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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:14 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi...and welcome!

I also totally agree with you! I was in the Karoo National Park on Tuesday night and loved the fact that you could walk around and explore. I also saw people going for a morning jog on the main road which is allowed. What about all the hikes...are we going to need a trail guide now with a firearm???
I understand reasons for introducing lions but it is pretty sad to make certain areas inaccessbile to those who come to reserves for other reasons than chasing the big 5!!

I also found myself looking at all these animals which dont know that they are suddenly going to be on the menu 24hrs a day! And what about things like the Aaardwolf???
I have seen Aardwold there on at least 3 occassions and they will also probably be preyed upon and killed if not eaten!

Maybe its a better idea just to intoduce cheetah first like in MZNP. Why dont they have lion at MZNP first and see ho it goes.

My thinking is this....are we trying to get the area into a natural balance?? (almost impossible to do in the enclosed and an already messed up environment that the karoo is as a whole! OR are the lions being introduced to get more visitors which = more money??

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:26 am 
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Hi there,

This is how I found out, when I received my Wild Card email:

Park Talk
Lions to roam the Karoo National Park
On your next visit to the Karoo National Park you may be lucky enough to see lion. At the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Karoo National Park, SANParks executive Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa announced that lions would be introduced to the park in 2010. “The lions will bring back a historically-occurring species to the Great Karoo ecosystem” said Songelwa.

I was pretty shocked to read about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:30 am 
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You can find the information on https://www.wildcard.co.za/news.htm?act ... em&id=1143, which states:

"Lions to roam Karoo National Park
23 November 2009

On your next visit to the Karoo National Park you may be lucky enough to see lion.

At the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Karoo National Park, SANParks executive Dr. Nomvuselelo Songelwa, announced that lions would be introduced to the Park in 2010. “The lions will bring back a historically-occurring species to the Great Karoo ecosystem” said Songelwa. The lions will be introduced in the first half of next year, in time for visitors to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup and as soon as predator-proof fences are secured. Other highlights of the park during its 30 years include the opening of the park’s rest camp in 1989, the opening of SANParks’ first-ever 4x4 trail in 1992 and the opening of the world’s first Braille fossil trail in 1994. "

Pity. There is probably little one can do about it, except write a few posts in forums like this and write to SANParks.

There should have been wide consultation, especially with previous visitors, I'm sure they have records.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:55 pm 
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I must admit that I would also prefer to 'see' cheetah in Karoo rather than lions, but were they there originally?

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hey BB

Talking to a woman at MZNP, she mentioned that they were also going to introduce cheetah to the Karoo at a later stage. So I assume there must have been, but obviously lets see what SANParks say/do!

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:08 pm 
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I also agree, Karoo is a park best experienced on foot. I have mixed feelings though, lions would be great and I would not want to pay to go for a walk in the veld.
A possibility would be to fence off a large piece surrounding the rest camp to allow people to still enjoy hiking and jogging etc. Almost like Manyane camp in Pilanesberg.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:14 pm 
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Agree that cheetah would be much easier to swallow if introduced, but BB's comment is valid (were they there originally?). I haven't been very successful in finding that information, but I would think the habitat would suit them - scrubby and low.

The point I was trying to make was that fencing would spoil the image and landscape. KarooNP has spectacular scenery (in my opinion) which would be spoiled by fencing visitors in. Manyane is nice, but it doesn't have the panorama of the camp in the KarooNP, so it isn't really spoiled by the fence. In fact, it is a necessity in Pilanesberg, and it isn't really garishly visible in the bushveld, fairly hidden by the veld.

In any case, the way I see it, lion are not the be-all and end-all of wildlife. KarooNP has lots to see.

It will not simply be relegated to a park offering expensive "walks in the veld", although being an urbanite, I don't mind paying for a simple walk in the veld.

If I remember correctly, black rhino has been introduced some years ago, but not in the area close to the camp. Lion are much more mobile and having predator instincts, would put people at risk if the people were not fenced off.

What next? Elephant? (my favourite animal).

A place for everything and everything in it's place, may be a good way of looking at this.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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It was there many years ago, & even if they are not top of my priority when going to a park, introduction to previously occupied areas should be done IMHO. :thumbs_up:

Just hope it is not just for the sake of 2010 Soccer. :wall:

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:24 pm 
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Hello All,

You might find this link interesting:

www.canids.org/.../Southern%20Africa%20 ... %20dog.pdf

It is a publication regarding REGIONAL CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR THE
CHEETAH AND AFRICAN WILD DOG IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, and it talks about the cheetah's historical range. It's a bit difficult to figure out if they ever were found in the KarooNP, but I think it is possible.

By the way Scipio, I'm new to this, so did not quite understand your posting. Could you clarify? Also, what does IMHO stand for?

Also, o-dog, which park is the MZNP. Racking my brains, nothings coming.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Hi and welcome. :thumbs_up:

IMHO: In My Humble Opinion.
MZNP: Mountain Zebra National park.


What I am saying is that re-introduction of any specie that was previously there is good for conservation, but it should be done in a Scientific way & not for the wrong reasons i.e. 2010 Soccer. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi its the Mountain Zebra Nat Park (also didnt know what it stood for before I came to the forum).
They have about 20 cheetah there - its great as you still feel safe!

A lot of people (especially those who havnt been there) are going to think - lets introduce the lions it will be great for the ecosystem which is fair enough but I just have a slight problem in the fact that these areas all need management anyway and with a park this size the lions wont manage themselves and really in terms of lions it will be a large zoo where I will go to the Karoo hoping to see one of their 13 lions. UNlike in the KNP where we dont know for sure how many are there.
I will be happy to see lions there but one thing is for sure is that the charm that this park has now will change maybe for the better but in terms of those who acitvely visited the park and did walks I understand if you are slighlty dissapointed!
Fencing in part of the camp would work but it would be sad to see a fence around the camp site etc!

Scipio, just saw you post now - agreed dont want it done for soccer - maybe fifa are sponsoring this?? :D
But although I also agree about animals being reintroduced it does become a difficult situation when you ask yourself what are you trying to conserve in the greater scheme of things.
Lions seem to be stable globally, yet the park supports species in much more dire straights such as the Riverrine rabbit. So if a couple are killed by lions this is not good for the population!

I just think that we are to quick to jump to get things to be how they used to be but the fact is (and I know I sound negative) that we have messed things up so badly and really whatever we do in the Karoo, we are not going to get it back to a natural state so long as it is a closed system! ...and therefore I think in the cases of some reserves that perhaps certain aims and objectives should be more closely looked at. Eg although this is extreme, it would be completely impractical to reintroduce lions back to TMNP and in the same way maybe the Karoo would just be better off a walking place and would arguably be more eductaional and passing a good environmental message to people the way it is

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:50 pm 
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As a non-regular visitor to Karoo NP, I respect the views of regular visitors, and can understand that once you are accustomed to a certain experience, you want to preserve it. And yes, I can absolutely and fully understand the joy of being able to walk in a park such as this! There is simply no comparison between the experience of walking and that of driving! So I understand the protest.

But I do think that there may be other views that are just as legitimate.

SANParks has more than just a tourism mandate. They are the primary body in the country tasked with preserving our entire natural heritage. Tourism is but part of the mandate. They also have to see to the promotion and maintenance of the natural system. This they have done, and are doing by the increase in nature areas, and rehabilitation of previously degraded systems. In such a system they strive to rehabilitate the whole system, starting from the ground up, including plants, insects, mammal, etc. It would be a sad day when tourism becomes so strong, that it blocks this mandate. The predators play an important role in the whole ecology and functioning of such a natural system. They are truly the apex species, and their presence and well being is but the result of the whole system being in balance. As such, the predators such as lion should naturally be returned to as much of its previous range as possible, and to as many parks as is feasible.

Increasing the space available to predators also play an important role in the preservation of the species. Now, I have no illusions that the Karoo NP will hold enough lions to have a dramatic effect on the well being of the entire lions population of Southern Africa. But each extra reserve helps in increasing the already small footprint these magnificent animals have in their once huge distribution area. If I need to stay behind a fence to help in this ... so be it.
:wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Now what? What is the TMNP?

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:57 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Table Mountain National Park :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Another consideration.

Is there enough for how many lions to eat. When I have been there we did not see an over abundance of animals. Is it worth the expense and trouble of fencing off the main rest camp and the camping areas for say 3 lions?

There are a few buffalo, which we did not see, and some mountain zebra, ottherwise the food is smaller game which would mean more kills to support lions which will breed.

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