Lions Relocations: Responding to Human-Wildlife Conflict
In one of the neighboring communities next to Mana Pools, Chundu village, an unexpected and challenging situation arose when a pride of lions took up residence and began preying on livestock. Unfortunately this is an example of human-wildlife conflict that we are work with the Utariri Programme to minimise. The community was directly impacted, and their response was to chase the lions away. Inevitably, the lions sought refuge in a neighbouring community, triggering alarm bells throughout the region.
Responding to the urgent call, a proficient team was assembled, composed of dedicated members from Bushlife Safaris, including Bushlife Support Unit Operations Manager Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane, alongside experts from Zimbabwe National Parks and the Zimbabwe National Parks Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Columbas Chaitezvi . Our mission: to safely capture and relocate the lions.
A successful mission
The operation was executed with utmost professionalism and achieved a resounding success, resulting in the safe capture of four lions. Among them were one sub-adult male, one sub-adult female, and two adult females. They were darted, safely placed into cages and were carefully transported to the Sapi/Chewore North region. The lions were released at night time there.
To ensure ongoing monitoring of the lions’ behaviour and location, one of the adult females was fitted with a tracking collar. This would provide valuable insights into their movements and activities, contributing to a better understanding of their behaviour.
A Personal Story Too:
Lovison Ncube, currently serving as a Wildlife Officer in Nyamepi within the Mana Pools area, shares a remarkable history with our BSU Operations Manager, Freedom. Their journey began as young men, both joining the Parks service in their twenties. Freedom was stationed at Main Camp, while Lovison’s role was based at Robins Camp.
In 2007, both individuals embarked on a shared educational endeavour, enrolling at the esteemed Mushandike Wildlife College, now recognized as the Institute of Wildlife Management. It was there that they pursued and earned their National Certificates, solidifying their foundation of knowledge in wildlife management. After a time together at Zimbabwe National Parks doing anti-poaching work, their paths diverged until Freedom and Lovison met up again for this project of relocating these lions! How wonderful that their passion for conservation has maintained a strong camaraderie for all these years.
We congratulate Zimbabwe National Parks, Zimbabwe National Parks Chief Veterinarian Dr. Chaitezvi and the Bushlife Safaris team on this relocation of lions which really showcases everyone’s dedication and passion for wildlife, and the ability to collaborate and work with wildlife partners for a common cause.