Does Dr. Stander ever sleep? We met him after sunset, somewhere in the middle of the Palmwag Concession. We had driven all day, and so had he. But while we set up camp and prepared our dinner, Dr. Stander made for the next hill, to listen for lions via the radio system. He came to our camp fire for a chat and when we went to bed, he went back to the hill to continue listening for lions. Whereas we bothered about breakfast the next morning and had to break up camp, Dr. Stander drove off in search of the lions.
Researching desert lions in the Namib obviously is a dedication, not a job.
Only one dead cow in 2013! Since the start of the lion officer programme end of 2012 only one farmer lost one cow to lions in the Puros conservancy.
All over Africa, lions are killed by local people whose livelihood is threatened by lions. Whereas we all have an interest in the lions and the wild places they live in, the local people bear the costs, e. g. when lions eat their cattle and goats or elephants raid their crops. And they retaliate by killing lions.
When the “Hobatere Male” and “Leonardo” were shot for trophy in 2010, one could have thought, it would not happen again. Dr. Stander, from the renowned Desert Lion Conservation Project, had warned then, that the number of adult male lions had been reduced to a critical low. He consequently reasoned that it was not sustainable to continue hunting adult male lions . The responsible authorities then took the right measures. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) asked the hunting community not to shoot collared lions. Also, MET suspended giving hunting permits for adult male lions for trophy. The sex ratio in the desert lion population is not back to normal yet. And, the Dorob Male was a collared adult lion that had never killed any livestock. At the time of his death he was mating with “Monica”. Therefore, the shooting of the “Dorob Male” in an apparently legal hunt end of September 2013, must be considered as a setback for the conservation of Namibia’s famous desert adapted lions.