The Lion Ranger Program, co-founded by Russell Vinjevold, Dr. John Heydinger and Dr. Philip Stander, supports ongoing research and human-lion conflict mediation, mitigation, and management efforts in the Kunene Region of northwest Namibia. Their goal is the long-term sustainable management of human-lion conflict by communities in northwest Namibia to ensure continued desert-adapted lion survival and community benefit.
The number one threat to desert-adapted lions is retaliation following human-lion conflict – the Lion Ranger program aims to remove this threat. The Lion Ranger programme unifies communal, governmental, and non-governmental stakeholders by bringing together community, government, NGO, and research stakeholders for adaptive, sustainable management, with particular emphasis on human-lion conflict challenges.
The programme focuses on a community-based approach: the Lion Rangers are conservancy-employed game guards who receive special training and equipment to lead efforts in combating conflict between humans and lions on communal land. TOSCO supports the Lion Ranger Program with lion ranger training, monthly top-up bonuses (both through the support of the CCFN- Community Conservation Fund of Namibia) as well as with logistic and coordination support.