Lions released in Karoo National Park after 170 years

South Africa’s Karoo National Park has welcomed the arrival of lions in the park for the first time after an absence of 170 years.

Two male lions, two lionesses and four cubs were released from the boma in Karoo National Park (situated north east of Cape Town), becoming the first wild, free-ranging lions in the arid Great Karoo. According to records, the last wild lion was shot at the nearby settlement of Leeu-Gamka in 1842.

The eight lions have been resident in the park bomas since last year to allow them to adjust to their new environment. The lions were brought in from Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape, where the establishment of a lion population has been successful.

South African National Parks (SANParks) decided to introduce lions to the Karoo National Park in its efforts to restore the natural predator-prey balance in the ecosystem and to ensure that natural inhabitants of the area are conserved.

“Apart from their biodiversity value, the introduction of lions will have great tourism value for the Karoo National Park and for the Great Karoo Region,” said Regional General Manager, Lucius Moolman.

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