29th August 2012: “Relocating the Royal Couple and the Akeru Males”
Written By: Emily Henson & Jason Turner
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 15:06pm
It has been an extremely busy time, here at the Global White Lion Protection Trust, in facilitating the next steps for the Royal Pride and Akeru Pride. In order to simulate Nature as closely as possible, a huge operation was undertaken to relocate 4 of our White Lions involving a small team of staff and professionals: Linda Tucker (CEO), Angela Neumann (donor and specialist animal communicator), Jason Turner (Lion Ecologist) and the outstanding veterinarian that assists the Trust, Dr Peter Rogers and his assistant Janelle Genis. Thanks to the expertise and care taking by all concerned the relocation was a total success, with minimal impact and stress to the lions.
The relocation of the Royal Couple and Akeru Males, was a necessary next step. Due to the challenges of acquiring new land / territories for the lions, the WLT has to simulate nature as closely as possible, and therefore relocate / redistribute lions to different parts of our conservancy when necessary. In a completely open ecosystem (eg. Kruger National Park or Serengeti National Park), Nature would dictate that the young males of a pride at the age of 2.5 to 3.0 years old, leave the pride and find their own territory. These subadult males would normally be ousted from the pride by the dominant, resident male – Nature’s way of ensuring gene flow / pure bloodlines. This same dynamic was observed within the Royal Pride, with the two male offspring beginning to challenge their father’s dominance and authority as the pride male. Thanks to Mandla’s high tolerance and patience, serious conflict did not take place, but tensions were rising, and a serious confrontation would be inevitable – as suggested by the heated interaction described in the previous journal update “Royals Reign Supreme” (October 2011). The necessity of the WLT to have to simulate the natural dynamics of ecosystems is a prime example of the global crisis in conservation – humankind’s desire to own and manage / exploit Nature and the natural balance of ecosystems, through destruction of Natural areas for agriculture, development, industry and human habitation. Every piece of remaining land that can be used for conservation purposes is therefore vital, and it is critical that we continue to remove fences, expanding conservation areas, to restore the natural balance.
The Royal Couple were relocated to Shidolo, the primary reintroduction area, a perfect training ground for them to, hopefully, raise a new litter of cubs. The Akeru Males, by contrast, had completely dominated in their territory (Shidolo) and needed to be moved to the new and larger territory of Mbube (715 hectares), to be joined in a few months time by the Golden Girls (tawny lionesses) to likewise have cubs. The reason for the delay in the Golden Girls joining the Akeru Males is due to the 2nd predator-proof fence not being complete yet – although only a single fence is required by law, the WLT is implementing a double predator-fence (which is also leopard tortoise and pangolin friendly) to safeguard the lions from poaching or escaping into certain of the neighbouring areas where they would be shot or hunted. Donations are still urgently needed to assist with the completion of the 2nd fence – please see the ‘sponsor a metre of fencing’ campaign on the WLT’s website and FaceBook Page.
NOTE: the Akeru Pride comprises two rewilded white lion males integrated with two wild-born tawny lionesses – this is fundamental to the WLT’s long-term objective, to restore the natural balance with white lions being born, in their natural habitat, to tawny prides at a frequency of occurrence determined by Nature. This can only truly happen once White Lions are protected by law, and may not be artificially removed or trophy hunted within their natural habitat of the Greater Timbavati Region.