News - 2013



31 Oct 2013. Movement Updates. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved past the Sarusas spring towards the Hoaruseb River.

30 Oct 2013. ATWS. The presentation on the Desert Lion Project was delivered at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Swakopmund last night. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is heading for the mouth of the Khumib River or Sarusas spring.

28 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

27 Oct 2013. ATWS. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-86) is moving southwards and has reached the Munutum River. Fieldwork has been stopped to deliver a presentation on the Desert Lion Project at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Swakopmund on Tuesday.

26 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

25 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

24 Oct 2013. Huab Lagoon. The tracks of several sub-adult lions of the Huab Pride were followed as they moved along the Huab River towards the coast. The tracks were lost approximately 7 km east of the Huab lagoon.

23 Oct 2013. Huab Lionesses. It appears that the second Huab lioness (Xpl-75 “Angela”) also gave birth recently. The two lionesses (re: Xpl-76) have stashed their cubs amongst thick reeds in the Huab River approximately 5 kilometres apart.

22 Oct 2013. Mortality of Xpl-35 confirmed. After searching the Huab River area for three days the remains of the adult male (Xpl-35) was found northeast of Peter’s Pool (see 2 photos: bottom left). Based on the state of decomposition and several other indicators, the lion died sometime between 20 and 27 Sep 2013. Rainfall and severe winds during the past month obliterated most of the tracks and other signs and it was not possible to determine the cause of death. However, Xpl-35 was in a good condition and the cause of death was most probably of a violent nature. It is unfortunate that two adult male lions (including Xpl-77) died within the space of a week. Xpl-35 had a colourful history. He was born in Jan 2000 and held tenures over three different prides: the Agab Pride, Aub Pride and lately the Huab Pride (see photos below).

21 Oct 2013. Huab Male. A herd of approximately 15 elephants were encountered at Peter’s Pool. It appears that the current Huab male, Xpl-35 (see 2 Sep 2013), is dead. His radio collar is emitting a mortality signal that is normally activated if the collar does not move for three hours. The situation is being investigated.

20 Oct 2013. Huab Lions. Xpl-76 was observed again this morning (photo below) before she moved into a reed thicket where she may have stashed her cubs. Several of the sub-adult lions including Xpl-88 were spotted near Peter’s Pool.

19 Oct 2013. New cubs in the Huab River. The second Huab lions, Xpl-76, was located 5 km west of Peter’s Pool. Her behaviour and the fact that she and her sister (Xpl-75; observed yesterday) are moving independently raised suspicion. At closer inspection it was confirmed that Xpl-76 is lactating (photos: right). This is an unusual development because it is only 20 months since Xpl-76 had her previous litter and the expected birth interval is approximately 24 months (when cubs survive). The shooting of two large cubs after they killed livestock and the subsequent disruption of the pride could be a possible explanation.

18 Oct 2013. Huab Lioness. Xpl-75 “Angela” was located several kilometres west of Peter’s Pool in the Huab River. Jason Nott of Ultimate Safaris also observed her a bit further south on 9 Oct 2013 (see photos top & bottom right). The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) did not cross the Kunene River; instead he started moving south at midnight.

17 Oct 2013. ATWS. Plans to work with the Floodplain Pride and fit collars to the three remaining “Musketeers” were postponed in order to meet with delegates of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit in the Huab River. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online – he is still in Namibia and appears to have made a kill on the south bank of the Kunene River.

16 Oct 2013 07h00. Frustration with satellite collar glitches. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) went offline again yesterday afternoon. A donation of three new satellite collars is expected to arrive soon. These will be used immediately to replace the faulty collars. Xpl-68 and Xpl-73 “Rosh” will take priority.

15 Oct 2013 17h00. Xpl-68 at Kunene River. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back online earlier today. There is a gap in his movement data of 20.8 km (see map bottom left). Thereafter the data show that he walked another 33.7 km to reach the Kunene River 7.5 km east of Foz do Cunene. It appears that Xpl-68 is currently attempting to cross the river into Angola (see image bottom right). Hopes are that the satellite collar will continue to transmit location data.

15 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

14 Oct 2013. "Musketeers". Another attempt will be made during the next few days to dart and fit satellite collars to the remaining three young males of the Floodplain pride (see video below). A video-clip that was recorded of Xpl-77 & Xpl-36 on 25 Sep 2013 can be viewed – see Xpl-77.

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13 Oct 2013. Xpl-68 heading for Angola. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) came back “online” last night. There is a gap of 94 km where no data were recorded. It appears that Xpl-68 is heading back to Angola. Although the pattern of his current movements (blue line) appears similar to his first visit in Sep/Aug 2013 (red line), he is not following the same route.

12 Oct 2013. Xpl-73 "Rosh". The problems experienced with the older satellite collars (purchased before may 2013) since an unexpected software upgrade by Iridium (see Current Locations for a summary) have resulted in the loss of significant amounts of data. For example, the satellite collar of Xpl-73 “Rosh” went “offline” after transmitted a position on 04 Oct 2013 at 13:00. The next position of Xpl-73 was received seven days later (11 Oct 2013 at 17h00) and 106.8 km to the southeast in the Obab River (see map below). There is concern over the whereabouts of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) since his last position was received on 8 Oct 2013 at 21h13.

11 Oct 2013. Comments on hunting of Xpl-77. In response to discussions in the social media a few comments on the hunting of Xpl-77 are available.

10 Oct 2013. Xpl-10. The Floodplain pride and the “Five Musketeers” have been frequenting the Okongwe area and were captured on a camera-trap at the Okongwe waterhole. The satellite collar of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has not been transmitting regular locations and will be replaced as soon as a new collar is available.

9 Oct 2013. Purros. A few days ago the Okongwe lioness (Xpl-70) and her three large cubs moved into the Gamatum River near Purros. This was cause for concern because of the large number of livestock in the area. The three “Lion Guardians” of the Purros Conservancy (Colin, Albertus & Kootie) monitored the situation with very little resources and they provided valuable information. Russell & Tina Vinjevold (of IRDNC) spent the night helping to deter the lions from the area. The location data received from the satellite collar of Xpl-70 were instrumental to finding and monitoring her movements. The lions killed a mountain zebra and there were no livestock losses.

8 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

7 Oct 2013. Okongwe. Photos retrieved from a camera-trap at Okongwe waterhole revealed evidence of social conflict between Xpl-73 “Rosh” and the two Hunkap males (Xpl-81 “Kebbel” & Xpl-87).

6 Oct 2013. Movement Updates.

5 Oct 2013. Home range. Between 10 Jun 2012 (when he was fitted with a VHF radio collar that was replaced with a satellite collar six months later) and 27 Sep 2013 (when he was shot) the “Dorob Male” Xpl-77 utilised an area of 12,350 km2 (see map below).

During this period of 1 year 3 months and 17 days, Xpl-77 spent 72% of his time in the Ugab River. He was also the first lion to utilise the newly proclaimed Dorob Park. During this entire period, until the day he was shot, Xpl-77 did not kill any livestock and there were no incidents of conflict with local communities. Over a period of 247 days (since the satellite collar was fitted) he moved a total distance of 2,556 km at an average of 10.3 km/day (maximum = 53.95 km, see statistics below).

4 Oct 2013. Summary of Xpl-77's movements. Data retrieved from the satellite collars of both the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) and Xpl-36 “Monica” were analysed in an effort to understand what transpired prior to the shooting of Xpl-77. The lioness (Xpl-36) was in oestrous when the two lions met on 16 Sep 2013. They remained together and mated continuously until the incident on 27 Sep 2013. The movement animation and map (below) are based on the GPS locations and times recorded by their respective satellite collars. Xpl-77 “Victor” = red icons; Xpl-36 “Monica” = blue icons.

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3 Oct 2013. Last photos of Xpl-77. The "Dorob Male" (Xpl-77) was observed mating with Xpl-36 "Monica" north of Wereldsend a few days before he was shot. (photos by Tina Vinjevold).

2 Oct 2013 13h00. Xpl-77's Satellite collar. The satellite collar of the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) went “offline” on 27 Sep 2013 – the day he was shot. It is likely that the collar was removed and kept in place where it did not have a clear view of the sky. Vitalis Florie from the Torra Conservancy kindly moved the collar into the open and a location was recorded at Wereldsend this morning. A summary of Xpl-77’s movements and activities is now available.

2 Oct 2013. Xpl-77 Shot – a major setback. Excessive and unsustainable shooting and trophy hunting of adult male lions between 1999 and 2010 resulted in a skewed sex ratio (1 male: 10 females; see 2010 Research Report) in the Desert lion population that caused social and demographic problems. The hunting was stopped in 2011 and the recovery of the population, especially in terms of their social dynamics, had become noticeable during the past two years (e.g. the movements of the “Terrace Male” and the “Dorob Male”). It is therefor a major setback that the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77) was shot for trophy hunting a few days ago. Xpl-77 met-up with the Agab lioness (Xpl-36 “Monica”) on 16 Sep 2013 (see September News) and they were mating when he was shot. The “Dorob Male” was fitted with a satellite radio collar on 23 Jan 2013 and his movements were posted daily on this website. We just hope that these data were not actually used to locate and shoot Xpl-77.

1 Oct 2013. Xpl-77. The Agab lioness, Xpl-36 “Monica”, has moved westwards along the Agab River, but there is still no information available from the satellite collar of the “Dorob Male” (Xpl-77). A camera-trap mounted at Okongwe waterhole captured images of the Floodplain Pride, Xpl-73 “Rosh” and the Okongwe Pride (see below).