An evaluation of the simultaneous utilisation of the northern Namib coastline by desert-adapted lions (Panthera leo) and recreational shore anglers, during the 2022/2023 Torra Bay Campsite season, in the Skeleton Coast National Park
Keywords:African lion, coastal habitat, Cape fur seal, marine diet, Torra Bay Campsite, angling, human-lion conflict, Namibia, Panthera leo
Since 2017 desert-adapted lions (Panthera leo) that occupy large sections of the Skeleton Coast National Park and the Northern Namib in Namibia have expanded their movements along the arid coastline and increased their use of marine food items in the inter-tidal zones. The annual opening of the Torra Bay Campsite during the December/January holiday period for offshore line fishing has raised increasing concerns of conflict between lions and anglers. During the 2022/2023 season the simultaneous use of the Torra Bay coastline by anglers and lions was evaluated. One lioness utilised the Torra Bay coastline for 34 days or 50% of the Torra Bay season. She adapted her activity patterns by hunting along the inter-tidal zones at night and retreated inland during the daytime and avoided interactions with anglers. Notwithstanding, the lioness continued to utilise the coastal habitat and prey on marine food items, particularly Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) that contributed 78% of her biomass consumption. An awareness campaign with regular updates on five social media platforms in combination with the constant presence of conservation authorities may have contributed to public awareness, respectful behaviour from Torra Bay visitors and no incidents of conflict.
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