The lion, Panthera leo, was labelled a ‘problem animal’ when it killed livestock on Namibian farms to survive. This created a human-wildlife conflict, because rural communities often took matters into their own hands and would set up traps to remove rogue lions altogether. After Erindi learned of this, lions were transferred from outside Etosha National Park and slowly introduced into the reserve from 2005 onwards. Some young males broke out, which proved that they needed to be fitted with VHF tracking collars.
The first true pride – three lionesses, one young male, two female cubs, and two male cubs – was introduced in January 2007. In 2008 the first Erindi-born cubs were located. Lion management in Erindi Private Game Reserve is a massive operation that takes a huge amount of work.
Because Erindi’s founding gene pool of lions is so small, management is very strict about record keeping, and youngsters are carefully managed to prevent inbreeding as much as possible; some carefully selected males are vasectomised to maintain a strong gene pool and to ensure that the Erindi lion population remains manageable.
At present, all Erindi’s 20 adult lions and offspring are located daily to ensure that they remain on the reserve. Data collection shows that to date Erindi is home to the largest male lion on record in Namibia.
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