News - 2013

Feb

February

28 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. At 01:30 the Agab lioness (“Monica” or Xpl-36) had moved into the livestock area of the Torra Conservancy (see map). A new update of her movements will be posted at sunrise. ** The new update has been posted **

27 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. The “Terrace Male” moved past Wereldsend this morning and is returning to the area where he was born. See above.
26 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. See above.
25 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. The daily movements of the Okongwe lioness (Xpl-70) have been added to the map of the Hoanib Pride. See above.
24 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. See above.
23 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. See above.
22 Feb 2013. Movement Updates. See above.

21 Feb 2013. Oryx KIll. The Floodplain lionesses captured an Oryx along the edge of a dry wash. The "Five Musketeers" did not participate in the hunt, but were quick to respond once the animal had been caught. Fieldwork has been stopped to allow time for data analysis and preparation for the presentation and fundraising event in Cape Town (see Funding).

20 Feb 2013. "Five Musketeers". Xpl-69 of the Floodplain Pride recovered well from the anaesthetics and her satellite collar is now transmitting regular positions. The five male cubs were observed during the night and early this morning photographs were taken of their vibrissae spots patterns.

19 Feb 2013. Dart Floodplain lioness. The Floodplain Pride was located in the western section of the Okongwe Mountains. All five cubs (the “5 Musketeers”) are alive and they are in good condition (photos: top row). Xpl-69 was immobilised and fitted with a new satellite collar.

18 Feb 2013. Search for Floodplain lions. Xpl-70 of the Okongwe Pride recovered well from the anaesthetics and re-joined with her cubs. A brown hyaena was observed waiting patiently for the lions to leave the remains of their Oryx kill. The search for the Floodplain lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” is continuing.

17 Feb 2013. Okongwe Success. After another big effort of 19 hours in the Land Cruiser and quite a bit of luck, the Okongwe lioness (Xpl-70) was darted at the break of dawn. Xpl-70 was fitted with a new satellite collar from Africa Wildlife Tracking. This brings the total effort to 87 hours before one of the Okongwe lionesses could be darted (see 16 Feb 2013).  Xpl-70 has three small cubs (see photos) that are approximately 10 weeks old.

16 Feb 2013. Skittish Okongwe lions. The Okongwe lionesses killed an adult male Oryx late yesterday afternoon. The entire night was spent in the Land Cruiser near the carcass waiting for the lions to return. “Rosh” (Xpl-73) approached the carcass at dusk, but the lionesses were circumspect. Even after the crescent moon had set at 23h14 they were still too nervous of the vehicle, but they remained in the area throughout the night. During the past six days approximately 68 hours were invested by sitting quietly in the vehicle close to the Okongwe lionesses. Hopes are that this effort will earn some trust and provide an opportunity to dart and fit a satellite collar to one of the adult females during the next few nights. The Huab lionesses moved into the mountains and away from the livestock area at Slangpos, but the “Terrace Male” walked into an area of human settlements and large numbers of livestock.

15 Feb 2013. Okongwe Pride. Some of the Okongwe lionesses (the 70’s) and several small cubs were located last night. Judging by the size of their tracks the cubs are approximately 3 months old. Xpl-73 “Rosh” joined the lionesses at 03h00 and by mid-morning they had moved into a narrow gorge.

14 Feb 2013. Searching the Hoanib. Lions of the Floodplain Pride, the Hoanib Pride and the Okongwe Pride could not yet be located. An extensive search of the Hoanib River and its major tributaries, including the Okongwe Mountains, continues.

13 Feb 2013. Sima Hill. A faint signal was heard from the radio collar of Xpl-69 (Floodplain Pride) at 04h00 yesterday morning. Although it was not possible to confirm a direction, the signal appeared to originate from Sima Hill. The broken terrain around Sima Hill was searched extensively during the day. A camera-trap in the southwestern section of the Okongwe Mountains recorded several images of leopards, including a female with two large cubs. The satellite collar of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75) started transmitting positions again, but the Huab Pride and the “Terrace Male” remain uncomfortably close to Slangpos and the livestock.

12 Feb 2013. Xpl-73. A camera-trap was mounted at the Oryx carcass of the Okongwe Pride and it confirmed that the Okongwe lionesses had vacated the area. Only “Rosh” (Xpl-73) was recorded to feed on the carcass. A faint radio signal of a Floodplain lioness was heard during the night, but disappeared before a direction could be established.

11 Feb 2013. "Rosh". A total of 28 hours were spent with the research vehicle parked close (100 metres) to Xpl-73 “Rosh” whilst he was guarding and feeding on an Oryx carcass. This effort helped to restore the acceptance & trust of the research vehicle by Xpl-73. The Okongwe lionesses, however, were less forgiving and moved off during the night. The Huab lioness (Xpl-75) has been moving close to Slangpos and other livestock areas for the past few days. Alarmingly, her satellite collar stopped transmitting positions last night at 22h00.

10 Feb 2013. Okongwe. Xpl-73 “Rosh” and several Okongwe lions, including Xpl-70, were located in a narrow gorge close to the Tsuxub River. Only “Rosh” was observed briefly and it was noticeable that he has become skittish and agitated by the research vehicle. This is most likely due to harassment by tourist vehicles during the past few months. The daily movement updates presented on this website serves an important role: which is to inform local communities of the whereabouts of the lions so that they can manage the grazing patterns of their livestock and avoid conflict with the lions. However, tourists also use the movement updates to locate the lions and these activities may have negative consequences.

9 Feb 2013. Wereldsend. Fieldwork had to be interrupted briefly to attend an important “Rhino Monitoring & Lion Conservation” meeting at Wereldsend. The search for the Floodplain and Okongwe lionesses was continued after a break of 18 hours.

8 Feb 2013. Searching for Hoanib lions. A large area has been covered in search of the Floodplain and Okongwe lionesses.

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.

6 Feb 2013. Floodplain Pride. An extensive search is underway to locate the Floodplain lions and to fit a satellite collar. The “Terrace Male” and the Huab lionesses (to a lesser extent) have moved towards the lower Huab River and away from the cattle area near Vrede Pos and De Riet.

5 Feb 2013. Huab Pride. The Huab lions and the “Terrace Male” have remained in the high-risk area near the villages: Vrede Pos and De Riet.

4 Feb 2013. Xpl-68 found Huab Pride. The “Terrace Male” moved past Fonteine Pos, Damaraland Camp and Vrede Pos (where there are large numbers of livestock) and joined with the Huab Pride during the early morning hours. They are currently in a high-risk area. Repairs to the Land Cruiser will be completed today. Small groups of springboks are observed regularly along the coast at the mouth of the Hoanib River and at Mowe Bay.

3 Feb 2013. The "Terrace Male". The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) arrived back in the Huab River after an absence of nearly five months. At the same time the Huab lionesses moved further east than they have done previously. More details will follow on the situation in the Huab River. The canopy structure of the Land Cruiser that supports the array of solar panels has disintegrated. Fieldwork had to be stopped to attend to the problem at Mowe Bay. The solar panels were removed and the structure is being repaired with the available supplies at the basecamp.

2 Feb 2013. Floodplain. Despite an extensive search, the Floodplain Pride could not yet be located. The recent rains and flooding of the Hoanib River have caused most of the wildlife to disperse. Together with the increased food requirements imposed by the five small cubs (the “Five Musketeers”), the Floodplain lionesses are forced to move further afield in search of prey. The “Terrace Male” reached the Springbok River and appears to be heading back to the Huab River.

1 Feb 2013. Giraffe. A camera-trap in the Hoanib River captured a unique sequence of images where a giraffe appears to be giving birth.