News - 2013



Locations of lions. Torra: Huab Pride & Agab Pride. Sesfontein/Purros: Hoanib Pride (Xpl-73 Xpl-70). & Nomadic: Terrace Male, Dorob Male (Xpl-77).

30 Apr 2013. Movement updates.

29 Apr 2013. Movement updates.

28 Apr 2013. Vehicle repairs. The Land Cruiser was driven to Swakopmund for repairs. The “Terrace Male” was found in the dunes near the Uniab mouth and he was observed hunting.

27 Apr 2013. Dune hunting. Xpl-45 (“Lovechild”) of the Obab Pride was located in a narrow gorge south of Crowthersquelle (photo: top left). She was with the Barab male (Xpl-74) and they appeared to be mating. The field vehicle developed further problems as several springs on both sides of the rear suspension broke. It became necessary to abandon fieldwork and attend to the mechanical problems. With the rising of the full moon the “Terrace Male” was located in the dunes south of the Uniab River. He was observed hunting a small herd of Oryx.

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26 Apr 2013. Obab lionesses. All the adult females of the Obab Pride were located during the past two days. Xpl-49 (“Nina”) is lactating and was observed hunting an Oryx north of the Uniab River.

25 Apr 2013. Beacon River. Several lions of the Obab Pride were located in the Obab & Beacon Rivers. Many hours were invested on high vantage points in an effort to observe the lions, but problems with the vehicle and the solar power system hampered the efforts. Xpl-22 was observed drinking at Salvadora spring during the afternoon.

24 Apr 2013. Obab lions. Recent images from a camera-trap in the Obab River helped to locate several lions of the Obab Pride. Xpl-22 moved past the camera on two occasions. On the first occasion (photo: top left) it is evident that she is lactating and a few days later the same camera recorded images of Xpl-22 with two or three small cubs. The camera-trap also revealed that local rains caused the Obab River to flood in early Dec 2012 (photos: bottom left). Numerous flat tires have hampered fieldwork in the Obab area (photo: bottom middle). A group of conservation enthusiasts from Walvis Bay, represented by Jan Arnold & Simon van Zyl, sponsored a fuel-trailer to the Project (photo: bottom right). The trailer was built by Simon van Zyl (see Sponsors) to fit 8 x 200l petrol drums and it will act as a mobile fuel depot.

23 Apr 2013. Huab lions feast on Oryx. By mid-afternoon, after feeding sporadically during the course of the day, the Huab lions had consumed the Oryx carcass. All eight cubs are well fed and it is difficult to identify the male that appeared in poor condition 3 days ago (see 20 Apr 2013). Attention has been turned further north in search of lions from the Obab & Agab prides that have not been observed recently.

22 Apr 2013. Huab lionesses kill Oryx. The Huab Pride remained at Wolfswasser throughout the night. They were observed and ID photos were collected from all eight cubs. At sunrise they started moving westwards along the Koigab River (photos below).

At 10:00 the lions killed an Oryx in the Tamarisk thickets west of the spring. The images below show Xpl-76 stalking and catching the Oryx (top row) and the cubs running towards the scene (bottom photo), as Xpl-76 is busy subduing the Oryx (indicated by the arrow).

21 Apr 2013. Huab Cubs x 8. The Huab lionesses hunted actively during the night. They covered 15.8 km and killed a Mountain zebra near Wolfswasser in the Koigab River. They also found the last two missing cubs and all eight cubs were observed resting at the spring. (Move mouse over bottom pictures).

20 Apr 2013. Huab Cubs. The Huab lionesses moved 14.7 km during the night and they met-up with four of the missing cubs. The lionesses and six large cubs (3 females & 3 males) rested under a rock-overhang during the day. One of the male cubs is in poor condition. Two cubs (1 male & 1 female) are unaccounted for. "Monica" (Xpl-36) and the AgabPride moved 32 km during the night to the southern section of their home range.

Over the past 20 years Pelican cases have been used extensively to safeguard expensive and sensitive equipment (e.g. cameras, computers, sound recorders, etc.) against the elements and the rough terrain (see photos: bottom row). It is an honour that Pelican Products, Inc. agreed to sponsor the Desert Lion Project (see Sponsors). Willie Smit is thanked for initiating this development.

19 Apr 2013. Koigab River. An analysis of data received from the satellite collar of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75) revealed unusual movement patterns during the past 24 hours. Fieldwork in the Hunkap area was abandoned to investigate this development. The Huab lionesses (Xpl-75 & 76) were located in the lower part of the Koigab River. Only two of the eight cubs were present. There was no sign of the remaining six cubs. Observations are continuing.

18 Apr 2013. Small Carnivores. Images of several small carnivores were captured by the camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain. Most interesting was a photo of an aardwolf recorded by a camera on the western edge of the Floodplain (photo far right).

17 Apr 2013. Dunes. The “Terrace Male” recovered quickly from the anaesthetics and shortly after midnight he started moving deeper into the dunes. At daybreak he was spotted lying on the crest of a dune. His new satellite collar is working well.

16 Apr 2013. Dart Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” moved into the dunes to the southwest of the Uniab River mouth. It was possible to find a way through the dunes with the Land Cruiser. With a stroke of good fortune the lion’s movements were intercepted and at 22h30 he approached the vehicle. The “Terrace Male” was darted and the faulty collar was replaced with a new satellite collar.

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).

14 Apr 2013. Wereldsend lion. A report was received of a lion next to the veterinary at Wereldsend. A young male was observed feeding on a zebra carcass – photos by Tina Vinjevold.

13 Apr 2013. Xpl-68 Satellite collar. The “Terrace Male” has presumably captured an Oryx or ostrich in the dunes to the west of Terrace Bay. His satellite collar has been reprogrammed to save on the remaining battery life.

12 Apr 2013. Tire problems. A total of nine flat tires were fixed during the past two days and one tire was damaged beyond repair. Namib Tyres came to the rescue and sponsored four new Bridgetone tires. Louis de Wet is thanked for this important and timely donation.

11 Apr 2013. Movement Updates.

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. Movement updates are back. The daily movement updates of key lions are aimed at assisting the local communities to manage their livestock and prevent depredation when lions move towards their grazing areas. This forms part of a bigger collaborative programme (with Torra Conservancy, the Ministry of Environment & Tourism, IRDNC, TOSCO, Wilderness Safaris, Ultimate Safaris, and many other tour operators and individuals) to address aspects of Human Lion Conflict, lion tourism and conservation. Following several serious requests, the daily movements of all the key lions will now be continued with the belief that the data will be used responsibly.

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.

3 Apr 2013. Theft. The Project suffered a setback over the Easter weekend when a bag, containing important documents, computer equipment, two hard drives, keys and funds, was stolen. The process of replacing the items has delayed active fieldwork. Camera-traps in the Hoanib and Uniab areas recorded several images caracals and African wildcats.

2 Apr 2013. Hyaena Predation. Unique images were recorded by a camera-trap on the Hoanib Floodplain of a brown hyaena carrying a porcupine carcass. The embedded quills suggest that the hyaena killed the porcupine. Brown hyaenas rarely kill there own prey and during a comprehensive study by Gus Mills in the Kgalagadi, porcupines were not even part of the diet of brown hyaenas during 794 observations.