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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:29 pm 
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Can I just come in here, although not claiming to be an expert I have the benefit of reading all your posts.

IMO, if lion were present in the Karoo in the past, then they should be there in the future. It all balances out and the Karoo cannot afford to be overgrazed by herbivores. I cannot believe that lion would be too interested in a rabbit, as one impala is not enough meat for a pride.

If there are to be lions in the Karoo, it will take some of the pressure off KNP, as an added venue that international visitors and SAs can see lion.

I read this morning that not so long ago there were 200,000 lions in Africa, now there are only around 22,000. :( We now know that apart from the pleasure of seeing them, they play a very important role in protecting the land from the herbivores and thus, soil erosion.

As an outsider who has lived in SA, I have always paid attention to Sanparks and I can assure you, Sanparks is very respected as leading the way in African conservation.

Perhaps those who wish to hunt big game should instead be given the task of hunting poachers and their masterminds. We can launch a competition for the best wall mountings for the stuffed heads!


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:18 pm 
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missings.a.! wrote:
As an outsider who has lived in SA, I have always paid attention to Sanparks and I can assure you, Sanparks is very respected as leading the way in African conservation.

Thank you for sharing this with us missings.a! I know many on this forum will agree with this. We need to acknowledge this too, and be very appreciative of it!

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Lions most definitely roamed the mountains and the plains of the Karoo National Park many years ago.

Reintroducing them; therefore would be another effort by SANPARKS in the restoration of the species that frequented the areas in the past.

Please believe me when I state that proper studies will be carried out by the Scientists and Conservation Staff of SANPARKS before such restocking may take place. The carrying capacity will be a deciding factor about any predators introduced.

I have visited the KNP on many occasions and next time I may be very fortunate, maybe I would see a lanky spotted cat or maybe two.

I honestly do not for one moment believe that this has anything whatsoever to do with soccer, I honestly believe that this has to do with the restoration of the balance of NATURE.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:45 pm 
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Just on the question of the endangered Riverine rabbit.

It must be remembered that though predators will opportunistically kill any prey species, they are adapted to hunt certain species. Lion are not adapted to kill small animals such as hares and rabbits, and will tend to battle, should they even try. They are simply too big to catch these nimble animals. A predator such as Caracal, which do occur there, is a much, much bigger threat to a rabbit. But in a healthy ecosystem, no predator will succeed in eliminating a prey species. This is because there is a balance between predator and prey. They have co-evolved and are adapted to each other as part of the bigger system.

Ironically there is a much bigger threat, and that is habitat degradation and destruction. We know that this is what led to the threatened status of the rabbit in the first place. This happened in the rabbits area of distribution outside of protected areas. But this can also happen in the park itself. If the park is not managed appropriately, there is the chance that an increase in big herbivores can lead to over grazing, erosion and destruction of preferred rabbit habitat. There are many examples where this type of situation has occurred on game farms and reserves.

If you do not have lions, the only alternative would be to manage big herbivores such as Eland, Gemsbok, Hartebeest and Eland, by capturing and removing them. This would in itself have an impact.

Through appropriate management, and ensuring a healthy and complete ecosystem, SANParks is ensuring that the Riverine rabbit has the best possible chance of surviving and thriving. In the end, nature conservation starts literally from the ground up. The professionals we have in SANParks understands this.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:30 am 
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o-dog wrote:
Jane wrote:


Jane I have to disagree with you on this. Riverine Rabbit habitat has been hugely reduced due to poor farming methods and habitat destruction. They are critically endangered and the Karoo National Park is one of their last surviving 'strongholds'. Its easy to overlook them as you seem to have done as you show more concern for lions which being a huge flagship species get huge publicity and of all our mammals in South Africa has one of the more secure futures.
Not only do lions survive in South Africa, but in many other localities thoughout this continent.
And although disease is prevalent in some lion populations (although not proven to be a problem to the species nescessarily), there is nothing that says the population in South Africa is under threat. As far as I know its not even anywhere near making the CITES endangered lists and with a population of over 20 000 in Africa and well represented in private game farms and collections throughout the world I think if we had to choose one animal to conserve in the Karoo National Park, the Riverine Rabbit is of far greater importance!


o-dog...before I reply I just want to add that we too felt done in when Mountain Zebra Park introduced Buffalo to that Park and all of a sudden we weren't able to just walk out of camp amongst the kudus and trek to the mountain where the huge rock slide down the mt. many years ago..I have always trusted my husband to steer me to safety if a situation arises in the wilderness but I realise that SANParks cant make exceptions as it is not a private entity. Same with Karoo Park. People like you and I will just have to accept...no more walks because now a key and endangered species the lion has been introduced.

The Riverine Rabbit is endangered yes it is and sure bad farming had something to do with it but the Nelspoort, Aberdeen, Beaufort West area where lots of our friends farm is a wonderfully conserved area. You just have to go off the national road and go 1 or 2 camps in and you find gurgling streams lined by flowering Acacias, lots of monkeys, kudu, steenbok etc and on one farm in particular the very occassional Riverine Rabbit is spotted. Multi generation records on this farm show that the species was never common just like I mentioned originally.

Lion on the other hand used to be found throughout Africa from Morocco to Table Mountain and were always common then. Now the numbers are crashing fast especially accelerating over the last 20 years as I mentioned...Indiscriminate breeding of close relations which not only happens at canned hunting establishments but also on many Eastern Cape private Game reserves where already shorter legged lions are appearing. My husband has spent a life time caring, knowing, studying and tracking lions and last night we were talking about the new lions and the Riverine rabbit. He wrote a website down and suggested you look at that and the preamble especially before the forum remarks and that gives an idea of what the lion is facing... I think the introduction of lion to Karoo is a bold move to save the lion in Africa and is something we care about a lot. I just hope it is not too late
Have a look at :
http://planyoursafari.com/blog/canned-h ... wild-lions

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:05 am 
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We had friends over last night, a very famous couple operating out of Botswana and are the key couple in monitoring the fast declining lion situation in Africa while they are filming.
o-dog and Idefig I am sure you will have a better understanding of the lion decline and demise after visiting these 2 sites

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/lion-decline-map" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/a ... es/bigcats" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Basically the hard facts are that if nothing further is done in conservation wild free roaming genetically sound lions will disappear from Africa and we will still have Riverine rabbits on Karoo farms and Karoo National Park even with a huge population of Caracal who have always been there etc the natural predators of Riverine Rabbits. Lions dont go for bunnies so there is no need to worry. The introduction of lion in Karoo is a much needed and most welcome development and is of critical importance to the survival of the lion as we know in the Wild whichever way you look at it ..I am late for work :D

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Hi to all!!

When I first read the media release of the re-introduction of lions to the Karoo National Park I was very estatic. This would be a great leap for the Karoo National Park and I am happy to say that I support all their efforts to bring the Karoo back to the state that it was in prior to colonial settlement.

To address the question about the amount of prey animals in the Park: I saw in January edition of Game & Hunt that the Karoo National Park is looking for quotations for the purchase and delivery of 3 000 springbok. According to the article the animals must be delivered to the park between March and May.

This effort of rchasing 3 000 springbok is certainly made to establish a large buffer prey (the animal species that is most likely to be eaten by the predators) species.

In pre-colonial times lions were very common in the Karoo, and Lichtenstein among many, noted their presence at Beaufort West. Even two river in the region bare the lion's name: the Leeu River and the Gamka River, with Gamka literally meaning lion in Khoi language.

The South African National Parks were made to protect ecosystems and all the animal life that occurred in a cetain area. If people want to walk among smaller wildlife in the veld then they should go to game farms.

Personally I can't wait for the day when hippos wonce again inhabit the larger pools of the Karoo rivers and herds of elephant browse in the acacia thickets.


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:05 pm 
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idefig :thumbs_up: ...and great of SANParks to get back to you so proffessionally!

Jane I appreciate your concern for lions but with all reading etc and experience I have had in the bush I still disagree that lions are under more threat than Riverine Rabits. As much as I respect the film crews operating out of Botswana etc making a big deal out of the lion decline is perhaps also a marketing initiative to promote the selling of their product :hmz:
Although their are some excellent film makers and great footage by many etc some of the rubbish that gets put on Nat Geo still shocks me.

There are thousands of species to worry about before we focus on lions. People are always worried about the big animals because its what they can relate to more easily. I would say it would be far more important (and admirable) for wildlife film makers to go to places like West Africa where there are many more species under threat due to logging and the bushmeat trade and make the world aware of whats going on there.
We have such a great understanding of lions and leopards etc in comparison to these other species and there are soooo many wild life film makers filming the same stuff over and over again because it lions that sell documentaries, not rare Colubus monkeys etc or even the Ethiopian Highland Wolf etc

Reffering to the links (the one doesnt work), firstly that Nat Geo one really has no bearing on anything as decline of species has not just solely occured for lion - with the human population explosion you will notice that all wildlife all over Africa has followed this trend. And canned lion hunting is a whole different thing and even if thousands of lions were hunted annually through canned hunting it would have no impact on the wild population as they are pretty much all bred for the purpose.

AND did you know that when lions have escape from KNP and Sabi Sands in the last few years many have been shot because no one needs them or has place for them. They arent even protected by law in the way wild dogs are.

Imberbe wrote:
Lion are not adapted to kill small animals such as hares and rabbits, and will tend to battle, should they even try. They are simply too big to catch these nimble animals.



Jane wrote:

Lions dont go for bunnies so there is no need to worry.


Imberbe and Jane I have to disagree with you both here - I personally have never come across this info from reliable resources and it follows the same sort of thinking as those people who say hyenas are only scavengers. Having followed lions offroad in the Lowveld extensively over a 2-year period, a lot of their prey included scrub hares and impala, steenbok and duiker fawns. People take the energy balance of animals too literally - I can promise you 7 lions will go out of their way to catch a baby impala. I Saw a chase once were 7 lions were closing in and were about to pull down an adult male waterbuck when a baby impala dashed from a nearby bush - it was amazing how all 7 lions completely focussed their attention on the impala and ripped it to shreds with some lions getting a drop of blood at most.
Jane it may have also been the very friends of yours that documented a lioness (I think she had cubs in the area) hunting and succesfully catching springhares. ALL predators are opportunists and you musnt think for one moment that they will miss an easy meal no matter the size and in the case of a pregnant lioness she would avoid leaving the area as much as possible and make use of any energy opportunity no matter the size. And also dont think for one moment that lions are not agile and unable to catch a scrub hare - lions might look large and uneasy on their feet but Ive seen their agility in catching many small mammals.
And to add one of the old male lions I followed seemed to be surviving on tortoises, while in another instance a healthy female even caught, killed and started eating a large terrapin.
Was it Gus Mills who documented that Male lions in the Kalahari Dunes spent the night hunting mainly Bat Eared Foxes and Porcupines!

Anyway I have never said for one minute that I am completely against the idea of lions in the Karoo National Park. It will change things probably for the better, I hope. I would also like to remind those who follow what scientists say like a religion, is that some of the biggest disasters in nature have occured as a result of scientists making poor decisions - offhand I dont have all the examples I am looking for but one that comes to mind is the introduction of the Cane Toads into Australia.

'Cane toads, introduced into Australia to control beetles that were destroying sugarcane crops, are still spreading across Australia. They failed to control the cane beetles, and became a major pest themselves. Cane toads can harm native wildlife by eating small animals and poisoning larger predators that try to eat them. Household pets are also at risk from poisoning. So far, there is no known way to control cane toads across large areas, but scientists are searching for a biological control agent that is specific to the toads.'

All I am saying is that if for example if lions started preying on Riverine Rabbits the consequences could be dire for the Karoo NP population!
8)

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:28 am 
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O Dog,

While a lot of what you say is true we must remember that Cane Toads were not natural animals for Australia and I would like to add rabbits to that. Rabbits have been a disaster in Australia.

All over the world, human beings have damaged the natural ecology by introducing alien species. Here in England, the red squrrel is our natural squirrel. They brought the grey from America and they have practically wiped the red sqirrel out. They brought disease and are bigger and compete aggressively for food.

Parrots are flying around the UK in huge clouds, when our natural birds are the robin and the blue tit and swallow.

British mammals tend to be small and fitting our environment. Chinese crabs have been introduced and they kill our small, natural crabs.

However, the lion is natural to the Karoo and, if you have the large herbivores, you need the predators that can keep them under control.

I also think you are stretching it to say there are plenty of lion. They say in the early 1980s, there were more than 200,000 in Africa, now, there are around 22 to 23,000.

Our biggest problem, what it boils down to, is too many people. We are 7 billion now, what happens when that doubles?


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:14 pm 
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So true .... we as humans tend to forget that there was a natural system in place before we destroyed so much. Re establishing that natural system where we can is not going to destroy it! Yes, the natural system is limited because we limit the size of it to small reserves, but within those reserves, nature will not destroy itself, if it is managed correctly and no species is allowed to dominate due to circumstance created by humans.

Though the odd lion may kill the odd rabbit they are not going to destroy the species. Nowhere is rabbit high on the prey species list of lion. Porcupine is (13% of kills in Kruger NP / Rabbit do not even appear on the list - KNP studies, not guessing.) ... but comparing them to rabbits, is like comparing prickly pairs to peaches. :wink: Given enough and a natural selection of prey, lion will focus on those species which is best suited to their needs.

Going back to the original post ... the worries was human experience, not the rabbit. And putting that above the natural system is in my opinion just not on.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:06 am 
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Hi everybody, and Happy New Year to all of you!

Have been absent from Sanparks.org while on holiday, so missed out on this interesting thread.

Yes, of course you all have valid reasons for being for/against the lion re-introduction to Karoo, and we respect each other's views.

To me, living in Somerset West, this is a dream come true!
I am very privileged to live in `tame' beautiful natural surroundings on the slopes of Helderberg Mountain, where we enjoy endless walks in stunning fynbos, but I am VERY FAR from anything `wilder', unlike those of you who live in Bloem or Gauteng where you are within a few hours of Kruger, Pilanesberg, Natal Parks, Zim, Botswana or even Kalahari -- for me it is 3000 km to Hwange, 2000 km to Kruger or Etosha, 1100 km to Kalahari, or 770 km to Addo!

Imagine how happy I am at the thought of just popping around the corner to Karoo National Park, that has buffalo, black rhino, Leopard?, lion and cheetah (soon, hopefully) in beautiful, open Karoo landscape!

Sanparks, please do a thorough job, and open a few more roads for sedan vehicles to use in the more remote western parts of the park (plains, not mountainous area), so we can enjoy more of this lovely park -- 2 drives like Potlekkertjie are just not enough for any serious nature lover who wants to spend a week in the Karoo!

To those who will miss the `tame' Karoo -- my sincere sympathy!

All is not lost, though -- do yourself a favour and spend a weekend in Die Hel -- I took a minibus full of school kids plus trailer down there for a marvellous weekend. Beware, however, that the baboons love Pick 'n Pay groceries as much as we do, so they rip open your tent if ANY food is visible through the gauze windows!

Thank you, Sanparks, for making my year. God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:07 am 
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We spent 4 nights in Karoo at the end of Dec/beginning Jan. I'm still in two minds as to whether the lions are a good thing. It is probably a good thing, as we were driving around I commented to my wife how nice it will be seeing lions walking amongst the Karoo bossies. And hearing them roar at night from the campsite!

But then I wonder how many they intend putting in, probably no more than a single pride (not many prey animals in the park)? And your chances of seeing them? We did not see any buffalo or any black rhino and with the current road network large areas of the park are inaccessible to tourists.

My SO on the other hand is not happy about the lions, she reckons its a walking park and fencing in the camp is going to turn it into a Kruger, where self-guided walking opportunities are few (unless you pay the steep guided walk fee!) so we will just end up sitting in camp and driving to the shop and pool instead of walking like we usually do.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:09 pm 
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HI everyone. This is truly remarkable. This is my first post and visit to the forums and I'm amazed how much interest is shown in the KNP. I've lived and grown up in Bwes from the age of 5 and don't even know half what you ppl do abt the park.

I've heard not long ago that they're planning to introduce Lions in the Park, this is truly amazing and exciting, but I can't seem to wonder how this is going to be feasable/doable.

Like with the Rhinos (I think the only ppl that have seen them was the ppl who dropped them off in the park. I really hope they will introduce the Lions to the Park and will give my full support.

Woul like to hear more of all of you that has interest in Bwest and the KNP.

All the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:07 pm 
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:yaya: Hi there BwesSeun and Welcome to a great forum. :thumbs_up:

:hmz: I am also a bit puzzled as to how SANParks are going to fence off the various areas - but I am nevertheless very excited about the introduction of lions to the Park. And yes, maybe for selfish reasons - because coming from the Cape, we either have to choose to travel to Addo, or KTP to see them in a natural environment - and as for the other option - Kruger NP - man that is so far from CTown! :lol:

Love Karoo NP - you guys have a real gem on your doorstep! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:32 am 
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Hi everyone

It is now Apirl 2010, (6 months later) and no news yet about the current progress in preparing Karoo National Park for lions, as promised in October 2009.

Could anybody tell us how this work is progressing? Am VERY curious, and can't wait to hear more!

Does anybody know WHICH Addo lions will be sent to Karoo National Park -- it would be even more personal to know their names, since many of us know them from Addo, and to recognize an old Addo lion friend in the Karoo would be great!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

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