News - 2013
Lion Movements - go to Current Locations
31 May 2013. Problem with Satellite collars. A software problem has occurred with the Iridium transceivers inside all the satellite collars fitted to lions. Iridium has released a "product bulletin" explaining the nature of the problem, where transceivers fail to send or receive SBD messages. Data are not lost, but the collars may sometimes fail to send location data for several hours or days. This problem affects the Current Locations of the lions. When the most recent location is not available, the last recorded position with the date & time will be posted for each of the satellite-collared lions.
30 May 2013. Uniab River. A camera-trap in the lower Uniab River recorded images of the Barab Male (Xpl-74) from a week ago. There were also several images of spotted and brown hyaenas and a honey badger.
29 May 2013. Ugab to Huab. The area between the Ugab and Huab Rivers were searched for signs of other lions. A camera-trap that was mounted at Gai-Ais spring has disappeared. The area was searched extensively in case the camera was carried-off by spotted hyaenas, but there was no sign of the camera.
28 May 2013. African wild cat. Several sets of lion tracks were found in the Ugab and Guantagab Rivers. The tracks were wind-blown and most likely belong to Xpl-77. A male African wildcat was spotted at sundown and provided a unique opportunity to observe it hunting amongst the rocks (see bottom row photos for stalking sequence).
27 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The Messum, Ugab and Guantagab Rivers are being searched for information that might explain why the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) vacated the area. Xpl-77 is currently in the Uniab River (see Current Locations).
26 May 2013. Movement Updates. See above.
25 May 2013. Movement Updates Reviewed. Efforts to regulate access to the lion movement data on the website by introducing a password-based structure were abandoned. Controlled access to the Desert Lion website will prevent many Namibians, including the local conservancies that rely on poor Internet connections, to benefit from this information. The Desert Lion website strives to provide regular and accurate information on the ecology of the Desert Lion population that is free and easily accessible. More than 5,000 people view the site per month and most of them are regular visitors from all over the world (see below). It seems unfair to deprive thousands of interested and responsible individuals free and easy access to the information just because of a handful of people that may misuse it. The daily movement data of lions will now continue (see Current Locations). A request is made that the information be used responsibly and with respect to the lions and the environment.
Jan - May 2013
Namibia - 28.2 %
24 May 2013. "Dorob Male" heading for Uniab. Xpl-77 continued on his interesting journey and he is currently heading for the Uniab River. A new approach to presenting the movement data of satellite-collared lions is in progress and will be posted by tomorrow.
23 May 2013. "Dorob Male" in Koigab. The fact that the Torra Conservancy moved their livestock away from Slangpos was a successful management action and resulted in the Huab lionesses vacating the area. They are currently in the Springbok River (see Huab Pride). The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) has explored new grounds by moving along the Koigab River towards the coast (satellite image below).
22 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The movements of Xpl-77 (“Dorob Male”) during the past few days are interesting and appear similar to those of Xpl-68 (the “Terrace Male”) when he dispersed from the Huab River. The Huab females returned to the Slangpos area - presumably looking for the two cubs that were shot a few days ago. The livestock has (temporarily) been moved away to avoid further conflict whilst the lions are still in the area.
21 May 2013. Solar. Repairs to the solar power system on the Land Cruiser are almost done. The Huab lionesses moved into the mountains and have not yet returned to Slangpos.
20 May 2013. Slangpos. Movement updates for the Huab Pride (Xpl-75) will be posted at regular intervals for the rest of today and tomorrow to assist the Torra Conservancy in managing the current Human Lion Conflict incident.
20 May 2013. Grey Whale. John Paterson of the Namibian Dolphin Project confirmed a remarkable sighting of a grey whale near Walvis Bay in early May 2013. It is reported to be the first sighting of the species south of the equator following an absence in the Atlantic since the 18th century (presumably due to whaling). The grey whale was spotted yesterday near Pelican Point (photos below) as well as a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins.
The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved far north and crossed the main road between Springbokwasser and Bergsig, whilst the Agab Pride moved towards Wereldsend Mountain. The Huab lionesses moved back to Slangpos after two cubs were shot on Saturday night. See movement maps above.
19 May 2013. Vehicle Repairs. The solar power system on the Land Cruiser developed regular problems during the past few months. This was caused by “wear-and-tear” and corrosion during the past three years. The entire system was dismantled and all the wiring, connections and batteries are being replaced.
18 May 2013. Dorob Male. The “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) moved north and crossed the Huan River towards the Springbok River. The Huab lioness (Xpl-75) is south of the Huab River and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is at the Uniab Delta (see location maps above).
16 May 2013. Huab Lion? The satellite collar of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75) has not transmitted another position since 07h00 on 15 May 2013.
15 May 2013. Huab Lion Problem. The efforts to address Human Lion Conflict during the past year have not been sufficient. Numerous parties were involved in building protective enclosures for livestock, providing training and salaries to local Lion Guardians, fitting satellite collars to key lions and posting daily movement updates on the Internet. Notwithstanding, the Huab Pride killed livestock near Slangpos last night and attempts are underway to shoot the problem lions.
14 May 2013. Huab lions at Slangpos. During last might the Huab Pride moved from the mountains south of Peter’s Pool to Slangpos (see map). Xpl-68 is still in the dunes east of Terrace Bay.
13 May 2013. Lion Movements. The “Terrace Male” is currently in the dunes approximately 8 km east of Terrace Bay (see map). All the other satellite-collared lions are more than 10 km away from human settlements and livestock areas. Monitoring data are being analysed to access the extent of disturbance to lions and the area by people using the daily movement maps to locate lions. The lower Hunkap River was searched for signs of the Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59).
12 May 2013. Disapointment. There are two main objectives for posting the daily movement updates of satellite-collared lions on this website. Firstly, to provide information to the communal conservancies and local farmers on the movements of lions in an effort to manage and limit Human Lion Conflict, and secondly, to promote the tourism potential and value of lions in the region and thus providing incentives for their conservation. Several independent parties have expressed concerns that this information could be misused to the detriment of the lion population. Monitoring systems have now confirmed that the daily movement data are not in the best interest of the lions. There has been a marked increase in illegal traffic into the Skeleton Coast Park and off-road driving by tourists trying to locate lions based on the daily movement data presented on the website. Images from numerous camera-traps in the study area (see below) provide evidence of this development. Two cameras were tampered with and another camera (donated by Desert Elephant Conservation) was stolen.
It has therefore become necessary to regulate access to the movement data by introducing a password-based structure. This may take several weeks to implement. People interested in registering can send an email to email@example.com. For the interim period and because of the importance of managing Human Lion Conflict, the movement data of lions will still be posted whenever lions move within 10 km of livestock areas or human settlements (including Terrace Bay, Mowe Bay and the Uniab Delta).
11 May 2013. Hunkap. Photos downloaded from a camera-trap at Hunkap spring confirmed a suspicion that Xpl-47 (“Bianca”) and Xpl-59 have been using the Hunkap area for the past few months. The camera also recorded several images of Xpl-81 (photos below) as well as the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68).
10 May 2013. "Terrace Male". Xpl-68 (the “Terrace Male”) was spotted from a distance of approximately 5 km as he walked along the edge of the dune-belt towards the Uniab River.
9 May 2013. Camera-traps. Several photos of spotted hyaenas, cheetahs and honey badgers were downloaded from two camera-traps in the lower Uniab and Obab rivers.
8 May 2013. Uniab & Hoanib. Following temporary repairs to the Land Cruiser, monitoring efforts will be focused at the Uniab and Hoanib rivers.
7 May 2013. Movement updates.
6 May 2013. East Wind. Strong easterly winds and temperatures that reached 38 degrees Celsius dominated most of the day. The wind subsided briefly at sundown.
5 May 2013. "Dorob Male". The damage to the rear suspension of the field vehicle was more extensive than initially expected. Temporary repairs were made (sponsored by Bernd Kebbel & Alfons Motors) to allow fieldwork to continue. The required spare parts have been ordered and the vehicle will have to return to Swakopmund towards the end of May. During the past few days the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) utilized the southwestern section of the Brandberg (see photos: below middle & right).
4 May 2013. Movement updates.
3 May 2013. Movement updates.
2 May 2013. Movement updates.
1 May 2013. Vehicle repairs. With support from Bernd Kebbel, Peter Sander and Alfons Motors in Swakopmund, the Land Cruiser will hopefully be ready for fieldwork within the next two days. For movement updates - see above.