News - 2014

January 2014

Lion Movements - go to Current Locations. OR “Terrace Male” / Agab Pride / Huab Pride / Hunkap Pride / Xpl-73 / Okongwe Pride

31 Jan 2014. Floodplain Females. Xpl-10 and the two Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-55 & 69) were observed during the night to confirm that they did not carry injuries after the dramatic giraffe hunt two days ago. The “Five Musketeers” were 5.2 km southwest of the lionesses.

30 Jan 2014. Xpl-10. Remarkable images were captured on film yesterday of Xpl-10 and the Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-55 & Xpl-69) hunting an adult giraffe. The images, which are similar to an event captured on 20 May 2009 when Xpl-10 also hunted a giraffe and Xpl-55 & 69 were 2-years old, will be released at a later date.

Xpl-10 attacking a giraffe on 20 May 2009 Xpl-10 photographed this morning – age 15.4 yrs

Xpl-55 and Xpl-69 earlier today

29 Jan 2014. Bat-eared Foxes. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has been at Sarusas spring for the past three days. A pair of Bat-eared foxes and two small pups were observed along the dune-belt north of the Hunkap River.

28 Jan 2014. NAMSOV. The handover ceremony of two Land Cruisers sponsored to Desert Lion Conservation and Save the Rhino Trust by NAMSOV Community Trust was a big success. The Hon Deputy Minister H P Shifeta of the Ministry of Environment & Tourism also attended the event (see photos below).

Marcia Fargnoli (SRT), PS, Jan Arnold, Hon Dep Min Shifeta, CEO Namsov Jan Arnold, PS, Hon Dep Min Shifeta, Marcia Fargnoli (SRT), CEO Namsov
Hon Deputy Minister H P Shifeta Tuna Willem (Namsov) Marcia Fargnoli (CEO SRT) Explaining the design of the vehicle

27 Jan 2014. Vehicle Handover. An official handover of the new Toyota Land Cruiser donated by NAMSOV Community Trust will be attended in Walvis Bay today. The branding of the research vehicle was attended to and most of the sponsors have been accommodated. Printworx in Swakopmund are thanked for their assistance.

26 Jan 2014. Floodplain Leopard. A camera-trap on the western edge of the Hoanib Floodplain (close to the dunes and the coast) captured unique photos of an adult male leopard. This is the first record of a leopard this far west along the Hoanib River in the Skeleton Coast Park.

25 Jan 2014. Amazing Brown Hyaenas. The efforts on 20 & 21 Jan 2014 to reach the camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain before the area becomes impassable was worth it. The cameras contained many interesting and valuable data. Most significant were the records on brown hyaena movements and behaviour. One camera, in particular, recorded 214 photos of brown hyaenas between 1 Nov 2013 and 20 Jan 2014. On 38 separate occasions individual brown hyaenas were photographed carrying a Cape Fur seal pup to their den (selection of photos below). The camera-trap is situated 23.9 km (direct line) east of the seal colony at Mowe Bay. In all the photographs the hyaenas moved from west to east (where their den is presumably situated).

24 Jan 2014. Floodplain Lionesses.. Two Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-55 & Xpl-69) were tracked and observed south of the Hoanib River. They had separated from Xpl-10 and the “Five Musketeers” who were several kilometres to the northeast. The behaviour of both lionesses suggested that that they might be coming into oestrous.

23 Jan 2014. Xpl-68 on the Floodplain. After retrieving data from the camera-traps, the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was encountered (at dusk) in the western section of Hoanib Floodplain. Photos of the Land Cruiser negotiating the flooding river on 20 Jan 2014 taken by Into Nature Productions.

22 Jan 2014. Fly-Away. After several days of very useful application in the field, the UAV (a “HexCopter”) crashed in the dunes for unknown reasons. Shortly after take-off the aircraft suddenly failed to respond to the remote control and flew sideways at high revolutions until it hit the dune (see photos below). This is a big loss to the Project. The cause of the accident is under investigation, but “fly-away” problems appear to occur occasionally with remote-controlled copters.

A photograph taken by the UAV before the “fly-away” The crash site in the dunes west of the Floodplain
The last photo – seconds before the UAV crashed The attitude of the UAV during the “fly-away”

21 Jan 2014. Floodplain. The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was used to collect aerial photographs of the floodwaters on the Hoanib Floodplain. These images provided valuable information on the extent of flooding and were key to reaching all three camera-traps.

20 Jan 2014. Floodwaters. The flooding of the Hoanib River has restricted movements by vehicle and thus all efforts to locate and observe lions. Attempts were made to record and photograph the progress of the floodwaters. Efforts are currently underway to reach three camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain in order to download the recorded images and replace batteries before the area becomes waterlogged.

19 Jan 2014. Hoanib Flood. Hoanib Flood. Xpl-10 and two of the “Five Musketeers” (Xpl-90 “Polla” & Xpl-91 “Ben”) were located ahead of a massive rainstorm that was building in east. The area was soon covered by a dust storm and visibility dropped to zero, but there was little rain. Notwithstanding, heavy rainfall further east caused the Hoanib River to come down in flood the following morning. The volume of water increased steadily and the River soon became impassable.

18 Jan 2014. Giraffe hunt. Aerial photographs from the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) provided detailed information to reconstruct the hunting and killing of the giraffe by the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68). The tracks and other signs in the sensitive terrain revealed an elaborate effort by Xpl-68 and that he dragged the carcass for 620 metres to the rock overhang (photo: right). At sunrise the giraffe mother returned and stood watching Xpl-68 from a safe distance (see circle on aerial photo & bottom left photo).

17 Jan 2014. Giraffe. Early this morning (04h00 – 06h00) the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) killed a juvenile giraffe south of Sima Hill. Xpl-68 dragged the carcass (estimated mass = 150 kg) approximately 500 metres to a rock outcrop and stashed it under a rock overhang (photos: below). At sunset the mother of the young giraffe approached the scene – she was possibly looking for her offspring (see photo: bottom middle). Notice! Xpl-36“Monica” of the Agab Pride is close to Spaarwater and Xpl-73 “Rosh” is close to the cattle post near Purros.

16 Jan 2014. Rain. The lower sections of the Samanab, Kharu-Gaiseb & Hunkap Rivers were scanned for evidence of recent lion movements. The tracks of a male and several females were found north of the Samanab River. Several millimetres of rain during the night obliterated the tracks. The aerial photos below show interesting patterns and colours left by the rainfall on the dunes. Xpl-73 “Rosh” moved back to the Okongwe Mountains for the first time in several months.

15 Jan 2014. Hoanib. Camera-traps in the Hoanib and Okongwe areas captured images of lions, leopards and of a vehicle driving at night with a spotlight at several waterholes.

14 Jan 2014. Camera-trap 2. A large number of spotted hyaenas were recorded at Okongwe waterhole during the past few weeks. All the lions photographed by the camera-traps have been identified.

13 Jan 2014. Camera-trap. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) left the Hoaruseb River and is heading down to the Hoanib Floodplain. Several interesting images of lions and cheetahs were downloaded from camera-traps.

12 Jan 2014. Movement Updates.

11 Jan 2014. Males. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) returned from the Khumib River during the night and there appears to be another interaction between Xpl-68 and Xpl-73 “Rosh” looming in the Hoaruseb River.

10 Jan 2014. UAV. The “unmanned aerial vehicle” was used to monitor the movements of “Rosh” (Xpl-73) and the “Terrace Male (see photo: left). Xpl-73 displaced the “Terrace Male” from the lower Hoaruseb River – see Movements.

9 Jan 2014. Springbok lambs. The first springbok lambs of the rainy season were observed in the lower Hoaruseb River. The "Terrace Male" Xpl-68 was resting on a ridge near the lower gorge of the Hoaruseb River when he noticed a springbok ewe that died during birth. He promptly moved down to the gorge and claimed the carcass.

8 Jan 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was observed moving amongst the granite outcrops near the mouth of the Hoaruseb River.

7 Jan 2014. Xpl-73 in good condition. “Rosh” (Xpl-73) made a good recovery from the immobilisation. He was in remarkably good condition for a male that is almost 10 years old, that was recently displaced from the Okongwe and Hoanib area by two males (Xpl-81 & Xpl-87), and considering that he was in poor condition when last recorded on a camera-trap in the Obab River in late October 2013.

6 Jan 2014. New collar for "Rosh". A night-telescope that was sponsored by Martin Schmidt was key to the successful darting of Xpl-73 “Rosh” at 04H14 this morning. Xpl-37 was surprisingly skittish and it required almost 12 hours of patience before he could be darted. A new satellite radio collar was fitted.

5 Jan 2014. "ROSH". Xpl-73 “Rosh” was located in the lower Hoaruseb River. He is lying in a thick reed-bank and feeding on a carcass. Attempts will be made tonight to immobilise him and to replace his faulty satellite radio collar. Several donkeys were observed approximately 4 km from the coast in the Skeleton Coast Park.

4 Jan 2014. Xpl-68. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) has moved north of the Hoaruseb River. His movements are being followed with the hope that it may lead to finding Xpl-73 “Rosh”.

3 Jan 2014. "Rosh". New information was received from Vincent Henry suggesting that Xpl-73 “Rosh” returned to the lower Hoaruseb River, where he lived before venturing south to the Obab River in October 2013. The search for Xpl-73 will now be expanded to the Hoaruseb River.

2 Jan 2014. Movement Updates