The Namib is anything but a monotonous desert. A small population of lions has adapted to its extremely harsh conditions, and contributes to making this inhospitable coastal strip in northern Namibia one of the most fascinating areas in Africa.
Where food is scarce, conflict with humans is inevitable. To protect their livestock from encroachment, the local community tackles the lion ‘problem’ with poison baits and weapons. Its sheer small number alone threatens the fragile population of desert lions, and Namibia is on the verge of losing one of the most fascinating examples of this predator's adaptability.
Protecting these animals is the life work of Philip ‘Flip’ Stander and his ‘Desert Lion Conservation’ project. In his scientific work, Philip researches the behaviour and distribution of lions in order to offer communities advice and plans of action, thus defusing conflicts that occur where predatory animals meet livestock. An important aspect of the project is to make the local community more aware of the on-site benefits that these animals generate thanks to exclusive safari tourism.
There is barely another project that has a more targeted approach when it comes to using its donations for the protection of the animal world. The funds are not only used for scientific field research, such as the monitoring of individual animals, but also for collaborating with the local community to find new ways of conflict-free, human-wildlife cohabitation. Both contribute significantly to preserving this fascinating landscape and unique habitat.
Hope remains: the ‘floodplain pride’ comprised just two adult lionesses (Xpl-69 and Xpl-55) and three female juveniles from Xpl-55, the so-called 'floodplain cubs'. The mother of the cubs died in October 2016. Luckily, however, they seem to have hooked on to Xpl-69