Roar returns to Zululand as pride of lions is released

A pride of lions has been set free on a community-owned game reserve in northern Zululand‚ boosting its tourism potential and helping to ensure living space for a species that has disappeared from large parts of Africa in recent decades.

There are only about 2‚000 free-roaming adult wild lions left in South Africa‚ with just 32‚000 remaining in the whole of Africa following a dramatic 43% population decline over the last 22 years.

Earlier this year a small pride of three lions - one male and two females - arrived at their new home in the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve‚ south west of the Jozini/Pongolapoort Dam. They were put into a temporary holding boma after being relocated from the AndBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve‚ near Hluhluwe.

Now the lions have been released from the boma to roam freely in about 12‚000 hectares of the reserve‚ wildlife managers confirmed this week.

“Having lions reintroduced to Somkhanda Game Reserve is a huge achievement for the Gumbi community and the Emvokweni Community Trust‚ who are the owners and custodians of Somkhanda‚” said Dave Gilroy of the Wildlands Conservation Trust. “Somkhanda is now officially a Big Five reserve after methodically introducing endangered species to the reserve over the past 10 years.”

The new lions were doing well and had been seen hunting‚ feeding and mating.

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Source: Sunday Times