The King is back
By our researcher – Sander Vissia
Lions are returning to central Tuli after historical displacement by hunting and killing. They are coming back thanks to the growing prey populations found in Central Tuli and better protection, allowing Central Tuli to act as a critical dispersal area for lions from neighbouring Northern Tuli Game Reserve and Mapungubwe National Park and surrounding game reserves in South Africa. Thriving populations of impala, zebra, wildebeest and eland form the key prey base for the returning lion population.
Central Tuli lies in the heart of an important landscape that could create a wildlife corridor to allow greater movements of animal species, including elephant and lion. Ensuring the continued conservation of central Tuli is therefore vital to keep this large landscape dream alive. With the return of a sub-adult male coalition of three and a possible pride that is forming consisting out of 2/3 females and 1 adult male, we are excited and hopeful that after many years we will have resident lion prides in central Tuli.
The conspicuous absence of lions from central Tuli has been a quiet reminder of the human-carnivore conflict and the retaliatory killing that followed livestock depredation events. With the construction of a new backline fence, increased anti-poaching and research presence on the ground, we hope to see the lions stay to build a larger pride once they get settled.