Death of an Ugab lioness.

Monday 12 September 2022

During mid-May 2022 a mortality signal was received from the Ugab lioness Xpl-116 on the foothills of Brandberg mountain. The first investigation a few days later failed due to the presence of another lion or leopard that was growling when the site was approached on foot. Several weeks later during mid-July 2022, we returned to the site.

An attempt to retrieve the satellite collar of Xpl-116, one of the 2 remaining lionesses of the Ugab pride, was successfully carried out in the last few days. The collar, as well as the remains of the carcass were discovered under a leafy Cordia bush very close to a spring in the lower reaches of a gorge on the western side of the Brandberg. All the major bones including the skull were discovered and showed no signs of any injuries that the lioness may have incurred. From the avaiable evidence it does appear as if the death could have been of natural origin. The collar was found to be dysfunctional most likely after having been chewed upon by hyaenas. Old lion tracks leading away from the scene towards the Ugab River appear to indicate that the second lioness Xpl-117, did not experience the same fate as her sister.

The darting of Xpl-116 in Aug 2018. Xpl-116 on the edge of the Brandberg. 
The darting of Xpl-116 in Aug 2018.                                      Xpl-116 on the edge of the Brandberg.
Xpl-116 inspecting the research vehicle at night.
Xpl-116 inspecting the research vehicle at night.

Two sisters (Xpl-116 & 117) playing along the Ugab river.