Lions Thriving in Somkhanda

The lion population in South Africa is threatened and vulnerable with approximately only 2000 lions left in the wild.

Earlier this year a pride of three lions (1 male and 2 female) arrived at their new home – Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, from AndBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. This translocation was carried out as part of Phinda’s lion management strategy, supported by Empowers Africa and inspired by a feature documentary – Blood Lions.

The lions were recently released from the boma into the greater reserve where they now roam freely over approximately 30,000 acres.

“Having lions reintroduced to Somkhanda Game Reserve is a huge achievement for the Gumbi Community and Emvokweni Community Trust who are the owners and custodians of Somkhanda,” said Dave Gilroy, Wildlands’ Conservation Strategic Manager.

“The reserve is now officially big 5 after methodically introducing endangered species to the reserve over the past 10 years. Black Rhino were introduced through a partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife & WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project at the inception of the project. Since then White Rhino, Wild Dogs, Buffalo, Elephant and now Lions have been reintroduced along with a host of plains game species to support the predators that now exist on the reserve. The lions are doing very well and have been observed hunting, feeding and mating, so that future looks bright for them. Somkhanda employs a team of dedicated priority species monitors who spend their time tracking and monitoring their movements and physical condition of the lions on a daily basis,” said Gilroy.

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