In order to ensure the long-term survival of the lion (Panthera leo), the Namibian Lion Trust has developed three interdependent programmes to support the recovery, survival, and range-wide expansion of this Big Cat species, namely For Lions – For Life – For Our Future.
For Our Future
WORLD LION DAY 2020
“If our Land had no Wildlife, our eyes would be hungry” – Headman Fanuel Ndjiwa, Onguta Community. Now more than ever, the struggle for survival affects both man and beast, equally… If the playing fields were levelled, which will be able to survive?
‘30,000 years ago, different types of lions prowled the globe, hunting prey on four continents. Over the past 150 years, the global population of African lions has declined by more than 20-fold to fewer than 25,000, mostly due to hunting and habitat loss’.(Douglas Main: A closer look at lion evolution offers hope for saving the big cats, May 5,2020)
On World Lion Day 2020, we should take a reality -check, and accept the fact that most of our conservation efforts on the African continent, including Namibia, seem to be teetering on the edge – will the lion be able to survive this renewed onslaught by man, who is desperate, hungry and threatened by the coronavirus pandemic?
During the past six to twelve months, Namibia’s Kunene Region has seen an upswing in the persecution of carnivores and vultures – into our 8th year of drought in most areas and aggravated by the effects of the COVID-19 restrictions, farmers are in dire straits. The loss of yet another cow, donkey or goat, is the last straw.
Sadly, despite large-scale support by NGO’s and in some cases conservancy management, farmers have thrown caution to the wind, resorting once again to the illegal use of leg-hold traps and poison … killing lion, spotted and brown hyaena, leopard, cheetah, small spotted genet, jackal, vultures, to name but a few. And we have no idea when this may stop!
The Namibian Lion Trust, formerly AfriCat North, remains committed, but times are tough, with funds dwindling due to the death of tourism and most other forms of financial support. We remain optimistic, that those who have funded us for many years, Stichting SPOTS Netherlands, AfriCat UK and a number of loyal Namibians, will find a way to keep us ‘out there’ in the field: able to support the dedicated Lion Guards, who spend their days and nights monitoring lion movement in relation to livestock herds in the hope of preventing loss and subsequent retaliation, and to continue Collaring4Conservation to Save Lions’ Lives.
World Lion Day 2020 – please help us ‘stay out there’.
Tented, ‘mobile’ schools are a common sight in Namibia’s rugged northwest, providing basic, formal education to pre-school and the lower primary grades – children who are too young to attend school and boarding hostels hundreds of kilometres from their homes. The Onguta School supports sixty children from a number of farming communities in the Ehirovipuka Conservancy. Until mid-2019, Onguta’s youngest keenly attended their classes in the rain, dust and wind, with summer temperatures reaching 45 degrees at least.
When we first met the two dedicated teachers and Headman Ndjiwa of Onguta thirteen years ago, we pledged to help this community build a school. July 2019, with the generous support of AfriCat UK, Ms Lia Spitters – a volunteer to Stichting SPOTS, Netherlands – AVRIL Payment Solution & Cowboys Trading, the Namibian Lion Trust and AfriCat gifted the Onguta School to this community. This joyous occasion is sadly marred by the fact that we still owe ‘Cowboys’, the family-run business who ‘made magic’ building Onguta school in six weeks, a substantial sum of Namibian Dollars 600,000. The ‘Cowboys’ Team is in dire straits, locked down in the town of Swakopmund, Namibia, unable to do business due to the present COVID-19 predicament. Namibian Lion Trust is committed to settling this bill by 30 September 2020 – Please help us reach this deadline.