News - 2013



Lion Movements - go to Current Locations. //
Notice! Desert Lion Talk: Henties Bay (24 Jun 2013) & Windhoek (26 Jun 2013) – see Funding for details.

30 Jun 2013. Windhoek-3. After the presentation at SKW on Wednesday evening, another talk on different aspects of the Desert Lion Project was held at Point Break in Windhoek the following morning. A meeting with Total, Namibia, to discuss future sponsorship of the Project, followed that.

29 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.

28 Jun 2013. Windhoek-2. The success of the Desert Lion presentation at SKW in Windhoek is still being reconciled. The event was planned for a possible attendance of 300 people. Shortly before the start of the event the General Manager of SKW, Ruediger Reichstein, decided to add an additional 280 chairs. The final attendance of ± 650 surprised everyone as the hall filled up and many people had to stand along the walls. The audio-visual equipment, sponsored by Jens Schonecke (Intouch), and the large screen supported by 4 x 42” LED screens was a great success. More details will follow.

27 Jun 2013. Windhoek. The Desert Lion presentation, arranged by Bernd & Conny Kebbel, Heiko & Anja Denker, Felix Vallat & Barbara Wayrauch (TOSCO) and Peter Sander, was a phenomenal success. Against all expectations, approximately 650 people attended the event and extra seating had to be arranged. The fundraising initiatives and an auction of desert lion photographs generated approximately N$170,000 for the Project. A detailed account of the evening will be prepared during the next few days. (Move mouse over photo: bottom middle)!

26 Jun 2013. Hoaruseb River. The Okongwe Pride and “Rosh” (Xpl-73) left the livestock area near Purros and returned to the Okongwe Mountains, but the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved further eastwards following the Hoaruseb River. Final preparations are underway for the presentation in Windhoek tomorrow evening.

25 Jun 2013. Henties Bay Presentation. The Desert Lion Talk was held at Legends in Henties Bay. Magda du Preez, Estelle Rubow & Emsie Verwey are thanked for the arrangements of a successful presentation.

24 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.

23 Jun 2013. Hoaruseb River. After an absence of several years lions have moved into the Hoaruseb River from two sides: the “Terrace Male” from the coast and “Rosh” (Xpl-73) from the east. Unfortunately the Okongwe females and Xpl-73 killed a cow near the Hoaruseb / Gamatum junction. The Lion Guards from Purros Conservancy have been monitoring the situation with assistance from TOSCO.

22 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
21 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
20 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
19 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
18 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.

17 Jun 2013. Okongwe Lions. ”Rosh” (Xpl-73) and the Okongwe lioness (Xpl-70) are currently very close to an area used for livestock in the Gamatum River of the Purros Conservancy.

16 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
15 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.
14 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.

13 Jun 2013. Repairs. Fieldwork had to be stopped to attend to repairs of the Land Cruiser and the equipment that were damaged during the incident in the Uniab dunes on 9 Jun 2013 (see below). The daily movement updates of the satellite-collared lions wil continue and fieldwork is expected to continue shortly after the presentation in Henties Bay (24 Jun 2013) and Windhoek on 26 Jun 2013. The “Terrace Male” reached the Hoaruseb River for the first time.

12 Jun 2013. Movement Updates.

11 Jun 2013. Pelican. Although the Land Cruiser escaped with only a few scratches after being overturned in the Uniab dunes, there was a lot of damage to the equipment that were on top and inside the vehicle. However, none of the sensitive and expensive items that were stored in Pelican cases were damaged. Several Pelican cases were then also used to build a rudimentary shelter against the wind and fog whilst waiting for help to arrive from Terrace Bay (see photos below). The value of using these cases to safeguard expensive and sensitive equipment has been mentioned previously (see News - 20 Apr 2013). The Project would like to thank Pelican Products, Inc. for their support (see Sponsors).

10 Jun 2013. Rescue Operation. The Land Cruiser was eventually retrieved from the sand by a specialised truck of the Northern Namibia Development Company (NNDC) that runs the diamond mining concession at the Kunene River mouth. Contact was made with Mr Johan van Rooyen (MD of NNDC) and he kindly made the 6x6 truck, which is equipped with a crane, available for the operation. This came at a substantial cost to NNDC because the truck had to drive approximately 150 km to get to the scene. The Desert Lion Project would like to thank NNDC for their assistance. Were it not for the NNDC truck and the skill of its operators, Daniel Ndahalele and Jonas Nekongo, we would not have been able to retrieve the vehicle with the available resources. A special acknowledgement also goes to Gerhardt Kausiona, Elton Ngutonua & Richardson Kavendjaa of NWR, and Michael Katjau & Isakar Tsamaseb of MET for all their hard work and support.

There is surprisingly little damage to the Land Cruiser itself, but most of the additional equipment attached to the vehicle, like the sound system, telemetry antennae, lights, solar panels and various other items, must be replaced. * Note: move mouse over some photos for additional images.*

9 Jun 2013. Disaster. Whilst searching for the “Terrace Male” at night in the lower Uniab River, a judgement error resulted in the Land Cruiser sliding down the slip-face a small dune and overturning. This was most unexpected; excessive winds over the past 4 days had completely changed the shape of a small dune on an established track (see photos: top right & bottom left), which had been driven 6 times during the past ten days. Contact was made with Namibia Wildlife Resorts and the Namibian Police at Terrace Bay (with assistance from Peter Sander) and they responded immediately. With help from NWR (Gerhardt Kausiona & Elton Ngutonua) and the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (Michael Katjau, Ismael Kuzai & Ivan Nel) attempts were made in the morning to retrieve the Land Cruiser using two vehicles and a 4x4 truck. The efforts failed.

8 Jun 2013. "Lovechild". The Obab lions killed a young Oryx in a narrow gorge and the lioness with the broken radio collar was identified as Xpl-45 “Lovechild”. She was immobilised and her collar was replaced. A camera-trap was left at the carcass to record the activities of the Obab lions after the darting. Xpl-45 had recovered fully from the anaesthetics (photo: bottom left).

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.