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Hoaruseb Pride poisoned. The Desert lions suffered a big blow when the entire Hoaruseb Pride was poisoned on 10 July 2011. The three lionesses (Xpl-37 “Morada”, Xpl-38 “Tawny” and Xpl-61 “Maya”) died a few metres from each other in the Hoaruseb River. Samples were collected for analysis, but the poison appears to have been strychnine.Two black-backed jackals were also found dead at the scene. The radio collars were retrieved and the sculls of all three lionesses were collected. Their carcasses and those of the jackals were then burnt to prevent more animals dying from the poison. Wilderness Safaris are thanked for their help and support. This tragic event marks the end of the famous Hoaruseb lions.

The poisoning of the three Hoaruseb lionesses is a serious setback for lion conservation, community-based conservation and tourism in the region. The efforts over the past five years by the Purros Conservancy, the tourism industry (e.g., Wilderness Safaris, Kunene Conservancy Safaris, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge and many others) and conservation organisations to conserve the Hoaruseb lions and develop sustainable tourism activities, were enormous. But, in the end, the efforts were not enough. In April 2010, the Hoaruseb Pride consisted of an adult male (Xpl-44 “Leonardo”), two adult females (Xpl-37 “Morada” & Xpl-38 “Tawny”), a sub-adult female (Xpl-61 “Maya”) and two sub-adult males (Xpl-62 “Indigo” & Xpl-63 “Crimson”). All three males were shot during 2010 and the pride was finally eradicated with the poisoning of the three remaining lionesses.

(source: Desert Lion Conservation project:

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