Large male lion successfully re-collared
Radio collars are vital for data collection on the movements of lions as well as the prey species these predators will take down. Within a closed ecosystem the risk of a lion leaving the safety of the reserve requires attention. David and Chris Sussens have ably monitored the movements of a large male on the reserve via the GPS collar. Typically, when a lion spends lengthy periods of time in the same area they are feeding on a kill, this allows the researchers to collect important information on prey species, aiding Chris and David in correctly managing the animal numbers on the reserve, to ensure the ecosystem is able to sustain both predator and prey. Should the male manage to leave the reserve he would be in grave danger and thus a radio collar becomes essential for the lion’s protection. Once a collar’s battery dies the animal needs to be darted and re-collared.
Chris and David began the action early in the morning before sunrise, the operation is conducted in the early morning because temperatures soar during the summer months as the sun drifts higher into the sky, adding risk to the lion’s well-being, the lion was located shortly after the team’s departure from camp. Rita Piso (Mangata Wildlife Veterinary Services) and her colleagues quickly got to work.
Once the lion was darted the team waited approximately 15 minutes for him to fall asleep, Rita then diligently tended to the animal’s well-being whilst the old collar was removed and a new one fitted. This process took close to another 15 minutes and once completed the Tshukudu and veterinary teams moved away from the animal and kept watch over him until he awoke. Within minutes he overcame his grogginess and was entirely in control of his faculties, another greatly rewarding success for all parties involved in the protection and monitoring of one of Tshukudu Game Reserve’s icons.
We’d like to thank the Le Roux and Erasmus families for funding this entire operation, their generosity made the procedure possible and we are deeply grateful for their assistance.
If anyone is interested in donating towards future conservation activities please contact Tshukudu Game Reserve.
T: +27 (0) 13 492 0339 / 0340
T: +27 (0) 15 793 2476 / 1886