Isimangaliso Wetland Park enters 2014 with giant roar

2014-01-07 10:33

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KwaZulu-Natal - 2014 has gotten off to a magnificent start for Isimangaliso Wetland Park, and they can owe that to undoubtedly one of the most powerful creatures on earth - lions.

1969 was the last time Isimangaliso was a home for lions, and now, after 44 years the majestic creatures are returning to South Africa's first World Heritage Site.The first family of four lions were released to the uMkhuze section of the park. The animals, an adult female and a male and two female offspring are the first of a total of eight planned for this section of the park.

Translocated from the Tembe Elephant Park, the lions spent five weeks in a boma in order to help them adjust to their new environment before being released. For biological and safety reasons (and also to monitor their movements), the adult lions have been fitted with satellite collars.

Mavusa Msimang, chairperson of iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority has dedicated the reintroduction of the lions to the late Tata Nelson Mandela. He further added that this will also contribute to the bid for conservation. The addition of lions gives the park Big 7 status because it is now home to the Big 5 as well as whales and sharks in the marine section.

Several thousand head of game have been translocated into iSimangaliso since 2000. All the game that historically occurred in the region, with the exception of eland, have now been re-introduced by iSimangaliso and its conservation partner, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Eland are currently being sourced for an April/May introduction, while hyena and jackal have returned on their own and populations are flourishing.
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