at sundown he was resting between granite boulders 1.2 km from the ocean.

Loading and monitoring the vital statistics of the “Terrace Male” during the relocation.
A heart rate monitor was fitted and provided constant information whilst driving. The tip of Xpl-68’s tail - see 20 Feb 2014

7 Apr 2014. Translocation. More discussions were held with the Purros community about the fate of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and the potential tourism benefits. The community requested that the lion must be removed from the area. The Desert Lion Project agreed with the request because it was suggested that the lion would be shot. The “Terrace Male” was immobilized at 01:20 this morning. With the assistance of Okahirongo Elephant Lodge (Pieter de Wet) and IRDNC (Russel & Tina Vinjevold) the lion was loaded in the Desert Lion Land Cruiser and relocated to the mouth of the Hoaruseb River. Flooding of the Hoaruseb River hampered the operation and an alternative route had to be used. After driving for 8 hours and 96 km through difficult terrain, the “Terrace Male” was released safely at the mouth of the Hoaruseb River.

6 Apr 2014. "Terrace Male". The sub-adult male ”Tullamore” (Xpl-93) and Xpl-10 did not manage to reconnect with the rest of the Floodplain Pride. Preliminary data indicate that the Hunkap males (Xpl-81 “Kebbel” & Xpl-87) approached the remaining Floodplain Pride from the north, which caused them to scatter and retreat back over Sima Hill towards the Hoanib Floodplain. Efforts to locate Xpl-10 & 93, reconstruct the events of last night and present the information on this website was cut short with the development of a crisis-situation with the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at Purros. Information was received that there was much unhappiness amongst the community about the lion and that there was a risk that the lion might be shot. After a 7–hour drive, crossing two flooding rivers (photo: middle right), Xpl-68 was located 8.7 km north of Purros. After a discussion with members of the Purros Conservancy and Colin Kasupi (Lion Ranger) it was agreed to give Xpl-68 one more night to vacate the area on his on accord. A total of 8 tourist vehicles staying at the Purros Campsite were observed approaching and viewing the “Terrace Male” (photo: bottom right).

5 Apr 2014. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved past Purros and conflict with the local communities is inevitable. His movements are being monitored closely.

3 Apr 2014. Drama at Sima Hill. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) followed the Floodplain lionesses past Sima Hill and he caught up with them near the Tsuxib River at 02:00 – 03:00 this morning. Based on preliminary satellite collar data and spoor reconstructions, there was a confrontation that caused the “Five Musketeers” to split-up and become separated from the lionesses. At sunset the “Terrace Male” was observed moving southwards along the Tsuxib River (photos: bottom row). He was roaring and searching for the lionesses. By that time all the Floodplain lions had moved into the hills to the east of the Tsuxib River and at 22h00 the signals from their respective radio collars suggested that they have joined-up. It is interesting to note that Xpl-81 “Kebbel”, who have spent the past month south of Hunkap spring, suddenly moved >47 km last night, directly towards the location where the conflict between Xpl-68 “Terrace Male” and the Floodplain Pride occurred. He may have responded to the associated roaring – a distance of 65 km (direct line).

The view from the Hoanib Floodplain towards Sima Hill. Undulating terrain between Sima Hill and the Tsuxib River

2 Apr 2014. Xpl-68 searching for females. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located on the north bank of the Hoanib Floodplain during the morning and he was heading towards the Floodplain lionesses. His behavior suggested that he was aware of their presence in the area. However, the Floodplain lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” continued moving during the day and at sunset they crossed the water-divide south of Sima Hill towards the Tsuxib River.

17 Mar 2014. Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) remained at the Uniab Delta and several tourists spotted him at one of the springs near the road. He only became active after sunset and he was observed hunting for Oryx near the mouth of the Uniab River.

7-8 Mar 2014. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is feeding on a carcass (presumably an Oryx kill) at the bottom of the Waterfall of the Uniab Delta. NWR at Terrace Bay were informed of the development. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is still feeding on the carcass at the Uniab Waterfall.

7 Mar 2014. Xpl-75. The Huab lioness, Xpl-75 “Angela”, has left her three small cubs in a rock outcrop south of the Huab River. During the night she moved southwards along the mountain ridges to the Ugab River in search of prey. Most of the wildlife appears to be concentrating to the southeast near Gai-Ais spring.

 

1 Mar 2014. Information Placard. A poster was developed for tourists and visitors of the Skeleton Coast Park that contains information on lions and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68). The placards will be posted at all the major tourism locations of the Skeleton Cost Park.

23 Feb 2014. Monitoring Xpl-68. Another two days were spent monitoring the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at the Uniab Delta. The observations confirmed that the lion has not become unusually aggressive and that the tourists most likely provoked the incident of 21 Feb 2014. During a 24-hour period, whilst Xpl-68 was lying between 50 and 100 metres from the main road, a total of 23 vehicles drove past the lion. Xpl-68 was visible from the road for 15 of the 23 vehicles and 9 vehicles (60%) spotted the lion and stopped to take photographs (photo: top). On one occasion a vehicle stopped and people got out of the vehicle (photo: middle left). They appeared unaware of the presence of the lion. In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and Namibia Wildlife Resorts, a pamphlet will be developed and posted at all the major locations to provide information and guidelines regarding lions to visitors of the Skeleton Coast Park.

21 Feb 2014. Xpl-68 kill Oryx. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) killed an adult Oryx at the northern spring of the Uniab Delta.

News Flash. Lion harasses tourist? Shortly after leaving the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) a report was received from the Chief Warden of the Skeleton Coast Park of an incident where tourists were threatened by a lion at the Uniab Delta. Plans to continue searching for the Hoanib lionesses were abandoned to investigate the incident. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was found approximately 70 metres east of the road and an evaluation of the tracks suggested that a tourist vehicle spotted the lion and drove slightly off the road, presumably to get a better view (photo: top left). The tracks also suggest that the tourists got out of their vehicle close to the lion, which could have triggered an aggressive response from the lion. A shoe was found lying nearby (photo: bottom left) – perhaps lost by its owner whilst hurrying to get back into the vehicle. The rest of the day was spent observing Xpl-68. There was no change in his behaviour and it seems more likely that the incident was due to disturbance caused by the visitors.

20 Feb 2014. "Terrace Male" Injured. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is carrying injuries to his back legs and the tuft of his tail is missing (photos: top & bottom left). This may have occurred during his recent interaction with the two Hunkap males (Xpl-81 “Kebbel” & Xpl-87) on 14/15 Feb 2014 when they displaced him from the Hoanib River. Xpl-68’s tail was intact and he did not have any injuries when he was last observed on 10 Feb 2014.

10 Feb 2014. Back to Hoanib. The progress of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was monitored as he walked back to the Hoanib River during the night. Efforts to locate the Hoanib Pride lionesses have been continued.

9 Feb 2014. Purros. The "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) was monitored for most of the night. He was skittish and the high number of donkeys moving freely in the area throughout the night made it very difficult to control the conflict situation. Fortunately, Xpl-68 moved out of the riverbed at 04h00 towards the southwest of Purros. There are large numbers of livestock in the Hoaruseb River that extend as far west as the border of the Skeleton Coast Park (photo: bottom middle). Serious conflict between the local communities and lions is inevitable. Whilst driving to Purros on 7/8 Feb 2014, evidence was found 6 km north of Mowe Bay where Xpl-68 dragged a large Cape Fur seal carcass inland for approximately 1.2 km (photo: bottom right) before consuming it. The signs were too old and windblown to determine if the lion killed or scavenged the seal.

8 Feb 2014. The "Terrace Male". With support from IRDNC, Wilderness Safaris, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge and Peter Sander in Swakopmund, a substantial effort was made to solve the conflict situation north of Purros. Xpl-68 killed several donkeys and the possibility of translocating him away from the danger area is being considered. A camera-trap in the lower Hoaruseb Gorge captured images of Xpl-68, a cheetah and many springboks.

7 Feb 2014. Efforts, involving several organisations & individuals, have been mobilised to address the potential conflict situation with the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) in the upper Hoaruseb River.

6 Feb 2014. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) remained in a dangerous area. With the help of IRDNC, the Purros Conservancy and Lion Officers (Collin) were informed of a potential conflict situation. If Xpl-68 does kill livestock roaming freely at night, intervention will be necessary to prevent further losses to the community and to prevent him being shot or poisoned.

5 Feb 2014. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is in the upper Hoaruseb River where there are many livestock.

23 Jan 2014. Xpl-68 on the Floodplain. After retrieving data from the camera-traps, the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was encountered (at dusk) in the western section of Hoanib Floodplain. Photos of the Land Cruiser negotiating the flooding river on 20 Jan 2014 taken by Into Nature Productions.

18 Jan 2014. Giraffe hunt. Aerial photographs from the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) provided detailed information to reconstruct the hunting and killing of the giraffe by the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68). The tracks and other signs in the sensitive terrain revealed an elaborate effort by Xpl-68 and that he dragged the carcass for 620 metres to the rock overhang (photo: right). At sunrise the giraffe mother returned and stood watching Xpl-68 from a safe distance (see circle on aerial photo & bottom left photo).

17 Jan 2014. Giraffe. Early this morning (04h00 – 06h00) the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) killed a juvenile giraffe south of Sima Hill. Xpl-68 dragged the carcass (estimated mass = 150 kg) approximately 500 metres to a rock outcrop and stashed it under a rock overhang (photos: below). At sunset the mother of the young giraffe approached the scene – she was possibly looking for her offspring (see photo: bottom middle).

11 Jan 2014. Males. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) returned from the Khumib River during the night and there appears to be another interaction between Xpl-68 and Xpl-73 “Rosh” looming in the Hoaruseb River.

10 Jan 2014. UAV. The “unmanned aerial vehicle” was used to monitor the movements of “Rosh” (Xpl-73) and the “Terrace Male (see photo: left). Xpl-73 displaced the “Terrace Male” from the lower Hoaruseb River – see Movements.

9 Jan 2014. Springbok lambs. The first springbok lambs of the rainy season were observed in the lower Hoaruseb River. The "Terrace Male" Xpl-68 was resting on a ridge near the lower gorge of the Hoaruseb River when he noticed a springbok ewe that died during birth. He promptly moved down to the gorge and claimed the carcass.

8 Jan 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed moving amongst the granite outcrops near the mouth of the Hoaruseb River.

27 Dec 2013. Uniab Delta. A camera-trap was placed at the Uniab Delta to monitor the movements of lions other than the “Terrace Male”. Photographs retrieved from the camera (photo: top & bottom left) contained many images of Black-backed jackals and antelopes, like Oryx, but none of lions. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located on the edge of the Hoanib Floodplain (photo: right).

26 Dec 2013. Movement Updates

25 Dec 2013. Mowe Bay Cabin. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved passed the seal colony at Mowe Bay and reached Oasis spring near the mouth of the Hoanib River by midday. The increase of wildlife around Mowe Bay (springbok, Oryx and Cape fur seals – see 24 Dec 2013) is encouraging.

24 Dec 2013. Seal Colony. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came very close to discovering the seal colony at Mowe Bay when he rested behind a ridge approximately 3.2 km east of the colony. The numbers of Cape fur seals utilising the colony have increased substantially during the past few months.

23 Dec 2013. Coast. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) captured an Oryx at the mouth of the Hoaruseb River. Xpl-73 “Rosh” could not be located despite an extensive search effort.

8 Dec 2013. The “Terrace Male” appears to be heading on another of his ventures north of the Hoaruseb River. There is always concern over his safety and the likelihood of conflict with the local communities during these excursions.

2 Dec 2013. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” left the Torra Bay and Terrace Bay area and moved to the lower Hunkap River.

28 Nov 2013. Xpl-68 still at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) remained at the mouth of the Uniab River. Fieldwork was stopped to attend to the hand-over of the new Land Cruiser that was sponsored by NAMSOV Community Trust.

27 Nov 2013. Xpl-68 hunt Oryx. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed hunting for Oryx at the mouth of the Uniab River. He succeeded in killing an adult Oryx during the night.

26 Nov 2013. Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” was located at the Uniab Delta this afternoon. There is currently a lot of traffic and human activity in the area in preparation for the year-end tourist season at Torra Bay. Hopes are that the information of the presence of the “Terrace Male” in the area will help to avoid conflict.

22 Nov 2013. The “Terrace Male” reached the Uniab Delta. He last visited the Delta at the end of May 2013, nearly 7 months ago and before he travelled to Angola.

19 Nov 2013. "Terrace Male". The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online yesterday afternoon. During the past four days he moved 175 km. Xpl-68 was located at sunset in the Hoanib River east of Amp’s Poort. During the night he was immobilised and his faulty satellite collar was replaced with a new satellite collar that should last for two years. The new Land Cruiser with all the additional equipment is proving to be a great asset to the Project.

11 Nov 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) spent two days at Sarusas spring and started moving up-river along the Khumib River last night. Fieldwork will resume on 13 Nov 2013 when attention will be focussed on Xpl-73 “Rosh” and replacing the satellite collar of Xpl-68.

5 Nov 2013. Xpl-68. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online this morning after two days when he returned to the coastal area at the mouth of the Hoanib River.

31 Oct 2013. Movement Updates. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved past the Sarusas spring towards the Hoaruseb River.

27 Oct 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-86) is moving southwards and has reached the Munutum River.

18 Oct 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) did not cross the Kunene River; instead he started moving south at midnight.

17 Oct 2013. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online – he is still in Namibia and appears to have made a kill on the south bank of the Kunene River.

16 Oct 2013 07h00. Frustration with satellite collar glitches. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) went offline again yesterday afternoon. A donation of three new satellite collars is expected to arrive soon. These will be used immediately to replace the faulty collars. Xpl-68 and Xpl-73 “Rosh” will take priority.

15 Oct 2013 17h00. Xpl-68 at Kunene River. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online earlier today. There is a gap in his movement data of 20.8 km (see map bottom left). Thereafter the data show that he walked another 33.7 km to reach the Kunene River 7.5 km east of Foz do Cunene. It appears that Xpl-68 is currently attempting to cross the river into Angola (see image bottom right). Hopes are that the satellite collar will continue to transmit location data.

13 Oct 2013. Xpl-68 heading for Angola. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back “online” last night. There is a gap of 94 km where no data were recorded. It appears that Xpl-68 is heading back to Angola. Although the pattern of his current movements (blue line) appears similar to his first visit in Sep/Aug 2013 (red line), he is not following the same route.

28 Sep 2013. The satellite collar of the "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) came back "online" - he moved 120 km since midnight on 26 Sep 2013. See Xpl-68.

24 Sep 2013. Rocky Point. The "Terrace Male" Xpl-68 started on another excursion to the north when he left the mouth of the Hoaruseb River during the night and walked passed Rocky Point towards the Khumib River.

22 Sep 2013. The "Terrace Male". The satellite collar of Xpl-68 went "off-line" on 18 Sep. When the collar started transmitting location positions again yesterday afternoon, the lion had moved to the mouth of the Hoaruseb River.

19 Sep 2013. Terrace. Whilst searching for the three remaining "Musketeers", the "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) was observed moving over the dunes at the mouth of the Hoanib River.

17 Sep 2013. Auses Spring. After an absence of nearly 20 years, lions returned to the Hoanib River and became resident on the Hoanib Floodplain in 2006. Since then they regularly visit Auses spring in the dunes, but as far as the Desert Lion Project is aware a lion has never previously been seen at the actual spring. The "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) was observed briefly lying in the reeds at the water's edge and he then moved over the dunes onto the Floodplain.

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16 Sep 2013. Clay Castles. The "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) moved through parts of the spectacular Clay Castles deposits to Auses spring in the Hoanib Floodplain over a 24-hour period. Xpl-36 "Monica" and the "Dorob Male" (Xpl-77) are together and it is possible that Xpl-36 is in oestrous and that they are mating.

15 Sep 2013. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 was located in the Hoaruseb River where he was feeding on an Oryx carcass that was presumably killed by Xpl-73 "Rosh".

8 Sep 2013. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 walked back to the Hoaruseb River and another confrontation with Xpl-73 "Rosh" seems inevitable. The search for the "Five Musketeers" continue.

7 Sep 2013. One Musketeer? The tracks of a single sub-adult male lion (presumably one of the "Five Musketeers") were located on the Hoanib Floodplain at 10h00 this morning. The tracks were followed for 36.2 km (see map below) until it became too dark to see the tracks and the effort of locating the lion had to be abandoned. One of the camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain recorded the "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) on 2 Sep 2013 (see photo below).

5 Sep 2013. Xpl-68 on the Floodplain. The "Terrace Male" moved back to the Hoanib River during the night and he was observed hunting for Oryx on the Floodplain. NOTICE: a problem has occurred with the IP address and the FTP protocols of the Desert Lion website that prevented daily updates.

4 Sep 2013. The "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 was located north of the Hoanib Floodplain and he was observed at close quarters for the first time since his travels into Angola. He is in an excellent physical condition and appears to have grown in "stature" during the past few months.

2 Sep 2013. Surprise in the Huab River. The mystery of the male lion that displaced the "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) from his pride in the Huab River during Aug 2012 has been solved. The lion was tracked and spotted in the Huab River east of Peter's Pool. During the night he was darted whilst feeding on an Oryx carcass. To great surprise the male was identified as Xpl-35 (see Xpl-35 for background information).

30 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 at Oasis. The "Terrace Male" returned to the mouth of the Hoanib River after a period of three and a half months. He is currently lying in the reeds at Oasis spring.

29 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 heading south. The "Terrace Male" spent two days at the mouth of the Hoaruseb River and last night he started moving south towards Mowe Bay.

28 Aug 2013. The "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) walked 31 km (partly along the beach) to Rocky Point and then returned to the Hoaruseb River via the dunes.

27 Aug 2013. Against expectations, the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) started moving north again and he is currently close to Rocky Point.

24 Aug 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved 8 km south of the Hoaruseb River.

23 Aug 2013 13h00. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” reached the mouth of the Hoaruseb River at 10h45 today.

23 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 & Xpl-73. Both the “Terrace Male” (red dot) and Xpl-73 “Rosh” (blue dot) are still in the Hoaruseb River.

22 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 displaces Xpl-73. The “Terrace Male” (red dot) and Xpl-73 “Rosh” (blue dot) rested 2 km apart during the day. At sunset Xpl-68 approached Xpl-73 and there was an interaction that lasted several hours (white square). Xpl-68 appears to have displaced Xpl-73 and at 01h30 he chased Xpl-73 in an easterly direction (see map below).

21 Aug 2013 12h00. Xpl-68 vs Xpl-73. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) reached the Hoaruseb River at 11h38. The position where he entered the River is approximately 4 km west of Xpl-73.

21 Aug 2013 07h00. Xpl-68 vs Xpl-73. Another confrontation between the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and Xpl-73 “Rosh” is imminent. Xpl-73 is currently in the lower Hoaruseb River and the “Terrace Male” is moving towards him from the Khumib River (see map).

20 Aug 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) walked further south and reached the Khumib River.

19 Aug 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is heading back home – he reached the Sechumib River last night and walked 171 km during the past three days.

17 Aug 2013 07h00. Xpl-68's visit to Angola.

During the 1980s the tracks of a male lion was observed on several occasions at the mouth of the Kunene River by Rangers of the Skeleton Coast Park and Skeleton Coast Fly-In Safaris (re: Andre Schoeman). The tracks suggested that this lion was spending a lot of time in Angola, but he disappeared after 1990. There have not been any subsequent records of lion movements in Iona National Park as well as the south-western corner of Angola.

On 01 Aug 2013 the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) swam across the Kunene River and ventured into Angola. This was a significant event and marked the return of lions to the area after an absence of 23 years. In addition, it is also remarkable that a “Desert lion”, with no experience of perennial rivers or any body of water larger that the pools found at small springs in the desert, swam across 76 metres of fast-flowing & crocodile-infested water.

Xpl-68 stayed in Angola for 15 days and travelled 328.5 km (average 23.5 km/day). He explored the western section of Iona National Park and travelled as far north as Baia Dos Tigress.

At 01h00 on 16 Aug 2013 he crossed the Kunene River and returned to Namibia.

Since Xpl-68 is obviously not aware of the political boundary (Namibia/Angola), his remarkable journey actually started on 20 Jul 2013 when he left the Hoaruseb River to explore “uncharted” territory (see map below). During this period of 29 days he walked 780.4 km at an average of 26.9 km/day (max = 66.3 km).

16 Aug 2013 11h00. Heading South. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved 41.5 km since swimming across the Kunene River at 01h00 this morning.

16 Aug 2013 03h00. Back Home. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) crossed the Kunene River at 01h00 after two attempts that were recorded by his satellite collar (see animation below - press play). After crossing the Kunene River, Xpl-68 moved over the dunes at a constant speed of 5 km/hour.

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15 Aug 2013 24h00. Kunene Crossing? The “Terrace Male” walked to within 2 km of the lagoon at the mouth of the Kunene River. At 23h30 it appears that he was attempting a river crossing (see photo bottom right).

15 Aug 2013 13h00. Kunene-2. After resting on the north bank of the Kunene River yesterday afternoon, the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) started moving to the east after sunset. At 01h30 last night he turned around and followed the course of the river in a westerly direction. It does not appear that he attempted to cross the Kunene River. He is currently resting approximately 6 km east of Foz do Cunene.

15 Aug 2013 07h00. Kunene. The “Terrace Male” reached the Kunene River yesterday mid-morning and he is currently moving towards Foz do Cunene.

14 Aug 2013 07h00. South. The “Terrace Male” is currently 12 km north of the Kunene River.

14 Aug 2013 00h00. Baia Dos Tigress-2. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) spent the day in the dunes east of Baia dos Tigress. At 18h00 he started moving in a southerly direction. Despite walking over large dunes Xpl-68 maintained an average speed of 5.4 km/hour.

13 Aug 2013 12h00. Baia Dos Tigress. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is currently lying in the dunes 5 km east of the coast opposite Fred’s Bay.

13 Aug 2013 07h00. Coast. During the past 30 hours the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) covered a distance of 85.2 km and he is currently moving towards the coastline.

13 Aug 2013 00h00. Iona National Park-2. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) continued walking north and he was 65 km directly north of the Kunene River at midnight.

12 Aug 2013 07h00. Iona National Park. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) walked 39.7 km during the night. He fortunately steered away from the danger area and he is heading north.

12 Aug 2013 00h00. Danger Area. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) spent the day in the rocks on a high mountain ridge. At nightfall he moved down onto the gravel plains and headed to the northeast. This route will take him into a “danger zone” because there are people living in that area with livestock.

11 Aug 2013 08h00. Xpl-68 remains in Angola. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved along the Kunene River during the night. At 04h00 he climbed a rather big mountain to the north.

11 Aug 2013 00h00. Namibia? The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) reached the Kunene River at 19h00 on 10 Aug 2013. It would appear that he has been attempting to cross the Kunene River back into Namibia, but he was still in Angola at 00h00.

10 Aug 2013 13h00. Return. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved a long way (+ 18 km) since sunrise this morning and he is heading back towards Namibia and the Kunene River.

10 Aug 2013. Angola. The “Terrace Male” moved 44.2 km during the night and reached a point 28 km north of the Kunene River before turning back. In the Purros area Xpl-73 “Rosh” appeared to have displaced the Hukap Male (Xpl-81 “Kebbel”), but now finds himself in an area of livestock and potential conflict.

9 Aug 2013 22h00. Xpl-68 heading north. The “Terrace Male” started moving at sundown and he is currently (22h00) 12 km north of the Kunene River.

9 Aug 2013 14h00. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” has remained in the same position and presumably feeding on a carcass such as an Oryx. The location is 560 metres west of the place where he crossed the Kunene River on 2 Aug 2013.

9 Aug 2013. Kunene River. The “Terrace Male” presumably made another kill on the north bank of the Kunene River. He has not moved since 10h00 on 8 Aug 2013. The Hunkap male (Xpl-81 “Kebbel”) is currently in the Gamatum River where there are large numbers of livestock of the Purros Conservancy.

8 Aug 2013. Kunene Mouth-3. The efforts to deter Xpl-68 from approaching Foz do Cunene were successful. He walked 33 km during the night. After a foray into Angola he returned to the Kunene River and walked along the northern bank towards the spot of his initial river crossing (see 3 Aug 2013).

7 Aug 2013 20h00. Foz do Cunene. The research vehicle experienced mechanical problems with its fuel-flow system and it was difficult to drive in the dunes to monitor the movements of Xpl-68. At 09h00 this morning the “Terrace Male” walked up to 500 metres of the Police station at Foz do Cunene in Angola (photo: left middle). A large number of dogs at Foz do Cunene probably deterred Xpl-68 as he moved away and spent the day resting amongst the rocks approximately 1.8 km east of the station (photo: bottom right). The Angolan Police were informed of the movements of the lion. At nightfall the lion started moving westwards again and towards the Police station at Foz do Cunene. Several pencil-flairs were fired from the south bank of the Kunene River in an effort to scare Xpl-68 away from Foz do Cunene (photo: bottom left x 2). Quinton van Rooyen, Gerson Hayambo & Shawn Liebenberg of the Northern Namibia Development Company are thanked for invaluable support during the past few days.

7 Aug 2013. Kunene Mouth-2. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved short distances up and down the Kunene River during the early morning and late afternoon, but was still feeding on the carcass during the night. At midnight he started moving to the Kunene Mouth. His satellite collar went off-line at 02h30. Attempts are being made to monitor his movements with VHF telemetry.

6 Aug 2013. Kunene Mouth. The mouth of the Kunene River was reached earlier today after a long drive via the Mumutum River, Okau spring and Angra Fria. A spring tide, associated with the New Moon, prevented driving along the beach and the slow route further inland had to be used. A brown hyaena was observed crossing a saltpan south of the Kunene that has become flooded due to the spring tide. The “Terrace Male” has not moved since yesterday and hopes are that he is feeding on a carcass.

5 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 moves westwards. The “Terrace Male” reached the position of his initial river crossing, but he continued moving westwards along the north-bank of the Kunene River. At approximately 12 km from the Kunene Mouth he stopped moving and it is likely that he killed something and is busy feeding (photo: top). Efforts are underway to monitor him from the Kunene Mouth (photo: bottom).

4 Aug 2013. Crocodiles. The eminent crossing of the Kunene River by Xpl-68 is of concern for two reasons: a) the force of the fast-flowing river & b) the large numbers of crocodiles along the banks. The “Terrace Male” is a remarkable lion that has learnt how to survive in the hyper-arid section of the Namib Desert, but he does not have any experience or knowledge of perennial rivers and crocodiles.

3 Aug 2013 15h00. Kunene River-2. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) stopped moving at 12h30 and he is resting in the shade of a rock overhang approximately 2 km from his initial river crossing.

3 Aug 2013 12h00. Kunene River. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is currently walking in a westerly direction along the north-bank of the Kunene River (see Xpl-68). It is possible that he is aiming for the spot where he crossed the river on 1 Aug 2013 (see below).

3 Aug 2013. Angola. Analysis of the movements of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) during the past 24 hours revealed that his satellite collar recorded a position at the very moment that he crossed the Kunene River (photo: top left). The coordinates were corrected for projection bias and confirmed that he was in the process of swimming across the river at 05:48 (local time) on 1 Aug 2013. The magnitude of this event is significant when considering the volume, depth & speed of the water flowing through a narrow section of 76 metres. The news of the lion in Angola has spread like wildfire and a delegation of local inhabitants gathered on the north-bank opposite Serra Cafema. Wilderness Safaris facilitated a meeting with the delegation where they were informed of the lion’s movements.

2 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 in Angola. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) crossed the Kunene River into Angola. In doing so he had to swim across a fast flowing river, something that he has certainly not seen or experienced before (photo: left). After crossing the river he first moved in an easterly direction followed the course of the river (photo: right) before turning north. Information has been requested from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and other sources on the demography of human settlements, livestock and wildlife in south-western Angola.

2 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 moves into Angola? It was not possible to reach the location on the Kunene River where the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was resting during the day. During the late afternoon Xpl-68 started moving again and it would appear that he crossed the Kunene River into Angola. Thanks go to Volker Jahnke, Peter Sander and the Wilderness Safaris staff at Serra Cafema for advice and support.

1 Aug 2013. Xpl-68 at Kunene River. Tracking the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and trying to keep up with him has been difficult. There are few tracks and large areas are inaccessible. Xpl-68 reached the Kunene River this morning at 03h30.

31 Jul 2013. Searching for Xpl-68. Searching for Xpl-68. During the past 18 hours a distance of 620 km was driven over dunes and along the beach (during low-tide) in search of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68). His tracks were followed and his resting-spot of yesterday afternoon (photos: bottom middle & right) was inspected. Xpl-68 was located 40 km south of the Kunene River at 22h30 and he was moving northwards.

30 Jul 2013. Xpl-68 Off-line. The “Terrace Male (Xpl-68) moved in an easterly direction and was resting at the base of a big mountain ridge when his satellite collar went off-line (see Current Locations for explanation) at 18h00. Efforts are now underway to locate him on the ground using VHF tracking.

29 Jul 2013. Hartmann's Valley. Since leaving Sarusas spring the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved 129 km over a period of a bit more than 2 days (52 hours). He is currently in the dunes close to the southern section of the Hartmann’s Valley. There are several families of Ovahimba people with their livestock utilising the area around the Hartmann’s Valley and the Marienfluss. Efforts will be made to help prevent Xpl-68 killing the livestock of the Ovahimba people from both the Marienfluss & Orupembe Concervancies, and to ensure that Xpl-68 is not shot or poisoned.

27 Jul 2013."Columbus". The “Terrace Male” consumed his Oryx carcass much sooner than expected and then continued on his incredible journey of discovery & exploration. He moved past Angra Fria earlier this morning and is currently walking along the Engo River.

26 Jul 2013. Xpl-68 in Khumib River. The “Terrace Male” remained in the Khumib River whilst guarding and feeding on his Oryx carcass. The surrounding area (including the lower Hoaruseb River) was scanned for signs of other lions. Several sets of lion tracks (ranging from 2 to 10 days-old) were found and they all belonged to Xpl-68.

25 Jul 2013. Xpl-68 catch Oryx. At 06h52 the “Terrace Male” captured an adult male Oryx amongst the hummocks east of Sarusas spring. Pied and black crows were quick to find the carcass and Xpl-68 has been chasing crows and guarding his kill.

24 Jul 2013. Sarusas Spring. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed exploring the area around Sarusas spring. This is his first visit to the area and also the first time that a lion has been seen at Sarusas since an observation by Steve Braine in 1986.

23 Jul 2013. Remarkable "Terrace Male". The satellite collar of Xpl-68 “Terrace Male” was off-line since 19 Jul 2013 (see News 31 May 2013 & Current Locations for explanation). When the location data became available again yesterday, it was a great surprise that Xpl-68 had moved north of the Hoaruseb River on 21 Jul 2013. He passed the Khumib River on 22 Jul 2013 and was resting in the “Rocky Garden” area, about 7 km south of Ogams spring and the Secumib River (see map & photo: top right). During the night he moved to Sarusas spring in the Khumib River, where he was photographed in thick fog early this morning.

10 Jul 2013. Floodplain. More than 24 hours have been invested to locate the Floodplain lionesses and the 5 Musketeers. The satellite collar of Xpl-69 is currently not functioning. The lions have been moving around extensively and, although a large area has been covered, it has not been possible to catch-up with them. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was spotted at sunset (from a great distance of approximately 5 km) as he moved down towards the Floodplain.

08 Jul 2013. Khumib River. During the night the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved towards the cattle and donkeys that were grazing inside the Skeleton Coast Park. An effort was made to deter him from killing the livestock and moving further upriver by making a big fire in the riverbed and setting off fireworks. This appeared to have worked as Xpl-68 started moving westwards towards the coast at sunrise A report of lion tracks near Sarusas spring in the Khumib River was investigated, but no evidence of lion movements were found.

07 Jul 2013. Hoaruseb River. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located in the lower Hoaruseb River inside the Skeleton Coast Park. At sunset he roared frequently and moved in an easterly direction. There are large numbers of livestock (cattle & donkeys) in the Hoaruseb River and several groups were observed west of Leyland’s Drift.

2 Jun 2013. More Confrontation. Xpl-74 and the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) were still at loggerheads on the slope of the mountain at 22h30, when the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) arrived unexpectedly from the west. He chased Xpl-74 up the Obab River and then returned at 01h20 to drive the “Dorob Male” southwards towards the Koigab River. The two males (Xpl-68 & 77) were found together at Gross Tafelberg Mountain just before midday. They spent the day on the rocks is the backing sun and the confrontation continued after sunset.

10 May 2013. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 (the “Terrace Male”) was spotted from a distance of approximately 5 km as he walked along the edge of the dune-belt towards the Uniab River.

10 Apr 2013. Mowe Bay. A meeting was held with senior officials of the Ministry of Environment & Tourism at Mowe Bay. The track of Xpl-68 and the Floodplain lionesses were recorded at the Hoanib Lagoon and close to the beach.

9 Apr 2013. Xpl-10. The Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-10 & co.) with their five male cubs (the “Five Musketeers”) moved across the dune-belt from the northeast during the night (see map below) and arrived at Oasis at sunrise this morning. They met with Xpl-68, but the interaction was not observed due to thick fog that covered the area until late morning.

8 Apr 2013. Hoanib Lagoon. During the night the “Terrace Male” walked around the Hoanib lagoon. There signs in the sand where he tried to catch a cormorant that was roosting along the shore.

7 Apr 2013. Tracking Xpl-68. Efforts to get close (±50 metres) to the “Terrace Male”, in order to immobilise him and replace his fading satellite collar, have not yet been successful because of the sensitive terrain.

6 Apr 2013. Dune Activities. The “Terrace Male” remained far out-of-reach as he hunted for Oryx and ostriches in the dunes to the north & west of Auses spring.

5 Apr 2013. Xpl-68 at Auses. The “Terrace Male” was observed at Auses spring. Due to the difficult and sensitive terrain, it was not possible to get close enough to the lion to attempt darting him. Efforts will continue tomorrow to replace his faulty satellite collar.

 

4 Apr 2013. Xpl-68's collar. During the past two days the satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” failed to record regular positions. The batteries appear to be rundown and efforts are underway to replace the collar before it fails altogether.

31 Mar 2013. Movements Updates. Photos were retrieved from the array of camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain. The "Terrace Male" (Xpl-68) was captured on two cameras during March 2013 and there were several images of cheetahs (see below). After numerous requests to re-instate the daily movement updates (especially those of Xpl-68) and discussion related to the shooting of Xpl-85, it was decided to continue posting the daily movements of the "Terrace Male", the "Dorob Male" and the Hoanib Pride (Xpl-70 & Xpl-73).

28 Mar 2013. Lower Uniab River. The “Terrace Male” completed feeding on the Oryx and started moving up-river along the Uniab.

27 Mar 2013. Uniab Waterfall. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) spent most of the day resting at the base of the waterfall in the Uniab Delta, approximately 200 metres from ocean.

26 Mar 2013. Uniab River. The “Terrace Male” explored numerous gullies that form part of the extensive delta at the mouth of the Uniab River. The observations confirmed that Xpl-68 was not injured during the confrontation with Xpl-73 “Rosh” at the Hoanib Floodplain on 14 Mar 2013.

25 Mar 2013. Xpl-68 at Uniab mouth. The “Terrace Male” was observed feeding on an Oryx carcass at the mouth of the Uniab River. A young male lion (Xpl-85) of the Agab Pride was shot near Poacher’s Camp in the Torra Conservancy. The shooting was legal and forms part of a retaliation to the killing of several livestock by the Agab Pride on 6 Mar 2013. The daily movement updates of the lions fitted with satellite radio collars (see above) have been stopped temporarily.

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24 Mar 2013. Xpl-68 at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” killed an Oryx at the mouth of the Uniab River.

23 Mar 2013. Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” arrived at the Uniab Delta for the first time since 30 Jan 2013. During this period he returned to the Huab River and visited Hunkap spring and the Hoanib Floodplain. For other movement updates - see above.

 

14 Mar 2013. Midday Update. Since midnight (after the confrontation), the “Terrace Male” moved 32.3 km through the dunes towards Terrace Bay. He stopped briefly at a large pool of water trapped in the dunes from the unusual rainstorm earlier in the year. Xpl-73 “Rosh” moved upstream along the Hoanib River for 20.3 km and joined the Floodplain lionesses near the Mudorib waterhole.

14 Mar 2013. Confrontation on the Floodplain. Xpl-73 “Rosh” walked 68 km to locate the “Terrace Male (Xpl-68) on the Floodplain (red arrow). The data from their satellite collars suggest that there was a confrontation between the two males and that Xpl-37 displaced the “Terrace Male” (blue arrow). Unless it is pure coincidence, which is unlikely, it is possible that Xpl-73 heard the roars of Xpl-68, perhaps by detecting infrasound.

13 Mar 2013. Unusual movement. On 12 Mar 2013 Xpl-73 “Rosh” suddenly left the northern Okongwe Mountains and walked more than 50 km in a straight line to the Hoanib Floodplain. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has been in the area for the past few days and they moved directly towards each other early this morning. A confrontation between the two males is inevitable.

 

5 Mar 2013. Xpl-68 reaches Floodplain. Xpl-68 did not go to the Uniab Delta, as was predicted, but walked to the Hoanib Floodplain instead.

3 Mar 2013. Xpl-68 reaches Hunkap. As predicted, the "Terrace Male" moved directly to Hunkap spring and then turned westwards following the riverbed towards the Uniab Delta. He walked 87.6 km during the past 24 hours. “Monica” Xpl-36) moved into the mountains away from the livestock area near the main road.

2 Mar 2013. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 moved through the area in the Agab River where he was born and he appears to be heading back to the Hunkap spring and possibly the Uniab Delta. Xpl-36 “Monica” has moved back to the main road between Bergsig and Palmwag where there are large numbers of livestock.

7 Feb 2013. Movements of the "Terrace Male". On 7 Aug 2012 the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) left the Huab River on a remarkable journey and he returned on 5 Feb 2013. During this period of 182 days he walked 3497.4 km at an average of 18.9 km/day. On the night of 18/19 Jan 2013 he walked 69.8 km. This is the furthest known distance that a lion has ever been recorded to travel in a 24-hour period.

Xpl-68 killed 22 prey animals (mainly Oryx) during this period of 182 days. When Xpl-68 was feeding he remained near the carcass and moved very short distances. During 53 days (29%) he moved less than 5 km per day (Fig. 1). However, when Xpl-68 was not feeding, he regularly (51%) moved between 15 and 70 km/day (94 days, Fig.1). Xpl-68 was successful in catching prey on average every 8.3 days (range: 2 – 18 days, Fig. 2). He remained at these carcasses for an average of 2.8 days (range: 1 – 6 days, n = 61 days) and travelled an average of 3 km/day. The average time searching and hunting for prey was 5.4 days (range: 1 – 15 days) when Xpl-68 walked an average distance of 24.8 km/day (max. 69.8 km, Fig. 2).

Fig. 1. Frequency summary of the distances moved by Xpl-68 per 24-hour period (N = 182). Fig. 2. Sequential distances moved by Xpl-68 per 24-hour period between 7 Aug 2012 and 5 Feb 2013. Red crosses indicate when he was feeding on a carcass.

23 Jan 2013. Huab River. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) consumed an adult Oryx carcass within 24 hours. At 05h45 this morning he moved away, leaving only a few bones and the scull as evidence of the event.

21 Jan 2013. Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) reached the Uniab Delta yesterday morning at 09h45. Several tourists and some of the local staff at Torra Bay were fortunate to view the lion lying on a hummock near the ocean (see images below).

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16 Jan 2013. Xpl-68 on Floodplain. The “Terrace Male” remained on the Hoanib Floodplain and started moving eastwards at midnight.

15 Jan 2013. Xpl-68 heading for lionesses. The “Terrace Male” reached the Hoanib Floodplain, via the Hunkap spring, yesterday morning and he is now moving westwards towards the Floodplain lionesses.

Jan 2013. The “Terrace Male” in Perspective. There is a growing concern for the safety of the public and visitors to Torra Bay and Terrace Bay due to the presence of the male lion (Xpl-68). Suggestions have been made that the lion must be removed from the area or shot for trophy hunting. Whilst the concerns for public safety are legitimate, a summary of historical data and the current ecological facts are presented here to aid the process of an informed decision on the fate of the“Terrace Male”.

Historical

Prior to the 1990s lions used to live throughout the Skeleton Coast Park (SCP). An analysis of data collected by the rangers of the SCP between 1977 and 1991 show that lions were regularly observed at the Uniab Delta. The records show that the Uniab Delta was the highest concentration of lions observed along the coast during that period. The arrival of Xpl-68 at the mouth of the Uniab River in October 2012 marked the return of a lion to an area previously favoured by lions after an absence of 20 years.

 

Figure right. The number of lion observation at the Uniab Delta between 1977 and 1991

Current ecological facts. The “Terrace Male” was born in November 2007 in the Agab River near Rhino Camp. In May 2010 he was involved in the killing of several livestock at Driefontein in the Torra Conservancy. Together with his mother and four siblings, he was darted and relocated away from the conflict area (back to the Agab River).

Towards the end of 2010, Xpl-68 left his natal pride and dispersed to the Huab River where he joined two young lionesses and they formed the Huab Pride. In February 2012 the lionesses gave birth to eight cubs. A new male moved into the Huab area and on 7 August 2012, Xpl-68 left the Huab River and moved northwards. During the following four months (N = 127 days) he travelled 2310 km between the Uniab, Hunkap and Hoanib rivers (see below – 11 Dec 2012).

On 29 October 2012, Xpl-68 discovered the Uniab Delta and the abundant Oryx and springboks that utilise the springs and green grass. Since then he has returned to the Delta on five occasions (see graph below) at an average frequency of every 17 days (4 – 36 days). Once at the Uniab Delta, Xpl-68 remained there for an average period of 4 days (2-6 days). During this period of 73 days, Xpl-68 spent 21 days (28.7%) at the Uniab Delta.

Concerns have been raised as to why Xpl-68 is alone, but it is not uncommon for lions, especially males, to spend long periods on their own. Nomads are an important and functional part of lion grouping patterns and population ecology. The lion is in good condition and he is not injured or limping. The public appeared to have responded well to the notices that have been posted at strategic locations (entry gates to the SCP, Torra Bay, Terrace Bay, Henties Bay & Swakopmund) and many people appear to follow the movements of Xpl-68 on the Desert Lion website.

During his initial visits to the Delta nobody actually saw Xpl-68, but he grew accustomed to the vehicles and during his most recent visit many tourist viewed and photographed the lion.

11 Jan 2013. Monitoring the “Terrace Male". Xpl-68 remained in the vicinity of the Uniab Delta and his movements are being monitored. At 03h30 this morning Xpl-68 started moving northwards towards the Hoanib River.

10 Jan 2013. The “Terrace Male” in Perspective. Several tourists and local staff were fortunate to view and photograph the “Terrace Male” today. Even the road construction team saw the lion on a few occasions. The series of photographs below were taken as a grader drove past Xpl-68. A summary of the available facts relevant to Xpl-68 as a problem animal at the Uniab Delta is available (see above).

9 Jan 2013. Xpl-68 next to road. The “Terrace Male” is feeding on an Oryx carcass approximately 40 metres from the main road to Terrace Bay. The carcass is lying behind a gravel heap left by the recent road works and as a result the vast majority of vehicles passing by during the day were unaware of the lion.

8 Jan 2013. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was still at the same location at 12h00.

8 Jan 2013. Xpl-68 remains at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” is still at the Uniab Delta. During the night he captured another Oryx at a spring close to the main road, but he dragged to carcass into the reeds and cannot be seen from the road. The authorities were informed of his location.

7 Jan 2013. Xpl-68. The movements of the “Terrace Male” and his recent visits to the Uniab Delta are continuing to raise concern.

6 Jan 2013. Guarding Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” has remained at his Oryx carcass in the reeds near the mouth of the Uniab River. He was visible only on a few occasions and fed on the carcass at night. At 09h00 this morning he started moving north again.

5 Jan 2013. Public Safety. With the return of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) to the Uniab Delta, the authorities and management at Torra Bay expressed concern for the safety of visitors camping at Torra Bay. Although it is unlikely that Xpl-68 will approach people or the campsite, it was decided to monitor Xpl-68 and the situation at the Uniab Delta. The search for the Floodplain lionesses and their five male cubs will be continued later.

4 Jan 2013. Xpl-68 at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” reached the Uniab Delta at 03h00 this morning. He captured an Oryx near the main road and dragged the carcass across the road into a thick patch of reeds.

3 Jan 2013. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” is heading down to the Uniab River.

26 Dec 2012. Xpl-68 feeding. The “Terrace Male” remained in thick vegetation at the mouth of the Uniab River and is still feeding on the Oryx carcass.

25 Dec 2012. Xpl-68 kill Oryx. The “Terrace Male” killed an Oryx at the mouth of the Uniab River. Namibia Wildlife Resorts and the Ministry of Environment & Tourism were informed of the development. One of the new signs donated by TOSCO (see 21 Dec 2012) were used as a temporary measure to inform tourists at Torra Bay of the lion.

24 Dec 2012. Xpl-68 at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” reached the Uniab Delta last night (see “Terrace Male”).

23 Dec 2012. Xpl-68 heading for Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” had another marathon night and walked >50 km via the Hunkap River through the dunes towards the Uniab Delta (see “Terrace Male”).

22 Dec 2012. Xpl-68. At sunset the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located on the eastern edge of the Hoanib Floodplain. During the night he moved 42.5 km towards Hunkap spring.

20 Dec 2012. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 was observed near the mouth of the Hoanib River. During the night he crossed the dune-belt to the Floodplain and is currently moving towards Auses spring.

13 Dec 2012. Fly with "Rosh". Daily movement updates are available for the four lions (see above). A Google Earth gadget was developed in a new page for Xpl-73 – see Fly with “Rosh”.

12 Dec 2012. Hoanib Lagoon. During the night the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved to the Hoanib lagoon and along the beach for a short distance (see satellite image below). A Google Earth tour of Xpl-68's movements during the night can be viewed under Fly with Xpl-68.

11 Dec 2012. More on "Terrace Male". Last night the “Terrace Male” moved towards Mowe Bay again and spent the night amongst the dunes and gravel plains to the east and north of the station . A summary of his movements since Aug 2012 was compiled (map below).

Xpl-68 left the Huab River where he lived for >2 years on 5 Aug 2012. The cause for this sudden and dramatic movement is a mystery, but it is suspected that it could be due to the shortage of older (prominent) pride males in the population (caused by the excessive hunting of males from > 2 years ago). Between 5 Aug and 10 Dec 2012 (n = 127 days), Xpl-68 has walked 2310 km, range 0 - 59 km, average 18.2 km/day.

11 Dec 2012.

9/10 Dec 2012.

8 Dec 2012. The red dot indicates the position of the lion at 07h00 on the date that appears below and the blue dots show the movements during the previous 5 days.

5 Dec 2012. Monitoring Systems. Studying lions in an arid and mountainous environment, such as the Kunene Region, is difficult. It is therefore important to occasionally verify the accuracy and reliability of the monitoring structures that have been developed. When the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) embarked on his extraordinary travels in Aug 2012, nobody could have predicted the extent of his movements during the following three months. The question is therefore posed: if Xpl-68 were not fitted with a satellite collar in Aug 2012, would we have known about his movements? A network of ten camera-traps, situated at key locations in the study area, was operational prior to Xpl-68’s travels. The images recorded by these cameras were evaluated to determine to what extent (if at all) the movements of the “Terrace Male” were documented. The results were striking. A total of 26 photographs of Xpl-68 were captured by six of the ten camera-traps.

2 Dec 2012. Floodplain. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) crossed over the dunes to the Hoanib Floodplain. Xpl-10 and the Floodplain lionesses good not be located, but four sub-adult lions from the Hoanib Pride were observed at 24h00 in the Mudorib River.

1 Dec 2012. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 was located near the mouth of the Hoanib River. He is in good condition.

In consultation with the Chief Warden at Mowe Bay, a pamphlet was designed to inform visitors and fishermen at Terrace Bay and Torra Bay of Xpl-68’s movements in the area. The notice (see below) will be placed at the two camps and at both entrance gates.

27 Nov 2012. The Terrace male (Xpl-68) moved 2 km east of Oasis spring and it appears that he captured an Oryx or an ostrich at a patch of vegetation in the dunes.

25/26 Nov 2012. During the past two days the Terrace male (Xpl-68) moved back and forth at the mouth of the Hoanib River and then into the dunes east of Oasis spring.

22-24 Nov 2012. Xpl-68 (the Terrace male) moved northwards from the Uniab Delta and arrived at the mouth of the Hoanib River earlier this evening.

16-21 Nov 2012. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at the Uniab Delta

14 Nov 2012. "Terrace Male". Due to the dispersal of Xpl-68 (previously known as the “Huab male”) from the Huab River & his extraordinary movements during past few months, it was decided to change all future reference of Xpl-68 to the “Terrace male”. On 15 Nov 2012, the Terrace male (Xpl-68) moved northwards from the Uniab Delta and he is currently 4.5 km southeast of Terrace Bay.

12 Nov 2012. Xpl-68 “Huab male”, Uniab Delta, 500 metres from the ocean

10 Nov 2012. Uniab Delta. The Huab male (Xpl-68) returned to the Uniab Delta last night and it is possible that he captured another Oryx in the reeds at one of the numerous springs on the eastern edge of the Delta.

8/9 Nov 2012.

7 Nov 2012. Xpl-68 returns to Hoanib mouth. The Huab male (Xpl-68) left the Uniab Delta and Terrace Bay area and walked 67.3 km along the western edge of the dunes to the mouth of the Hoanib River.

5 Nov 2012. The Huab male (Xpl-68) moved 38.5 km last night after spending several days at the Uniab Delta. He is currently east of the dune-belt and north of Terrace Bay.

2 Nov 2012. Xpl-68 & Road Construction. The Huab male remained behind the reeds next to the main road to Terrace Bay. It is suspected that he captured another Oryx during the night. The lion got used to the heavy traffic on the road and after the second day he took little notice of the vehicles – as long as they stayed on the road and continued driving. When vehicles stopped or turned around, Xpl-68 responded by hiding in the reeds. The road construction team were informed of the lion.

1 Nov 2012. Uniab Delta South. The Huab male (Xpl-68) captured an Oryx (see 31 Oct 2012) close to the main road to Terrace Bay and at the most southern point of the Uniab Delta. Because of road construction that is currently in progress, the lion dragged the Oryx carcass into a thick bank of reeds to avoid the disturbance and he spent the past 24 hours close to it. Several tourist cars and construction vehicles drove past the spot, but nobody saw the lion.

31 Oct 2012. Uniab Canyon. The Huab male (Xpl-68) has now discovered the abundant supply of food (Oryx & springbok) in the expansive network of reed-beds and springs that form the Uniab Delta. He walked along the spectacular Uniab Canyon to the mouth of the Uniab River during the night (see panoramic animation below), and then moved 7.2 km to the most southern reed-beds where he killed another Oryx just before sunrise.

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30 Oct 2012. Uniab Delta 2. During the night and early morning the Huab male (Xpl-68) explored the Uniab Delta (see map) where there are large numbers of Oryx and springbok. At a spring next to the main road to Terrace Bay (bottom photos) Xpl-68 killed and consumed a Greater flamingo during the night. He also killed an Oryx on the edge of the reeds near the mouth of the Uniab River.

29 Oct 2012. Uniab Delta. Terrace Bay was reached last night at 01h30 and the Huab male (Xpl-68) was located in the moonlight lying on a dune approximately 3 km east of the restaurant. At 03h00 Xpl-68 crossed the dunes to the east and then headed south. Xpl-68 crossed back over the dunes and arrived at the Uniab Delta at 04h30. It is suspected that he killed an Oryx at one of the springs close to the main road. Lions were often observed at the Uniab Delta during the 1980s. This is the first confirmed return of a lion to the mouth of the Uniab River. Namibia Wildlife Resorts & the staff at Terrace Bay have been informed of the lion and regular updates are provided.

28 Oct 2012. Huab male. During the past two days Xpl-68 (the Huab male) walked 68.3 km. After moving past Terrace Bay (26 Oct 2012) he walked south to the Uniab River, but he turned around last night and appears to be heading back to Terrace Bay.

26 Oct 2012. Terrace Bay. In 1985 John Patterson (a ranger in the Skeleton Coast Park) witnessed an adult male lion walking along the beach at Terrace Bay. John also photographed the same lion feeding on a beached whale south of Mowe Bay a few weeks earlier (photo: below left). The movements of the Huab male (Xpl-68) past Terrace Bay (map: bottom left) marks the return of lions to the area after an absence of nearly 30 years. Xpl-68 walked along the dune-belt (photos: top & middle right) towards Terrace Bay, but turned inland before reaching the Uniab delta.

 

25 Oct 2012. Huab male heading for Terrace Bay. The Huab male (Xpl-68) walked southwards for 49.2 km and at 12h00 (today) he was 18 km north of Terrace Bay.

24 Oct 2012. Huab male near coast. Last night the Huab male (Xpl-68) crossed the dune-belt west of the Hoanib Floodplain for the first time. He is currently 5 km from the mouth of the Hoanib River.

12 Oct 2012. Huab male update. Xpl-68 spent several days in the western section of the Hoanib Floodplain. During the night of 9 Oct 2012 he started moving again and on 10/11 Oct 2012 he moved back to the lower Hunkap River (58.5 km).

4 Oct 2012. Xpl-68 explores Hoanib Floodplain. Observations on the Huab male revealed that he remained very alert as he moved around on the western section of the Hoanib Floodplain, suggesting that he might be looking for another lion. The Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-10, 55, 69 and the five cubs) were located west of the dune-belt near Oasis spring and 12 km from Xpl-68. They appeared equally alert.

3 Oct 2012. Xpl-68 at Auses (2). The Huab male was observed moving amongst the dunes and hummocks at Auses spring on the western edge of the Hoanib Floodplain. Although he is still in good condition, he has not had a solid meal for several days.

2 Oct 2012. Xpl-68 at Auses. The Huab male started moving south of the Hunkap River during the night of 30 Sep 2012, but at 23h00 he suddenly changed direction and walked due north. His radio signal was heard last night whilst searching for Xpl-73 “Rosh”. Plans were changed and Xpl-68 was followed (from a distance using the VHF signal of his radio collar) as he moved to the Hoanib Floodplain and then westwards to Auses spring. At 07h12 this morning he moved past one of the camera-traps situated on the southern edge of the Floodplain. The same camera also recorded a cheetah on 1 Oct 2012. Xpl-68 walked 73.0 km during the past two days.

30 Sep 2012. The Huab male (Xpl-68) returned to the Hunkap River. During the night he walked 33.7 km to the Hunkap spring and then down-stream towards the coast.

28 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 returns to Hoanib. The Huab male continued moving north and has entered the core area occupied by the Hoanib Pride.

26 Sep 2012. The Huab male (Xpl-68) walked 40.5 km last night and reached the Hunkap River.

18 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 in Uniab River. The Huab male walked 13.5 km during the night, but remaining in the Uniab River. At 02h00 this morning he was 14 km from the coast, just north of Torra Bay.

16/17 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 back in Uniab River. The Huab male continued moving south and spent midday on 16 Sep 2012 at Haren spring in the Obab River. Last night he followed the course of the Obab River and reached the Uniab River at 10h30 this morning. Xpl-68 walked 62.7 km over the past two days.

13-15 Sep 2012. Hunkap lions. The Huab male (Xpl-68) continued exploring the area around the Hunkap spring. During the past three days he walked 77.9 km (38.2, 25.2 & 14.5 km per day respectively).

11/12 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 favours Hunkap area. The Huab male has remained in the Hunkap area and after some interactions with the lioness Xpl-49 “Nina” and her sub-adult cubs, it is likely that she (“Nina”) is in oestrous. Xpl-68 covered 41.1 km and was back at Hunkap spring this morning.

10 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 explores Hunkap area. The Huab male moved 20.2 km during the night as he explored the areas to the south and east of Hunkap spring.

9 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 in Hunkap River. The Huab male walked 32 km to the Hunkap spring and then followed the course of the Hunkap River to the west.

7/8 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 heading for Hunkap. The Huab male moved through the centre of the Hoanib Pride’s territory. He rested at the junction of the Hoanib and Obias Rivers during midday on 7 Sep 2012 and then negotiated the mountains as he headed towards Hunkap spring (46.7 km).

6 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 reaches Okongwe. During the past two nights the Huab male (Xpl-68) moved 48.4 km and reached the Sawurogab River this morning. He is now in the southwestern section of the Okongwe area and has possibly encountered some of the Okongwe or Hoanib lions.

4 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 versus the crows. The Huab male remained at the Oryx carcass south of Ganias spring. He was harassed by many Pied and Black crows and expended a lot of energy chasing them from the carcass.

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3 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 guard Oryx. The Huab male has been feeding on the Oryx carcass and protecting it against an onslaught of Pied crows and Black-backed jackals.

2 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 catch Oryx. The Huab male moved 8.7 km in a northerly direction. Shortly before dawn, whilst the area was covered in a thick blanket of fog, he surprised and captured an Oryx on the pink gravel plain just south of Ganias spring.

1 Sep 2012. Xpl-68 explore further north. The Huab male spent the night on the Hoanib Floodplain. At 07h00 this morning he started moving north and by 10h00 he had reached the mountains south of Ganias spring. He walked 25.4 km.

31 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 returns to Hoanib. The Huab male (Xpl-68) continued moving north during the night and reached the Hoanib River at 10h20 this morning. At 13h00 he was resting 10 km west of Amp’s Poort, after walking 50.1 km since leaving the Hunkap River at 20h00 last night.

30 Aug 2012. On 25 Aug 2012 it was suggested that the Huab male (Xpl-68) was heading back to the Huab River. This was a mistake. And it shows once again how unpredictable the movement patterns of lions in the desert habitat can be. After feeding on the Oryx carcass in the upper Beacon River, Xpl-68 headed north again and walked 42.7 km back to the Hunkap River.

Xpl-68 Huab male - 28 to 30 Aug 2012

28 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 kill Oryx. The Huab male (Xpl-68) was located in the upper reaches of the Beacon River where he was lying on an Oryx carcass (see 26 Aug 2012). Xpl-68 remained at the carcass throughout the night.

25 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 turn back. The Huab male started heading south towards the Huab River last night at 21h00. He walked 49.6 km and reached Crowthersquelle (just south of the Obab River) by midday.

24 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 in Hunkap River. After joining the lioness “Nina” (Xpl-49), the Huab male (Xpl-68) spent yesterday at the Hunkap spring (see bottom left). During the night he moved westwards, following the course of the Hunkap River. Over the past two nights (since midday on 22 Aug 12) he walked 28.9 km.

23 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 meets "Nina". Xpl-68 reached the Hunkap spring last night at 22h45. A spotted hyaena and several black-backed jackals were feeding on a springbok carcass that was killed by a cheetah earlier during the afternoon. Xpl-68 displaced the other carnivores and started feeding on the remains. At 23h30 the lioness Xpl-49 (“Nina”) arrived at the scene (see photo: bottom right). The interaction between the two lions was peaceable, although Xpl-68 did have to endure a few slaps to the face, but he didn’t retaliate. Xpl-68 appears to have recovered from the injuries he sustained during his interaction with Xpl-10 on 17 Aug 2012.

22 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 move southwards. After spending six days in the Hoanib Floodplain, the Huab male (Xpl-68) started heading south again at 00h30 this morning. He first ventured northwards towards Sima Hill and then moved in a southwesterly direction towards Hunkap spring. At 09h00 this morning he had walked 51.1 km, but he was still on the move.

20 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 moved another 7.2 km during the night and is now resting in the southwest corner of the Hoanib Floodplain.

19 Aug 2012. Tension on the Floodplain. Xpl-10 and the Floodplain lionesses have stashed the cubs somewhere in the granite boulders and have kept a careful watch, from high vantage points, on the movements of the male (Xpl-68) lower down in the Floodplain. Xpl-68 is still limping badly and nursing the injuries sustained from his confrontation with Xpl-10 and the other lionesses. He moved 5.1 km during the night and is currently resting in a cave approximately 3 km east of Auses spring.

18 Aug 2012. Stalemate on the Floodplain. When Xpl-68 returned from his scuffle with the Floodplain lionesses yesterday morning, he was injured and limping (see photo: top right). He spent the whole day lying in a rock crevice and only emerged at 23h00. He moved 1.2 km to the middle of the Floodplain and is still in the same position (n = 15 hours). Xpl-68’s movements since arriving on the Floodplain are displayed by the map below (total distance = 16.1 km). The Floodplain lionesses returned to the area at sunrise this morning. All five cubs were fine and only Xpl-10 showed signs of a fight (she was limping slightly). The three lionesses spent most of the morning lying on a ridge and watching Xpl-68 on the Floodplain from a distance of 2.1 kilometres.

17 Aug 2012. Conflict on the Floodplain. Shortly before sunset the Floodplain lionesses and their cubs were located on a fresh Oryx kill on the northern edge of the Hoanib Floodplain and 4.8 km from where Xpl-68 was resting during the day. The decision was made to stay with the lionesses and to observe the events at the carcass if Xpl-68 were to find them. All five cubs are healthy and in excellent condition (see photos: top row - move mouse over top right photo). During the night the signal from Xpl-68’s radio collar faded as he moved towards the west, but by sunrise he started moving closer. The lionesses and cubs were unaware of the approaching male as the signal from Xpl-68’s collar became louder and louder. Xpl-10 first noticed the approaching male and the lionesses and cubs fled into the granite boulders (see photos: bottom row). Xpl-68 chased after them but, because of the sensitive terrain, it was not possible to follow the lions. There was a serious confrontation between Xpl-68 and the Floodplain lionesses (based on the sounds and the tracks that were observed later). When Xpl-68 returned two hours later, he was limping badly and crawled into a narrow rock crevice. He has not moved for the past 7 hours. The Floodplain lionesses moved away and could not be located.

16 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 reaches Hoanib Floodplain. At 20h40 last night, Xpl-68 started moving north again. He reached the Hoanib River, just west of Amp’s Poort, at 04h30 and then followed the river westwards to the Floodplain. He stopped moving at 12h00 during a sandstorm, after covering a distance of 53.1 km, and is currently resting in the shade and protection of the Ohima Mountain. The whereabouts of the Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-10 & co.) is currently unknown and their radio signals of have not yet been picked up. The interaction between Xpl-68 and the Floodplain lionesses with their five male cubs (if and when they meet for the first time) will be interesting and efforts will be made to observe & document the event.

15 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 continues north. The past two nights were spent waiting near the Oryx carcass hoping to observe the mystery lions and possibly dart “Charlotte” (if present) to replace her faulty radio collar. But, it appears that Xpl-68 displaced them because they did not return to the carcass. At 03h30 this morning, Xpl-68 continued moving further north. By 14h00 he walked another 20.9 km and was observed on the gravel plains from a distance of several kilometres. Since Xpl-68 left the Huab River on 7 Aug 2012 he has walked 207 km and is now 142 km directly northwest (as the crow flies) from the area he occupied over the previous 18 months. Were in not for the satellite collar fitted to him on 14 Jul 2012, we would not have been aware of this extraordinary movement.

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14 Aug 2012. Xpl-68 meet Charlotte? Xpl-68 was located on an Oryx carcass 1.5 km north of the Hunkap River and approximately 20 km from the coast. It was difficult to negotiate the rough terrain and to observe the lion because of thick fog that reduced visibility to a few hundred metres. Xpl-68 did not kill the Oryx. The fresh tracks of six lions were followed yesterday for >10 km as they moved down the Hunkap River. The six lions captured the Oryx early on 13 Aug 2012 and Xpl-68 must have heard the commotion and met-up with them. It is suspected that the six lions are part of Xpl-53’s group.

13 Aug 2012. Extraordinary Xpl-68. The sudden movement of the Huab Male (Xpl-68) from the Huab River to the Uniab River (see 11 Aug 2012) was unusual and totally unexpected. But, his movements during the past 24 hours have been even more surprising. At 21h00 on 11 Aug 2012, after feeding on the Oryx, he continued moving north along the dune-belt towards the Hunkap River. During the midday heat he rested in the Karugaiseb River and continued again at 17h00. By 05h00 this morning he was in the Hunkap River, after walking 54.8 kilometres.

11 Aug 2012. Huab Male. The more we study and learn about the Desert lions, the less we seem to understand their behaviour and movement patterns. The satellite collar fitted to the Huab male (Xpl-68) on 14 Jul 2012 revealed an unusual and totally unexpected movement during the past 2 days. For the past year, Xpl-68 has been moving around Peter’s Pool in the Huab River, with occasional visits to the Ugab River. At 23h00 on 7 Aug 2012, he suddenly vacated the Huab area and moved in a northwesterly direction. During a 40-hour period he covered a distance of 130.7 km, where he killed an Oryx in the Uniab River (9 km from the coast) at 15h00 on 9 Aug 2012 (see map below).