LILONGWE, Malawi (05/2012) Through the generous sponsorship of Robin Pope Safaris, four lions from South Africa will re-locate in August to Majete Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Malawi, completing the return of the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) to this pristine forest situated in the lower Shire River valley.
The reintroduction of lions marks a milestone in the rehabilitation of the 173,000-acre Majete reserve. At one time lions were common in the Lower Shire Valley, but over the years, poaching took its toll, and no lions have been reported in the region since the 1980’s.
Since assuming management of the park in 2003, the non-profit organization, African Parks, has been systematically resurrecting Majete: the park has been fenced, infrastructure developed and more than 12 different species, totaling some 2500 animals, introduced. The safety that the perimeter fence and law enforcement programs provide, along with an abundance of prey, has now created an environment in which lions can once again thrive.
Because there are no suitable lion populations available in Malawi, two male and two female lions, are being sourced through the North West Parks and Tourism Board in South Africa. Healthy animals at the beginning of their reproductive lives have been selected from Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Reserve. The intricate relocation process will involve weeks of quarantine on both sides of the border. It will be a costly operation with holding facilities erected and flights chartered to transport the predators to their new home. These costs are being covered by Robin Pope Safaris (RPS), the celebrated photographic safari company with properties in both Zambia and Malawi, including the luxury lodge Mkulumadzi in Majete. RPS is passionate about and committed to the preservation of the eco-systems within which they operate, as evidenced by their numerous responsible tourism initiatives, from reforestation programs, to financial support for a number of conservations projects (e.g., preservation of various wildlife and fish species), from recycling to energy-saving ventures and more.
The reintroduction of lions to the Majete forest will not only restore the park to a naturally-functioning eco-system, but will once again render Majete a Big Five reserve: it already boasts elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard. With the opening last year Robin Pope Safaris’ luxury lodge, Mkulumadzi, and with the only Big Five game-viewing experience available in Malawi, Majete’s future looks bright.
Contact: African Parks
Mrs. Jane Edge, Director of Marketing and Philanthropy
Or visit: www.african-parks.org
Contact: Robin Pope Safaris
Or visit: www.robinpopesafaris.net