Desert-adapted lions in Namibia occur mostly outside protected areas in the Kunene Region. The unique landscapes of the northern Namib Desert, abundant wildlife, and high levels endemism, makes the Kunene Region an important area for tourism. The lion is an important flagship species for the growing tourism industry. Although the desert-adapted lions are valuable to tourism, the local communities have to share their land with these free-ranging large carnivores.
Lions often prey on domestic livestock and farmers respond by shooting or poisoning lions, to protect their livelihood. The local communities have to bear the costs of living with lions, but they do not always share in the benefits from tourism. There is a need for sustainable-use of lions through eco-tourism, with tangible benefits to the communities, and for proactive management of human-lion conflicts. The conservation of lions in the Kunene Region is therefore essential to address Human Lion Conflict, and to conserve a flagship species for the tourism industry.
The Kunene Lion Project contributes to this process by studying the density, demography, and population ecology of lions. Through applied research and monitoring, the study collects sound scientific data to guide management strategies and the implementation of a National Lion Conservation Strategy.