News - 2015


September

30 Sep 2015. "Kebbel". Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved > 60 km during the past two days - from Orowau spring to Elephant Song and then westwards along the Hoanib River to the Obias junction (see map below). He is currently close to the Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47), and the “Five Musketeers” are 12 km further south at the Mudorib springs (photo: bottom left). A meeting and an interaction between the adult male (Xpl-81) and the five young “Musketeers” seem inevitable.

29 Sep 2015. Kuarokhaob. The “Five Musketeers” have now ventured onto the Kuarokhaob Plains in search of prey. The Hunkap Pride (Xpl-53 “Charlotte”) could not be located, but during the night the “Musketeers” moved to within 15 km of the Orowau lionesses (Xpl-100 & co.).

28 Sep 2015. Hunkap Territory. The “Five Musketeers” are exploring and hunting deep inside the home range of the Hunkap Pride. They have not yet encountered any of the resident lions.

27 Sep 2015. Tourism Value. At the young age of 3.7 years the “Five Musketeers” have become a formidable male coalition. They are prolific hunters and they have already restored some balance to the social dynamics of the population by mating with two lionesses from the Hoanib Pride. In addition, the five males are of great value to tourism. They are habituated to tourist vehicles and they regularly provide for superb sightings of desert-adapted lions (photos: below).

26 Sep 2015. Hunkap Spring. The Hoanib lionesses moved into the mountains between the Mudorib and Hoanib Rivers and could not be located. The “Five Musketeers” were located at Hunkap spring. Although lions regularly visit and drink at Hunkap spring, this is only the fouth time in 18 years that lions were observed at the base of the Hunkap spring. Heiko & Anja Denker are currently visiting the Project and they were fortunate to see the “Musketeers” at Hunkap (photo: bottom). Heiko runs an independent Face Book page that regularly features aspects of the Desert Lion Project.

25 Sep 2015. Hoanib Lionesses. The two Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) moved further south towards the Hoanib River. They are being followed with the hopes of finding their three grown cubs. The “Five Musketeers” are still at Hunkap spring.

24 Sep 2015. Hunkap Explorations. The Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) left the “Five Musketeers” behind and returned to the Mudorib River. The five young males continued exploring the area around Hunkap spring.

23 Sep 2015. Cheetah "Xaj-1". The adult male cheetah, Xaj-1, was located south of the Hoanib River. The cheetah was observed hunting a small herd of springboks and he is in good condition. The “Five Musketeers” moved further south and east of Hunkap spring.

22 Sep 2015. Hunkap South. The “Musketeers” and two the Hoanib lionesses moved further south and crossed the Hunkap River. The lions have been successful in catching prey every night during past three days.

21 Sep 2015. Hunkap. The two Hoanib lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” reached Hunkap spring during the night. The lionesses are past their oestrous cycles and during the past few weeks they have formed a close bond with “Musketeers”. The group was observed hunting actively into the night. The “Five Musketeers” have become formidable hunters. Not only do they lead most of the hunts, mainly through the eagerness of Xpl-92 “Adolf”, but they all participate alongside the lionesses.

20 Sep 2015. Mudorib Spring. The camera-traps mounted along the Mudorib River and near the main Mudorib spring did not contain any photos of lions. Fresh tacks of several sub-adult lions were found along the dry riverbed. It is possible that these are the tracks of the three young lions of the Hoanib Pride.

19 Sep 2015. Mudorib Mountains. The Hoanib lionesses have led the “Five Musketeers” deep into the mountains south of the main Mudorib spring. The search for the cubs of Xpl-47 & Xpl-59 continues.

18 Sep 2015. Hoanib Pride. The tracks of the three young lions of the Hoanib Pride (cubs of Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) were located near the Obias River. An unsuccessful attempt was made last night to find the lions and fit a radio collar. In the mean time the Hoanib lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” moved into an inaccessible area 10km north of Hunkap spring.

17 Sep 2015. Xpl-47 Mating. Behavioural observations have confirmed that Xpl-47 “Bianca” is in oestrous and she was seen mating with two of the “Musketeers” (Xpl-89 & Xpl-93). This development may result in the dispersal of the cubs of Xpl-47 & Xpl-59. They are now 22 months old and efforts will be made to locate them and fit a radio collar to one of the females in order to keep track of their movements.

16 Sep 2015. Xpl-47 . The “Five Musketeers” and the two Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) were observed in the mountains west of the Mudorib River. The behaviour of Xpl-47 “Bianca” suggests that she might be coming into oestrous and could mate with the “Musketeers”.

15 Sep 2015. Hoanib Females. The “Five Musketeers” were observed with the two Hoanib Pride lionesses (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59). The lionesses do not appear to be in oestrous. The lions were moving into mountainous terrain to the south west of the Mudorib River.

14 Sep 2015. Ostriches. Unusual behaviour was observed amongst a group of eight ostriches south of the Hoanib River (photos below). Aggression between the adult males suggests that the behaviour is possibly related to courtship rituals. The Obab Lionesses are heading back towards the Uniab River. It is expected that they might return to the Uniab Delta during the next two days.

13 Sep 2015. Floodplain Females. Xpl-93 “Tullamore” walked >23 km during the night and met up with the rest of the “Musketeers” in the Hoanib River approximately 5 km East of the Mudorib junction. The five young males were in the company of two adult females (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) from the Hoanib Pride. The two Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-55 & Xpl-69) remained in the western section of the Floodplain and they were hunting a small herd of Oryx when last observed at sunrise.

12 Sep 2015. "Tullamore". Four of the five “Musketeers” are still with a lionesses of the Hoanib Pride close to the Ganamub Gorge, whilst Xpl-93 “Tullamore” left the area and walked all the way back to the Hoanib Floodplain (photo: bottom right). The two Floodplain lionesses were resting on the eastern edge of the dune-belt just west of Auses spring.

11 Sep 2015. Movement Updates.

10 Sep 2015. Hoanib Lioness. The “Five Musketeers” was observed mating with a lioness from the Hoanib Pride in the Hoanib River close to the Ganamub Gorge.

9 Sep 2015. New Study. The Warden of the Skeleton Coast Park, Joshua Kazeurua, has registered a research project on the management of lions that are currently repopulating the tourism areas of the Skeleton Coast Park. The study forms part of a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the Centre for Environmental Management, UFS, South Africa. The Desert Lion Project has agreed to assist Mr Kazeurua with information and as an external supervisor. A data form was developed to collect information on carnivore sightings in the Skeleton Coast Park (see bottom left). The forms will soon be available at the entrance gates to the Park and at Terrace Bay. Visitors are requested to participate by recording their observation and submitting the forms for analysis.

8 Sep 2015. Cheetah Movement. The female cheetah, Xaj-2, moved more than 23 km during the day and she was in the dunes north of Auses at sunset. The “Five Musketeers” remained together after leaving the lionesses and headed in an easterly direction along the Hoanib River.

7 Sep 2015. "Musketeers". The entire Floodplain Pride was observed on the Hoanib Floodplain. During the past few weeks an alliance has developed between Xpl-91 “Ben” and Xpl-93 “Tullamore”. The two males are depicted walking together in all three photos below.

6 Sep 2015. Hoanib Cheetah. The female cheetah (Xaj-2) recovered from the immobilisation and she was observed near Amp’s Poort earlier this morning (photos: top row). The “Five Musketeers” have moved to the Hoanib Floodplain and reconnected with the lionesses (photo bottom: Xpl-90 “Polla”).

5 Sep 2015. Female Cheetah. An adult female cheetah was observed in the Hoanib River during the afternoon. After sunset the cheetah was immobilised and fitted with a satellite collar as part of an on-going study with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism. The cheetah (Xaj-2) is a reproductively active female (photo: bottom right) and she is approximately 7 years old.

4 Sep 2015. Hoanib Pride. Xpl-47 “Bianca” and the rest of the Hoanib Pride (photos below) consumed the Oryx carcass and moved through the mountains towards the Hoanib River. The “Five Musketeers” joined-up and they moved westwards to the Hoanib Floodplain.

3 Sep 2015. Mudorib. The Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 “Bianca” and co.) killed an adult male Oryx close to the main Mudorib spring. Two camera-traps in the upper Mudorib River captured photos of the Hoanib Pride, the Hunkap male (Xpl-81) and an adult male leopard during the past three months (photos below).

2 Sep 2015. Hunkap. The Hunkap Pride, including the lioness Xpl-53 “Charlotte”, were located northeast of Hunkap spring. The lions moved into an inaccessible area before an attempt could be made to replace the faulty satellite collar of Xpl-53.

1 Sep 2015. Jack Scott. The Huab lions moved further east during the night and they were observed at the old and dilapidated Jack Scott Bridge that was built to cross the Huab River during the diamond-mining era.