The Namib is the only place on Earth where a small population of desert-adapted lions occurs. Remarkably, these unique lions have survived along the Namib’s Skeleton Coast for decades, but until twenty years ago they were merely phantoms – elusive and seldom seen – and even believed to have gone extinct.
Today there are around 100 desert-adapted lions, and this small population has adapted to its hostile environment in the most remarkable ways.
But there is continuous pressure on the Desert lions. By far the largest threat to their survival is human-lion conflict. On the edges of the desert rural communities farm with livestock, and when lions prey on them, the rural farmers retaliate by shooting or poisoning the big cats in an effort to protect their livelihood. Along with regular trophy hunting, this has led to a drastic decline of adult male lions in particular, leaving the already small population under threat.