As part of its ongoing support of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) mitigation work in north-west Namibia, Wilderness Safaris donated the funds required to build a new lion-proof kraal at Pascolena (Lena) Florry’s Driefontein Farm in the Kunene region. Also equipped with an early-warning system, the new kraal will not only help to protect the Florry family’s livelihood, but also one of the last free-ranging lion populations in Africa.

“Lena’s village has been challenged with human-wildlife conflict, with lions preying on livestock, and elephants destroying water pipes. Given affordability issues, poorly constructed fences often make it hard for livestock to be well protected”, notes Dr Conrad Brain, Wilderness Safaris Namibia Conservation Manager.

“We’ve learned in recent years that simply building a fence with a barrier that prevents lions from seeing into a kraal, and livestock from seeing out, is an affordable, yet highly effective means of reducing the likelihood of these predators attacking animals in the kraal,” adds Dr Neil Midlane, Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager.

Therefore, after escalating incidences of lions predating on livestock in Lena’s village, Wilderness Safaris Namibia helped secure funds from the company’s Group Sustainability Fund to build a new kraal, complete with PVC boards and shade cloth, to form an effective visual barrier and keep the livestock safe at night. “This forms part of our multi–faceted approach to combine crucial help to community, wildlife and livestock for a mutually beneficial outcome”, adds Conrad.

Lena, who is also Wilderness Safaris Area Manager for Damaraland, Desert Rhino Camp and Doro Nawas, and a member of the Torra Conservancy, was deeply grateful for the support, and relieved that her family’s livelihood is now protected. In turn, this will also ensure the prevention of any retaliatory killings of predators.

In addition to Wilderness Safaris’ support of Driefontein, the company’s non-profit partner, the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, donated USD20 000 towards Dr Philip Stander’s Desert Lion Conservation Project earlier this year. The funds were used to procure 10 early-warning GPS and satellite collars, and Remote Alert Units. Active lion collars submit signals and data, making it possible to track movement. These are vital in sending warnings to surrounding communities, including the new system at Lena’s village, giving them enough time to get their livestock into enclosures.

Such continued support serves to ensure the continuity of the vital work required in the ongoing mitigation of HWC in the region. To date, 23 lions have now been fitted with radio collars in support of the Early Warning System, and four functional Early Warning Logger corrals have been installed at Driefontein in the Torra Conservancy, Mbakondja in the Anabeb Conservancy and two in the Ugab River.

“It would not be possible to maintain the support of the people to conserve this area if it wasn’t for the long-held partnerships we have maintained and nurtured with our neighbouring communities. Furthermore, our investment in these projects is important for the overall survival of ecotourism in this region”, concludes Conrad.