The historical effects of infrastructure development on the lion population of Etosha National Park, Namibia


  • J Heydinger University of Minnesota
  • C Packer University of Minnesota
  • P Funston African Lion Conservation


Etosha National Park, fencing, infrastructure, lion, Namibia, Panthera leo, population trends


This article offers an historical overview of how colonial-era politics affected changing infrastructure in Etosha National Park, Namibia, and the subsequent effects on lions and prey species populations in the park. The article argues that infrastructure development, particularly the erection of perimeter fencing and construction of artificial waterholes, during the apartheid era, had lasting effects on lion and prey species’ population numbers. The article also provides the first comprehensive historical account of lion numbers in Etosha, drawing from a variety of archival and published sources, and the first published account of historical recorded lion mortalities on farmlands bordering Etosha. By linking social and political factors to long-lasting environmental outcomes, the article provides historical evidence relevant to contemporary wildlife managers seeking to incorporate a variety of social, political, and ecological factors into management of large-bodied wildlife.





Section A: Research articles