Majete Lion Update

 

The three Majete lions were released successfully on August 25th 2012. Against a backdrop of donors, reporters, photographers, staff and onlookers, Dr. Andre Uys and a small team prepared the tranquilisers to immobilise the lions. The operation went smoothly, the only hitch being that Chimwala (one of the male) managed to remove his dart and proceeded to eat it before it took effect. The team did eventually manage to safely immobile and release all three lions.

All three were soon feeding and fighting over the ‘snack’ that the team had left for them. At some point during the night they started to move away from the release site heading north along the Mkulumadzi River. We suspect they made a kill on the first night as they were observed to be fat and well fed the next day.

The two males have explored most of the northern sector of the reserve. The lions have been observed feeding on zebra, warthog and sable which we assume they have killed. A large male buffalo died from natural causes in the area but was untouched by the lions; an indication that they were finding sufficient food for themselves.

Shire the femalehas spent much of this time on her own and has explored an area similar to the males. On her second day of release she was found with a fresh reedbuck kill that she had not eaten. This is a further indication that they managed to kill on their first night as she was not showing signs of extreme hunger. As with the males, she has moved west and north and spent a few days walking along the northern fence boundary.

The fence has not been challenged by any of the lions which is an indication that they are respecting the physical barrier for now. Fence attendants walking west along the fence line came across Shire lying next to the fence and when she saw them she got up and ran away. It is encouraging to know that they have a fear of humans on foot as this is a very normal response from wild lions and a further indication that there is no negative feedback from the relocation.

Confirmed lion kill species include: reedbuck, warthog, zebra and sable.

Exciting news from Mkulumadzi Lodgeis that Chimwala and Shire have been spotted mating twice already. This certainly shows that they have settled into their new surroundings.  We look forward to a litter of cubs in the not so distant future.

Contact Robin Pope Safaris info@robinpopesafaris.netfor further information.