As a wild, barefoot child – growing up in the majestic mountains around Brandbergwest Mine close to the Ugab river, lions were not strange or exotic to us.
They were just part of the wildlife around us. Kudu’s, springbok, oryx, rhino’s and cheetah’s were roaming wild and free, and we as intruders in their domain, respected them as the owners of this wild lands.
Lions were no menace to humans or domestic animals. They had herds of their natural prey to keep them well fed and content.
Never could I have dreamed that a time would come that these wild open spaces – teaming with wild-life – would become empty and desolate. Barely an oryx or zebra left. Small herds that are spooked by the sight of humans are still around. But nothing is left of the abundance that used to inhabit these lands.
Of cause the disappearances of the herds (The why and how is a story for another time) influenced the well-being of the predators.
Hungry lions started looking for other sources of food, and the human/animal conflict got progressively worse.
The sad part is that the lions got killed to protect the livestock of the humans, by a condition that the humans created.
Now, today – there are very little desert lions left in the Ugab and Huab river areas.
Today, to see a lion in these areas are a rare and exquisite experience.
January this year, Vrede was blessed to find six of the original nine of the Huab tribe close to Rhino Camp. Young and sub-adults. He later found out that 2 of the females were pregnant. Attached are some of the photo’s he took of them.
What a fantastic experience, but what a pity that something so magnificent could became a rarity in half a lifetime.