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Karoo: Lions

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
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onewithnature
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Re: Karoo Lions

Unread post by onewithnature » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:15 am

Great news about the cub(s)! :clap: :clap: :clap: Would love to hear how they're getting along.
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Re: Karoo Lions

Unread post by Salva » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:59 pm

U lacht en U heeft gelijk dat U lacht maar het is niet om mee te lachen

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Re: Karoo Lions

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:46 pm

Hi Salva

Thank you for putting this good news on -- really exciting!
Hope this means the older males will keep them "cornered" close to the entrance gate and camping area so we can see lions easier in the Karoo!

God bless,

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Graham_5000
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Re: Karoo Lions

Unread post by Graham_5000 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:43 pm

Fantastic news! Shame one cannot visit the park comfortably in a sedan as would be there in a flash.

Is the park big enough to introduce Cheetahs too, or are 9 lions too many for other predators to survive? One of the reasons for the lion introduction is to control herbivore numbers. How many herbivores are 9 lions likely to kill a year?
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Re: Karoo Lions

Unread post by Kapokbos » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:32 am

Stoffel wrote:
Bush Baptist wrote:When I was there 3 years ago, we were told that there was a plan to reintroduce cheetah, but dateless. Their prey animals (mainly springbok) would need grow into sufficient numbers, but the vegetation is not nutrient rich enough to support large herds.

But brown hyena were reintroduced last year. :thumbs_up:


Before lions were released, I stayed in the park for 13 nights during December 2008/January 2009. I was told by honorary rangers doing duty in the park at that time that the release of cheetahs were kept back because of ill-considered hunting (rather harvesting) of springbok. Springbok were shot in great numbers to bring the population down as the park could not carry the high numbers untill the electric fencing was completed. No balance was kept between males/females during the harvesting process. This led to a total imbalance between rams and ewes. More ewes were hunted. The increase in jackal and caracal numbers had a further negative effect on population growth as the young lambs were preferential prey. This led to SANParks "importing" great numbers of ewes at very high cost. Up till now numbers of springbok has still not increased to acceptable levels to introduce cheetah.

I am "selling" this at the same price I got it from more than one honorary ranger. True?? I have no reason not to believe the HR's.


Stoffel, if I am you, i will rather comment on official Media releases from SANParks regarding the springbok issue, before using my own opinions and "facts" from Honorary Rangers (Voluteers) and state that as facts on this forum.. Your comment on the preferred species of prey for cheetah is also wrong. Cheetah is like any other cat species very opportunistic and will take any prey within a certain sie limit. In Kgalagadi the cheetahs prefered prey species is steenbok, while in Mountain Zebra NP they preferred to prey on mountain reedbuck for a long time before switching over to other species. Your comment that the springbok population in Karoo NP has still not increased to acceptable levels is also your own opinion.Did you count the springbok yourself and made the deduction, because the latest info from Karoo Management is that they are waiting to conduct the annual aerial surveyfirst, to get estimates on herbivore numbers, before making any decision on the introduction of cheetah. Please refrain from "selling" incorrect or half true statements on this forum.

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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Stoffel » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:47 pm

Addo Elephant wrote:There have always been plans to bring in both lions and cheetah. The introduction of lions is happening first because their prey sepcies are already at levels which can support a lion population. We first had to stabilise the springbok population (which will be the cheetah's preferred prey) before introducing cheetah. This will happen within the next two-three years.


See Megan Taplin's comment on Page 6 of this thread. She has been SANParks' spokesperson for the Transfrontier Parks.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by FrontierPR » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:51 pm

Apologies for the absence from the Forums, all. I have taken over from Megan as Communications Manager in the Frontier Region, and have been getting to grips with the job. I will enquire with Park Management on the topic at hand, and revert with feedback as soon as I have it.

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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:02 pm

Hi Fayrous

Good to hear from you. As you can see, we are passionate about wildlife conservation, especially in areas closer to Cape Town! I am getting older, and the annual trips to Zimbabwe and Kruger are getting a bit strenuous, so bring those beautiful cats and other animals closer to the Cape!

I for one, am very keen to know what is going to happen in Mountain Zebra NP in the near future too, that park has so much potential...

Looking forward to any news/updates about Kruger, Addo, Cradock etc.

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Two new male lions introduced to Karoo National Park

Unread post by FrontierPR » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:05 pm

Two male lions from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park were released into the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West recently, bringing the total number of feline predators now in the Park to nine.

Niklaas (named after former Kgalagadi Park Manager, and now Karoo National Park Manager Nico van der Walt) and Witwarm (derived from Nico’s son, Hano’s nickname from when they lived in the Kgalagadi) were released from a lion enclosure in the eastern section of the Park. Park Management predicts that they will most likely develop their own fixed territories within the Park and defend these territories from the other resident males.

In 2010 a small founder population of lion was introduced into Karoo from Addo Elephant National Park outside Port Elizabeth. The group was originally all from Kgalagadi or offspring from the original group of Kgalagadi lions that were introduced to Addo in 2003 . They have settled very well into the Karoo National Park and two cubs were born in November last year.

The decision was made to introduce the two three-year-old male lions into the Karoo to prevent inbreeding as a result of an island effect (no migration of other lion individuals into or out of the population), and to increase genetic diversity in the Park. The two have been housed in a temporary enclosure since their arrival in November to adapt and acclimatise to their new environment.

Van der Walt says, “The introduction of predators into Karoo National Park forms part of attempts to restore the ecological processes in the Park, specifically to re-establish the process of predation. This will help to control herbivore numbers naturally and decrease the need for capturing and culling, which is in line with SANParks’ ‘minimum interference’ philosophy”.

In protected areas with no large predators, herbivore numbers can soar to unnaturally high densities that could in return be detrimental to sensitive ecosystems like the Karoo. The lion fulfill their ecological role by removing older and weaker animals from the system and by impacting on the herbivore population size in the Karoo National Park.

It is envisaged that the two sub-adult males will hopefully take over the role of dominant males at a later stage, when the two older males reach their “retiring age” and lose their control over the pride.

Kgalagadi lion are known for their impressive dark brown manes and enhance the tourism product offered. “Introducing more lion into the Park has an economic spinoff as it improves the ecotourism value of the area, as large carnivores are charismatic species which people like to see, or even merely to know are present in an area,” says van der Walt.

(Pics to follow)

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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by FrontierPR » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:38 am

Some clarity on cheetah introduction in Karoo National Park - from Park Management:

Cheetah is still definitely on the cards for introduction into Karoo, but any new introductions should be planned, authorised and executed according to planning regimes and depend on the availability of resources.

A population cannot recover in a very short term (referring to the springbok issue) of 1 or two years. The monitoring survey of our springbok is required first, so that we can be sure if we do introduce any cheetah, we won’t put a possible additional burden on their numbers.

Karoo National Park is conducting annual surveys to determine trends in herbivore populations. Although we are of the opinion that we can very soon introduce cheetah, we first want to do another survey before making a final decision on when to introduce the cheetah. The next scheduled survey is planned for the last week in May 2013. The result from this survey will determine if we go ahead this year with the introduction of the cheetah.

Secondly, despite the fact that we were waiting for a final survey before doing final planning in this regard, we could not introduce any cheetah earlier as the large predator boma was occupied with brown hyena for a few months and then the two new lion males. It is impossible to keep two different predator species in the same area due to obvious reasons.

The third factor that would influence our introduction of cheetah is also the sourcing of cheetah. Our policy is to source cheetah born in the wild and not captive-bred cheetah, making the sourcing of cheetah not an easy one.

Our regular visitors to Karoo should please be very patient, all good things happen in good time and we hope to have good news very soon.

Fayroush Ludick
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:30 pm

Hi Fayroush

Just back from a lovely visit to the Kgalagadi with good cheetah sightings, and very glad for your feedback re. cheetahs in the Karoo.

Even though we understand, we still look forward to this with great anticipation. Your first 2 points are very clear and obvious. Point 3 seems rather strange, since you have just had a cheetah population explosion in Mountain Zebra np -- you could easily transfer some from that stock -- is the problem in-breeding?
Of course Namibia has tradionally had no shortage of cheetahs being hunted, shot, captured on livestock farms -- I understand they are readily available at reasonable prices -- are you concerned about different genetic material not wanted to mix with our local cheetahs in SA?

Thanks for the good news!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
Last edited by Friedrich von Hörsten on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by FrontierPR » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:54 am

Hi Friedrich

MZNP does at this moment have a stable cheetah population and we would not like to tamper with the population and remove animals at this stage to introduce to Karoo NP. The fact of too much inbreeding is always a concern and Karoo NP would firstly like to source cheetah from other populations not linked to the MZNP population. This will make it possible at a later stage to swop animals/individuals between the two Parks to enhance genetic variability.

MZNP did have a rapid growth in the cheetah population but then we moved a large number of cheetah out of the Park to private game reserves in order to bring the population down to a number that would be most suitable for the Park. Therefore it does not have excess cheetah at the moment.

The sourcing of animals from Namibia is not part of our planning. RSA still has sufficient wild cheetah in the North West and Limpopo Provinces. The sourcing of animals from other countries, and with animal health restrictions in place (quarantine periods etc.) between countries, is always a very long process with lots of intergovernmental issues and we would rather go for the option of sourcing cheetah locally. Animals are regularly caught on farms and handed over to the Endangered Wildlife Trust whom in return is looking for homes for the cheetah. It will take a while to source cheetah but I am sure we will find suitable animals to introduce to the Karoo NP.

We will also look at the welfare of the animals first and to transport cheetah from as far as Namibia can put a lot of stress on wild cheetahs. The shorter the transport time the better for the animals.

I trust this has answered your question.

Regards,
Fayroush Ludick - Frontier Communications Manager
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Re: Two new male lions introduced to Karoo National Park

Unread post by Stoffel » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:28 am

The two new males are back in their boma as they were naughty shortly after release by breaking out of the park. Oh well, that was the situation during May when we were in the park for two weeks. We saw the one in the boma - although very far from the tourist road (Potlekkertjie Loop). I don't know if management decided that they first have to attend a course in good behaviour before they can be released again. I just asked myself how trustworthy is the electrified fence around the park (and also around the camp) if they succeeded in breaking out.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Stoffel » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:34 am

Glyn

The best area to find them is on the 4x4 routes - Kookfontein and Embizweni areas. One of the males and a female (mating) did move quite far away from that area towards the Doornhoek valley. I saw some photos taken by one of the ex-Honorary Rangers near the picnic site of the lovey-dovey couple.

But people who were camping next to us saw lions on the old Kookfontein farm yard on 24 May and another couple saw two females with the new cubs not far away from the Embizweni turn-off just one day earlier.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by GlynB » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:43 pm

Thanks Stoffel :thumbs_up:

Looks like they are visible :cam:

Looking forward to the visit. :big_eyes:
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