STS Mozambique save young Lion and protect local community
STS are quick to respond to a deadly situation 8km east of the South African Border with Mozambique. It was brought to our attention by local authorities.
A lion had walked from Kruger National Park to community land in Mozambique and over a period of a few days. This young male wondered amongst villages, coming dangerously close to humans and cattle.
How do dispersal Lions cause issues?
Lions are very quick learners and once they start killing livestock (or even humans) it becomes too late to reintegrate them into their natural habitat. This is because most often “problem lions” will continue to prey on the wrong animals.
This dispersal behaviour is common when male lions reach sexual maturity and leave their natal prides. When they leave they are looking for and establishing their own territories. Unfortunately, the vast African landscape means is highly fragmented with protected and urban areas. Most protected areas have become “conservation islands” in a sea of human development and dominance.
This animal had clearly walked in the wrong direction and something had to be done! A plan was quickly put together through the collaboration with Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação, Saving The Survivors and Karingani Game reserve.
How have STS helped the Lion?
STS vets arrive to the area where the animal was last spotted and patiently wait for sunset, whilst sitting around a fire, listening to the reports from scared community members. The night was pitch black and after a few hours of darkness we heard cows at a nearby community corral breaking the fence and running towards the bush. It was clear that the lion was there and we had our opportunity to capture it.
Darting a wild lion in a tense situation with people, cattle and thick bush is never easy. But, eventually we managed to put a nice dart in the Lions right shoulder. After a stressful search in the dark African night, a community member found him sleeping under a tree.
We did the necessary celebrations and pictures with the happy community, loaded the 200 kg lion on the back of our Ford South Africa sponsored 4×4 and began the 5-hour drive to Karingani game reserve. Dr. Hugo was in charge of monitoring anaesthesia and administering the necessary “top ups” while Dr. Joao was navigating the Mozambican bush roads at night.
Finally, in the early hours of the morning the lion was offloaded, with the assistance of Karingani staff members into their state of the art predator holding facility. The privately owned reserve selflessly made the facility available to assist in situations like this. The young Lion will be safely stay within Karingani’s boma until he is ready to move to a new protected area.
Saving this lion would not have been possible without swift action and the collaborative efforts of STS, ANAC, the local community and Karingani game reserve. Conservation has to be about collaboration, coexistence and symbiosis, or it will fail.
Why are Lions important?
Lions are keystone species. This means they have a large impact on the environemnt thwy live in, and without them these environments would be very different. This is because Lions are apex predators. This means they are at the top of the food chain with no natural predators. Therefore, they play a crucial role in regulating population numbers of their prey including Antelope and Wildebeest. They also help to keep their prey population healthy by usually preying on the sickest, oldest or weakest members of the group.
Lions are also important to the economies of many African countries. This is because they are one of Africas big five. This term used to refer to the five most sought after animals for big game hunters, however today refers to Africas most iconic wildlife.
How can I support Saving The Survivors?
Please donate to ensure that we are always on hand to tend to Africa’s most special species. You can support our work by becoming a monthly or one-off donor. Donate here. Every single penny you donate goes directly towards supporting vulnerable wildlife.
You can also help support our work by following us on social media. This helps by giving animals a voice and by raising awareness of the issues facing them. Please take a look at what our supporters think and share your own views. Take a look at our facebook here.
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