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Environment ministry monitoring lions

Environment ministry monitoring lions

Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has denounced any insinuations that the ministry is not doing anything to monitor lions and to address human-lion conflict in the country.

According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, the ministry has undertaken a number of interventions to limit human-lion conflicts and to monitor lions to ensure their continued well-being.

As an example, he explained that the ministry relocated a male lion (NPL-27) from the Omatendeka core wildlife area to an unoccupied area, with sufficient prey, after the lion killed two donkeys and two cattle at a nearby farm in June. He said that the ministry is still monitoring the situation to limit the possibility of the lion causing any further conflict.

File photo for illustrative purposes. Photo: Pexels

Muyunda said that the ministry also oversaw the collaring of more than 35 lions across the north-western parts of the country. These collars, he said, are intended to assist with the studying of lion behaviour via movement patterns, while providing farmers, ministry staff and rangers with notifications to prevent and mitigate human-lion conflict in the shared landscape.

Besides these efforts, he said that the ministry stations at Opuwo, Sesfontein, Grootberg and Khorixas recently received Early-Warning System Rovers fitted to vehicles to enable staff to communicate in real-time across the landscape and to monitor collared lion movements. This, he said, could also assist with responding to potential human-conflict incidents.

Despite these interventions, Muyunda said that ten lions (out of 80 to 100) were killed between 2021 and 2022, primarily as retaliation for human-lion conflicts. He said that cases have been opened and arrests were made in some of these instances.

Still, he added, the ministry will continue in its efforts to monitor lion movements and conditions. These efforts include regular foot and vehicle-based patrols by lion rangers, deploying Early-Warning Towers at human-lion conflict hotspots and intensive research on lion spatial ecology.

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