THE LIONS OF NAMIBIA NEED YOUR HELP!
With less than 900 lions left in Namibia AfriCat’s mission to seek out approaches that support large carnivores to live out their natural lives in Namibia’s wilderness while taking into account the needs of farmers and local communities is critical if lions are to continue to roam free outside protected areas.
AfriCat North, based on the Western Borders of Etosha National Park, is the hub of AfriCat’s work with lions. Here the central AfriCat themes of research, education, animal welfare and Human-Wildlife Mitigation are in action.
The Lion Research Project in the Hobatere concession area that boarders Etosha National Park has identified a number of individual lions in the area. The GPS collars have provided invaluable data in terms of their home ranges, the number and frequency of their excursions in and out of the park, diet, social movements and can be used to help local farmers and communities know when the lions are in their vicinity. The project has been extended westward with more lions being collared to increase the understanding of lion movements and populations in the area.
Further details and project updates can be found on the AfriCat.org website:
See: AfriCat Hobatere Lion Research Project Update June 2015.
Read our latest AfriCat News PDF
AfriCat works with the different 'conservancies' in the area, on a Human Wildlife Mitigation Programme building relationships and offering a range of practical help to the local community farmers.
Research has identified a range of farming practices that can protect both livestock and lions. AfriCat North encourages and supports the communities to adapt their farming practices to 'accommodate' the lions and reduce their livestock losses to lion predation.
This is where the work of the AfriCat Lion Guards comes into its own. These men are elected by their communities and are playing a vital role in mitigating lion-farmer conflict on communal farmland. AfriCat North working with and through the local chiefs agrees a programme of support for the communities which includes help and advice, building or strengthening the kraals, education and community development in return for the communities willingness to stop killing lions. The AfriCat Lion Guards have been able to use the data from the GPS collars on the research lions to inform specific farmers when the lions are in their area. As community farmers themselves, they understand the pressures and issues facing the communities. Overall there has been a reduction in numbers of livestock lost and lions shot, which must be a win/win situation.
'Conservation through education' is seen as essential if long term sustainability is to be achieved. AfriCat North offers school groups from Namibia and the UK the chance to undertake practical projects such as building kraals and facilities for schools like bathrooms and playgrounds. Environmental Education programmes at AfriCat HQ run for local school children with the message that there is a way to accommodate both wildlife and people to the benefit of both.
There are hunting lodges within the region and while trophy hunting is strictly controlled, the example of 'Cecil' shows what can happen . . . AfriCat, the Lion Guards and the Human Wildlife Mitigation programme provide a way of reducing the risk of this happening.
At AfriCat HQ based at Okonjima lodge there are the 'ambassador lions'. Visitors to the lodge can view the wonderful animals, thanks in part to funding from AfriCat UK, close up but safely. The four lions have their own stories (which can be read at: adopt a carnivore at AfriCat's Carnivore Care Centre ) All were 'rescued' and are now old as well as habituated to people. Releasing them back into the wild is not, sadly, a safe option however they provide great opportunities for education and photography.
Funds are needed to support these programmes. For example to: buy GPS collars and other darting expenses, pay the Lion Guards, run the vehicles, buy materials for the kraals, maintain the lion hide at AfriCat HQ, feed the ambassador lions etc. Any funds raised will go direct to AfriCat - all UK staff are volunteers.
Donations can be made via our Virgin Money Giving page for AfriCat's work with lions.
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 0118 935 1681