Reports & Publicity

Scientific Reports - Desert Lion Project (download PDF files)

May 2010

The impact of male-biased mortality on the population structure of desert-adapted lions in Namibia (705 Kb)

March 2009

Movement patterns and activity of desert-adapted lions in Namibia: GPS radio collars - 20 March 2009 (596 Kb)

March 2008

Tourism and the Conservation of Desert Lions in Namibia - 5 March 2008 (772 Kb)

March 2007

Behaviour-ecology and conservation of desert-adpated lions - March 2007

January 2006

Population ecology and demography of Kunene lions - January 2006.

January 2005

Population ecology and demography of Kunene lions - January 2005.

June 2004

Population ecology and distribution of lions in the Kunene and Erongo Regions, Namibia.

October 2003

Population ecology of desert-adapted lions in the Kunene Region, Namibia.

May 2001

Conservation of lions and other large carnivores in the Kunene Region, Namibia

October 2000

Ecology and long term monitoring of free-ranging populations in Namibia's arid environments.

January 2000

Conservation of lions and other large carnivores in the Kunene Region, Namibia

August 1999

Conservation of lions and other large carnivores in Etosha NP & Khorixas District, Namibia

Scientific Publications - (download PDF files)

1) Roux, J-P., Best, P.B. & Stander, P.E. 2001. Sightings of southern right whales in Namibian waters, 1971-1999. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 2: 181-5.
2) Stander, P.E. 1998. Spoor counts as indices of large carnivore populations: spoor frequency, sampling effort & density. J. Appl. Ecol. 35: 378-385.
3) Stander, P.E., et al.. 1997. Tracking and the interpretation of spoor: a scientifically sound method in ecology. J. Zool., Lond. 242: 329-341.
4) Stander, P.E., Haden, P., Kaqece, // & Ghau, //. 1997. The ecology of asociality in Namibian leopards. J. Zool., Lond. 242: 342-364.
5) Stander, P.E. 1997. Field age determination of leopards by tooth wear. Afr. J. Ecol. 35: 156-161.
6) Simmons, R.E., Stander, P.E., Barnard, P. & Cowlishaw, G. 1997. The role of behavioural ecology in southern Africa. S.Afr. J. Sci. 93: 489-490.
7) Laurenson, M.K, Esterhuysen, J., Stander. P. & Van Heerden, J. 1997. Aspects of rabies epidemiology in Namibia. Onderstepoort J. Vet. Res. 64: 39-45.
8) Stander, P.E. 1997. The ecology of lions and conflict with people in NE Namibia. Proc. Symp. on Lions & Leopards as Game Ranch animals. pp 10-17.
9) Stander. P.E., et al.. 1997. Non consumptive utilisation of leopards. Leopards as Game Ranch animals, Onderstepoort, pp 50-57.
10) Stander, P.E., Ghau, X., Tsisaba, D. & Txoma, X. 1995. A new method of darting: stepping back in time. Afr. J. Ecol. 34: 55-59.
11) Stander, P.E., Nott, T.B. & Mentis, M.T. 1993. Proposed burning strategy for a semi-arid African Savanna. Afr. J. Ecol. 31: 282-289.
12) Stander, P.E. & Albon, S.D. 1993. Hunting success of lions in a semi-arid environment. Symp. zool. Soc. Lond. 65: 127-143.
13) Stander, P.E. 1993. Conserving large African carnivores in a developing world. In: Wildlife Ranching, Promedia, Pretoria.
14) Stander, P.E. 1992. Cooperative hunting in lions: the role of the individual. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 29: 445-454.
15) Stander, P.E. 1992. Demography of lions in the Etosha National Park, Namibia. Madoqua. 18: 1-9.
16) Stander, P.E. 1992. Foraging dynamics of lions in a semi-arid environment. Can. J. Zool. 70: 8-24.
17) Nott, T.B. & Stander, P.E. 1991. The monitoring of density and utilization of two tree species in the Etosha National Park. Madoqua. 18: 10-14.
18) Stander, P.E. & Morkel, P.vdB 1991. Field immobilization of lions using disassociative anaesthetics with sedatives. Afr. J. Ecol. 29: 137-148.
19) Stander, P.E. & Gasaway, W.C. 1991. Spotted hyaenas immobilized with Ketamine/Xylazine & antagonized with Tolazoline. Afr. J. Ecol. 29: 168-169.
20) Gasaway, W.C., Mossestad, K.T. & Stander, P.E. 1991. Food acquisition by spotted hyaenas in Etosha National Park, Namibia.J. Afr. Ecol. 29: 64-75.
21) Stander, P.E. 1990. A suggested management strategy for stock raiding lions in Namibia. S.A. J. Wildl. Res. 20: 37-43.
22) Stander, P.E. 1990. Notes on the foraging habits of the cheetah. S. Afr. J. Wildl. Res. 20: 130-132.
23) Stander, P.E., Nott, T.B., Lindeque, P.M. & Lindeque, M. 1990. Mass marking of zebras in the Etosha National Park, Namibia. Madoqua. 17: 47-49.
24) Joubert, F.G. & Stander, P.E. 1990. Capture myopathy in an African lion. Madoqua. 17: 51-52.
25) Gasaway, W.C., Mossestad, K.T. & Stander, P.E. 1990. Demography of spotted hyaena in an arid environment. Madoqua. 16: 121-127.
26) Panagis, K. & Stander, P.E. 1989. Marking and subsequent movement patterns of springbok lambs in Namibia. Madoqua. 16: 71-73.
27) Stander, P.E. & Stander, J. 1988. Characteristics of lion roars in Etosha National Park. Madoqua. 15: 315-318.
28) Stander, P.E. 1987. Predation on springbok lambs. Madoqua. 15: 263-264.

Other Reports - (download PDF files)


Censusing lions: the Kunene sampling method. In: Lion Conservation Research. Workshop 1: Survey Techniques. Eds. Loveridge, A.J., Lynam, T. & Macdonald, D. W. Page 3. Wildcru.

December 2003

Reintrocuction of lions & cheetah to Kalahari Game Lodge

December 2003

Large Carnivore ATLAS - December 2003

July 2004

Large Carnivore ATLAS - July 2004

4 Jan 1995

Critical review of CBNRM

Popular Articles

From Cambridge Zoology to Bushmanland, Namibia. The Magazine of The Cambridge Society. October 1996.

Xpl-15 -The cat with nine lives? It was early in 1999, as the Kunene Lion Project got off the ground, and we were still feeling our way through the basalt rocks and heat of the Kunene Region that we first came across........ (January 2005).

Return of the Skeleton Coast Lions. Palmwag to Rockypoint: studying the return of lions to the Skeleton Coast. The image of a lion walking along an isolated beach has captured the imagination of many filmmakers, scientists, and wildlife enthusiasts....... (May 2005).


"The Desert Lions" documetary is currently showing on PBS in the USA and Canada. Click here to view The Desert Lions page on the PBS web site.

Namibian Press Release - BBC Desert Lion Film
UK tv viewers get their first sight of Namibia’s desert lions
Almost three million British television viewers have experienced their first introduction to the lions that live in Namibia’s Kunene region following a BBC screening of an hour-long wildlife documentary that was inspired by the research and conservation work of Dr Philip (Flip) Stander.
The film was made by award-winning wildlife cameraman, Owen Newman, and film producer, Amanda Barrett. They spent almost nine months in Namibia, working alongside Dr Stander and capturing episodes from the lives of the world’s only desert-dwelling lions and the views of the farmers who share the same territory.
Because the film was the first portrait British viewers have seen of the animals and area, the programme attracted a large amount of news media attention, including articles in national newspapers and interviews on national radio. It has also been critically acclaimed. One reviewer, writing for The Times newspaper commented: “Owen Newman's film is beautiful beyond description. The BBC's Natural History Unit is rightly and universally praised for the wonder of its photography, but this film is dazzling - even by the unit’s preposterously high previous standards”.
A website, dedicated to the project, presents detailed information, such as the aim of the study and the involvement and support of local people. The site can be found at One of the components of the project is an investigation on strategies for earning income that could be used to safeguard livestock from lion attacks.
Amanda Barrett said: “We feel enormously privileged to have been allowed to make this film and we will be forever indebted to Dr Stander, to the Desert Lions conservation project, to the people who live and work in the Purros Conservancy and to the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism for all the help they gave us.”
She added: “As wildlife film-makers, we have worked all over the world – in the Arctic, Australia, South America and many African countries – but we can honestly say that we have rarely seen such spectacular scenery as that we saw in Namibia, nor have we have ever before witnessed such sleek, beautiful, amazing, lions.”
Following its UK transmission, the film – titled Desert Lions - will be shown soon in the United States, Europe and other territories. Arrangements are also being made for it to be screened in Namibia as soon as possible.
Dr Stander said: “The lions are uniquely adapted to living in the desert and they are valuable to the growing tourism industry in the region. But people inhabit most of the 50,000 square kilometres that the lions occupy. Lions occasionally kill livestock and it is essential that the local communities receive benefits from tourism that outweigh the costs of living with the lions. The international exposure of this film will undoubtedly increase the tourism value of these lions.”
For more information about Dr Stander’s studies, see

Desert lions differ in many ways from their better-known, more easterly, relations, such as the prides that live in Etosha and on the plains of the Serengeti. There, males and female lions rarely have a home range that exceeds 80 kilometres; a Namib Desert lion, however, may have a territory that extends 20,000 square kilometres or more.
Other differences include:
* Lionesses have a greater number of litters, and there is evidence that more cubs survive to sub-adulthood;
* Young desert females separate from their mothers to live and hunt independently – a big change from the behaviour observed in the Serengeti where it is virtually unknown for a female to leave her ‘home’ pride;
* Family separations seem not to be permanent; the film, and Dr Stander’s records, show family members reuniting after months apart, before going their separate ways again, sometimes in a new arrangement.
* Desert lions are independent hunters at 18 months old – two years earlier than any Serengeti lion is hunting successfully alone;
* Desert lions seem to depend more on stealth and co-operation to bring down prey; in the Serengeti, a ‘kill’ usually involves several members of a pride but the film shows two sisters learning to hunt as a pair.

BBC Natural History Unit - Natural World "Desert Lions". Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett specialise in bringing the lives of big cats to the small screen but even they have never filmed lions like these before. In fact, no-one has, and for good reason. Through extraordinary changes to the familiar patterns of lion life, these prides survive in the Namib Desert - a million square miles of cruel beauty bordered by the Skeleton Coast. Today, the population is small, remote and elusive but now there's a plan to help the lions to reclaim more of the desert. First, though, the man championing their cause needs to unlock the secrets of two bold lionesses, and broker a bargain with the cattle herders for whom desert life is equally harsh. Narrated by David Attenborough. Produced and Directed by Amanda Barrett and Owen Newman. Series Editor - Tim Martin. Broadcast in the UK scheduled for BBC-2 on 30 May 2007 at 21h00, and on 22 July 2007 at 18h10. Check the BBC Web Site for further details.

British press & results from TV listings of BBC film “Desert Lions” – 30 May 2007

Press excerpts
Radio Times
"There is something wonderfully uncomplicated and primeval about watching a lion stalk its prey. The gentle padding towards the putative victims, the careful and close watching, then the pounce. If you're at all upset at watching all of this redness in tooth and claw, then you'd be well advised to op out for a biscuit as the sleek desert lions of Namib tear into a docile herd of donkeys. The hapless beasts are sitting ducks. Or sitting donkeys, indeed. Lions have only recently returned to the Namib Desert, to the joy of some, including conservationist Flip Stander, and the consternation of others, notably the tribes who freqently have their livestock ripped to shreds. But, as this excellent film shows, Stander does his best to try to ensure that the two can co-exist as peacefully as possible" by Alison Graham

Daily Express – Sunday’s viewing
"Namibian scientist Dr Philip Stander spotted lion tracks 500 kms away and discovered a small pride remaining in nearby mountains. He has since dedicated his life to monitoring these secret creatures, now 150 in number due to generous rainfall of recent years and increased interest from tourists. To illustrate Dr Stander's findings, film-makers Owen ......"
Daily Express – Wednesday's viewing
"Sir David Attenborough narrates this remarkable film, devoted to a unique breed of lion that survives in Africa's Namib Desert. Acclaimed film-makers Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett spent nine months recording the activities of these extraordinary desert lions, alongside scientist Dr Flip Stander founder of a project that champions their cause."
The Telegraph - Saturday
"There are three stars in this beautiful nature documentary, set in the seemingly inhospitable Namib Desert in Africa. Two of them are 18-month-old lionesses who have strayed, unusually, from the pride and are managing to survive alone in the desert - a region in which "desert lions" have not appeared in over 20 years. Their prey include the fabulous-looking oryx and, less challengingly, a herd of donkeys. A killing spree (three donkeys in under 45 minutes) leaves the lionesses at risk of being shot by local villagers. In comes the third star of the show, carnivore expert Dr Flip Stander, who broadcasts a lion's roar from his iPod to distract the lionesses as they approach the village."

The Observer

"Click to veiw text"

SABC - Desert Lions. Produced by Linda de Jager. 30 April 2006. Broadcast on 50/50, South Africa SABC2. (See link to this film)
"... For more than twenty years, Dr. Flip Stander gained insight into the behaviour of the lion population of Namibia as scientist. And the expertise he gained in this field came to fruition in the last decade with his work with desert lions specifically, (uniquely adapted to the conditions they have to survive in. For the decade, Dr. Flip Stander devoted his life to this unique project. Five yeas ago fifty-fifty visited this desert landscape - and today we revisit the area again to see how the work is developing..."

BBC - Wild in Africa featuring The Kunene Lion Project. Broadcast in the UK on BBC-2, from 2 April 2006.

USA - Milking the Rhino...and Other Tales of Community Conservation. Co-produced by Jeannie Magil. Scheduled for 2007. Featuring the Kunene Lion Project in the context of community conservation and Human Wildlife Conflict.

DSTV - Groen (KykNet DSTV35) featuring The Kunene Lion Project. Scheduled for 2 July 2006. (See link to Groen)

Live interview on South African radio station "Radio Sonder Grense" 25 May 2006 16h20