Desert Lions, Namibia
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.
2017 - Donation of US$ 8,000
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
Dr. Philip Stander - Desert Lion Conservation
Dr. Philip „Flip“ Stander is considered the lion expert of Namibia, especially when it comes to desert-adapted lion. For more than 20 years he has dedicated his life to them, spending up to four months at a time entirely alone in the desert. He worked for Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism for 23 years studying large carnivores and obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1994. His doctoral thesis on the evolution of sociality in felids was awarded the T.H. Huxley Prize by the London Zoological Society.
It would be difficult to find a more dedicated person who has committed their life to protecting a specific species the way Dr. Flip has. In 1998, Flip started the Desert Lion Conservation Project with the objective of collecting data on the population dynamics, behavior and the movements of desert-adapted lion in the remote Kunene Region.
From the relative comfort of his Land Cruiser, Flip carries out what has come to be widely regarded as some of the finest work on lions, addressing and raising awareness of the ever so crucial human-lion conflict.