Lion pride kills over 250 livestock in Namibia in one week of carnage

Dead goats killed by lions in Namibia

The 86 livestock recently killed by lions © Republikein 

Sourced from various third-party sites: The Republikein, written by Francoise Steynberg, and The Namibian, written by Adam Hartman, and Facebook page of Izak Smit

Over 250 goats, sheep and donkeys have been killed by the same pride of 10-15 desert-adapted lions in Namibia’s Kunene region.

News just breaking, is that 171 goats and sheep were killed last night, with eight missing, just south of the first incident of last week (detailed below). The pride of desert-adapted lions (estimated 10-15 in number) roam the Etendeka Klipriver, Khoadi Hoas areas in arid north-western Namibia. Conservationist Izak Smit reported that these livestock were kept in old kraals that are not lion-proof. Smit lamented to Africa Geographic that attempts are being made to supply building material to make livestock safe from predators, but that lack of funds and feet on the ground is frustrating efforts. Smit noted that these losses are devastating for livestock framers, who lose their entire livelihoods to lions, and that a solution has to be found to protect farmers and lions.

The first incident occurred on Wednesday last week, when a total of 86 goats and sheep, worth about N$150,000, were killed by the lions in a kraal belonging to one communal farmer.

The attack took place at Awantapos in the Torra Conservancy where farmer Samuel Gawiseb keeps his goats and sheep in a small kraal.

According to Gawiseb’s neighbour, Anthony Dawids, who saw the carnage, the farmer’s herder was alerted to the lions when a dog started barking. He stepped out and saw the lions at the kraal, but returned to the house as he could not risk his life with so many predators. His dog, however, was not fortunate, and was also killed.

The lions managed to get into the kraal, killing the sheep and goats. Only 13 kids remained when the pride eventually left. “He suffered a serious loss. It was his entire livelihood, and how does one take care of the kids when the mothers are dead?” Dawids said.

He added that Gawiseb was in the process of modifying his kraal into a modern design, which would have had an 80% success rate in deterring lions from entering the kraal.

“Unfortunately, he was not done when the lions came. We are challenged here with these predators, and the impression is that the government and other organisations which deal with lions and human-wildlife conflict are not working hard enough to help,” Dawids lamented.

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  • Stephanie Fuchs

    My heart goes out to the farmers. I hope they will be at least partly compensated and that the government looks for funds to educate them about better kraal building techniques and security.

    • Tburt

      Unfortunately, we “humans” have this sense of entitlement, and believe that ALL land on the earth belong to humans. “WE” don’t know how to balance things. And because of this, other species, such as lions, have no where else to hunt for food. Until “we” humans realize this, it’s only going to get worse. And to make myself clear, I’m on the side of the lions… it’s not their fault that humans have taken ALL the land and thus their food source.

      • Stephanie Fuchs

        It is clear that you are on the side of the lions, but this is a bit of a simplified view I feel I have to say. Put yourself in the place of the farmer: those goats are his entire livelihood, maybe we can compare it with your bank account for just this minute – and this bank account (his goats) have been wiped out in one unfortunate incident. How would you feel? You and your family depend on this bank account, you now have no money to even go and do your food shop – would that not be very disconcerting for you? And then, again, how would you feel if someone came along and told you that it was your fault that your bank account has been wiped clean because you didn’t upload the newest anti hack ware to protect it. I think you would be even more upset about the incident now and you might think: ok I made a mistake but how can people be so cruel and not care about what happens to me and my family now? If the farmer read your comment, he would be thinking just that. He is a human being like you and I and has as much of a right to be on this planet as you do and for that matter, as the lions do, whose side you claim to be on. It is unfortunate that a lot of people think like you – people who have studied Conservation or who have spend a few years in Africa however, would tell you that your view is biased, one-sided and distructive. I am a conservationist, but I have enough common sense and have lived in Africa long enough to understand that looking to blame someone for incidents like this is poison – for conservation, for the people affected, for the animals and for our planet that you claim to care so much about.

        • Leonieke van der Laan

          I keep my bank account firmly safe….
          The farmers live in lion proned land . They need to build predator proof kraals. Not totally useless fences like these.
          MET needs to help funding these, and lions can be collared to warn communities in time so stock can be put away safely lights and sirens can chase away the lions.
          None of this happens here, and it’s still lion proned land…..
          Other farmers did apply all this and are successful so far.
          I would keep my money safe…

        • Denine Mishoe

          Why haven’t these farmers followed the advice of the NGOs that also provide the materials to make their kraals lion-proof? There is simply NO EXCUSE for it. I know personally these NGOs have shown them, given them the materials and yet, these farmers do NOT do what is right by their livestock and ‘bank account’. They have not done their part and should not be rewarded with the death of these lions as Namibia is now stating they’re going to do. All because these people have stolen these lion’s habitat and then are too damn lazy to protect that livestock! I have NO SYMPATHY FOR THESE FARMERS!!

        • Tburt

          Clearly you didn’t read my entire response… as I stated we need to find BALANCE. I do have SOME compassion for those that have lost their livelihood, but the problem I have is that WE keep encroaching on ALL the land, and WE keep taking more, and more and more for humanity. And like the Native American’s here in the United States, WE keep relegating them to a smaller and smaller piece of the land when THEY (including the lion, elephants, leopards, etc…) where there FIRST.

      • Lisa Saunders

        I agree

      • Nicole Morgan

        Where does the article say anything about blaming the lions or harming the lions? Namibia is actually pretty big on conservation, from what I’ve looked up. Goats and Sheep are not the Lion’s prey, and people need to eat, too. Tell me about YOUR sustainable lifestyle.

        • Stephanie Fuchs

          Thank you Nicole, people are just wayyyyy too quick wanting to state ‘that they are on the side of the lions’ which is irrelevant and does not help solving the issue and way too quick blaming local people for their misfortune. And I really would like to ask this person here, what he contributes to conservation and to helping the farmers deal with human-animal conflict instead of ranting on about how there are too many people on the planet, maybe he should volunteer to leave?

        • Tezzy Murphy

          No they are not. They got loads of Americans that come there to hunt . They even want to sell their ivory to China. Now I’m not sure where you get you source from. But they are the worst with ivory. You talking about conservation the western black rhino has actually been extinct in Namibia since 2006. My arse . It’s conservation. Hunting conservation to keep the numbers down.

    • Denine Mishoe

      That is the problem. There are NGO groups there not only ‘educating’ them but also providing proper kraal materials and shade cloths… but the farmers are NOT using them!!! All that work, time and funds donated to these NGOs WASTED because these farmers are too lazy and don’t listen to protect their herds BEFORE there is a problem. No, these farmers would rather go out and poison these lions after the fact. Have you ever seen what poison does to a lion? They don’t always die right away, sometimes it takes days… while their poor bodies are racked in pain and their muscles shrivels up and at the end they are just sagging skin and bones and so weak it can’t even stand up. My sympathy is for the whole pride of lions (10-15) that Namibia is now stating they plan to MURDER because of incompetent humans that have stolen this land from the wildlife and then refuse to LISTEN and protect their livestock. Why is it always the wildlife that is at fault? Who is the REAL animal here?

      • Nicole Morgan

        Source? Which NGOs are we talking about? The article says this guy was in the process of upgrading his kraal.

        • Denine Mishoe

          The better question would be to ask how long the farmer has had the materials to lion-proof his kraal but is only “just now in the process of getting done”. Easy excuse to say that when these farmers are notoriously lazy about making change BEFORE disaster strikes.

  • Maryke Coetzee

    You’re a farmer and you say it’s lions that killed your livestock? You can clearly see on the picture that it was not a lion’s work. A lion goes for the throught, there would be much more blood & they only hunt what they eat. This looks more like the work of baboons that goes for the stomach.

    • Stephanie Fuchs

      That is an interesting point. We have had attacks on our goats here in Tanzania by hyenas and they started eating at the stomachs or udders. We see here that hyenas usyslly cause a frenzy, biting and killing as many sheep and goats as they can, whereas a leopard for example would take the biggest sheep and be off with it. Looking at this picture, it could as well have been an attack by a pack of hyena, but it does say there was an eye witness, and surely spores would tell the story as well?

    • Annette Cartwright

      About the baboons , that i didn’t know. I agree lions wouldn’t do that, this is going to be a planned kill of the lions. some people really think we are stupid.

  • Jeanette Leinweber

    The farmers will only receive N$ 20.000,- out of the total loss, if at all! So please if anybody is interested to donate to the fundraiser established for their compensation and upgrade of their kraals, also with view on preventing the Lions’ culling, please contact Izak Smit thru the link to his facebook page provided on top of the article. Thank you.

  • Jane Wrin

    I’d donate, just t ensure that a livelihood can be made without killing the Lions.

  • Chris

    looking at this picture does not seem that lions have killed all those goats. If it is true then its pity for them. Farmers need to have their livestock kept in special enclosure after having them grazed. Targeting the lions as a retaliation for those livestock is not a solution. Improvements must be made to keep them safe and secured from the predators. Efforts should also be made to reduce the human-wild animal conflicts and even interactions

    • Denine Mishoe

      These farmers are shown and given the materials but are too damn lazy to implement the improvements!

  • OLD SCHOOL

    Unfortunately this is a case of farmers losing their income. I can promise anyone that when poor rural communities experience this carnage, conservation is swept out at the back door. The reality is that more should be done by conservation bodies to ensure that this scenario does not repeat itself otherwise they will end up with poisoned carcasses. A Western approach will not resolve an African issue. Think of it of your bussiness being robbed by thieves and you have no insurance. The police cannot get your property back. Conservation bodies need to contribute towards the protection of livestock in an environment shared with predators.

    • Denine Mishoe

      People have pleaded and begged MET to collar these lions so they can be monitored for months now and MET has remained silent and done NOTHING! This is not the lions fault, it is human incompetence. I believe their plan all along was to just wait until the timing, like this, was right and then make this decision to have the whole pride (10-15 lions) murderer. It’s been their plan all along, obviously. Clearly, the funds that was ear-marked for this project have clearly ended up in other pockets, and again… the lions will pay the price. Who is the REAL ANIMAL HERE!?

      • OLD SCHOOL

        In South Africa we experience the poaching of lions for the skeletons / bones to be exported to Vietnam illegally. I do not know if you experience the same problem in Namibia.

  • Denine Mishoe

    Interesting how the farmer was “just about ready to put up the lion-proof materials’ – I CALL BULLSHIT! Sheer Laziness.

  • Nicole Morgan

    Actually predators’ instincts can cause mass killing like this when there’s a high concentration of defenseless prey. It’s especially well documented in cat behavior.

    • Denine Mishoe

      I would really like to know your sources on this behavior or several credible articles as I’ve NEVER heard of this… nor has anyone else that I know who keeps track of these things.

      • Stephanie Fuchs

        I would like to hear about your sources for a change, on the laziness of the farmers for example? How many farmers have you witnessed at work or do you regular visit? And Nicole has as much weight here saying that lions can behave like this (which is true by the way – I have seen it with my own eyes, I doubt you have) as you do saying that they usually go for the neck (not true by the way, they also often suffocate their prey by covering their preys snouts with theirs). Are you a researcher? Conservationist? Anthropologist? Claiming here that you know about all these things? And who are the people that you “know who keep track of these things?”.

  • Denine Mishoe

    I agree with you Annette Cartwright. Lions also normally kill with their teeth to the jugular/neck of their prey and looking at all those goats in the photo, I don’t see any evidence of their throats being bitten.

  • daktari40

    The problem is, who will finance the Kraals? Who will control the quantitative community population in these areas? The communal conservation policy where communities choose how to use their wildlife implies for the Namibian government an exemption for themselves and an authorization for conservation communities to solve their problems. It is noteworthy that the Government does not have a Kraals donation or funding program and the NGOs do not have $$$$ to use in the most problematic areas. Now, this quantity of dead domestic animals is very unusual! These facts are often used to justify trophy hunting for troublesome lions. An adapted desert lion can cost more than 100,000 US dollars, the Dallas Safari International is “eyeing” these issues and, together with Namibian officials, label these lions for the hunting market. “are 86 goats and sheep, worth about N $ 150,000 (12,000 / 13,000 dollars).” I am not insensitive to the farmers and their losses is very problematic, and as long as lions, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards victimize domestic animals these predators will be annihilated and an entire international conservation effort will end.

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