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Karoo: Lions

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:47 pm

Hi BB,

The plan to introduce cheetah is still in place but will take place once their preferred prey (springbok etc.) populations are at the optimal levels.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:23 pm

:D :D :D Wow!

I have been dreaming about lions in the Western Cape for SO LONG -- even wrote a letter to Mr Vali Moosa about it while he was still in power...

Question: Kalahari lions only -- no chance of repeating the Cape Quagga project on `Cape Lions' -- males with VERY HEAVY manes etc (like the Barbary lions in Mpumalanga that originally came from zoos in Ethiopia)?

By the way, the zebras in Karoo NP already have seriously pale bums that are visible from quite a distance!

At last, wild lions within 500 km of Cape Town!

Thank you so much, you made my day.

God bless

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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

Unread post by AjayB » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:29 am

This is really great news... unless youre on the menu! There are going to be a couple of very surprised zebra amongst others come next year!

I wonder what the thinking is about numbers and selection/capture of prides. Also the density that the park size will be able to support given the game numbers . And the general lack of cover might take some adaptations in hunting methods. So much stuff.Its going to be very interesting to watch as it is implemented. Cant wait---

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

Unread post by Dreamer » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:16 am

ribuck wrote:I wonder how this will affect the Pointer Trail hiking loop.

Regards,
Roger

Just what went through my mind reading this!!
Very exciting news :dance:
At home...... dreaming of next trip to KTP

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

Unread post by AjayB » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:39 pm

My guess is that the Pointer trail will probably become a guided trail ?-----

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

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:26 am

o-dog wrote:I am worried what the implications for the herbivores will be... I am worried that the lions will just be able to walk up to their target(s) and kill them :hmz:


They will adapt overnight, like the buffs in Addo did.
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Re: Karoo NP to introduce lions to mark 30th anniversary

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:34 am

Yes, very exciting times.....
The lions will probably be introduced mid 2010, although no date has been set yet.

The Pointer Trail and Bossie Trail will be operated as guided hikes, departing at set times. This should make the hikes more informative too.

The lions that are translocated to Karoo will probably be taken from Addo Elephant National Park - these are originally Kalahari black-maned lions and the most suitable both genetically and in terms of disease-free status. Frederich, if you have a look at some of our Addo male lions you will see they have quite heavy black manes. There will be no breeding programme for genetic selection.

There is no longer a project to select for zebra with Quagga like features. This is impossible in a large system like Karoo and could only be achieved (although the results of this type of breeding are contentious) in small breeding camps where you could intensively manage and breed selected individuals.

The prey species in Karoo will definitely adapt to the new threat of large predators, just as those in Addo and many other systems did. The instinct to flee from predators is still innate.
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Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by idefig » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:51 am

11 December 2009

I know that SANParks is usually fairly sensitive to the needs of the environment when they make changes to the national parks, but I really must protest about this latest idea of introducting lion to the Karoo National Park (early in 2010, in time for the 2010 World Cup).

The Karoo National Park is a wonderful, serene, peaceful park, which allows for superb star gazing, hiking and walks, and gentle wildlife watching and birding.

Waking up very early in the morning, in one of the cottages, while an entire herd of springbok calmly graze all around you is an indescribable and priceless feeling.

Such memories enrich all who visit the Karoo National Park.

Introducing lion, a super predator, to the Karoo National Park may indeed attract some overseas visitors and another calibre of local visitor, but is it really necessary for all parks to have the big five represented?

Is it not enough that bat-eared foxes, caracal and the very occasional leopard may be spotted as a bonus to all the current offerings?

I think that the introduction of lion into the Karoo National Park is a huge mistake :(

This decision to introduce a super predator will detract from the Karoo National Park's greatest attraction, peace and serenity, something that even overseas visitors would enjoy.

It isn't all about the big five.

Introducing lion will mean locking and fencing off the visitor accommodation areas, for reasons of safety and security and immediately detract from the openness and vast landscape of the Karoo National Park. The feeling that you're really part of the park will vanish.

Has an environmental impact assessment been done on the introduction of lion? Has an assessment been done on the impact the park provides to many visitors who come time and again, simply to enjoy the natural beauty and spiritual upliftment it provides, and how this enjoyment will no longer be available?

Please, please, re-think this issue :cry:

I'm very disappointed with this decision and I am aware of several friends and colleagues that feel the same way.

I only heard of this decision earlier this week. Please advise soonest how one may appeal against this decision.
idefig

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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by o-dog » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:14 am

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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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by idefig » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:30 am

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.
idefig

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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:55 pm

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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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by o-dog » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:58 pm

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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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by Senyetse » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:08 pm

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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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by idefig » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:14 pm

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.
idefig

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Re: Introduction of Lion to the Karoo National Park

Unread post by o-dog » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:50 pm

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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