Africa-Press – Namibia. THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is translocating four desert-adapted lions from the Tora Conservancy in the Kunene region to the Na’ankuse Wildlife Sanctuary.
A statement issued by environment spokesperson Romeo Muyunda on Monday explained that the lions were observed to be in poor condition and in need of urgent intervention.“Na’ankuse has offered to capture, translocate and rehabilitate four lions in one of its game reserves in the Windhoek area.“Once the lions are rehabilitated […], they will be released into the wild in an area with suitable habitat, chosen by the ministry,” Muyunda said.He said the lions reportedly showed signs of aggression towards humans, presumably because of starvation.“We urge people visiting lion habitats in the region to exercise great caution. So far, we have received reports of two incidents where lions attacked people,” he said.He detailed that the translocation exercise is in line with the ministry’s ‘Friends of the Parks’ programme, which encourages development partners, the private sector and other stakeholder to get involved in the management of Namibia’s parks and wildlife.He said the ministry will this year develop a lion management and conservation plan, aimed at addressing the long-term conservation of lions in the country.“We remain committed in addressing the situation of the desert-adapted lions both in the long- and short-term,” he said, reassuring the public that this situation is receiving urgent attention.Muyunda said the ministry will continue to implement immediate actions as the situation unfolds, which will include the management of human-wildlife conflict incidents in the area.“A ground and aerial assessment will be conducted during this week to inform our short- and medium-term interventions,” he said.This intervention comes after an emaciated lioness had to be put down last week. At the time, The Namibian reported that desert-adapted lions in Namibia’s north-west are under threat because of the famine in the region.Desert-lion expert Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation said scenes of emaciated lions are currently common in that area because of ongoing famine in recent years.Below-average rainfall during recent years and unmanaged grazing by cattle belonging to communal farmers have resulted in hyper-arid conditions in the region, Stander noted.