News - 2015


April

30 Apr 2015. Repeat "Offender". During the past two months a camera-trap on the Hoanib Floodplain has repeatedly been removed from its mounting (where it has been situated for 7 years). On each occasion (n = 4) the camera was retrieved <100m from the mounting location. It was suspected that an individual cheetah took a dislike in the camera and repeatedly removed it, but the camera never photographed the culprit. On 29 Mar 20125 the camera was again returned to its original mounting and covered with a potent chilly mixture in an attempt to deter the culprit. On 15 Apr 2015 the camera was once again removed, but this time three images were recorded (see below). The culprit appears to be an African wildcat.

29 Apr 2015. Huab to Mudorib. The Koigab, Uniab, Samanab, Hunkap and Mudorib Rivers were scanned for signs of recent lion activities and the presence of radio-collared lions. A total of 14,532 photos were downloaded from 5 different camera-traps (see images below).

28 Apr 2015. Huab Flood. An effort was made to unravel the mystery of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75 “Angela”) whose satellite collar was found on 13 Apr 2015 (see below). Unfortunately the rains and flooding of the Huab River that reached the ocean (photo: top) covered all tracks and signs associated with the event. The Desert Lion Project will return to the area for a longer and more in-depth investigation. The Obab lionesses were located at the Uniab Delta (photos: bottom left & right) where they killed an adult Oryx.

27 Apr 2015. Land Cruiser. Repairs and a major service of the Land Cruiser were completed in Swakopmund. The Project would like to thank Koos of Swakop Body Works and Albie of Cross Roads Services Station for their efforts and patience to take the vehicle through a road-worthy test. Fieldwork will now continue.

13 Apr 2015. Xpl-75 Mystery. The movement patterns of the Huab lioness (Xpl-75 “Angela”), based on the location data transmitted by her satellite collar, have been somewhat irregular for the past few weeks. And when the collar stopped moving all together, Peter Sander agreed to investigate the possible cause. After negotiating flooding rivers (photo: left), the satellite collar was located under a Mopane tree in a wash south of the Huab River. There is concern that Xpl-75 may have died and that the radio collar was moved (perhaps by hyaenas). Radio collars have been fitted to lions for >25 years and is unlikely that Xpl-75 removed the collar. Peter & Mielies Sander are thanked for their efforts.

9 Apr 2015. Email Problems. Several important mailboxes, including “Contact” & “Peter” of the Desert Lion domain are currently not working. We are attending to the problems.

5 Apr 2015. Time-Out. All fieldwork has been stopped for the next 20 days. During this period the Desert Lion Project will be attending to data analysis, editing, writing of research reports and fund raising. The daily movement updates of the Hunkap Pride, Huab Pride & the Obab Lionesses will continue. News updates will be done once a week until active fieldwork resumes.

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4 Apr 2015. Terrace Bay Lions. A total of 80 hours were spent observing the Obab Lionesses at the Uniab Delta with the objective to identify potential Human Wildlife Conflict problems that might occur along the main road to Terrace Bay. Even though the majority of tourists and fishermen that visit the Skeleton Coast Park are unaware that lions occur in the area, the Obab Lionesses are skittish & suspicious of people and move away when vehicles approach. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism and Namibia Wildlife Resort are currently informing all visitors of the lions.

3 Apr 2015. Young Lionesses. The Obab Lionesses remained in the area of the Uniab Delta. They were observed for another 24-hour period to collect more information on their response to vehicles and people along the main road to Terrace Bay. The three young females were observed playing extensively during the early morning hours.

2 Apr 2015. Annoying Crows. The Obab Lionesses spent the day in the sun on the gravel plains near the mouth of the Uniab River guarding their ostrich carcasses against scores of crows. Approximately 30 Pied crows and a few Black crows taunted and frustrated the lions all day long.

1 Apr 2015. Double Kill. At approximately 03h00 the Obab Lionesses killed two adult ostriches during a single hunt on the gravel plains near the mouth of the Uniab River. Discussions were held with Namibia Wildlife Resorts at Terrace Bay about the lions and the need to inform visitors to the Park.