Category Archives: Tuli

New Lion collared

As part of the work to assess the movement of carnivores across the borders of the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area, we were able to fit a readio-collar onto a young male Lion in Mapungubwe National Park. We thought at first he had come over from Botswana, but closer inspection of his whisker pattern showed that he is unknown to the Lion researcher there.

We have been trying to find an opportunity to fit a radio-collar to a Lion in this area for some time, but struggling to find a suitable animal. While doing spoor counts in the National Park, we were lucky enough to stumble across a beautiful young male who seemed very relaxed. As luck would have it, a vet from South African National Parks was on his way to us, so we sat tight with the lion. When the vet arrived, he was amazed at how relaxed the lion was, and how easy it was to dart him. Once he was immobilized, we were able to have a good look at him, and found the Lion to be in absolutely fantastic condition, verging on fat, and without a scar on his face.

The unknown Lion in Mapungubwe National Park

The unexplained disappearance of young male lions has been a concern in the area for some time and so we are hopeful that the information gained from this collared lion may go some way towards solving the mystery.

Trans-frontier movement of Wild Dogs

The population of Wild Dogs on the South African side of the TFCA swelled enormously recently with a visit from a pack from the Tuli Block in Botswana. The visiting pack, numbering in the 20’s, came across the dry Limpopo River and spent a few days on farmland, some time on Mapungubwe National Park, and a short spell on De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve. They were within a few kilometres of the remaining members of the Venetia Pack, but as far as we can tell, they did not meet up.

The Tuli pack went back across the border to their normal range, but this visit shows how important the expansion of the protected areas is. Same sex groups of Wild Dogs break away from the packs of their birth when they become sexually mature and disperse in search of other dispersing groups looking to form packs. By having the space to do so, much less management intervention will be needed in order for the population to firstly stabilise and also to grow. While the population on the South African side is currently low, we are very optimistic about the future of Wild Dogs in the region as a whole.