Mount Camdeboo has lions again after 180 years

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 14 May 2019

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape has just this week introduced three new lions to its 14,000-hectare grounds.

This will be the first time in 180 years that the reserve has been inhabited by lions, and it’s all thanks to conservation efforts to help increase the semi-desert region’s genetic diversity in the reserve and protect the lion populations. The three young lions were brought to Mount Camdeboo, east of Karoo gem Graaff-Reinet from Marakele National Park, in Limpopo’s beautiful Waterberg.

The private game reserve has been in the Buchanan family for over 20 years, and the addition of their new wild cat neighbours had been in the pipeline for some time. ‘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.

Iain Buchanan of Mount Camdeboo with one of the new residents, a young lioness.

Dr Susan Miller, Trustee of the Lion Management Forum of South Africa (LiMF), says that the African lion populations have been declining across much of their range. ‘However, in South Africa, lion populations are thriving with close to 2,000 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 the LiMF’s newest members, Mount Camdeboo Game Reserve plays a valuable role in providing land for new lion populations to thrive and roam free.

‘The lions have settled down remarkably well and have truly taken to their new home,’ remarked Buchanan. ‘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 footprints in the sand gives us incredible fulfillment. We look forward to encountering them on Mount Camdeboo for our lifetime and hopefully allowing the same for the many more to come.’

Featured images supplied by Newmark Hotels

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