News - 2014


October

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31 Oct 2014. Oryx Predation. Following the good rains of the 2013/4 season there is currently an abundance of Oryx neonates in the lower Hoanib River. The Floodplain Pride killed another juvenile Oryx yesterday.

30 Oct 2014. "Musketeers". The five sub-adult males of the Floodplain Pride are still with their mothers. They have remained with the Pride longer than expected. The males have benefited from this time and they are now hunting actively with the lionesses.

29 Oct 2014. Research Permission. The Desert Lion Project has now received official approval from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism to continue with the research project. An open line of communications has been established and we feel that the process will lead to a beneficial collaboration in the future. The Floodplain lionesses are still with the “Five Musketeers” and several successful hunts on Oryx were observed during the past weeks.

26 Oct 2014. Serious Conflict. A group of four lions from the Aub River / Etendeka area caused problems in the Otjihavera area by killing at least two cattle. To protect their livestock, the local community responded by attempting to shoot the lions. It is reported that some of the lions were wounded and that the lions then attacked the people. Two persons were injured and have been admitted to hospital. The report furthermore suggests that there may still be a wounded lion or lions in the area. The Ministry Of Environment & Tourism and members of IRDNC are believed to be investigating the report. Desert Lion Conservation still awaits permission to continue with the Project and can unfortunately not provide assistance or information that may help solve the problem.

13 Oct 2014. Spotted hyaenas. A group of four spotted hyaenas killed an adult male Oryx 5 km south of Amp’s Poort (photos: top row). This is an unusual observation because spotted hyaenas do not usually occur this far west. Single animals occasionally move through the area, but groups and active hunting have not previously been recorded. The Oryx carcass was also visited by an adult Verreaux’s (Black) eagle that scavenged on the remains (photos: bottom row).

9 Oct 2014. Camera-trap Images. During the past week a total of 24,623 camera-trap photos were downloaded, edited and logged in the camera-trap photographic database. Some of the striking and unique photographs are presented below.

7 Oct 2014. Monitoring. The Desert Lion Project is patiently waiting for the official research permit conditions before active fieldwork can continue. In the meantime basic monitoring of the lion population has continued. The extensive network of camera-traps, in particular, has been valuable to ensure continuity of the long-term monitoring process (see photos: bottom two rows).

1 Oct 2014. Explanation. The death of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) on 24 Aug 2014 generated a lot of reaction from the general public and the local authorities. Unfortunately the incident also stimulated polarised viewpoints and criticism between the various parties involved. The Desert Lion Project have accepted the criticism against the research project, such as poor communications and the need to provide the Ministry of Environment & Tourism with preferential information, especially during key events such as the shooting of Xpl-68. As a sign of our commitment and willingness to work closely with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and the communal conservancies, we have honoured the process by not posting regular website updates until such time as the official research permit conditions have been issued.