In December 2016 it was decided that the lion population desperately needed new blood. The resident prides were not in good condition due to interbreeding over the years. Ezemvelo KZN Parks managed to acquire a trio of young males from a private reserve hundreds of miles north, close to the Kalahari Desert.
Due to the wonderful generosity of the Bateleur flying services the three brothers were flown to their new home in Hluhluwe Park accompanied by a veterinary officer. We were on hand to drive the drugged cats to their new boma, complete the medical examinations, place their collars and micro chips. It was a great honor to know that the Foundation had been involved in such an important project.
I was able to personally able to locate and view the brothers in 2017 with the team from ACT, the company directly involved with monitoring projects within Ezemvelo Parks. They were healthy and fit, very becoming of Kalahari lion.
In June 2017 the Foundation was approached to assist in a plan to introduce a new pair of lion into the Imfolozi section of the park. Many years ago Hluhluwe and Imfolozi were separately run and administered Parks demarcated by a tar road. The road still acts as a territorial boundary for many of the species, including the lion prides.
Having successfully introduced lion into Hluhluwe the previous year, it was intended to do the same for Imfolozi. Once again, apart from the financial assistance to make this introduction into a reality, we were on hand to help with the actual operation. It is amazing how difficult it is to drag a 400lb lion from a small aircraft onto the back of a vehicle. I am in awe of the professionalism of both the National Park personnel and the veterinary experts.
Recent reports received tell us that the lion brothers have established their territories and have turned their attentions to the regions ladies!