Often whilst out on Safari, the question has been posed by many a hunter; “What exactly do we do outside of hunting season?”
Believe it or not, we catch up in the office on some well overdue book work and more often than not check up on our wildlife to ensure our animals and their environment are functioning in a well-balanced state.
We first introduced lions to our family owned Big 5 Game Reserve 8 years ago. In due course, our lion population has thrived and numbers have been good enough for us to have had the opportunity to harvest 3 lions over the course of the last 8 years. While having free roaming self-sustaining lions on one’s property is a massive privilege, with the privilege comes the big responsibility of managing the species.
Yesterday was one of those exceptional days one gets rewarded with when spending a large part of your life with wildlife. It was a rare opportunity to experience a lion up close and personal.
One of our dominant lions was fitted with a radio tracking device a few years ago due to problems we were experiencing with a lioness that left the boundaries of the reserve and developed an appetite for the neighbours livestock. At the time this male was a wanderer looking for his own territory within the 30 000 acre reserve, all signs were indicating towards him joining the lone lioness and taking part in her new-found hunting skills.
The radio tracking device came in the form of a collar. Now we not only had the opportunity to track his whereabouts if he were to leave the boundaries of the reserve, but we had the opportunity to monitor his feeding patterns, territorial boundaries and daily habits. All these play an important role of understanding what effect these large predators have on ones ecosystem.