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"5 Musketeers" Desert Lions down to 1 :(

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Shocking news from Namibia - after the death of one of the Musketeers a few weeks back, now 3 more have been killed - just as they were trying to relocate them. Only one remains - who will be relocated away from the area.

 

The three were killed in retaliation for killing a donkey.

 

Very sad news, and on World Lion Day. What is the world coming to?

 

Excerpt from Desert Lion Facebook Page

 

"From the Desert Lion Conservation Project

10 Aug 2016. Tragedy. On 6 Aug 2016 the Ministry of Environment & Tourism approved the translocation of the four “Musketeers” from Tomakas to the Uniab Delta as a last-resort effort to solve the on-going human-lion conflict. Several parties participated with the planning of this operation: an aircraft was secured to transport the lions from Purros to Terrace Bay, vehicles were gathered to take the lions from Tomakas to Purros and finally from Terrace Bay to the Uniab Delta as we waited for the three males to return from the mountains and reconnect with Xpl-93.

However, the three males encountered a new and previously unknown cattle post of semi-nomadic pastoralists. The lions killed a donkey and the people (previously from Omiriu and then Ondudupi) retaliated by poisoning the lions. The carcasses and the satellite collars of the lions were then burnt. With this tragic development a difficult decision had to be made about the fate of the lone survivor. With the Ministry of Environment & Tourism we darted Xpl-93, loaded him in the Desert Lion Project Land Cruiser and started the long journey to the Uniab Delta. The convoy of three vehicles struggled through the Floodplain and dunes that were covered in thick fog. We finally reached the mouth of the Uniab River at 05h25 and found a narrow wash with some protection to off-load Xpl-93 (see photos).

© Desert Lion Conservation"

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quietly crying in my cubicle- my heart is broken :(

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Posted (edited)

so were perhaps some of the last tourists who saw the four together, spent an excellent time with them on July 23

 

post-6901-0-36591500-1470842366_thumb.jpg

 

these are three of them, the fourth was lying further away, hiding under a bush

Edited by ice
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@@ice - yes you were it seems ... Just goes to show to take the opportunity as quickly as you can as regards seeing wildlife, as there are absolutely no guarantees for the future. How sad is that? Such a waste - so beautiful and so hardy to be living in those conditions. They have overcome so many obstacles and then humans go and just end them. It breaks my heart :(

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I was following this and was hoping the fact that the collars went offline was due to an update in the satellites (again), but this is devastating. It seems conflict with local herdsmen keep returning. Dr. Standers does what he can, but more sustainable solution needs to be found, or, like we say in Dutch it will be 'mopping while the tap keeps flowing'.

Very sad news.

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we were indeed very happy to have seen them, their territory is (was) really huge

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I was there in March and unfortunately hadn't seen them because they had wandered so far away. You are very lucky Ice.

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post-6901-0-55599300-1470858919_thumb.jpg

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I hope the authorities make an example of those responsible. The brazen nature of this crime means these people are a threat to many species in this region

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These lions kept killing livestock? If a similar thing would happen in England, how do you think those farmers would react? Foxes, badgers, harriers....

This is a very complicated which won't be solved, probably the contrary, by arresting and punishing a few local farmers.

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How tragic :-( I was not familiar with them but coincidentally I had just recorded Desert Warriors: Lions of the Namib which was shown on the Smithsonian Channel here and it is about the Five Musketeers and hadn't watched it yet. Watching it now and feeling so sad that four of these young males I'm watching are gone :(

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quietly crying in my cubicle- my heart is broken :(

 

x2

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How tragic :-( I was not familiar with them but coincidentally I had just recorded Desert Warriors: Lions of the Namib which was shown on the Smithsonian Channel here and it is about the Five Musketeers and hadn't watched it yet. Watching it now and feeling so sad that four of these young males I'm watching are gone :(

 

They feature in it, there's also a movie focusing on them, called 'Vanishing Kings'...

 

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Posted (edited)

From the desertlion.info website:

 

 

The developments over the past few days may generate reactions in the published press and on social media. The Desert Lion Project would like to: a) state that the problems of human-lion conflict are complex and call on everyone using the information presented on this website to remain objective.
Edited by egilio
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I see on the site @@egilio mentions that they also say the surviving male has now been re-located. http://desertlion.info/news.html I assume that they think that the area they have moved him to will have less human-wildlife conflict? And it sounds like there are lionesses in this area too as they say:

 

The daily movements of Xpl-93 will now be posted under “Obab Lionesses”.

 

 

I fervently hope he thrives in his new environment and that perhaps new male lions will eventually be born.

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the thing, they had been planning to move all four male lions further west, towards the coast but before they could start the translocation, three of them were killed

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it is a very difficult and serious situation

 

what has happened is a very sad disaster

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Literally a few days before this news broke I'd been having some conversations with Wilderness. When I was at Hoanib in March ( I went to see the Musketeers and a brown hyena-sadly didn't see either), but I'd spoken with people there about the conflicts going on and asked about reparation for the villagers. I am fairly certain I was told that the remuneration if a cow or donkey was killed was not even close to what was needed. So my conversation with Wilderness had been was exactly what the cost was. They finally got back to me that the basic cost of a cow amounted to about $250. I am by no means rich, but I am very frugal (which is why I get to go to Africa every year) so I told them that I would gladly pledge $300 to cover the cost of a cow if it would save the lions. Other comments talked about the slippery slope of remuneration, but, and maybe I'm looking at this too simply, these villagers are just trying to survive on, what is in my life, almost nothing. By making this pledge I have to make some minor sacrifices, but nothing compared to what that villager might have to. Every trip I take to that magnificent continent teaches me more and more about the plight of the human inhabitants, but also about the absolute necessity of keeping the wildlife safe or this planet is doomed. It is all intertwined. I try to help in any way I can, but I am here (in the US) and not there...so my dolllars are all I can offer. I try to travel using only companies/camps that give back and are into conservation so that is another way I try to contribute. I am surprising myself in how devastated I am by all this news and it may be because I understand that it is not only the loss of 4 vibrant pieces of nature that have been erased, but the critical importance of their genes. That more than anything is the crux. For the desert adapted lions to survive they need good genes and these were some of the finest. So, long story short, in reference to the post made by SafariChick regarding the future endeavors to keep the wildlife safe in this particular environment, my pledge of $300 stands ( I see Raman noodles in my future, but well worth it :) ). I want both the humans and the wildlife of this continent to survive so I can continue to go every year and revel in all it's beauty. Sorry for the long windedness.....my heart has just been very heavy these last few days and this is cathartic for me. Thank you for your patience :)

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@@lmonmm that was very giving and wise of you to offer to make that donation of remuneration to Wilderness to give to villagers who suffered a loss due to the lions. I don't know whether they actually accepted your offer but I think your heart and thoughts are in the right place and, as you say, those of us who are here in the U.S. and who love Africa and its wildlife can only do so much but it's good to do what we can.

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It seems to me a donation to Desert Lions would also be well used to try to help ameliorate human-lion conflict. Read this update, for instance, where they explain they had trained a farmer as a lion guardian who had gotten to know the Musketeers and appreciated them. He was paid a salary thanks to donations to the organization. http://www.desertlion.org/en/news-3/

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Posted (edited)

@@SafariChick I did just see this today and will probably do my donation that way. I'd have to go back and look at the FB conversation with Wilderness, but I don't recall them taking me up on my offer. However, it does appear that donating to the Desert Lion organization is also a good idea. Thank you for sharing this as many will find it interesting.

Edited by lmonmm
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Posted (edited)

Very very sad news today!

The 5 musketeers are now down to 0! 

The last one standing, Tullamore has been killed and all of his cubs by farmers. The line of the Musketeers is now over. 

This is a complete shame for Namibia!
Their conservation work is none existens and it´s getting worse and worse with all this killing of Lions, Rhinos and Elephants. 

Namibia is at a crossroad. They now need to choose if the will doing mining, cattle and farming or if they will go for wildlife. 
People should really think one more time before they go to Namibia and support a government who basically do nothing of conservation work and dont care. I know that this question is now in the hand of some travel agencies which is thinking to stop their services to this country of shame. 

It´s a fu**ing shame that they don´t even manage to protect the few desert Lions who is left. 

A very. very sad day!

 

Rest in piece Tullamore and all the musketeers. Namibia could have done alot of money on you but they choose not to.
 

Edited by Antee
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how did you find out? there is no news (yet) on the official desert lion website...

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Posted (edited)

It is confirmed. The line of the musketeers is over :( 
They even killed his cubs. 

https://www.facebook.com/about.lions/?fref=ts

Edited by Antee
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