New lions for SA world heritage site

2016-10-24 19:03
Big new lions for SA world heritage site. (Supplied)

Big new lions for SA world heritage site. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Three male lions were collared and released from their enclosure into one of South Africa's first heritage sites, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, A Better New World said on Monday.

Spokesperson Samantha Manclark said the lions were from the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and were released on Thursday, October 18.

"This introduction boosts the establishment of a viable population in iSimangaliso after the last lion was shot by conservationists some 47 years ago for going 'rogue' in what was then an unfenced park," Manclark said.

The first lions were introduced to iSimangaliso in 2013 when a family of four lions was brought from the Tembe Elephant Park. The pride consisted of an adult female and three sub-adult offspring, said Manclark.

The new arrivals were kept in a boma for several weeks so that they could acquaint themselves with the existing pride.  

Their arrival catapulted iSimangaliso to "Big 7" status.

That was followed by the arrival of two male brothers and three females during the course of 2014.

More tourists

"In order to slow down the breeding rate of the lions the females underwent partial hysterectomies, which are the removal of one horn of the uterus," Manclark said.

Lions breed prolifically and the procedure halves the number of litters they produce, obviating the need for translocations to other parks in the short term.

Since December 2013, three sets of cubs have swelled the ranks.

iSimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis said the lions had increased the number of tourists visiting the uMkhuze section of iSimangaliso.

All iSimangaliso's adult lions are fitted with satellite tracking collars to monitor their movements for biological and safety reasons. Park staff and Wildlife Act volunteers track them daily.

Read more on:    animals

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