Starving Kunene lions to be translocated

The N/a'an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary will be the new home of four starving lions from the Torra Conservancy.

29 April 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Four desert-adapted lions from the Torra Conservancy in the Kunene Region - that are in very poor condition and need urgent attention - will be translocated to the N/a'an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary.

This follows recent reports of the emaciated condition of some lions in the region. The lions in the area are also becoming more aggressive towards humans, with two people who have recently been attacked.

Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said a team is currently in the field for the translocation of the lions.

He confirmed on Tuesday that at least one of lioness, XPL 133, was captured and safely transported.

He said the other could not be found in the area as they seemed to have separated.

“With their ailing condition, N/a'an ku sê has offered to capture, translocate and rehabilitate four lions in one of their game reserves in the Windhoek area.”

He added that once the lions are rehabilitated, they will be released into the wild in an area with suitable habitat.

Be careful

Meanwhile, Muyunda said the ministry is aware that the lions are showing aggression towards people, presumably because of starvation.

“While the ministry is establishing facts around this matter, we are urging those visiting lion habitats in the region to exercise great caution.”

He confirmed that thus far two people have been attacked.

In this regard, the ministry will develop a lion management and conservation plan to address the long-term conservation of the lions, he said.

“However, we will continue to implement immediate actions as the situation unfolds.”

These actions will also include the management of human-wildlife conflict incidents in the area, he added.

120 lions in area

Furthermore, a ground and aerial assessment is being conducted this week to inform the ministry on short- to medium-term efforts. It is estimated that there are about 120 lions in the area.

Muyunda said this rehabilitation is in line with the Friends of the Parks Programme, which encourages development partners, the private sector and other stakeholders to get involved and support the development and management of Namibia’s parks and wildlife conservation in the spirit of good will and through a coordinated and structured approach.

Those interested in joining the programme can register their interest with the ministry.

Core areas of support include management and development of water infrastructure, fencing and road management and upgrades, support to anti-poaching activities, human-wildlife conflict management and environmental education and awareness. It also supports the development of road signage in parks, upkeep of tourism facilities, maintenance of buildings in national parks and wildlife population management.

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