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Photo credit/ (c): Anja Denker

Ecological research

for evidence-based conservation

Etosha Lion Project conducts African lion research and conservation in one of the last wild lion strongholds: Namibia's iconic Etosha landscape. 


Almost 50% of wild lions disappeared in the last two decades. Less than 20,000 are left today. 

Lions face many threats today, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pressures from illegal wildlife trade, human-lion conflict (HLC) and the effects of climate change. Understanding lion ecology and population threats is integral to continued conservation efforts.


Our projects conduct ecological research and monitoring of the lion population in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Through our work, we hope to help continued preservation of this valuable population for generations to come. 

A Ranger from Etosha Ecological Institute with a sedated male lion  about to receive a GPS satellite collar for tracking and monitoring.

Map of Etosha Landscape

The Etosha landscape covers 22,000 square kilometers of protected area inside Etosha National Park (shown in green ) and almost 18,000 square kilometers of surrounding farmland and conservation areas (shown in yellow). 


The area around Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is one of the last remaining strongholds for wild lions in the world. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) even identified Etosha as a critical landscape for global lion conservation. In the face of global lion population declines, Etosha's lions represent an important population for the species.


Protecting lions also means protecting the habitats they live in and other species they live alongside. We believe ecosystem-focused, evidence-based strategies are the key to solving conservation problems.


We work with local partners to conduct ecological research that can ultimately be translated into scientifically-informed conservation solutions. Our projects range from population and disease monitoring to analyzing the environmental and social pressures related to retaliatory lion killings.

Taking blood samples during lion collari

A veterinarian from Etosha Ecological Institute takes a blood sample from a sedated male lion after fitting the lion with a GPS satellite collar.


Lioness with GPS collar in Etosha National Park


Monitoring lions across large areas is a difficult task. But recent advances in GPS satellite technology allow collars to collect information even when animals are out of sight. These location data help answer many important questions about their ecology.

Night vision photo


Collaring every lion in every pride would be highly costly and logistically impossible. Instead, researchers place camera traps to supplement GPS data in frequently used habitats or areas of concern. Camera trap images can be even more useful than satellite data to study behavior, pride interactions and prey preference.

Copyright Bernd Brell


Human-lion conflict (HLC) has underlying biological, social, and economic factors impacting where lions attack livestock. We're working to analyze HLC risk factors for events around Etosha going back 40 years. Identifying patterns from the past can help inform conservation planning in the future.


01 - MAR - 2020

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