Last year 333 rhinos – nearly one a day – were killed by poachers. This year conservationists reckon that figure may double.
Author Archives: SanWild Admin
Forget about the rhino for a moment and spare a thought for the lions.
When the rhino poaching problem subsides in five to 10 years, wild lions will be gone.
The continent’s lion population has shrunk by 75% in the past two decades, according to wildlife experts.
They are currently “vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s list of threatened species. In west and central Africa lions are classified as “endangered”.
“The facts are these lions are declining at such a pace. We will have nothing left in a few years,” conservation group Walking for Lions (WFL) founder Marcus Roodbol says.
“Have we ever thought what we will do when we realise the last lion has been shot or poisoned? What will we do when we sit in the African bush and not hear the lion roar?”
We are very proud to announce the launch of our new improved website. In the past SanWild hosted 3 different websites and to keep abreast of new updates while also developing some new blogs and Facebook pages seemed impossible at times. Personally I feel it also resulted in a lot of confusion; technology in any case presents a major challenge to my generation. However now we bring you an improved version where you will find all related links to our various blog sites, Facebook pages and YouTube Channel.
We would like to invite you to meet some very special lions living in their respective prides in large natural habitat enclosures at SanWild.
Lutalo is one of two adult males in a pride of 6 lions. The pride consists of four females and two males. Lutalo and his sister were only small cubs when they were put out on display at a number of shopping centers around Johannesburg. In order for the public to safety handle the cubs and have their photographs taken with the animals, both lion cubs were regularly drugged. Lutalo developed a dangerous reaction to the drugs and also most died. It was the intervention of a vet who cared enough to phone us for help that ensured a new future for Lutalo and his sister Aisha. With the help of a French donor, SanWild went in undercover and purchased the two cubs from a breeder that supply lions for hunting and brought them to SanWild. The pair was eventually joined by another young lion from the Budapest Zoo and three young females that arrived when their family as confiscated by the authorities from illegal breeding and hunting operation.
Aisha is one of four adult lionesses that make up Lutalo’s Pride and the sister of the large pride male Lutalo. As mentioned above the two were only small cubs when they were abused by their owners for financial gain. Today the continued removal of small cubs from their mothers is common practice and the lion-cub-petting, many lion volunteering and walk-with-lions projects continue to fuel the abuse of lions in South Africa.
“RADHA, SASHA & NINA”
Radha, Sasha and Nina are three of the four adult lionesses that make up Lutalo’s Pride. Radha and her two sisters were only days old when they were removed from their mother at a captive lion breeding project that breeds lions for one purpose only and that is to have them hunted by trophy hunters. Radha’s original family members are also at SanWild. Her father Jespha, sadly died of natural causes in October 2010, but her mother Nikana lives as part of Jespha’s with her two other cubs. When Jespha’s family was confiscated by the authorities we tried unsuccessfully to reintegrate Radha and her siblings with Jespha and Nikana. Jespha would not accept them back and their mother was already pregnant with new cubs. It was therefore decided to introduce the three young lionesses with Lutalo’s pride that all consisted of young lions. They were accepted without any problems.
Bombi is the only one of the SanWild Lion Prides that were not rescued from South Africa’s infamous captive lion breeding and hunting industry. He was born at the Budapest Zoo in Hungary. A veterinarian that worked as a representative of Pfizer Animal Health Products, saw and immediately fell in love with this young cub that had been deserted by his mother at birth. His two siblings were still-born. Gabrielle Kiss negotiated with the zoo director to find a new home for Bombi and return him to Africa. A number of children’s books were written by her documenting this young lion’s return to Africa. Bombi successfully integrated into Lutalo’s pride after his companion Matsumi was sadly bitten by a black mamba and died. Today he regularly challenges Lutalo as the pride male and eventually the younger of the two animals will take over this pride.
“KING and PRINCE”
The two Royal Pride males arrived at SanWild along with the rest of his pride (2 females) after the lions were drugged in the Timbavati Private Game Reserves and removed by unethical individuals to a private game farm in the Hoedspruit area. The lions were first offered for sale at the Hoedspruit Live Game Auction, but when the thieves did not receive a high enough price, Prince, his brother and another hand raised male lion called Donga, were set up for illegal hunts. Fortunately the conservation authorities, acting on a tip-off managed to find the lions before they could be hunted. They were confiscated and relocated to SanWild for temporary holding pending the outcome of criminal proceedings. Once the criminal proceedings had been finalized, SanWild negotiated ownership of the lions with the police criminal investigations unit to ensure the pride’s safety.
“QUEEN and PRINCESS”
The two adult lionesses of the Royal Pride arrived at SanWild with King and Prince. After the lions settled and as they grew older, territorial disputes between the four adult lions occurred on a more regular basis and in order to safeguard each individual in a captive situation, the pairs were split into two pairs, but still live adjoining to each other in large natural habitat enclosures. Queen who arrived pregnant at the time of her confiscation gave birth to two male cubs called Babetwa and Kajika.
Nikana is the oldest female lion at SanWild and Jespha’s original mate. When this pride of lions were confiscated by the authorities in 2003 from an illegal breeding and hunting project, Jespha was going to be offered for a canned hunt for a whopping R500 000.00. Fortunately the animals were found in time and relocated to SanWild pending the outcome of criminal procedures. It was weeks after the arrival of Jespha’s pride that it was discovered that Nikana was pregnant. She gave birth to 2 cubs, Rongo and his sister Aroha. Initially the cubs were living with the pride, but as Jespha aged the younger male became a threat to his aging father and Rongo and his sister were moved to an adjoining enclosure. After Jespha died Rongo and his sister were put back with their mother and integrated with two younger male lions of the Royal Pride. Sadly Rongo died in 2011 of unknown causes. Jespha’s legacy continue to live on the this pride of lions are still known as Jespha’s pride.
Aroha and her mother now make up the only females of Jespha’s pride and live with the two young males born to Queen soon after the Royal Pride were brought to SanWild.
“BABETWA and KAJIKA”
Babetwa and Kajika grew up with their mother, Queen as part of the Royal Pride. However as King and Prince were already making up the pride male structure we knew from the day of their birth that it would simply not be possible for four adult male lions to share one territory; at some stage the young males would have to leave their pride to find a new territory of their own. This is how it will happen in the wild. So when the two young males reached adult hood they were removed from the Royal Pride and places in a large natural habitat enclosure of their own. When one of the dominant pride males Jespha died of natural causes and his son also died a year later we were devastated, but this situation presented an ideal opportunity for the two young males of the Royal Pride to be introduced to Jespha’s Pride to become the new pride males. The introduction to Nikana and Aroha went smoothly and today the four lions make up the members of Jespha’s Pride.