A pride of three wild lion (two females and one male) are currently being introduced into the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from the andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, also of KwaZulu-Natal, as part of their lion management strategy. This lion translocation was inspired by a ground-breaking feature documentary – Blood Lions™ which exposed the captive breeding and canned hunting industry. “It is estimated that there are currently between 6,000 to 8,000 predators in captivity in South Africa, mostly living in appalling conditions with inadequate breeding and welfare protocols in place to protect them,” said Dr. Andrew Venter, Wildlands’ CEO and Executive Producer of Blood Lions™. “Furthermore, lion ecologists state that captive breeding plays no role in the conservation of this species, and to date no captive bred, hand reared lions have successfully been rehabilitated into the wild. It is a shame that we now need to refer to lion as either wild or captive, but Wildlands are very proud to say that we have assisted in the expansion of wild lion range through the introduction of this pride onto Somkhanda. This is truly a pride we can be proud of!”
“A central theme of the Blood Lions™ campaign calls for lion conservation to be managed by the recognised conservation community,” said ILCW member Ian Michler, Consultant and Lead Character for Blood Lions™. “The Somkhanda release highlights what this entails: securing suitable habitat and using wild lions from reputable sources in a responsible release programme. Congratulations to Wildlands and their partners for this initiative that increases the range of wild lands in South Africa.”
The translocation process started on the 13th of May at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and will “end” when the pride are placed in a boma at Somkhanda. The lion will be housed in the boma for approximately 6 – 9 weeks to adjust to their new environment, and Wildlands hope to release them onto the Somkhanda Reserve at the end of July 2017.