News - 2013



30 Nov 2013. NAMSOV. The new Land Cruiser was fitted with different branding to represent the sponsorship from NAMSOV Community Trust. The other sponsors will also be represented following the same layout.

29 Nov 2013. Movement Updates.

28 Nov 2013. Xpl-68 still at Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) remained at the mouth of the Uniab River. Fieldwork was stopped to attend to the hand-over of the new Land Cruiser that was sponsored by NAMSOV Community Trust.

27 Nov 2013. Xpl-68 hunt Oryx. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed hunting for Oryx at the mouth of the Uniab River. He succeeded in killing an adult Oryx during the night.

26 Nov 2013. Uniab Delta. All efforts to locate Xpl-73 “Rosh” during the past five days have failed. The information gathered from tracks and camera-traps suggest that he is certainly still alive, but locating him without the benefit of a working radio collar is a daunting task. The “Terrace Male” was located at the Uniab Delta this afternoon. There is currently a lot of traffic and human activity in the area in preparation for the year-end tourist season at Torra Bay. Hopes are that the information of the presence of the “Terrace Male” in the area will help to avoid conflict.

25 Nov 2013. Tracking "Rosh". The Obab Male (Xpl-74) was observed at sunrise near the Beacon River. The tracks of Xpl-73 “Rosh” were followed into the Obab River near the main Obab spring. A pair of Klipspringers and a Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle was observed in the lower Obab River.

24 Nov 2013. Dart Obab Male. Xpl-74 was darted at 22h30 and his faulty collar was replaced with a new VHF radio collar.

23 Nov 2013. Obab Male. During the night the distant roars of a male lion was followed and Xpl-74, the Obab male, was located. His radio collar has failed prematurely. Early this morning Xpl-74 spotted a camera-trap that was mounted nearby to monitor the possible movements of Xpl-73 “Rosh”. He grabbed and walked off with the camera (see photos: left).

22 Nov 2013. Obab River. A camera-trap that is situated in the Obab River approximately 4 km south of the last recorded position of “Rosh” (Xpl-73) revealed interesting information. The camera captured images of Xpl-73 on 19 Oct 2013 and again a week ago on 14 Nov 2013. The Obab Male (Xpl-74) was also recorded on the same camera (see photos: top row). It appears that the satellite collar of Xpl-73 has failed. Some of the Obab lionesses were located on a zebra kill in the Beacon River (see photos below). The search for “Rosh” and the Obab Male continues. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) reached the Uniab Delta. He last visited the Delta at the end of May 2013, nearly 7 months ago and before he travelled to Angola.

Xpl-73 at the Obab camera-trap - 19 Oct 2013 Xpl-73 at the Obab camera-trap - 14 Nov 2013 Xpl-74 at the Obab camera-trap - 15 Nov 2013

21 Nov 2013. Searching for "Rosh". The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved southwards to the Hunkap River. Efforts have now been turned to locating Xpl-73 “Rosh”. His satellite collar appears to have failed because the last recorded position was on 17 Oct 2013 in the lower Obab River. A brown hyaena was observed on the beach south of the Hoanib River.

20 Nov 2013. Sponsors. NAMSOV Community Trust sponsored a new Land Cruiser to the Desert Lion Project. This remarkable donation from a Namibian company sparked a lot of additional support from individuals and other Namibian businesses. They all contributed in one way or another towards the process developing a field research vehicle that is ideally suited for the Project. A special acknowledgement goes to NAMSOV (Tuna Willem & Jan Arnold), Koos Theron (Swakop Body Works) and Bernd Kebbel (Off-Road Centre) for all the effort and energy they devoted to the process. Below is photo sequence of all the hard work that went into the vehicle between 12 Oct 2013 and 13 Nov 2013 when the Land Cruiser left Swakopmund on its maiden journey.

The structural building process at Swakop Body Works between 12 Oct 2013 and 2 Nov 2013.
The electrical work and fitting of specialised equipment was done at Off-Road Centre in Windhoek between 4 and 8 Nov 2013.
Final touches were done at Swakop Body Works between 10 and 13 Nov 2013.

Proudly Namibian. The entire vehicle with all the extra modifications and additional equipment was sponsored by Namibia.

Swakopmund Sponsors

NAMSOV Community Trust
Swakop Body Works – Koos Theron
Coastal Precast Paving – Simon van Zyl
Namib Upholstery – Volker Steinstrader
Stephan Marais & Koot v/d Merwe

Windhoek Sponsors

Off-Road Centre – Bernd & Conny Kebbel
Desert Cool - OME suspension & extras
Absolute Systems – Andy Bachran
Eckhard Waldschmidt – UAV (drone)
Martin Schmidt – night scope & camera traps
National Luna - fridge
Graber Upholstery – Sven Schonecke
Engineering Centre - solar panels
Radio Electronics - gel batteries
Gun Shop - repairs to dartgun
Indongo Toyota – Heiner Hein
Mobi Radio

Photo: Dirk Heinrich AZ

19 Nov 2013. "Terrace Male". The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online yesterday afternoon. During the past four days he moved 175 km (see Xpl-68). Xpl-68 was located at sunset in the Hoanib River east of Amp’s Poort. During the night he was immobilised and his faulty satellite collar was replaced with a new satellite collar that should last for two years. The new Land Cruiser with all the additional equipment is proving to be a great asset to the Project.

18 Nov 2013. Floodplain Pride. The three young males recovered from the darting and joined the rest of the group by 22h00. They then moved 22 km during the latter part of the night and met-up with Xpl-10 at the Sawarugab River. The tracks of an adult male lion (possibly Xpl-86) were followed moving in the direction of the Mudorib River.

17 Nov 2013. "Three Musketeers". The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is currently offline and it was not possible to locate him with the conventional VHF radio telemetry. At sunset the “Five Musketeers” were lying in an ideal location and the three remaining males were immobilised and fitted with their satellite collars. This was the first darting with the new Land Cruiser. The functionality of the vehicle with all its additional equipment was outstanding. The Desert Lion Project would like to thank Namsov Community Trust, Koos Theron of Swakop Body Works, Bernd Kebbel of Off-road Center and all the sponsors for producing such a practical and well-designed field vehicle.

16 Nov 2013. UAV. The “Five Musketeers” and two lionesses were located north of the Hoanib Floodplain. A remote controlled copter that was donated by Eckhard Waldschmidt is being developed to assist with the radio tracking and location of radio-collared lions (photos: bottom row).

15 Nov 2013. First Lion. The new Land Cruiser became bogged-down in thick sand north of the Hoanib River (photo: top left). Two lionesses of the Floodplain Pride were observed on a ridge. They were inquisitive of the new vehicle and it will probably take some time for them to get used to it. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is moving southwards towards the Hoanib Floodplain.

14 Nov 2013. New Land Cruiser. The new Land Cruiser, sponsored by Namsov, is on its maiden journey into the desert. The vehicle is performing well thus far, as efforts are underway to locate Xpl-73 “Rosh” and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68).

13 Nov 2013. NAMSOV. Namsov Fishing Enterprises sponsored a new research vehicle for the Desert Lion Project. A brand new Land Cruiser (4000 VV Ti) was purchased by the Namsov Community Trust and modified by Swakop Body Works to suit the needs of the Desert Lion Project. The vehicle was then sent to Off-Road Centre in Windhoek where it was modified further. Numerous Namibian sponsors contributed to this process - a detailed breakdown of the support and donations will be presented during the next few days. The new Land Cruiser was completed late this afternoon (see photos below).

The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has moved into an area inhabited by Himba communities and livestock. This is a dangerous area for Xpl-68 because of the potential conflict with the local communities and their livestock – the Hoaruseb lionesses were poisoned here in July 2011. Efforts are currently underway to monitor the activities of Xpl-68 with the new Land Cruiser.

11 Nov 2013. Proudly Namibian. During the past few months there has been a marked increase in support and funding to the Desert Lion Project from within Namibia. With these developments the Desert Lion Project has now reach a noteworthy distinction that the Project is funded and supported predominantly from within Namibia. The funds and support received from abroad remains important and valued, but the fact that Namibians have become involved in the conservation of their desert-adapted lions is a significant development. Details of the support will follow during the next few days. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) spent two days at Sarusas spring and started moving up-river along the Khumib River last night. Fieldwork will resume on 13 Nov 2013 when attention will be focussed on Xpl-73 “Rosh” and replacing the satellite collar of Xpl-68.

9 Nov 2013. Fine Art Gallery. The fundraising initiative at the Fine Art Gallery in Swakopmund was opened last night (see News - 5 Nov 2013). The opening was well attended and several of the items on display have already been sold. The artwork is unique and of a high standard (see images below or go to Fine Art Gallery) The Exhibition will be on display until 10 Dec 2013. Martina von Wenzel of the Fine Art Gallery is thanked for her efforts to raise awareness and support the Desert Lion Project.

7 Nov 2013. Movement Updates.

5 Nov 2013. Xpl-68. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online this morning after two days when he returned to the coastal area at the mouth of the Hoanib River. The satellite collar of Xpl-73 “Rosh” has been offline since 17 Oct 2013. This is the longest period that a satellite collar has not transmitted location data and there is concern over his wellbeing.

4 Nov 2013. Movement Updates.

3 Nov 2013. Movement Updates.

2 Nov 2013. Art Exhibition. Martina von Wenzel of the Fine Art Gallery in Swakopmund has arranged a fundraising exhibition in aid of the Desert Lion Project. The event will take place on 8 Nov 2013 at 17h30 where a broad selection of artwork will be on display. For more details: see Art-In-Namibia. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has reached the Hoanib Floodplain.

1 Nov 2013. New Developments. Fieldwork has been postponed for another week because the Desert Lion Project will be receiving several rather significant donations from local Namibian sponsors. Fieldwork is expected to continue on 9 Nov 2013. Details of the donations will be posted during the coming week. The lion movement updates will be posted daily.