28 Aug 2015. The Dome. The second public screening of the film “Vanishing Kings” in Swakopmund takes place at The Dome this evening at 18h30. The “Five Musketeers” have separated and two of them (Xpl-91 “Ben” & Xpl-93 “Tullamore”) have followed the Hoanib Pride lionesses towards Hunkap spring (see map).
26 Aug 2015. Cheetah Movements. The cheetah, Xaj-1, fitted with a satellite collar (see 4 Aug 2015) has favoured the tributaries north of the Hoanib River. The movements of Xaj-1 are indicated on the map below where the yellow numbers indicate the sequential days. Over a period of 15 days the cheetah moved 96.5 km at an average of 6.1 km per day. The minimum distance was 300 metres in a day and on two occasions the cheetah moved > 16 km per day (16.3 & 16.6 km). An index of activity (distance moved as a proportion of total distance per day) indicates that the highest period of activity was during the early morning (see graph).
25 Aug 2015. Two Screenings. Wilderness Safaris hosted two successful screenings of the film “Vanishing Kings” in Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively. The screenings were well attended and the discussions that were held during question/answer sessions generated a lot of interest. Carli Flemmer & Tracey Jaffe are thanked for arranging two memorable events.
24 Aug 2015. Computer Problems. The Desert lion Project would like to apologise for the lack of website updates during the past three days. This was due to a computer problem that has now been rectified.
20 Aug 2015.“Vanishing Kings”. Two unsuccessful nights were spent trying to immobilise one of the Okongwe lionesses in order to fit a satellite collar, but they were extremely skittish. The “Five Musketeers” remained in the lower part of the Hoanib River after they consumed the giraffe carcass. Fieldwork has been stopped for a week to attend to three additional premiere screenings of the film “Vanishing Kings” in South Africa and at the Dome in Swakopmund on 28 Aug 2015.
19 Aug 2015. Okongwe Lionesses. The Okongwe Pride was tracked in an effort to fit a new satellite collar to one of the lionesses. The lions were captured numerous times on the camera-trap in the area (photos below).
18 Aug 2015. Giraffe Carcass. The “Five Musketeers” were feeding on their giraffe kill in the lower Hoanib River whilst the two Floodplain lionesses killed an adult female Oryx on the Hoanib Floodplain approximately 4 km further east.
17 Aug 2015. Giraffe Kill. A sand/dust storm engulfed the lower Hoanib River during the afternoon and visibility was reduced to <100 metres at times. The “Five Musketeers” were quick to take advantage of the conditions and started hunting along the riverbed. They had two failed attempts on a herd of Oryx and a single giraffe bull, before they succeeded in killing an adult female giraffe.
16 Aug 2015. "Musketeers". The “Five Musketeers” returned from their excursions into the mountains of the Obias and Ganamub rivers. They arrived at Amp’s Poort at sunrise. The entire area was covered in a thick blanket of fog and the lions used the conditions to hunt for springboks and Oryx (photos below).
15 Aug 2015. Oryx. The Hoanib River is currently a hive of activity as large numbers of Oryx and springboks are visiting the ephemeral riverbed to feed on the green vegetation. The large carnivores, such as cheetahs, brown hyaenas and the lions, are observed regularly along the riverbed and they are all in good condition.
14 Aug 2015. Floodplain Lionesses. The “Five Musketeers” have been spending time in the mountains between the Obias and Ganamub Rivers, whilst their mothers have remained on the Hoanib Floodplain. There are abundant prey utilising the Floodplain and the lionesses killed an adult Oryx on 12 Aug 2015.
13 Aug 2015. Cheetah. The movements of the first cheetah (Xaj-1) fitted with a satellite collar (see 4 Aug 2015) have been interesting. Over a period of 7 days the cheetah moved 23.9 km at an average of 3.4 km per day. An attempt was made to fit another satellite collar to a cheetah at Amp’s Poort (photos below), but the animal remained in the mountains and could not be approached.
12 Aug 2015. Floodplain. The two Floodplain lionesses (Xpl-55 & Xpl-69) were located on the eastern section of the Hoanib Floodplain where they were observed stalking a herd of Oryx.
11 Aug 2015. Ugab Mouth. The Ugab males (Xpl-98 & Xpl-99 “Gretzky”) moved further inland into an inaccessible area north of the Ugab River. A more detailed assessment of their tracks at the mouth of the Ugab River revealed that they killed two juvenile Oryx at the small lagoon next to the beach. The two males ventured onto the beach where their tracks had been washed away by the high tide. This marks the first known visit by lions to the mouth of the Ugab River for more than 20 years.
10 Aug 2015. 99 "Gretzky". The Ugab lions occupy the southern frontier of the current distribution of the Desert lion population. They are important individuals that could potentially disperse towards the Swakop River and the Namib Naukluft Park (see News 25 Feb 2015). In order to effectively monitor the Ugab lions a substantial effort was made during the past three days to fit a VHF radio collar. A sub-adult male Xpl-99 “Gretzky” was immobilised last night and the collar was fitted (photos below). Xpl-99 is a cub of Xpl-75 “Angela” and our behavioural data suggest that the “Terrace Male” (Xpl-68) was his father.
9 Aug 2015. Ugab Males. The two Ugab males continued moving in an easterly direction along the Ugab River. They rested inside a thick stand of reeds 39 km from Ugab Gate.
8 Aug 2015. Ugab Gate 2. The tracks of the two Ugab males were reconstructed as they explored the mouth of the Ugab River (see map). The lions moved further inland and they were resting 13 km from Ugab Gate during the day (photo bottom right).
7 Aug 2015. Ugab Gate. Two sub-adult male lions (Xpl-98 and his brother) of the Ugab Pride have spent the past three days <8 km from the mouth of the Ugab River. Last night they crossed the main road at Ugab Gate and were resting amongst the reeds 1.4 km from the ocean (photos below).
6 Aug 2015. Hoanib Activities 2. The nocturnal movements of the “Five Musketeers” between the Hoanib Floodplain and the Obias junction have been extensive as they juggled for positions to copulate with the Hoanib lioness. Xpl-91 “Ben” made a valiant effort to keep his brothers away from the oestrous lioness (Xpl-59), but he was no match for the persistence of the four sub-adult males.
5 Aug 2015. Hoanib Activities. Three of the “Musketeers” (Xpl-89, Xpl-90 & Xpl-92) returned to the Hoanib River and joined the lioness (Xpl-59) that is still in oestrous close to the Obias junction.
4 Aug 2015. Cheetah. The Desert Lion Project is collaborating with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism on a Namibian cheetah project. An adult male cheetah was immobilised in the Hoanib River and fitted with a satellite collar.
3 Aug 2015. Mating "Musketeer". Xpl-91 “Ben” displaced his four brothers and stayed with the lioness Xpl-59. They were observed copulating several times during the day. Xpl-93 “Tullamore” joined the Pride lionesses on the Hoanib Floodplain whilst the remaining three males moved south of Amp’s Poort.
2 Aug 2015. Mating "Musketeers". The Hoanib Pride lioness, Xpl-59 “E=MC^2”, did not conceive when she mated with some of the “Five Musketeers” during mid July 2015 (see 10 & Jul 2015). Two weeks later she came into oestrous again and the “Musketeers” found her in the same part of the Hoanib River. Two of the “Musketeers” (Xpl-90 “Polla” & Xpl-91 “Ben”) remained with the lioness. Even though the males are only 3.5 years old (males are sexually mature at 4 years) they were both observed copulating successfully with the 11-year-old lioness.
1 Aug 2015. Uniab Delta. The Obab Lionesses were observed close to the beach at the Uniab Delta. They were fully fed and the remains of an Oryx carcass were found nearby.
31 Jul 2015. Swakopmund. Several days were spent in Swakopmund reconciling the activities and developments that occurred during the Premiere of “Vanishing Kings” and the “Road Show” that followed. Another batch of DVDs had to be ordered to satisfy the many requests for copies.
30 Jul 2015. Movement Updates.
29 Jul 2015. Premiere Summary. The Namibian launch of the new wildlife documentary “Vanishing Kings” by Into Nature Productions was a success. The Honorary Minister H P Shifeta of Environment and Tourism and Permanent Secretary Dr. M Lindeque were present during the main Premiere at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek. All three screenings in Windhoek were sold out with ± 800 people in attendance. At the Dome in Swakopmund an estimated 650 people viewed the film. The four screenings during the “Road Show” (Wereldsend, Bergsig, Sesfontein & Purros) attracted ± 1000 people of which more than half were school children. These events were made possible by the help and support from many individuals and organisations. The Desert Lion Project would like to thank everybody involved: Windhoek – Trix Malan, Kristy Watermeyer, C Hugo & D Rowels (99FM), Wilderness Safaris, B2Gold, Jameson Whiskey, StayToday & The Warehouse Theatre. Swakopmund - P van Biljon, H Fritze & Alta Bredenkamp (The DOME), P & M Sander. The Road Show - Commissioner James Ndirura (Namibian Police Force), Ms Roman, Chief Jerry Gaubaib, Counsellor Hendrik Gaubaib, Pieter de Wet, Ms Tjijapu, IRDNC, Children in the Wilderness Trust, Boas Hambo, Lianne & Will Steenkamp, Joe & Gisela Noci, Eben Human & Emsie Verwey. (Photos below by E Human)
27 Jul 2015. Road Show. The screenings of “Vanishing Kings” at four locations in rural Kunene Region was a big success. Approximately 1000 people attended the viewings held at Wereldsend, Bergsig, Sesfontein and Purros. The Desert Lion Project would like to thank the “Road Show Team” (Boas Hambo, Lianne & Will Steenkamp, Joe & Gisela Noci, Eben Human & Emsie Verwey) for a slick-running operation. Commissioner James Ndirura, Regional Commander of the Namibian Police Force for the Kunene Region, and IRDNC are thanked for their support.
23 Jul 2015. Purros Premiere. The “Road Show” came to an end with the last screening of “Vanishing Kings” at Purros. The Headman Mr Daniel Kasauna (photo: bottom middle) opened the event on a blistery cold night as approximately 80 people gathered at the school. The Headmistress Ms Tjijapu is thanked for her help. Okahirongo Elephant Lodge (Pieter de Wet) provided logistical support.
22 Jul 2015. Sesfontein Premiere. An enthusiastic and vocal audience watched the “Vanishing Kings” at the school hostel in Sesfontein. Chief Jerry Gaubaib opened the proceedings that were attended by an estimated 150 children and 150 adults. The Counsellor Mr Hendrik Gaubaib, Warrant Officer Tjinduwa (Namibian Police Force) and Mr Kabuku (Head Master) are thanked for their support.
The final action scene in the film, where the “Five Musketeers” capture an adult giraffe, generated a lot of excitement as the people supported the lions. Listen to the attached sound file below.
21 Jul 2015. Bergsig Premiere. The reception at Bergsig for the screening of “Vanishing Kings” was extraordinary. A large screen was erected at the school and the Damara version of the film was shown at sunset. Approximately 320 children and 150 adults from the village attended the event. The audience was captivated by the images and towards the end of the film when the “Five Musketeers” were hunting an adult giraffe there were loud cries as they cheered the lions on. We wish to thank Edna /Awaras for the Damara narration, and Warrant Officer Tjawira (Namibian Police Force), Ms Roman (School Headmistress) and Boas Hambo for their support during the event.
20 Jul 2015. Wereldsend Premiere. The “Vanishing Kings” film was shown to the traditional leaders, headmen and senior officials from seven Communal Conservancies at Wereldsend. Several key personnel from IRDNC, including Garth Owen-Smith, and Micheal Katjau from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism were in attendance.
18 Jul 2015. Swakopmund Premiere. The DOME was the venue for the Swakopmund Premiere of “Vanishing Kings”. The turnout exceeded all expectations as 550+ people attended the event. Paul van Biljon, Horst Fritze and Alta Bredenkamp of the DOME are thanked for providing a fantastic venue with cutting-edge technology to host the second screening of the film.
17 Jul 2015. Windhoek Premiere. The first public screening of the new film “Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib” at a Premiere in Windhoek was a major success. The Honorary Minister H P Shifeta of Environment and Tourism opened the event that was hosted by 99FM. Will & Lianne Steenkamp of Into Nature Productions produced a remarkable film on the Desert lions that was well received by the audience. We would like to thank all the sponsors and Trix Malan for hosting a memorable occasion.
15 Jul 2015. Film Premiere. Fieldwork has been stopped to attend the Premiere of “Vanishing Kings” in Windhoek and Swakopmund. Preparations are also underway for the “Roadshow” where the film will be screened in the Kunene Region. For information on the public screenings please contact: StayToday - Windhoek, or call 064-400301 – The Dome, Swakopmund.
14 Jul 2015. Spotted hyaenas. A camera-trap was retrieved from a zebra carcass in the upper Obab River (photos below). It was suspected that spotted hyaenas killed the Hartmann’s zebra. The two “Musketeers” (Xpl-90 & 91) returned to the Amp’s Poort section of the Hoanib River.
13 Jul 2015. Uniab Delta. The four Obab lionesses returned to the Uniab Delta after a brief visit to the interior part of their home range. They were observed briefly near the coast. The visibility was poor due to a thick blanket of fog that covered the area. Notwithstanding, they used the conditions to their benefit and were observed hunting and capturing an adult Oryx (photos below).
12 Jul 2015. "Musketeers" Split. Three of the “Musketeers” (Xpl-89 “Harry”, Xpl-92 “Adolf” & Xpl-93 “Tullamore”) moved down the Hoanib River towards the Floodplain and their mothers. Small numbers of elephants are still utilising the remaining water pools on the Floodplain after the floods earlier this year. Xpl-90 “Polla” and Xpl-91 “Ben” remained with the lioness Xpl-59.
11 Jul 2015. "Musketeers" versus Xpl-59. Fascinating behaviour was recorded as the 11-year-old lioness (Xpl-59 “E=MC^2”) repeatedly tried to mate with the five “Musketeers” that are 3.5 years of age and not yet fully sexually mature. During a period of continuous observation (11 hours) the lioness approached and attempted to mate with the males every 16 minutes on average (n = 39). The young males appeared frightened and bewildered at times, but they all made attempts to mount and mate with the lioness (photos below right by Ultimate Safaris – Jason Nott).
10 Jul 2015. "Musketeers" find lioness. The “Five Musketeers” encountered the Hoanib lioness Xpl-59 (E=MC^2) between the Obias and Ganamub Rivers. The lioness is in oestrous and was observed attempting to mate with all five of the males (photos below). The “Musketeers”, however, are not yet sexually mature and even though the lioness approached them and presented herself every 15 minutes (n = 23), they could not mate with her.
9 Jul 2015. No Respect. Tourism is important to the region and during the recent vacation period large numbers of 4x4 vehicles traveled through the area. It is disturbing that some individuals have so little respect for the spectacular scenery that they feel the need to “play” with their 4x4 vehicles on sensitive terrain. The photos below were taken yesterday 5 km south of Hunkap spring. The “Five Musketeers” have moved close to the Ganamub Gorge and efforts are underway to monitor their activities.
8 Jul 2015. Xpl-94. During the night the two lions were identified as members of the Barab Pride. A VHF radio collar fitted to the male (Xpl-94) in Feb 2014 was not working. The collar belonged to a bad batch that was ordered in 2010. Xpl-94 “The Prince” was immobilized and fitted with the last remaining new satellite collar. We wish to thank Dr Pete Morkel, Tommy Hall and Save the Rhino Trust for their help (photo: top right). Xpl-94 is the son of Xpl-49 “Nina” (see photos: bottom row) and he was last observed northeast of Hunkap spring.
|Xpl-94 at 3 months||Xpl-94 at 14 months||Xpl-94 at 2 years & 5 months|
7 Jul 2015. Barab Lions. An adult male and an adult lioness were located near the Upper Barab spring. The lions were skittish and moved away from the vehicle during the day. They will be approached at night in an effort to identify the two individuals.
6 Jul 2015. Upper Barab. The tracks of several lions were followed from the Aub River in a northerly direction. The tracks were approximately two days old. The lions visited the springs around the lower Barab River before heading north to the Upper Babab spring.
5 Jul 2015. Obab Pride. More than 3,500 images were downloaded from three camera-traps in the Obab and Barab Rivers. The collection contained several valuable photographs of lions, including the lioness Xpl-22, the main Obab Pride and the lower Barab Pride. Two of the cameras recorded images of leopards.
4 Jul 2015. Barab. A cheetah was observed on the basalt plains south of Swartmodder spring. The tracks of four sub-adult lions were found south of the Uniab River. Efforts to locate Agab Pride and the old lioness Xpl-22 were expanded to Beacon, Urunendis and Barab Rivers.
3 Jul 2015. Vanishing Kings Premiere. Into Nature Productions will be hosting a Premiere of their latest documentary “Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib”. See details below. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” left the Elephant Song area and moved towards Orowau.
Vanishing Kings - Lions of the Namib
18 Jul 2015
2 Jul 2015. Huab Lions. Xpl-75 “Angela” moved into the Huab River between De Riet and Slangpos (see map below). Their movements will be monitored since the area is also utilised by livestock. In the Hoanib River Xpl-47 “Bianca” moved away, but Xpl-81 “Kebbel” returned to Elephant Song at 01h00 this morning.
1 Jul 2015. Elephant Song 2. The lions killed at least four head of cattle near Elelphant Song during the past 2 days. With the help from several supporters, including Izak Smit, excessive noise & disturbance was caused at night around Elephant Song and near the cattle boma. This caused the lions to move away. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” left the area early yesterday morning and the Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 “Bianca”) moved to Ganamub Poort at 05h00 this morning. Plans for the Premiere of the film “Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib” has been completed. More information will shortly be available on social media.
30 Jun 2015. Elephant Song. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved away from Elephant Song to wards the Ganamub, but the Hoanib Pride has returned. The situation at Elephant Song has become problematic with the large number of livestock continuously attracting lions from different prides. Plans for the erection of protective holding pens have been activated. Discussions with the livestock owners have been encouraging. The livestock herder indicated yesterday that they are considering moving the cattle away from Elephant Song. IRDNC, Russell Vinjevold, Wilderness Safaris and TOSCO have been key in these developments.
29 Jun 2015. Vanishing Kings. The International wildlife documentary, “Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib”, has been completed. Into Nature Productions is planning a Premiere of the film in Windhoek on 17 Jul 2015 and Swakopmund on 18 Jul 2015. In collaboration with IRDNC and the local conservancies the film will then be screened in the Kunene Region during a “Road Show”. Details of these events will be posted shortly.
27 Jun 2015. Huab Pride. After darting Xpl-75 “Angela” and fitting a new satellite collar, the Huab Pride moved deeper into the mountainous terrain south of Mikberg. The two Huab lionesses (Xpl-75 & Xpl-76) are in good condition as well as the all the cubs from their second litters (2 sub-adult females & 1 sub-adult male for Xpl-75 and two large cub males for Xpl-76 – photo: below right). The conflict situation with the Hoanib Pride at Elephant Song appears to have escalated. A dramatic movement recorded by the satellite collar of Xpl-47 “Bianca” (see Hoanib Pride) early on 26 Jun 2015 suggest that they have been subjected to some form of disturbance. Monitoring of the satellite collar of Xpl-47 was intensified to hourly position intervals during the night. The male Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved to the Hoanib and may also reach Elephant Song.
26 Jun 2015. Cheetahs. To monitor possible lion movements a camera-trap was mounted at the Oryx carcass that was killed by two male cheetahs (see 24 Jun 2015). Surprisingly, the two cheetahs returned to the carcass after they were disturbed and spent the whole night feeding (photos below). They defended the carcass against a spotted hyaena on two occasions. By morning the cheetahs had probably each consumed their own body weight in meat and they looked rather uncomfortable (photo: bottom right).
25 Jun 2015. "Angela". With a stroke of luck fresh tracks of the Huab lions were picked-up in a narrow wash south of Mikberg. After several hours of tracking and negotiating the difficult terrain, the lions were located on the watershed between the Huab and Ugab Rivers. To great surprise and relief Xpl-75 “Angela” was observed amongst the group. She was immobilised and fitted with a new satellite collar. Her old collar that came off in early April 2015 (see 13 Apr 2015) was measured against her neck and head (photo: bottom right). It is a mystery how she managed to get the collar off.
24 Jun 2015. Cheetah Kill. The tracks of the six Huab lions were lost in the mountainous terrain south of Mikberg. A lot of time has been invested to find the lions and they remain 1 or 2 days ahead of the search efforts. Whilst scanning the area and searching of tracks the fresh carcass of a juvenile Oryx was found. The Oryx was killed earlier this morning by two adult male cheetahs.
23 Jun 2015. Huab Lions. The tracks of the six Huab lions were located in a wash 15 km south of the Huab River where, on 21 Jun 2015, they disappeared in a large wetland area covered by reeds. The tracks were followed to Gai-Ais spring where images of the lions were captured by a camera-trap (photos below). The collared lioness was identified as Xpl-76 (the sister of Xpl-75 “Angela”, photo: right) and the unmarked lioness (photo: middle) is a sub-adult. The lions visited Gai-Ais two days ago. Their tracks were followed for another 14 km towards the southern section of Mikberg. It is highly likely that the VHF radio collar of Xpl-76 has failed.
22 Jun 2015. Chris Eyre. A Namibian legend in the conservation world passed away during the past week. Chris Eyre (photo: bottom right) was without question one of the most knowledgeable, committed, hard working and eccentric conservationists in Namibia. Over the past 40 years, Chris Eyre’s dedication to the wildlife & people of Namibia and his avant-garde / no-nonsense approach to conservation remains an inspiration to all who had the privilege of working with him.
21 Jun 2015. Tracks. The Huab lions moved further west along the Huab River. Fresh tracks were found and followed until the lions entered a marsh/wetland area. The wetland extends for approximately 7 km along the Huab River and is covered by reeds and sedges. The surrounding areas are being scanned for tracks, but it is likely that the lions are inside the wetland. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved away from the problem area at Elephant Song towards Orowau, but the Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 “Bianca”) moved to Elephant Song during the night.
20 Jun 2015. More Searching. The six lions whose tracks were followed over the past two days have vanished. The search continues from the Huab Valley to the Ugab River. It is possible that they are the same individuals that caused problems at Vrede and Fonteine. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved past Elephant Song, but he is currently near another cattle post 7 km to the southeast.
19 Jun 2015. Searching. The tracks of the six Huab lions were lost when they moved through thick reed beds and into mountainous terrain. The search for Xpl-75 “Angela”, her offspring & the lions that caused problems at Vrede & Fonteine Pos continues. Photographs captured by the camera-traps (such as at Gai-Ais spring: photos below) did not contain any images of lions. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” moved to Elephant Song during the night.
18 Jun 2015. Difficult Terrain. The tracks of the Huab lions were followed for another 18 kilometres, but they could not yet be located. Reed beds cover large sections of the lower Huab River (photo: bottom) that restrict access. This complicates a comprehensive search effort.
17 Jun 2015. Huab River. The tracks of an adult lioness (photo: bottom left) were found north of the Huab River and 5 km from the coast. The tracks were followed through an area that Xpl-75 “Angela” utilised occasionally. A few kilometres further East the fresh tracks of six lions (adult female with several large cubs and sub-adults; photos: bottom middle & right) were spotted. These tracks were followed for 12 km until nightfall.
16 Jun 2015. Brown hyaena. A young female brown hyaena (XHb-18) was immobilised in the Hoanib River near Amp’s Poort and fitted with a VHF radio collar. The Floodplain Pride reconnected during the night and all seven lions moved north of the Hoanib Floodplain.
15 Jun 2015. Two "Musketeers". Xpl-90 “Polla” and Xpl-92 “Adolf” have been separated from the rest of the Floodplain Pride for the past week. They have been spending time in the dunes west of the Hoanib Floodplain.
14 Jun 2015. Orowau Pride. The three young lionesses (see 11 & 12 Jun 2015) were observed feeding on the remains of an Oryx kill 5 km north west of Orowau spring. All three lionesses appear to be the same age (+- 5 years) and good quality photographs were obtained from two of the three females. Their vibrissae spot patterns were matched with records of large cubs from the Hunkap Pride that were born during mid 2010. Xpl-53 “Charlotte” is possibly their mother. These observations support the hypothesis of 12 Jun 2015 that the lionesses have formed a new pride.
13 Jun 2015. New Collar. The spoor of Xpl-81 “Kebbel” was followed to the Hoanib River and he was located east of the Obias River. Xpl-81 was immobilised and fitted with a new satellite collar.
12 Jun 2015. Orowau. The three young lionesses were tracked and located east of Orowau spring. They appear to be a sub-group of the Hunkap Pride that separated and formed a new pride with Xpl-81 “Kebbel”. This will be confirmed with more observations and by studying their vibrissae spot patterns.
11 Jun 2015. Kebbel. The spoor of an adult male, several lionesses and small cubs were followed towards the upper Barab River. Xpl-81 “Kebbel” was located approximately 7 km southeast of Orowau spring. The satellite function of his radio collar failed on 3 May 2015, but the VHF transmitter is still working. Xpl-81 moved into mountainous terrain towards the East at sunset. During the night three young adult lionesses with six small cubs were observed. The age of the cubs range between 3 and 5 months.
10 Jun 2015. Stand-up Comedy. An effort was made to deter the Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 “Bianca” & co.) from the Elephant Song area where large numbers of cattle are utilising the Hoanib River. Throughout the night the sound system was used to broadcast loud music and recordings of human voices, especially stand-up comedy shows with female or high-pitched male voices. The latter proved to be particularly annoying to the lions and they moved away from the danger area. (Thanks go to Bill Connolly & Ben Elton).
9 Jun 2015. Elephant Song. Due to a shortage of suitable grazing for large herds of cattle, pastoralists from the Sesfontein Conservancy had to move into the Hoanib River at Elephant Song to provide food and water for their livestock. Cattle were observed in the Hoanib River < 2 km east of the Ganamub Poort (see red crosses – map below). The Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 & Xpl-59) were located, using the signals emitted by their radio collars, inside a thick reed bed (blue dot) with cattle grazing all around them (photos below). In an effort to assist the Sesfontein Conservancy, the daily movements of the Hoanib Pride will be posted (see above, or Current Locations / Hoanib Pride / Xpl-47).
8 Jun 2015. Hoanib Pride. The Hoanib Pride (Xpl-47 “Bianca” and co.) are currently in a dangerous situation. They are in the Hoanib River between Ganamub Gorge and Elephant Song where pastoralists have moved in with large numbers of livestock. Discussions are underway with the Sesfontein Conservancy and the tourism concession holders to find a solution to the potential conflict of interests.
6 Jun 2015. Oryx Dune Kill. During their trip back to the Hoanib Floodplain the two Floodplain lionesses and the two “Musketeers” (Xpl-90 “Polla” & Xpl-92 “Adolf”) killed an adult Oryx in the dunes (photos below).
5 Jun 2015. Hunting Oryx. When at the Uniab Delta the Obab Lionesses actively hunt for Oryx that visit the area to utilise the springs and green vegetation associated with the wetlands. An elaborate cooperative hunt (photos below) was observed where an Oryx was chased all the way down to the beach before it managed to escape (photo: bottom right).
4 Jun 2015. Coastal Cheetahs. Signs of cheetah movements are observed regularly in the Skeleton Coast Park where they venture deep into the hyper-arid part of the northern Namib. The abundance of prey animals at the Uniab Delta attracted an adult female cheetah with her adolescent cub. They were observed approximately 1 km from the beach (photo: below right).
3 Jun 2015. Uniab Delta. At daybreak the four Obab lionesses reached the coast. They crossed the main road to Terrace Bay (photo: top left) and were observed searching for prey at the numerous springs and wetlands of the Uniab Delta.
Visitor Map. Summary of visitors to the Desert Lion website since 15 Jan 2013.