NEWS 2008 (Jan - Aug)

27 Aug 2008: Killer lions hoodwinked. Moved to GPS collars - Ugab Male.

26 Aug 2008: Problems updating website. Despite preparing regular web site updates, failing to connect to the Internet with the satellite IP modem has continued.

20 - 26 Aug 2008: Hot pursuit. Moved to GPS collars - Ugab Male.

15 - 21 Aug 2008: Ugab male "Miles" died. Moved to GPS collars - Ugab Male.

14 Aug 2008: More Internet problems. Connecting to the Internet has become increasingly difficult with the satellite IP modem. I prepared web site updates regularly, but have not been able to connect and upload the new additions since 6 August 2008.

10 - 14 Aug 2008: Hoaruseb lions take to the hills. Moved to Hoaruseb females & cubs.

11 Aug 2008: Hoanib Floodplain lions. During a brief survey of the Hoanib Floodplain, I stumbled across an impressive group of lions on an oryx carcass. Confused at first, by where all these lions could have come from, I soon realised that it was Xpl-10, Xpl-25 and their cubs (born early in 2007).

 

How many lions can you spot (photo-far right)? Move your mouse over the photo for the numbers.


10 Aug 2008: Xpl-3 in the Hoanib River. The VHF signal of “Adolf” (Xpl-3) was picked-up between the Ganamub and Obias junctions in the Hoanib River, while searching for Xpl-47. An entire day was spent getting close enough to him to initiate a UHF download from his GPS collar. Shortly before sunset I managed to establish the UHF remote link between his GPS collar and my computer, and downloaded the data on his recent movement successfully.

Photos show UHF antenna connected to the computer during the download.


9 - 10 Aug 2008: Searching for the Hoanib lions. In between the Lion Eco-tourism study and monitoring the Hoaruseb Pride, I have also been trying to locate the Hoanib lioness ("Bianca" or Xpl-47). She has not yet been found since I fitted her with a GPS collar on 5 May 2008. An extensive search was launched along the Hoanib River, into the mountains towards Orawao and Mudorib Springs. The information stored in her GPS collar, waiting to be retrieved when I eventually locate her, is cause for great anticipation.

 

 

Driving along the moonlit Mudorib valley shortly after dusk, in search of Xpl-47
(time-lapse exposure).


6 - 9 Aug 2008: Hoaruseb lion update. Moved to Hoaruseb females & cubs.

9 Aug 2008: Monitoring tourism impact on lions. During the past two weeks a study on the interaction between tourist vehicles and lions in the Hoaruseb River continued. This forms part of the Lion Eco-tourism project. A large volume of data was collected during 2006/7, but an increase in tourism pressure and the addition of cubs to the Hoaruseb Pride have required that more information be gathered.

Example of the lion eco-tourism database
Delighted Italian tourists after watching the Hoaruseb lions and cubs for over an hour
The objectives of this study are:
a) to measure the number and frequency of tourist vehicles that drive past the lions in the Hoaruseb River,
b) to calculate the success of tourists seeing lions and determine the parameters that influence the success,
c) to observe the behaviour of both tourists and lions during these interactions,
d) to measure the impact of tourism on the lions, and
e) to develop guidelines, using these results, that will promote sustainable lion eco-tourism in the Hoaruseb River.

4 - 6 Aug 2008: Lions catch ostrich. Moved to Hoaruseb females & cubs.

6 Aug 2008: Shooting of Xpl-17 revisited. Moved to GPS collars - Uniab Pride.

4 Aug 2008: Internet problems. Over the past two months I've experienced increasing problems connecting to the Internet using the RBGAN Satellite IP modem. The RBGAN system will apparently be phased out by the end of 2008 by which time I have to upgrade to the BGAN system. Updating this web site, and especially the movement animations of the lions with GPS collars, has often not been possible due to this problem.

2-3 Aug 2008: Visit by Mr Paul Allen. In August 2007 Mr Paul Allen and Jody Allen Patton joined me in the Hoaruseb River and we darted one of the Hoaruseb lionesses ("Tawny" or Xpl-38) to fit a radio collar. After their visit Mr. Allen made a very generous donation for advanced radio-telemetry equipment for the Desert Lion Project (see Large Donations). Mr Allen visited the area again his year with Wilderness Safaris, and I met up with him at Skeleton Coast Camp on 2 August 2008. I was honoured to deliver a presentation on the progress of the Lion Project, and to demonstrate the benefits andpositive impact that last year's donation has had on the research. Mr Allen then joined me in the Hoaruseb River to look at the lioness we darted last year and her small cubs (see photos below - "Following the Hoaruseb Pride").

Our rendezvous at Leyland's Drif
Discussions with Mr Allen & Dr Val Turri after viewing the Hoaruseb lions (Photos: Mark)

30 July - 4 Aug 2008: Following the Hoaruseb Pride. Moved to Hoaruseb females & cubs.

31 July 2008: New Cruiser Page. I decided to start a chronological photographic journal to document the work and activities of the new Land Cruiser. This Page, called Cruiser, can be viewed under the Transport Section.

25-30 July 2008: Hoaruseb lions. Moved to Land Cruiser Report.

22 July 2008: Miles October. The Ugab male was named after Miles October in 2001, when he (the lion) was a sub-adult, living in the Agab River. Mr. Miles October has just donated N$ 5000 towards the monitoring and research activities of his namesake.

20 July 2008: Donation from the Ammer Foundation. The Ammer Foundation is a family trust (Ammer-Stiftung) based in Hamburg, Germany. On 4 April 2008 Paul and Jakob Ammer approached DLC with a funding offer. After some discussions, the Ammer Foundation agreed to fund a mobile research station to aid the research activities of the Project (see Sponsors). We are now looking to purchase a heavy-duty off-road caravan for this purpose.

17 - 18 July 2008: "Adolf" and the Hoanib Floodplain lions. Whilst driving through the Hoanib Floodplain and the dunes leading up to the mouth of the Hoanib River, I located a group of 12 lions. In addition to the radio-collared lionesses (Xpl10 & 25) there was an unmarked lioness with four cubs (5 months old) that I had not seen before. I was also able to get close enough to the adult male "Adolf " (Xpl-3) to download all the location data from his GPS collar (see LINK).

Sub-adult lions in the Hoanib Floodplain
Krans - an extraordinary waterhole in the dunes, where Xpl-3 killed an oryx and drank water

18 July 2008: New Land Cruiser in action. Moved to Land Cruiser Report.

14 - 17 July 2008: Purros Conservancy Training. Training of the selected "Lion Officers" from the Purros Conservancy started on 14 July 2008. Bertus Uararavi, Arno Karutjaiva, Steven Uararavi & Wagga Tjiraso were subjected to a range of tests, examinations and field evaluations.

17 July 2008: Hoaruseb lion cubs. Moved to Hoaruseb females & cubs.

14 July 2008: Xpl-17 shot. Moved to GPS collars - Uniab Pride.

8-13 July 2008: Human Lion Conflict at Bergsig - Xpl-17. Moved to GPS collars - Uniab Pride.

10-11 July 2008: Oratory Prep School. Children from the Oratory Prep School from Reading, UK, visited Wereldsend for a tour of the Desert Lion Project. The group was on a tour of Namibia under the guidance of Chris Sexon and guided by Jason Nott. For the past four years the Oratory Prep School raised funds to support the Lion Project and during this visit they donated N$12,000 to the Project (more information under Sponsors).

7-8 July 2008: Lion at Hoanib mouth. An adult male lion moved past Mowe Bay to the mouth of the Hoanib River and visited Oasis Spring before disappearing into the dunes. Two unsuccessful nights were spent trying to locate the lion.

8 July 2008: First field trip with the new Land Cruiser. Moved to Land Cruiser Report.

30 June 2008: New Land Cruiser arrive in Namibia. Hennie Kotze arrived safely in Walvis Bay on Friday evening after an uneventful and successful trip from Gauteng, and I met up with him on Saturday morning (28 June). We spent Saturday and Sunday morning inspecting and testing the vehicle with Hennie demonstrating some of the key features to me. Tina Green kindly provided accommodation for us in Swakopmund.

25 June 2008: New Land Cruiser heading for Namibia. The final adjustments and modifications to the vehicle by the Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa were completed today. I have just received these photos from Adolf Huester - they were taken at his fitment centre earlier today. Hennie Kotze will be driving the vehicle to Namibia. He leaves tomorrow morning and I will meet him in Walvis Bay on Friday afternoon.

20 & 21 June 2008: NEW FIELD VEHICLE!!! The Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa and WWF-Life sponsored a new research vehicle for the Desert Lion Conservation Project to replace "Hagar" the Horrible Hilux. The LCCSA invited and sponsored me to attend hand-over ceremonies in Cape Town (20 June) and Gautenga (21 June). The new vehicle is a Toyota Land Cruiser Double Cab and it is fully equipped with all the necessary accessories and modifications. See full report under Transport. I would like to thank Theo Schmidt, Marie & Chantelle for looking after me in Cape Town, and to Johann Viljoen for a memorable event. Thank you to Hennie Kotze and Adolf Huester for their hospitality in Gauteng, providing transport to and from the airport, and for the celebrations after the hand-over ceremony.

The new Land Cruiser (Photos-J Barkenhuizen)
Adolf Huester of LCCSA handing over the keys
Celebrations in Cape Town (Photo-Marie)

14 June 2008: New page on GPS collars. The GPS collar page for the Ugab Pride has been improved. Movement data and the real-time animation are now updated every 3-5 days.

31 May - 10 June 2008: Fieldwork continued to fit the last GPS. The search for the Springbok River lions was continued after a brief delay and repairs to the field vehicle. The emails sent by the satellite GPS collar of the Ugab male were monitored daily, and caused huge excitement when the lion (Miles) suddenly moved north and into the area occupied by the Springbok lions (see animation). I located "Miles" in the Springbok River and followed him closely for several days, hoping that he might lead me to the elusive Springbok lions. Unfortunately my vehicle broke down in the upper Koigab River on 7 June 2008. Rusell Vinjevoldt (with whom I collaborate on the Desert Lion Safaris) is trying to source spare parts from Swakopmund and will kindly bring out it to me.

Searching for lions in the lower Huab/Koigab
Using GIS to plot satellite GPS data
"Miles" (Xpl-16) in the Springbok River

27 May 2008: New page on GPS collars. The GPS collar page has been expanded to present information on two prides.

26 May 2008: New page on Art & Impressions. A new page has been added under Products Section, with contributions from Bianca Green, Tamarind Nott and Anika Ramey.

23 May 2008: New page on GPS collars. A new page on this website has been created to present information on the GPS radio collars. The page is currently presenting an animation of the movements of the Ugab lion, but will soon expand to cover regular updates on the movements of all the lions with GPS collars.

17 April - 21 May 2008: Summary of effort to fit GPS collars. The six GPS collars were carefully allocated to key individual lions or prides in the Desert Lion population, as part of a sampling design to maximise the conservation and ecological value of the data retrieved from each collar. Locating and immobilising these lions was not an easy task and required a substantial effort over 38 consecutive days. During a total of 608 hours, at an average of 16 working hrs/day) five lions were darted and fitted with GPS collars. On average, the effort invested to fit a GPS collar was 7.6 days or 121.6 hours per lion (see table below). I did not succeed in darting a lion in the Springbok River and will return to try again in June.

Pride area
No. of days
No. of hours
Hrs/day
Lions collared
Uniab/Obab Rivers
3
42

14.0

Adult female
Hoanib Floodplain
3
54
18.0
Adult male
Hoaruseb River
5
67
13.4
Adult male
Hoanib/Hunkap Rivers
10
154
15.4
Adult female
Springbok River
9
154
17.1
none
Ugab River
8
137
17.1
Adult male
Totals
38
608
16.0
Five lions
Mean effort per lion
7.6
121.6
   

 

17 April - 15 May 2008: Extensive fieldwork to fit GPS collars continues. After the meeting at the Purros Conservancy a concerted effort was made to locate the Hoaruseb lions. With the Hoaruseb River still too wet to drive in, this was not an easy task. With a bit of luck and some serious mountaineering with the Hilux, I finally located them. It was the first time I saw the lionesses since the rains started in January. One lioness (Morado- Xpl-37) had two 5-mo-old cubs. After observing for two nights, I darted the adult male (Xpl-44) and fitted a GPS collar.

The two Hoaruseb lionesses
The tracks of two cubs next to that of a lioness
The Hoaruseb lions feeding on an oryx kill
Xpl-44, just prior to darting
Fitting of the GPS collar
Xpl-44 recovering from the immobilisation

After the Hoaruseb I moved south to the Hoanib floodplain to locate and fit a GPS collar to one of the two resident lionesses. During the first night (14 May 2008) I found them feeding on an oryx kill and decided to observe them and postpone the darting to the following night. On the second night, to my surprise, a beautiful black-manned lion joined the lionesses. At the spur of the moment the decision was made to dart him instead.

Big and small, but equally well adapted to life in the desert
Fitting a GPS collar to a magnificent black-manned lion in the Hoanib River

11 May 2008: Nightly emails from the Ugab lion. The satellite GPS collar, on the Ugab lion (Xpl-16 or "Miles") has been consistent in sending emails with the lion's position co-ordinates of his movements during the previous 24 hours. The map below shows his movements along the Ugab River during this period, and a total distances moved per day. A new section entitled "GPS News" is currently being developed to present regular updates on the movements of the lions with GPS collars.

Movements of Xpl-16 (7-11 May 2008)
Distances moved per day

 

07/May/08 = 18.4 km (Blue)

08/May/08 = 11.0 km (Blue)

09/May/08 = 24.7 km (Blue)

10/May/08 = 43.3 km (Yellow)

11/May/08 = 15.8 km (Yellow)

10 & 11 May 2008: Community meeting at Purros Conservancy. An important meeting was held at the Purros Conservancy to discuss the conflict between lions and the Purros community, and the prospects of developing lion eco-tourism ventures. The Purros community, Conservancy members, traditional leaders, IRDNC, WWF LIFE, and members of the tourism sector attended the meeting. Once approved by all the participants, the outcome of the discussions will be posted here.

A two-day lion meeting held under a tree at the Conservancy Office
Garth Owen-Smith and Pieter Harawe (Traditional Leader)
A member of the Purros community contributing to the discussions on lion tourism

06 May 2008: Nightly emails from the Ugab lion. The satellite GPS collar that was fitted to the Ugab lion (Xpl-16 or "Miles") on 23 April 2008 (see below) has been a sensation. Miles (or the collar he is wearing, rather) has been sending me an email religiously every night at 01h00. Each email contains a list of eleven position co-ordinates of his movements during the previous 24 hours. Below is a map showing his movements along the Ugab River, and a graph of the total distances per day, up until 6 May 2008.

Movement of Xpl-16 up to 6 May 2008
Distances moved per day

17 April - o9 May 2008: Extensive fieldwork to fit GPS collars continues. In the upper Barab River and crossing over into the upper Obab and Mudorib Rivers I located the Hunkap pride and spent three fruitless nights trying to dart any one of the adult lions. Because of regular conflict with local people in the Anabeb Conservancy, these lions are extremely skittish. It is, however, essential to fit a GPS collar on one of these lions as it will provide important data on their movements in relation to the local communities. I'll return to try again in a few weeks time. My next attempt was in the Hoanib River where I was joined by Russel, Tina Vinjevold, Bianca Green, and the first Desert Lion Safari (see Lion Eco-tourism). On the night of the 3rd I observed an adult male (Xpl-3) as he moved through the narrow Ganamub Gorge. The next day we followed his tracks. At Dubis he left the Hoanib River and we tracked him for 12 km into the mountains to the south. Here he joined-up with two adult females and five cubs. At 02h00 on 5 May 2008, I darted one of the lionesses and fitted a GPS collar. The search for those lions that have been earmarked to carry a GPS collar then continued in the Mudorib, Hunkap, and Obab Rivers.

The tracks of Xpl-3 at the Ganamub Gorge
Xpl-47 a young lioness, named "Bianca"
The lioness was nursing three 6-mo-old cubs

17 April - o2 May 2008: Extensive fieldwork to fit GPS collars continues. After darting the Ugab male on 23 April 2008, fitting the satellite GPS collar, and monitoring him for a few days, I moved north to the Springbok and Uniab Rivers. The efforts in the Springbok River produced no results, but on 29 April 2008 three lionesses were darted near the Beacon River at 03h00 in the morning. Unfortunately the GPS collars had already been allocated to five key individuals of the population, so I fitted conventional radio-collars to two of the lionesses instead. Thereafter I moved to the Barab, Obab and Mudorib Rivers. Despite long hours every night, I have not yet been able to dart another lion.

Spotted hyaena in the Barab River
Two of the three lionesses darted near the Beacon River

 

27 April 2008: Round River. During a brief stop at Wereldsend, I gave a talk on the Desert Lion Project to the Round Rivers students. They were some of the most enthusiastic people I have met in a while - more will follow on our brief interaction, and on the details of this photograph.

25 April 2008: New field vehicle. The Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa and WWF Life have joined forces and secured a new field vehicle of the Desert Lion Project (see Transport).

17-25 April 2008: First satellite GPS collar. A batch of five new GPS collars arrived from Televilt, Sweden, and all efforts are now focused on darting key individual lions and fitting the collars. One of the five collars is equipped with an advanced satellite downloading function - once fitted the collar will record the position and movements of the lion and at a pre-programmed interval, connect to a commercial satellite network and send an email to me, via the Televilt server in Sweden, containing the coordinates of the lion's movements. The collar was programmed to record 11 positions per day/night, between 19h00 and 11h00, when lions are most active, and to send the email with the position coordinates at end of that day. I decided to fit this collar to an adult male lion, named Miles (Xpl-16) that lives in the Ugab River. It was a daunting task because he moves over an enormous area of 16,000 sqr km, and the last time I darted him on 24 June 2007 he attacked my vehicle and shredded three tires (see News 2007). After searching the area for four days I finally tracked him down in the lower Ugab River, where he had killed a giraffe bull. I then spent another two days (and nights) habituating him before a successful darting at 01h00 on 23 April 2008. The collar was fitted and he recovered from the immobilisation without incident. Since then I have received two emails with accurate records of his movements.

Searching for Miles in the Brandberg West area
The Televilt Satellite GPS collar
Fitting the satellite GPS collar
Born in October 2000, Miles is almost 8 yrs old
The adult bull giraffe killed by Miles
A rare day-time sighting

16 April 2008: Scientific Society. A talk on "The Ecology of Lions in the Namib Desert" was presented at the Swakopmund Scientific Society.

3-6, 10-14 April 2008: Springbok & Huab Rivers. Following the sighting of a sub-adult male at the mouth of the Koigab River on 18 March 2008, I am surveying the area between the Springbok, Koigab and lower Huab Rivers in search of this lion. The area has been transformed by the good rains, with fields of green grass and large concentrations of sprinboks and zebras. I found tracks of a sub-adult male lion at a spring in the lower Springbok River. The tracks were unfortunately 2-3 days old and the search continues.

Rain-filled sky north of Springbokwasser
Concentrations of springboks west of Springbokwasser

6 April 2008: Research Report update. The findings of the 2008 Research Report can be viewed under Projects/2008 Report

4 April 2008: Strange encounter. At dusk on 4 April I arrived at the Huab Lagoon to scan the area for any sign of lions. The lagoon was as desolate as always. In fact, I had not seen another person or vehicle for hundreds of kilometres. In the fading light I noticed strange markings in the sand and walked amongst the hummocks to investigate. My heart almost stopped when suddenly I heard a human voice and in the darkness saw a person walking towards me. Surprised by the bizarre encounter I greeted the person awkwardly and we introduced ourselves. Mr Willem Janson, it turned out, is a cyclist on a grand tour through Namibia. He arrived at the lagoon earlier that afternoon and decided to camp there for the night. On hearing that there are lions in the area, Mr Janson accepted my offer of a lift. We loaded his bicycle and equipment on my vehicle and I drove to Ugabmund where the Park rangers offered him the guesthouse for the night.

27-31 Mar 2008: Agab lions. Following the heavy rains experienced two weeks ago another effort was made to locate and monitor the Agab lions. Flooding rivers and light rain again hampered the work. Notwithstanding, most of the Agab lions were tracked down and observed. The two prides males were located high up on the slopes of the Wereldsend Mountain. One sub-group, consisting of two adult females and cubs that were last observed near the Obab/Uniab junction in February 2008, could not be found.

Rainstrorm over Juriesdraai
Rainbow near Wereldsend Mountain
Agab lions hunting zebras

23 Mar 2008: Vehicle donated. John Patterson, Chief Warden of Skeleton Coast Park, donated his personal Toyota Hilux to the Desert Lion Project. See full report under the Transport and Funding sections. John and Barbara recently decided to leave the Skeleton Coast Park, after 26 years of service to conservation. A few friends (Trevor & Karen Nott, Russel & Tina Vinjevold) decided to pay them a last visit at Mowe Bay. During the visit John and Barbara officially handed the vehicle over to the Project.

John explaining details about the Hilux
Handing over the of keys (Flip, Karen & John)
Barbara saying goodbye to an "old friend"

19 - 23 Mar 2008: Agab lions. Finding the Agab lions is usually a one-day event, but the weather and flooding rivers turned this simple exercise into a four-day debacle. After two days and nights without sleep, I finally located all but two members of the group. Heavy rains and electrical storms, followed by flooding rivers and washes, rendered any additional work impossible, and it took me another two and a half days to get out of the area.

Flooded track north of the Obab River
A small wash coming down after heavy rains
The Uniab Delta
The Agab lions at sunrise
Sub-adult male
Inquisitive lion approaching my vehicle

 

18 Mar 2008: Lion in Koigab River. A sub-adult male lion was found at the mouth of the Koigab River, approximately 2 km from the sea. The lion was extremely skittish and disappeared into the hills when he observed my vehicle. The lion possibly belongs to the Springbok River group that live 30-60 km inland. I spent one night in the area, but had no chance of observing or darting the lion.

 

15 Mar- 18 Mar 2008: Spectacular desert. Attempts to locate and monitor lions, during an extensive search between the Hoaruseb and Uniab Rivers, were not successful. But the stormy weather and rains made for spectacular scenery.

12 Mar 2008: Butterfield & Robinson Group. On the evening of 12 Mar 2008 I gave a talk on the Desert Lion Project to the Butterfield & Robinson Bike Group, led by Anni Milligan, at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge in Purros.

15 Feb - 14 Mar 2008: More rain! Unprecedented rains continue to fall in the Namib and throughout the rest of Namibia. The desert quickly turned lush green and the dry riverbeds became raging torrents. Roads have been washed away and a number of vehicles were engulfed or swept away when people tried crossing the flooding rivers. It is difficult to get around in the study area and during the past 6 weeks I have spent more than 10 days waiting on riverbanks for water levels to drop. Locating and monitoring lions have also been difficult, partly because of the flooding rivers and partly because lions have moved into mountainous terrain in search of prey.

The Hoaruseb River - just west of the Gorge
Crossing the Hoaruseb River at Purros
Crossing the Gumatum River near Purros
Lush green plains near Sima Hill
Two male lions near the Urunendes River
Hartmann's zebras near the Samanab River

6 March 2008: New Research Report. The annual research report for 2007 has been completed. The document, entitled "Tourisim and the Conservation of Desert Lions in Namibia" is available for download under PRODUCTS. The contents of the report will shortly be incorporated on this website.

2 March 2008: Brown hyaena problem.

During the past few weeks a brown hyaena caused problems at a salt mine just outside Swakopmund.

See full report under Carnivores/Brown hyaena.

 

27 Feb 2008: Continued rains in the desert.

Extensive and unusually widespread rainfall continued throughout February in the northern Namib Desert. The rains have complicated and even limited field-work and monitoring of lions.

23 Feb 2008: Vehicle Funding.
The Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa initiated an impressive effort to raise funds for a new field vehicle for the Desert Lion Project. See full report under Transport Section.

19 Feb 2008: Maule in Windhoek. The Maule aircraft arrived safely in Windhoek (see 16 Feb 2008).

17 Feb 2008: Extensive rains in the desert. During the past week the southern part of the Skeleton Coast Park received unusually high and widespread rainfall. The rain extended all the way to the coast and included areas that did not receive any rain for many years.

16 Feb 2008: Repair of Maule aircraft. Funding through IRDNC has been secured to get the Maule aircraft repaired and operational. The Maule is currently at Wereldsend and must be transported to Windhoek where it will be serviced and receive a Namibian registration. Wilderness Safaris offered the use of a truck to transport the aircraft. Westair Aviation agreed to dismantle the aircraft at Wereldsend, assist with the transport, and then conduct the service and registration in Windhoek. If all goes well the Maule should be airworthy and ready to radio-track and monitor lions by the end of March 2008.

6 - 16 Feb 2008: Survey of lions in the Springbok River. After monitoring the Agab lions, the search was continued for the Agab Pride males in the Springbok River. The males were not found, but interesting data were collected on the resident lions of the Springbok, Koigab, and lower Huab Rivers.

Lioness near Zinkfontein
Springbokwasser area
Lioness near Leeufontein

1 - 6 Feb 2008: Agab lion update. To locate and observe the Agab Pride, the area they normally occupy was searched systematically by vehicle and with the use of radio telemetry. All the adult lionesses were located. They were in three separate sub-groups, each with their respective cubs, and the sub-groups were up to 63 km apart during the observation period. The two pride males were not located. The oldest lioness of the pride, Xpl-17 (age: 14 years), was immobilised to replace her radio-collar. (Some photos by Frieder Salm)

Xpl-18 at Salvadora Spring
Approaching lions at Urunendis Spring (FS)
Xpl-17 at Urunendis Spring
Inquisitive young male lion (FS)
Collecting data during the darting of Xpl-17 (FS)
Inspecting the condition of Xpl-17's teeth (FS)

22 - 31 Jan 2008: Survey of Huab & Ugab lions. Due to extensive rains in the northern part of the study area and flooding of the Huaruseb River, I decided to focus on the lions that live in lower parts of the Ugab and Huab Rivers. Occasional rain showers complicated the work, but several sets of lion tracks were located and followed during the ten days. An adult lioness was sighted briefly during the day in the lower Springbok River.

The Huab lagoon
Crossing the Scott Bridge, Huab River

2008: New Year. An updated page that covers NEWS for 2008 has been launched. I am currently analysing data, collected during 2007, for a research & progress report. The report will be posted on this site and will be sent to the Namibian Ministry of Environment & Tourism, and to all the sponsors.