Ecology and Conservation of Lions and Large Mammals in Namibia: from Woodland to Desert

Lion facts

Population estimate up to: 23000-39000 mature individuals
Distribution: 25 countries ranging from Senegal to Somalia at North, extending its distribution through Kenya, and Tanzania into all the countries in the South. An isolated population is surviving in India
Habitat preference: savanna
Elevation: 0-4200
Generation length: 7 years
Weight: 120-250 kg
Other target species: Leopard (Panthera pardus), Cheetah (Acynonyx jubata), Brown Hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea), Black rhino (Diceros bicornis), Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Project implementation country: Namibia
Project Partners and supporters: Wildlife Initiative Italia, Journeys Namibia, Fondazione ZOOM, Wildlife Protection Solutions

The threats

Human and herding activities intersect with those of wildlife, often leading to conflicts. Large carnivores are particularly prone to generate human conflicts because of their large spatial needs and food requirements; when natural prey are scarce large carnivores rely more on livestock depredation. Among large carnivores, the felids are probably the species causing the most contradictory reactions. On one side, positive attitudes are due to the charismatic symbol they represent and for the economic benefits they provide to local communities through ecotourism. Taken all together, these conflicts trigger negative attitudes towards conservation measures, with retaliatory killing being one of the major threat for big cats. Moreover, nowdays big cat populations are usually scattered, isolated and particularly small.


Wildlife Initiative and its partners aim to understand the ecology and interactions of sympatric species in Namibia. We will use camera traps for estimating the population density of lions, leopards and. Moreover, we aim to mitigate human-big cats conflicts by adopting the appropriate conservation actions. In particular, we will use real-time satellite and cellular phone-based collars for tracking and creating virtual fences. Virtual fences, like traditional fences, create a barrier to deter carnivores from a given area. The virtual fences involved the placement of deterrents that dissuade lions and leopards which are activated when the big cats are approaching the virtual fences. Big cats will be equipped with proximity-based sensors which will deliver auditory or visual alarm when the cats are close to a predefined perimeter. GPS location data from each collar is processed by a central computer, which acquires predator locations in real-time and track them when they leave predetermined polygons. The real-time animal locations will help to mitigate human-carnivores conflict by providing instant alarms when big cats are close to a specific area, mostly the fences where livestock is taken during the night.


Your donation will cover the costs of traveling across Namibia and of the equipment we need, like camera traps, bioacoustics devices, gps-collar and sensors.

Coexist with large carnivores represents the best prove of human-environment integration!