Tuesday 21 February 2012

Lady of Liuwa gets 2 sisters as lionesses are relocated to Liuwa National Park

Two young lionesses join the Lady of Liuwa - Courtesy of African Parks
February 2012. As part of the long-awaited bid to ensure a viable pride of lions in Liuwa Plain National Park, two young lionesses were captured in Kafue National Park in October and translocated to Liuwa. It is hoped that the youngsters will prove to be the catalyst for a thriving lion population once more in this 366,000 hectare national park.

The tale of The Last Lioness - captured in an award-winning documentary -highlights the demise of Liuwa's once thriving lion population and documents the solitary life of Lady Liuwa, the only lion that remained within this vast floodplain ecosystem in western Zambia. In a hopeful ending, the film documents the introduction of two male lions whose courtship with Lady Liuwa would end her lonely vigil and result in litters of cubs being born on the Liuwa plains.
No cubs
Sadly, despite responding enthusiastically to her companions and engaging in copious mating activity, she failed to produce any cubs over an 18 month period. By the end of 2010, despite Lady Liuwa's worldwide fame, the prospects of a viable lion population at Liuwa once again seemed dire. So in mid 2011, African Parks took the decision that the introduction of new lionesses was the only option to ensure the continuance of lions in Liuwa, despite the potential threat that new females could pose to the now aging Lady Liuwa.
After obtaining permission from the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) to capture two young lionesses in KafueNational Park, the hunt was on to identify a suitable pair. The two young lionesses were captured on October 18th and driven overnight to Kalabo village on the outskirts of Liuwa Plain where they were transferred to an open truck and driven into the park. Once safely ensconced in their new boma, it took them two days to finally eat their first meal. A special license was granted to shoot wildebeest to meet their feeding requirement.
The two lionesses have since been released from the boma and are proving to be quite self- sufficient and extremely mobile and African Parks continue to monitor how well they adapt to the new environment closely and on a daily basis.

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