Namibia: Lions Battle to Find Large-Enough Prey

IN response to Immanuel Gurirab at farm Leeukop losing 76 of his livestock to lions last week, the Namibian Lion Trust said lions are struggling to find sufficiently large prey due to the ongoing drought.

This leads to goats being attacked as an 'easy meal' for these predators, Tammy Hoth-Hanssen, founder and director of the trust, said in a statement.

She said together with the Khoa Di //Hoas Conservancy and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the Namibian Lion Trust is working on an interim solution to this human-wildlife conflict dilemma.

Hoth-Hanssen said a group of lions managed to jump into a fenced boma in the Leeukop area in the Khoa Di //Hoas Conservancy, causing Gurirab extensive losses.

The Namibian Lion Trust has been monitoring a collared lioness and her adult daughter since September 2020, and this area is part of their home range.

Hoth-Hanssen said a domestic pig was taken before, but other than that the predators have left farms and livestock herds in the area untouched.

However, a week ago, the lioness settled approximately 5 km to the west of Gurirab's farmstead, remaining there for days, which usually indicates a large kill.

The lion guard in the area sent farmers messages daily and also phoned them, warning them about the lions' close proximity.

Unfortunately, the pride of two females and a young male unexpectedly raided the Leeukop boma in the early hours of Thursday morning, killing a large number of goats and sheep.

"Cats especially, but other predators as well, are known to 'surplus kill', usually in a frenzy, when there is an abundance of easy prey that cannot get away, such as in a fenced boma. Such behaviour may be attributed to extreme hunger," Hoth-Hanssen stated.

She said it is instinct to secure food for offspring, and to hone inexperienced individuals' hunting skills.

This also creates an opportunity to feed on carcasses at a later stage.

"Such incidents result in enormous financial losses, with little opportunity to recover, especially during the present, challenging times," Hoth-Hanssen said.

The Namibian Lion Trust has provided reams of shade-cloth, donated by Mike and Kate Allison, as well as solar-powered lion lights donated by Desert Lions Human Relation Aid, thereby upgrading the existing bomas to better protect remaining herds.

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