Hoaruseb Update

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Lions continue to explore Hoaruseb River

The two “Orphan” lionesses have remained in the lower Hoaruseb river and have explored the mouth of the ephemeral river and surrounding areas. Heavy rainfall in the Opuwo area has resulted in local flooding and, if the rain continues, the floodwaters are expected to reach the lower Hoaruseb in the next few days.

Lionesses exploring the lower Hoaruseb river
Lionesses exploring the lower Hoaruseb river​ Lionesses exploring the lower Hoaruseb river

With assistance from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism and Shipwreck Lodge, attempts were made to prevent the lions from moving up-river through a narrow gorge towards Purros and the livestock. We waited silently on the eastern side of the narrow gorge and when the lions attempted to pass through, the Rapid Response Team deployed fireworks and made a lot of noise (video). The lions responded favourably and have thus far remained on the western side of the gorge.

Fireworks used as scare tactics to prevent lions from moving towards livestock

The lions were harassed by large numbers of Tabanid flies (also known as blind flies) that are associated with the moist soils of the Hoaruseb river. The livestock that occupied the riverbed for the past few months were likely the hosts for the flies. The discomfort of the lioness (video) can be seen as she attempts to run away from the biting flies.

Discomfort of a lioness being bitten by Tabanib flies

During the five days since the “Orphan” lionesses arrived at the lower Hoaruseb river, they have explored a big section of the area. They visited most of the known fresh-water springs, the Shipwreck Lodge, and were observed hunting gemsbok and springboks on several occasions.

Lionesses drink from a seep in the lower Hoaruseb river

Lionesses hunting gemsbok on the north bank of the Hoaruseb river

The two “Orphan” lionesses cross the Hoaruseb river