News: A Pride of Wild Lion Introduced onto Somkhanda Game Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Empowers Africa was incredibly proud to participate as a partner in a recent wild lion habitat expansion project in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The lion translocation was inspired by a ground-breaking feature documentary – Blood Lions™ which exposes the captive breeding and canned hunting industry. Over the last century, lions have lost more than 80% of their range and their population has decreased from 200,000 to approximately 20,000. In an effort to combat these grim statistics, Empowers Africa partnered with Wildlands, Blood Lions, Different.org and andBeyond to introduce a pride of wild lion onto the community-owned Somkhanda Game Reserve.
Two lionesses and one male lion were successfully darted, collared and relocated from Phinda Private Game Reserve to Somkhanda in an effort to manage the wild lion population. The process went smoothly thanks to experienced wildlife veterinarian Mike Toft and Phinda Conservation Manager, Simon Naylor. The lions will reside at Somkhanda in a small protected area known as a boma, where they will stay for a few months in order to bond and acclimate to their new surroundings. They will then be released onto the greater reserve to roam freely over approximately 30,000 acres. Special fencing and a meticulous lion management plan have been implemented for the safety of nearby communities. Simon Naylor states, “It’s crucial for the future protection and conservation of the African lion that we expand and protect new range […] [It’s] a massive boost for lion conservation in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa and Africa. It will help reverse the current trend of declining lion numbers and wild lion range.”
We hope this will be one of many partnerships with Wildlands and Blood Lions™ to expand wild lion habitat. We congratulate Wildlands, Blood Lions™, Phinda Private Game Reserve, andBeyond Travel and all the others who have made this initiative possible! Empowers Africa is thrilled to have had the opportunity to participate as a partner in this project. We are grateful to Black Bean Productions for the documentation of this benchmark initiative.