NEWS 2006 (Jan - Jul)

30 July 2006: Funding from Cymot/Greensport, Namibia, & 4x4

---Press Release--- CYMOT Pty (Ltd) / Greensport is sponsoring a research project on the desert lions of Namibia. This demonstrates their continued support towards the conservation of wildlife and the natural environment. Cymot and 4x4 Megaworld, as a joint sponsor, donated specialised field equipment to the Kunene Lion Project, where Dr. Flip Stander conducts scientific research on desert-adapted lions in the Kunene Region. Among an exceptional array of nature spectacles, Namibia is also home to lions that are unique adapted to living in a desert. Found only in Namibia, along the Skeleton Coast and the Kunene Region, these lions are enormously valuable to the tourism industry. However, despite the value and benefits from tourism, there is also regular conflict between lions and the local communities. The lions often prey on livestock, and farmers in the Kunene Region respond by shooting the lions, in order to protect their livelihood. The Kunene Lion Project was started by Dr. Stander in 1999 to address this problem. Studying lions and managing conflicts between lions and the local people, in the harsh and arid landscapes of the Kunene Region is difficult. It requires active field research, such as marking individual lions with radio collars, and monitoring them for several years. In collaboration with IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development & Nature Conservation), Dr. Stander aims to find solutions to the problem of human-lion conflict, and to ensure the long-term survival of the desert lions. In support of the Kunene Lion Project, CYMOT supplied an “Old Man Emu” suspension system, valued at N$ 10,000, for the aging Toyota Hilux used by Dr. Stander to track and monitor lions. The Hilux logged over 400,000 km during 23 years in the field, and the new suspension has greatly improved its’ ability to negotiate the rocky & mountainous Kunene landscapes. 4x4 Megaworld joined Cymot in sponsoring the Lion Project, by supplying a heavy-duty compressor pump, to the value of N$ 2,000. 26 August 2006.

20-22 July 2006: Visit by Oratory Prep School, England
A group from the Oratory Prep School, led by Mr. Chris Sexon, visited the Kunene Lion Project at Wereldsend between 20 and 22 July 2006. During this time the kids learnt about the project and went out radio-tracking lions. The group donated N$7,000 that they had raised themselves. Altogether Oratory Prep School have donated more than £600 towards the conservation of Namibia’s desert lions.

Brown Hyaena Project.
As part of the collaboration vision of the newly formed Wildlife Coalition, the Kunene Lion Project has spent a week (7-14 July 2006) assisting Ingrid Wiesel on the Brown Hyaena Project. During this period we captured and radio collared two brown hyaenas.

New Funding approved.
Three new proposals were submitted in the past ten days. Two (Cymot & Dunlop) of these have been approved.

Simulated Animation!
Using our ecological data we developed a time-lapse animation of the increase & expansion in the desert lion population, between 1999 and 2006. If you have Flash Player you can watch this animated movie.

Namibia Holiday & Travel Expo 2006 (11-13 May)
For the third year running, the Namibia Holiday & Travel Expo kindly donated a stand to the Kunene Lion Project. Like the previous years we presented the current results of the Project, with the aim to inform the tourism industry of the status of the Kunene lion population, and therefore further the tourism potential of lions. This year we invited two independent project to joins us in our exhibit. We believe that Ingrid Wiesel - (Brown Hyeana Research Project, Luderitz) and Robin Lines - (Namibia Wild Dog Project, Tsumkwe) have excelled in their efforts to conserve large carnivores.

The wild dog, lion & brown hyaena exhibit The brown hyaena skeleton attracted much attention The team: Sonja, Robin, Ingrid, Gemma & Flip

Recent images from field research (February - May 2006)

Male interactions in the Agab Pride Black rhinoceros femaler & calf Xpl-10 south of the Hoaruseb River Immobilise Xpl-25 and fit GPS collar

Exceptionally high rainfall in desert
The year 2006 will go down in the record books. The Namib Desert had unusually high rainfall. This much rain was last recorded in 1995 and 1984 - lending credibility to the old farmer's theory of an 11-year cycle!. The following photographs compare the same area before and after the rain. This illustrated the phenomenal impact of the rains on the desert and its' flora.

To view photos!!!

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The 2005 image is replaced by...
the 2006 image, after the rains!

DL