LOOK: Lions adjusting well to new home

Published Oct 4, 2017


The lions relocated to a game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year are settling well into their new home.

Wildlands Conservation Trust said in a statement that the pride of three lions (one male and two female) arrived at their new home – Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal – from AndBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. 

“This translocation was carried out as part of Phinda’s lion management strategy, supported by Empowers Africa and inspired by a feature documentary – Blood Lions.”

The lion population in South Africa is threatened and vulnerable with approximately only 2 000 lions left in the wild. 

The lions, they said, had recently been released from the boma into the greater reserve where they now roam freely over approximately 30 000 acres. 

“Having lions reintroduced to Somkhanda Game Reserve is a huge achievement for the Gumbi Community and Emvokweni Community Trust who are the owners and custodians of Somkhanda,” said Dave Gilroy, Wildlands’ conservation strategic manager.

“The reserve is now officially (home to the) big five after methodically introducing endangered species to the reserve over the past 10 years. Black rhino were introduced through a partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project at the inception of the project.”

They said that since then white rhino, wild dogs, buffalo, elephant and now lions had been reintroduced along with a host of plains game species to support the predators that now lived on the reserve. 

Nathi Gumbi, a member of the Gumbi tribe and Wildlands’ Strategic Manager for Community Engagement (Northern KZN) said: “As a person who has been involved with the Somkhanda Game Reserve project (since inception) I speak not only for myself but for the Gumbi community as a whole. 

We are very happy about the lions coming to Somkhanda. The community feels privileged that the reserve is now going to be a big five reserve.”

The Mercury

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