This week Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, just east of Graaff-Reinet, in the malaria-free Great Karoo area of the Eastern Cape, South Africa has once again, after 180 years, become home to 3 beautiful young lions.
It’s the culmination of a long and challenging journey for the Buchanan family who have owned the property for more than two decades. “The importance of these introductions are pivotal in helping us reach our goal to establish this property and ultimately the region as a safari destination with all the benefits that ecotourism provides,” says Iain Buchanan.
Dr Susan Miller, Trustee of The Lion Management Forum (LiMF) says, “African lions are declining across much of their range, however, in South Africa, lion populations are thriving with close to 2000 of these magnificent cats found across the country. About a third of these lions are found in small reserves with the success being the reliance on human-assisted movement to mimic natural processes. A reserve, such as Mount Camdeboo, provides a valuable new territory for the species, adding to the growing network of reserves across the country and increasing the footprint of land for lion.
The LiMF enables the sharing of knowledge for the development of best practice guidelines for the management of wild lions. As one of our newest members, Mount Camdeboo Game Reserve, is not only contributing to our vision of ensuring there is a healthy wild lion population in South Africa for future generations to enjoy, but is providing much needed land for these animals, which in turn, facilitates their genetic diversification.” The lions have been relocated from Limpopo’s Marakele National Park and Kwandwe Private Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, as part of their owners’ individual plans to find safe environments for their growing lion populations.
By making the reserve available for species that may otherwise be culled or poached, Mount Camdeboo plays a vital role in the increase in numbers as well as allowing genetic diversity. Buchanan, comments: “The lions have settled down remarkably well and have truly taken to their new home. We have already witnessed a few affectionate moments between them, as they spend the afternoons curled up under a tree, limb to limb. The early signs of a new Pride. As part of our re-wilding mission, reintroducing these magnificent lions and to see their foot prints in the sand gives us incredible fulfilment.
We look forward to encountering them on Mount Camdeboo for our lifetime and hopefully allowing the same for the many more to come. Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve exclusively accommodates 28 guests in three luxurious boutique manor homesteads and two sumptuous safari tents on 14 000 hectares