Current locations - The Dorob Male

Xpl-77

The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77), also known as “Victor”, was born in the Agab River. He moved to the Ugab River and into the Dorob National Park in April/May 2012. He was darted and fitted with a VHF radio collar on 10 Jun 2012. The collar was replaced with a satellite collar on 25 Jan 2013. Xpl-77 was shot for trophy hunting on 27 Sep 2013. More details will follow.

13 Oct 2013. Video of Xpl-77. Below is a video-clip of Xpl-77 mating with Xpl-36 “Monica” that was taken by Tina Vinjevold on 25 Sep 2013.

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11 Oct 2013. Comments on hunting of Xpl-77. The trophy hunting of an adult male lion in the Torra Conservancy on 27 Sep 2013 has generated a lot of public interest. Due to several press releases and remarks in the social media, the Desert Lion Conservation Project has been asked to comment on the developments. See links: AZ /

The conservation and protection wildlife and the environment are in the interest of all Namibians. Especially since the various forms of tourism and the utilisation of wildlife resources (both consumptive & non-consumptive) contribute to a major industry in Namibia that provides income and support to many sectors of society.

With these two contrasting forms of wildlife utilisation running side-by-side and essentially competing of the same resources, it is not surprising that conflict will arise. Consumptive use of wildlife, such as hunting, may have a more immediate impact on the resource than does the non-consumptive form, such as photographic tourism. Both forms, however, have to be sustainable to ensure optimum benefits to Namibia and to ensure the long-term conservation of the wildlife resources.

There is an obvious conflict of interest between the supporters of the two forms of wildlife utilisation. This has unfortunately led to unnecessary criticisms. The Desert Lion Conservation Project can see no value in responding to comments made, for example, about anthropomorphism and infanticide. The reality is that both hunting and non-consumptive tourism are recognised forms of wildlife utilisation in Namibia. Both generate significant income to Namibia and to the local communities that share their land with the wildlife populations. Furthermore, some local communities suffer significant losses from species like lions, cheetahs and leopards that prey on their livestock. The point of concern should ideally be focused on sustainability rather than the type of utilisation.

The management and sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources are complex, especially when dealing with free-ranging large carnivores in an arid environment. This can possibly only be achieved if all the involved parties collaborate. The Desert Lion Conservation Project strives to contribute to this process by systematically collecting important ecological and behavioural data on the desert-adapted lion population in the Kunene Region of Namibia and by making this information freely available to the authorities and the public. In the case of the recent shooting of Xpl-77 (the “Dorob Male”) a concerted effort was made to remain objective and to provide only the facts. There can be little doubt that the death of Xpl-77 was a setback to the social dynamics of a population in the process of recovering from a significantly skewed sex ratio.

Although the hunting of Xpl-77 is currently the subject of a heated debate in the social media, the Desert Lion Conservation Project cannot comment on the complexities surrounding the event. Instead, we hope that this incident will lead to better communications and collaboration between all the relevant stakeholders towards a common goal of sustainable utilisation and long-term conservation of this unique population of desert-adapted lions.

5 Oct 2013. Home range. Between 10 Jun 2012 (when he was fitted with a VHF radio collar that was replaced with a satellite collar six months later) and 27 Sep 2013 (when he was shot) the “Dorob Male” Xpl-77 utilised an area of 12,350 km2 (see map below).

During this period of 1 year 3 months and 17 days, Xpl-77 spent 72% of his time in the Ugab River. He was also the first lion to utilise the newly proclaimed Dorob Park. During this entire period, until the day he was shot, Xpl-77 did not kill any livestock and there were no incidents of conflict with local communities. Over a period of 247 days (since the satellite collar was fitted) he moved a total distance of 2,556 km at an average of 10.3 km/day (maximum = 53.95 km, see statistics below).

4 Oct 2013. Summary of Xpl-77's movements. Data retrieved from the satellite collars of both the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) and Xpl-36 “Monica” were analysed in an effort to understand what transpired prior to the shooting of Xpl-77. The lioness (Xpl-36) was in oestrous when the two lions met on 16 Sep 2013. They remained together and mated continuously until the incident on 27 Sep 2013. The movement animation and map (below) are based on the GPS locations and times recorded by their respective satellite collars. Xpl-77 “Victor” = red icons; Xpl-36 “Monica” = blue icons.

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3 Oct 2013. Last photos of Xpl-77. The "Dorob Male" (Xpl-77) was observed mating with Xpl-36 "Monica" north of Wereldsend a few days before he was shot. (photos by Tina Vinjevold).

2 Oct 2013. Xpl-77 Shot – a major setback. Excessive and unsustainable shooting and trophy hunting of adult male lions between 1999 and 2010 resulted in a skewed sex ratio (1 male: 10 females; see 2010 Research Report) in the Desert lion population that caused social and demographic problems. The hunting was stopped in 2011 and the recovery of the population, especially in terms of their social dynamics, had become noticeable during the past two years (e.g. the movements of the “Terrace Male” and the “Dorob Male”). It is therefor a major setback that the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) was shot for trophy hunting a few days ago. Xpl-77 met-up with the Agab lioness (Xpl-36 “Monica”) on 16 Sep 2013 (see September News) and they were mating when he was shot. The “Dorob Male” was fitted with a satellite radio collar on 23 Jan 2013 and his movements were posted daily on this website. We just hope that these data were not actually used to locate and shoot Xpl-77.

1 Oct 2013. Xpl-77. The Agab lioness, Xpl-36 “Monica”, has moved westwards along the Agab River, but there is still no information available from the satellite collar of the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77).

30 Sep 2013 12h00. The "Dorob Male? The satellite collar of Xpl-36 “Monica” came back online again this morning, but there is concern over the whereabouts of Xpl-77 (the “Dorob Male”) that has not transmitted a location position since 27 Sep 2013.

16 Sep 2013. 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.

27 Sep 2013

07h00

**SHOT**

11 Sep 2013

07h00

 

25 Aug 2013

07h00

 

 

18 Aug 2013. Dorob Male. The Dorob Male (Xpl-77) was located in the lower Huab River. He was feeding on a carcass (possibly an Oryx) inside a thick reed bed.

7 Jun 2013. Obab Pride. The images below reveal what Xpl-74 was protecting when he displaced the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) and attacked him in the lower Uniab River on 1 Jun 2013. Xpl-77 entered deep into the home range of the Obab Pride and Xpl-74 drove him out. When the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) arrived at the scene (see 2 Jun 2013), Xpl-74 was outside the core area of his home range and he retreated to re-join with the lionesses and cubs. The unknown lioness of 6 Jun 2013 belongs to the Obab Pride, but she has not yet been identified.

6 Jun 2013. Unknown lioness. A brief return was made to the “Dorob Male” - only to confirm that he was still feeding on the last remains of his zebra carcass. An unknown female with a black radio-collar was spotted 15 km south of Agab spring. The radio collar is not functional and efforts are underway to identify the lioness.

5 Jun 2013. Xpl-77 guarding zebra. The “Dorob Male” remained with his zebra carcass and was joined by a Cape fox for most of the night (photo: bottom left). The significance of the location where Xpl-77 captured the zebra is illustrated by the fact that the lion can be seen lying next to his carcass, from distances of more than 10 km (using a spotting scope). A series of photos (second row from top) were taken at various distances using a telephoto lens.

1.7 km 2.5 km 3.5 km 4.5 km

4 Jun 2013. Xpl-77 kill zebra. The two males (Xpl-68 & Xpl-77) separated at 23h00 last night. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved 24 km to the Uniab River, where he rested for the day. The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved less that 5 km towards Springbokwasser, when he killed a Mountain zebra against the barren slope of a mountain at approximately 00h30. **A late download from the satellite collar of "Rosh" (Xpl-73) show that he has moved to the Gamatum River, where there are possibly large numbers of livestock. **

3 Jun 2013. Obab Lioness. During the night the two males (Xpl-68 “Terrace” & Xpl-77 “Dorob”) moved westwards towards Torra Bay. They could not be located during the day partly due to the sensitive terrain, but mainly because there were downloading delays for both satellite collars (see 31 May 2013 & Current Locations). However, with the exception of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75), all the satellite collars downloaded their latest positions at 07h00 this morning. Xpl-22 of the Obab Pride was located near Microlight Spring. She is still lactating. Her cubs were not observed because she also moved into an inaccessible area.

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.

1 Jun 2013. Confrontation in the Uniab. A physical confrontation between Xpl-74 (the current Obab Pride male) and the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) was witnessed at sunset. Xpl-74 moved westwards along the Uniab River and, with a strong westerly wind in his favour, surprised the “Dorob Male” who was resting in the riverbed (top photo). The two males clashed near the top of a high mountain ridge (photo: bottom right). Both lions were exhausted and lay a few metres apart when the light faded at dusk.

27 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The Messum, Ugab and Guantagab Rivers are being searched for information that might explain why the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) vacated the area. Xpl-77 is currently in the Uniab River (see Current Locations).

24 May 2013. "Dorob Male" heading for Uniab. Xpl-77 continued on his interesting journey and he is currently heading for the Uniab River. A new approach to presenting the movement data of satellite-collared lions is in progress and will be posted by tomorrow.

23 May 2013. "Dorob Male" in Koigab. The fact that the Torra Conservancy moved their livestock away from Slangpos was a successful management action and resulted in the Huab lionesses vacating the area. They are currently in the Springbok River (see Huab Pride). The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) has explored new grounds by moving along the Koigab River towards the coast (satellite image below).

22 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The movements of Xpl-77 (“Dorob Male”) during the past few days are interesting and appear similar to those of Xpl-68 (the “Terrace Male”) when he dispersed from the Huab River. The Huab females returned to the Slangpos area - presumably looking for the two cubs that were shot a few days ago. The livestock has (temporarily) been moved away to avoid further conflict whilst the lions are still in the area.

20 May 2013. Grey Whale. John Paterson of the Namibian Dolphin Project confirmed a remarkable sighting of a grey whale near Walvis Bay in early May 2013. It is reported to be the first sighting of the species south of the equator following an absence in the Atlantic since the 18th century (presumably due to whaling). The grey whale was spotted yesterday near Pelican Point (photos below) as well as a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins.

The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved far north and crossed the main road between Springbokwasser and Bergsig, whilst the Agab Pride moved towards Wereldsend Mountain. The Huab lionesses moved back to Slangpos after two cubs were shot on Saturday night. See movement maps above.

18 May 2013. Dorob Male. The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved north and crossed the Huan River towards the Springbok River. The Huab lioness (Xpl-75) is south of the Huab River and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is at the Uniab Delta (see location maps above).

5 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The damage to the rear suspension of the field vehicle was more extensive than initially expected. Temporary repairs were made (sponsored by Bernd Kebbel & Alfons Motors) to allow fieldwork to continue. The required spare parts have been ordered and the vehicle will have to return to Swakopmund towards the end of May. During the past few days the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) utilized the southwestern section of the Brandberg (see photos: below middle & right).

15 Apr 2013. Doros Crater. The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved to the Doros Crater for the first time since he was fitted with a satellite radio collar. The “Terrace Male” moved into a more accessible area at the mouth of the Uniab River. Fetch Softworks donated a FTP software programme (see Sponsors).

25 Jan 2013. "Dorob Male". Xpl-77 (“Victor”) was located in the Ugab River close to the border of the Skeleton Coast Park. He was darted and fitted with a satellite radio collar. After the dart was fired, Xpl-77 disappeared into the mountains. An extensive search was launched and eventually by a pure a stroke of luck he was found amongst the rocks. An electrical problem on the vehicle may prevent updates to the website for the next few days. 14h00 - movement updates have now been posted.

20 Jan 2013. Searching for the "Dorob Male". Efforts are underway to locate and fit a new satellite radio collar to the Dorob Male (Xpl-77 or “Victor”). His tracks were observed in the lower Ugab River a few days ago. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) walked 63 km during the past 24 hours and is heading for the Uniab Delta via the lower Hunkap River.

12 Jun 2012. Black Rocks. Xpl-77 was kept under observation for another day. It was impressive to notice the ease and agility with which he moves over the rugged mountains along the banks of the Ugab River. His spoor from a few days ago was also followed as he moved at least 15 km southwest of the Ugab and into the Dorob National Park.

11 Jun 2012. Xpl-77. The lion recovered well from the anaesthetics. He was observed moving through the mountainous terrain whilst approaching the remains of his zebra kill.

10 Jun 2012. Long Night. The zebra carcass was dragged from the thick reeds into a clearing and was tied to a rock. A long and bitterly cold night was spent waiting at the carcass. The lion approached the carcass at 04h00. He was darted just before the break of dawn. Xpl-77 was fitted with a new RFID tag collar from African Wildlife Tracking. The Project would like to thank Karen Lo, Roland Boutin, Richard Roberts & Ben Simpson for the helicopter flight, which led to the capture & radio collaring of an important lion in the Ugab River.

9 Jun 2012. Ugab Lion. Driving to the location where the male lion was observed from the helicopter yesterday afternoon has been difficult due to the rocky terrain along the banks and the muddy substrate inside the Ugab River. It required most of today to get the Land Cruiser close to the carcass to observe the lion.

8 Jun 2012. Helicopter. The spoor of a male lion was picked-up between the Omaruru River and Brandberg. The tracks were followed going into the Ugab River and moving westwards past the SRT Camp at Brandberg West. A group of conservationists/tourists visiting the region was met at the Ugab Camp. They kindly offered the use of their helicopter to try and locate the lion. Through a stroke of good luck the male lion was spotted on a fresh zebra carcass in the Ugab River approximately 16 km west of the camp. Efforts are now underway to reach the location by vehicle and to observe the lion.

7 Jun 2012. Spitzkoppe. A large part of the Omaruru River and the area between the river and Spitzkoppe were searched for signs of the lion, and many local settlements were visited to enquire about the lion. There were no tangible signs or reports of the lion. The search has been expanded further north to the Messum and Ugab Rivers.

6 Jun 2012. Omaruru River - 2. Fresh signs or tracks of the lion in the Omaruru River have not yet been found. Many of the local villages in the Tsiseb Conservancy, where the lion was observed, were visited to enquire about livestock losses and the possible whereabouts of the lions. The people were eager to help and provided lots of information. The search has been expanded far south of the Omaruru River towards the Spitzkoppe.

5 Jun 2012. Omaruru River. Reports were received from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism that a male lion has been observed in the Omaruru River. This observation coincides with other reports that a lion was spotted at Mile 72. On several occasions during the past eight years, similar reports have been investigated, but they were always false alarms: i.e. the spoor or observed animal inevitably turned out to be a brown hyaena. However, this reports appears to be authentic and an effort is currently underway to locate the lion.

 

 

 

 

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