23 Apr 2014. Springbok. An adult male springbok with a badly injured leg was found at Mowe Bay. Since it appeared to be a human induced injury the springbok was immobilised and the wound was treated.
22 Apr 2014. "Joey". The brown hyaena (Xhb-16 “Joey”), darted on 17 Apr 2014, was identified as the dominant breeding female of the Amp’s Poort clan. She has been monitored for over three years and her movements were captured on various camera-traps. Xhb-16 is lactating and is believed to have small cubs.
21 Apr 2014. Elephants. The Hoanib Floodplain is still inaccessible due to the recent flooding of the Hoanib River. An unusually high number of elephants were observed on the Floodplain. It would appear that most of the Hoanib elephants as well as those from the Hoaruseb River are currently utilising the Floodplain.
20 Apr 2014. The Queen. With much relief it was confirmed that Xpl-10 is still alive after she disappeared on 5 Apr 2014 (see 17 Apr below). Two days ago a camera-trap on the Hoanib Floodplain captured images of Xpl-10 (photos below).
19 Apr 2014. Amp's Poort. The satellite collar of the Floodplain lioness failed on 10 April 2014. Xpl-55 was immobilised and a new satellite collar was fitted. During the past few days there has been extensive build-up of clouds from midday to sunset, but there has not yet been any rain showers or flooding of the Hoanib River (see time-lapse video below).
18 Apr 2014. Hoanib Carnivores. The natural history and baseline ecology of the small, medium and large carnivores of the lower Hoanib River will be the focus of a collaborative study with Wilderness Safaris. The study will be lead by Emsie Verwey and the tourism sector will be invited to participate. The main goals of the study are: a) to collect baseline data on the distribution, density and behaviour of the various carnivore species, and b) to improve the tourism potential of the carnivore species. One brown hyaena and two Cape foxes have thus far been marked. The Floodplain pride moved to Amp’s Poort (photo: bottom) and there is still no sign of Xpl-10.
17 Apr 2014. Giraffe Carcass. The “Five Musketeers” and two lionesses of the Floodplain Pride quickly consumed the entire giraffe carcass. Their last recorded kill was more than a week ago and the sub-adult male (“Tullamore” Xpl-93) that got separated from the group had not eaten for 2 weeks. With their full bellies all the lions took to the shade and there was little sign of the struggles and food shortages they had to endure during the past 1 – 2 weeks. There is concern over the whereabouts and wellbeing of the Queen (Xpl-10). She was last observed on 5 Apr 2014 (see below) when she returned to find the missing male (Xpl-93). Efforts are underway to locate Xpl-10.
|As part of a collaborative project with Emsie Verwey of Wilderness Safaris on the ecology of carnivores in the lower Hoanib River, a brown hyaena was immobilised at 03h30 this morning. More details will follow in tomorrows News update.|
16 Apr 2014. Floodplain Pride. The Floodplain Pride killed a young giraffe on the south bank of the Hoanib River. All five “Musketeers” were present and they are in good condition.
15 Apr 2014. Desperate Tactics. The use of fireworks and flares to disturb and chase the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) away from the problem area north of Purros was only partially successful. It was the use of heavy rock music, especially tracks with a strong high-pitched voice component (such as songs by AC/DC, Deep Purple & Led Zeppelin) played at full volume (±4,500 Watt peak power) through the sound system that caused the lion to vacate the area (see attached Mp3 example). Even though care was taken to “hide” the research vehicle behind thick vegetation when the music was played, there is little doubt that the “Terrace Male” will associate the disturbance with the research vehicle. This will limit future opportunities of observing and following the lion. These desperate measures are unfortunately required because if the “Terrace Male” remains in the area he will be shot or poisoned.
|Spectacular rainclouds during the late afternoon||Sound playbacks||Movements of Xpl-68|
14 Apr 2014. Saving "Terrace". The wanderings of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) across the harshest sections of the northern Namib Desert during the past 2.6 years have been nothing short of remarkable (see Xpl-68 Summary). But, it was his voyage into Angola, where he swam across the Kunene River, that captured the imagination of the public and he has become somewhat of an icon, which has arguably benefitted wildlife conservation and tourism in Namibia. Unfortunately, his recent visits to Purros have taken him into harms way. Management efforts to deter him from the area have failed when he returned to the settlement for the third time two nights ago. With the invaluable support of Wilderness Safaris (Emsie, Gerhard, Bertus & Jannes), the Purros Lion Rangers (Collin, Bertus & Kooti), Purros Conservancy (Hiskia) and Okahirongo Elephant Lodge (Pollen & Pieter) a desperate effort was made today to scare Xpl-68 away from the Purros Settlement using fireworks and flares (see photos below by E Verwey). Due to the extensive rains most of the wildlife have vacated the areas that Xpl-68 utilised during the past 2 years and he has presumably been attracted to Purros because of the donkeys that occupy the river habitat. Hopes are that the disturbance will cause him to leave.
13 Apr 2014. Reunion. In spite of his injuries Xpl-93 “Tullamore” walked approximately 30 km and reconnected with his brothers, the “Musketeers”, after being separated for 12 days. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is still close to Purros and the situation is becoming problematic.
12 Apr 2014. Elephants vs. "Musketeers". The rest of the “Five Musketeers” were located on the north bank of the Hoanib Floodplain. The four sub-adult males were together, but there was no sign of the three lionesses. The males had not eaten for many days and they were resting near a pool of water from the recent floods. They were approached by two herds of elephants and on both occasions the elephants chased the lions out of the Hoanib River (photos: below). “Tullamore” (Xpl-93), the fifth “Musketeer”, was also observed in the Tsuxib River – 22 km to the northeast of his brothers. The injuries he sustained from the conflict with the “Terrace Male” and perhaps also the Hunkap Male (Xpl-87) has become worse and he is limping. Nonetheless he moved more that 15 km during the night to Amp’s Poort. Sadly, the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved back to the problem area north of Purros. The translocation did not work because he had already identified with the constant availability of easy prey (donkeys) in that part of the Hoaruseb River.
11 Apr 2014. Animation. “Tullamore” (Xpl-93), one of the “Five Musketeers”, has still not joined up with his brothers and the rest of the Floodplain Pride. As more information became available it appears that the developments surrounding his split from the Pride was more complex than initially thought. It was necessary to develop an animation that combined the movements of all the satellite-collared lions on the same timeline in order to gain a better understanding of the events (see below). The timeline starts at 12h00 on 1 Apr 2014 (indicated as: 01 pm) and every subsequent day is presented as AM (00h00 – 12h00) and PM (12h00 – 00h00) until 12h00 on 6 Apr 2014. Click the “Play” button (bottom left) to view the synchronized movements of the “Terrace Male”, the Floodplain lionesses, the rest of the “Musketeers”, “Tullamore” (Xpl-93) & the Hunkap Male (Xpl-87). Access to the Hoanib River is still restricted by the floods.
10 Apr 2014. Flooding Rivers. The Hoaruseb River was flowing, but water levels dropped sufficiently to cross the river at Leyland’s Drift. When the Hoanib River was reached at 18h00 it was running strongly and the water level was rising (photos: below). It was however possible to cross the river west of Amp’s Poort. Access to the surrounding areas will be limited for the next few days.
9 Apr 2014. Lower Hoaruseb River. The Hoaruseb River came down in flood again during the night and it was not possible to cross the river. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was monitored for another 16 hours and it is pleasing to know that he has recovered fully from the long anaesthetic and the relocation from Purros. The sub-adult male “Tullamore” (Xpl-93) has still not rejoined the rest of the Floodplain Pride. This rather surprising development will be investigated as soon as the flooding rivers can be crossed.
8 Apr 2014. "Terrace Male" Recovered. Transporting the immobilized “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) in the new Land Cruiser was a great success. The specially designed vehicle with all its extra equipment and the OME suspension made for a smooth and effective operation. The lion was put on a Ringer-lactate drip and his heart rate, respiration and general status were monitored and recorded every 30 minutes. A heart rate monitor, used mainly by athletes, was fitted to the lion and this helped to monitor his status whilst driving through the rough terrain. The Hoaruseb River was reached at daybreak and Xpl-68 was offloaded next to a thick acacia bush and his recovery was monitored. By 07h10 he started walking and at sundown he was resting between granite boulders 1.2 km from the ocean.
|Loading and monitoring the vital statistics of the “Terrace Male” during the relocation.|
|A heart rate monitor was fitted and provided constant information whilst driving.||The tip of Xpl-68’s tail - see 20 Feb 2014|
7 Apr 2014. Translocation. More discussions were held with the Purros community about the fate of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and the potential tourism benefits. The community requested that the lion must be removed from the area. The Desert Lion Project agreed with the request because it was suggested that the lion would be shot. The “Terrace Male” was immobilized at 01:20 this morning. With the assistance of Okahirongo Elephant Lodge (Pieter de Wet) and IRDNC (Russel & Tina Vinjevold) the lion was loaded in the Desert Lion Land Cruiser and relocated to the mouth of the Hoaruseb River. Flooding of the Hoaruseb River hampered the operation and an alternative route had to be used. After driving for 8 hours and 96 km through difficult terrain, the “Terrace Male” was released safely at the mouth of the Hoaruseb River.
6 Apr 2014. "Terrace Male". The sub-adult male ”Tullamore” (Xpl-93) and Xpl-10 did not manage to reconnect with the rest of the Floodplain Pride. Preliminary data indicate that the Hunkap males (Xpl-81 “Kebbel” & Xpl-87) approached the remaining Floodplain Pride from the north, which caused them to scatter and retreat back over Sima Hill towards the Hoanib Floodplain. Efforts to locate Xpl-10 & 93, reconstruct the events of last night and present the information on this website was cut short with the development of a crisis-situation with the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at Purros. Information was received that there was much unhappiness amongst the community about the lion and that there was a risk that the lion might be shot. After a 7–hour drive, crossing two flooding rivers (photo: middle right), Xpl-68 was located 8.7 km north of Purros. After a discussion with members of the Purros Conservancy and Colin Kasupi (Lion Ranger) it was agreed to give Xpl-68 one more night to vacate the area on his on accord. A total of 8 tourist vehicles staying at the Purros Campsite were observed approaching and viewing the “Terrace Male” (photo: bottom right).
5 Apr 2014. Good Mother. Two days after the incident with the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68), the Floodplain Pride vacated the area and moved towards the Okongwe waterhole. But the 16-year old lioness (Xpl-10) returned for a second time to search for the young male (Xpl-93 “Tullamore”) that was injured during the conflict with Xpl-68. She found the young male and they were resting amongst the granite rocks during the day. Xpl-10 is one of the oldest lionesses with the highest reproductive success in the Desert lion population. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) moved past Purros and conflict with the local communities is inevitable. His movements are being monitored closely.
4 Apr 2014. "Tullamore". During the night the Floodplain Pride, except one of the “Five Musketeers”, regrouped and by morning they were in the mountains 8 km east of the Tsuxib River. Xpl-93 “Tullamore” did not move at all during the night and he was located on a granite outcrop 6 km east of the rest of the pride (photos: top row). His left back leg is injured with what appears to be bite marks, presumably inflicted by the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68), and he spent the day resting in the shade of the granite boulders. During the afternoon the lioness Xpl-10 returned to the area. She roared often and was presumably searching for the missing male (photos: bottom row). Xpl-93 moved westwards instead and Xpl-10 returned to the rest of the pride. By 04h00 this morning they were 18 km apart.
3 Apr 2014. Drama at Sima Hill. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) followed the Floodplain lionesses past Sima Hill and he caught up with them near the Tsuxib River at 02:00 – 03:00 this morning. Based on preliminary satellite collar data and spoor reconstructions, there was a confrontation that caused the “Five Musketeers” to split-up and become separated from the lionesses. At sunset the “Terrace Male” was observed moving southwards along the Tsuxib River (photos: bottom row). He was roaring and searching for the lionesses. By that time all the Floodplain lions had moved into the hills to the east of the Tsuxib River and at 22h00 the signals from their respective radio collars suggested that they have joined-up. It is interesting to note that Xpl-81 “Kebbel”, who have spent the past month south of Hunkap spring, suddenly moved >47 km last night, directly towards the location where the conflict between Xpl-68 “Terrace Male” and the Floodplain Pride occurred. He may have responded to the associated roaring – a distance of 65 km (direct line).
|The view from the Hoanib Floodplain towards Sima Hill.||Undulating terrain between Sima Hill and the Tsuxib River|
2 Apr 2014. Xpl-68 searching for females. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was located on the north bank of the Hoanib Floodplain during the morning and he was heading towards the Floodplain lionesses. His behavior suggested that he was aware of their presence in the area. However, the Floodplain lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” continued moving during the day and at sunset they crossed the water-divide south of Sima Hill towards the Tsuxib River.
1 Apr 2014. "Musketeers". The Floodplain Pride (3 lionesses & 5 sub-adult males) was located north of the Hoanib Floodplain. The lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” are in average condition and they have not eaten recently. Due to the recent rainfall in the surrounding areas, most of the ungulates that the lions normally prey on have moved to greener pastures.
31 Mar 2014. Hoanib River. Parts of the lower Hoanib River is still wet from the recent floods. The surrounding area is covered with green Stipogrostus grasses. The movements of the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) and the Floodplain lionesses are being monitored closely with the hope that they will meet-up. The lionesses are due to come into estrous quite soon.
30 Mar 2014. Water Pools. With the recent rains several smaller ephemeral drainage lines between the Samanab & the Kharugaiseb Rivers, and the Kharugaiseb itself, came down in flood, leaving big pools of water dammed-up against the dunes. Between 23 and 26 Mar 2014 the Floodplain lionesses and the “Five Musketeers” remained at the same location and it was suspected that they might have killed a giraffe. The area was inspected and evidence was found that they killed two Oryx and one ostrich instead.
29 Mar 2014. Repairs. Three BFG Mud Terrain tires, donated by Michelin (SA), and a BFG All Terrain (donated by Joe Noci) were fitted to the Land Cruiser. Thanks go to Peter Sander and Adolf Huester for support with the tire emergency. The eastern skies were filled with big thunderclouds in the late afternoon and lightning at night. Attempts are now being made to reach the Hoanib River via the Uniab River.
28 Mar 2014. Mowe Bay. Repairs to the Land Cruiser are currently underway at the Mowe Bay Cabin.
27 Mar 2014. "Whitey". For the past twenty years Metusalag Gawuseb “Whitey” worked under the employment of the Ministry of Environment & Tourism at the Ugab entrance gate to the Skeleton Coast Park. Helpful and friendly to visitors of the Skeleton Coast Park, “Whitey” has become a well-known and likable character and he undoubtedly is the face of Ugab Gate. The Desert Lion Project would like to thank “Whitey” for his enthusiasm and help over the years.
26 Mar 2014. Huab in Flood. Floodwaters in the Huab River reached and crossed the main coastal road in the Skeleton Coast Park. It was not too difficult to cross the river at 12h00 on 25 Mar 2014, but the water level appeared to be rising.
25 Mar 2014. Tires. The rough terrain and rain during the past 10 days took its toll on the Land Cruiser’s tires, leaving the vehicle with only two functional tires. Fieldwork will continue in a few days time once the damaged tires have been replaced and fitted to the vehicle.
24 Mar 2014. More Rain. Heavy showers along the coastline south of Mowe Bay left big pools of water that covered large sections of the road.
23 Mar 2014. Rain. Widespread rains settled over the desert during the past few days. Steady showers were even recorded along the coast and large areas are not accessible by vehicle.
22 Mar 2014. Mud Terrain. The Hoanib Floodplain has become waterlogged and it is not possible to access the area. Two Mud-Terrain tires were damaged beyond repair by sharp rocks that penetrated the sidewalls of the tires. A family of Gerrhosaurus lizards were observed in the dunes west of the Hoanib Floodplain.
21 Mar 2014. Rain & Tires. The recent rainfall and local flooding of the ephemeral rivers created many problems trying to access areas near the Uniab and Hoanib Rivers. An unusual number of punctures also restricted movements.
20 Mar 2014. "Lion Ranger" Training. The training of 12 selected members of the Purros, Sesfontein, Anabeb & Torra Conservancies to become “Lion Rangers” has been a great success. The trainees participated actively in all aspects of the training programme and all 12 passed the final examination. The training course was supported and funded by IRDNC (with special efforts from Russell Vinjevold) and NAMSOV Community Trust.
19 Mar 2014. Wereldsend. Amidst a massive thunderstorm and close to 20 mm of rain, preparations started for a training course for 12 members of the Purros, Sesfontein, Anabeb & Torra Conservancies at Wereldsend. The training is directed at managing the conflict between lions and the local communities and the 12 trainees, who were selected by their conservancies, will become the future “Lion Rangers”.
18 Mar 2014. Brown hyaenas. The camera-traps on the Hoanib Floodplain have continued to capture images of brown hyaenas carrying Cape fur seal carcasses throughout February and the early part of March 2014. See News 25 Jan 2014 for more information on this amazing behaviour. Two brown hyaenas (an adult and a sub-adult) were observed south of the Floodplain (photo: left).
17 Mar 2014. Uniab Delta. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) remained at the Uniab Delta and several tourists spotted him at one of the springs near the road. He only became active after sunset and he was observed hunting for Oryx near the mouth of the Uniab River.
16 Mar 2014. Musketeer. The Floodplain Pride was observed as they moved through the granite boulders south of the Hoanib River searching for prey. One of the “Five Musketeers”, Xpl-90 “Polla”, found a rather awkward resting place on a ledge halfway up a boulder (photo: top), but there was shade and he spent the most of the day resting there (photos: bottom row).
15 Mar 2014. Hoanib Flood. A camera-trap mounted at a narrow gorge on the Hoanib Floodplain captured interesting images of a major flash flood on 26 Feb 2014. The flood exceeded the levels of recent years and the camera, which was mounted above the known waterline since 2005, was drowned. The camera continued taking photographs even though it was underwater, but the water eventually got into the electronics and power supply and the unit failed. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) left his location near the Obab River shortly after the movement update was done yesterday morning and reached the Uniab Delta a few hours later.
|The “Terrace Male” on 10 Feb 2014 06h34||Wood debris ahead of flood: 26 Feb 2014 13h38||River in full flood: 26 Feb 2014 16h25|
|26 Feb 2014 16h34||26 Feb 2014 17h33||River subsided: 27 Feb 2014 17h40|
14 Mar 2014. Home Range Data. The satellite collar that was fitted to Xpl-47 “Bianca” of the Hoanib Pride on 9 Sep 2010 failed to send location data after a few months. However, after the collar was removed two days ago (see 12 Mar 2014) it was possible to retrieve valuable data on her movements between 9 Sep 2010 and 16 Jun 2013. The movement data, consisting of 10 locations per day, were safely stored inside the collar. During this period Xpl-47 moved over an area of 2,195 sqr km (see map below). When compared with her movements between 2008 and 2009 (white polygon on map), there was a significant expansion of her movements towards the Hunkap River in the south. Observations on the Floodplain Pride continued as they searched for prey south of the Hoanib River (photos: top & bottom right).
13 Mar 2014. "Five Musketeers". The Floodplain Pride was located south of the Hoanib Floodplain. All the sub-adult males (the “Five Musketeers) were with the three adult lionesses. As a result of the recent rainfall most of the wildlife (except a herd of elephants and a few giraffes) have moved towards the areas with green vegetation. The Floodplain lions have not eaten recently and they are clearly struggling to find food.
12 Mar 2014. "Bianca". With the stroke of good fortune a faint signal from the VHF radio collar of Xpl-59 “E=MC^2” was picked up from a mountain ridge in the upper Mudorib River. The two Hoanib females and their four small cubs were eventually located after many hours of negotiating the rough terrain. They were feeding on the remains of an Oryx carcass. Xpl-47 “Bianca” was immobilised at 21h30. She was fitted with a new satellite collar.
11 Mar 2014. Kharokhaob. After monitoring the Hunkap lionesses for the night the searched continued for the Hoanib lionesses (Xpl-47 “Bianca” & Xpl-59 “E=MC^2”) in the Kharokhaob and Mudorib area (see animation below). A camera-trap at Hunkap spring recorded both Hunkap males the day after their fight with the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) on 14 Feb 2014 (photos: bottom left & middle), as well as several photographs of cheetahs.
10 Mar 2014. Hunkap Lionesses. The Hunkap lioness, Xpl-53 “Charlotte”, moved during the day and it was very difficult to get to within 1 – 2 km of her with the vehicle. The time and effort invested in building a new and improved sound system (see 2 Mar 2014) was worthwhile when the system was used successfully to attract her from a distance of more than 5 km. Four lionesses were observed at dusk (photo: left). An adult lioness was immobilised at midnight and a new satellite collar was fitted.
9 Mar 2014. "Charlotte". Xpl-53 “Charlotte” of the Hunkap Pride was located west of Kudu spring. This is a difficult area to access by vehicle and it is covered with green vegetation. The satellite collar of Xpl-53 is running low on battery power. Efforts are underway to reach Xpl-53 and to replace the collar.
8 Mar 2014. Hunkap/Barab. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is still feeding on the carcass at the Uniab Waterfall. Attention was turned to the upper Barab and Hunkap Rivers where there are large concentrations of Hartmann’s zebras & springboks. The area is covered with green vegetation and many flowering plants, such as this Hoodia species – photo: top right.
7 Mar 2014. Xpl-75. The Huab lioness, Xpl-75 “Angela”, has left her three small cubs in a rock outcrop south of the Huab River. During the night she moved southwards along the mountain ridges to the Ugab River in search of prey. Most of the wildlife appears to be concentrating to the southeast near Gai-Ais spring. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is feeding on a carcass (presumably an Oryx kill) at the bottom of the Waterfall of the Uniab Delta. NWR at Terrace Bay were informed of the development.
6 Mar 2014. Green Grass. Widespread rain during the previous fortnight has resulted in a flush of green grass and flowers on the gravel plains between the Ugab and Huab Rivers. This is a difficult time for the lions that inhabit the area because the main prey species (Oryx, Hartmann’s zebra, ostrich & springbok) that normally frequent the ephemeral riverbeds have dispersed in pursuit of the new vegetation. Xpl-75 “Angela” was located 11 km south of the Huab River. She left her three small cubs in the lower Huab River and is searching for prey in the mountains.
|Green grass and yellow Tribulus flowers around Gai-Ais spring|
The gravel plains covered with green grass south of the Huab River
|Xpl-75 “Angela” in the mountains 11 km south of the Huab River|
5 Mar 2014. Ugab River. Large sections of the lower Ugab River is inaccessible due to flooding. Lion tracks were found in numerous places, but the limited access made it impossible to search the area properly.
4 Mar 2014. Dorob Lions. The tracks of approximately four sub-adult lions were spotted 6 km south of the Ugab River in the Dorob National Park. The tracks were followed to the Ugab River where the lions entered the Skeleton Coast Park.
3 Mar 2014. Huab River. There has been significant rainfall in the region during the past few days. Floodwaters had already extended past the Jack Scott Bridge in the Huab River (photo below) and it is likely that the area will not be accessible by vehicle for several weeks.
2 Mar 2014. Sound System. The sound system developed problems that resulted from modifications required in order to fit it to the new Land Cruiser. A significant amount of time and energy had to be invested to build an improved system that fits in the new vehicle. The use of sound is of great importance to the Project and it is essential that the sound quality is optimum.
1 Mar 2014. Information Placard. A poster was developed for tourists and visitors of the Skeleton Coast Park that contains information on lions and the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68). The placards will be posted at all the major tourism locations of the Skeleton Cost Park.
26 Feb 2014. Cheetahs. Four cheetahs (a mother and three sub-adults) were observed at that Uniab Delta close to the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68).
25 Feb 2014. Leopard. Camera-traps in the lower Obab and Beacon Rivers recorded images of leopards and a caracal.
24 Feb 2014. Lower Huab River. Xpl-75 “Angela” was located in the lower Huab River 1.5 km east of Jack Scott Bridge. All three her small cubs are still alive. Xpl-75 killed an Oryx and they are still feeding on the carcass. The lioness was unusually aggressive towards the vehicle even though she was observed from a distance of 234 metres.
23 Feb 2014. Monitoring Xpl-68. Another two days were spent monitoring the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) at the Uniab Delta. The observations confirmed that the lion has not become unusually aggressive and that the tourists most likely provoked the incident of 21 Feb 2014. During a 24-hour period, whilst Xpl-68 was lying between 50 and 100 metres from the main road, a total of 23 vehicles drove past the lion. Xpl-68 was visible from the road for 15 of the 23 vehicles and 9 vehicles (60%) spotted the lion and stopped to take photographs (photo: top). On one occasion a vehicle stopped and people got out of the vehicle (photo: middle left). They appeared unaware of the presence of the lion. In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and Namibia Wildlife Resorts, a pamphlet will be developed and posted at all the major locations to provide information and guidelines regarding lions to visitors of the Skeleton Coast Park.
22 Feb 2014. Home Range of Xpl-79. It was possible to recover the available movement data from the damaged GPS collar (photo: bottom right) of Xpl-79 “Geronimo”. The collar recorded two positions per day for 209 days - between 4 Nov 2012 (when the collar was fitted, photo: top right) and 31 May 2013 (when it stopped working). During this period Xpl-79 moved over an area of 1,115 sqr km that centred around the lower Aub River (see map).
21 Feb 2014. Xpl-68 kill Oryx. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) killed an adult Oryx at the northern spring of the Uniab Delta.
News Flash. Lion harasses tourist? Shortly after leaving the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) a report was received from the Chief Warden of the Skeleton Coast Park of an incident where tourists were threatened by a lion at the Uniab Delta. Plans to continue searching for the Hoanib lionesses were abandoned to investigate the incident. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was found approximately 70 metres east of the road and an evaluation of the tracks suggested that a tourist vehicle spotted the lion and drove slightly off the road, presumably to get a better view (photo: top left). The tracks also suggest that the tourists got out of their vehicle close to the lion, which could have triggered an aggressive response from the lion. A shoe was found lying nearby (photo: bottom left) – perhaps lost by its owner whilst hurrying to get back into the vehicle. The rest of the day was spent observing Xpl-68. There was no change in his behaviour and it seems more likely that the incident was due to disturbance caused by the visitors.
20 Feb 2014. "Terrace Male" Injured. The “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) is carrying injuries to his back legs and the tuft of his tail is missing (photos: top & bottom left). This may have occurred during his recent interaction with the two Hunkap males (Xpl-81 “Kebbel” & Xpl-87) on 14/15 Feb 2014 when they displaced him from the Hoanib River. Xpl-68’s tail was intact and he did not have any injuries when he was last observed on 10 Feb 2014.
Visitor Map. Summary of visitors to the Desert Lion website since 15 Jan 2013.