Club of Mozambique

4:29 CAT | 04 Aug 2018
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The lions were captured in the Tembe Elephant Park and the Makalili Game Reserve in South Africa and transported to the hunting area “Coutada 11” in the Zambezi Delta where they are currently under quarantine. Pictured: Mark Haldane and Anton Smit sit with chief Domingo Bichote and welcome the lions to the area. All photos and captions: Courtesy of 24lions.org

Over the next week, 24 lions will be released in the Zambezi Delta in central Mozambique as part of the largest conservation transplant of lions across international borders in history.

The transfer of lions is part of a project involving the Cabela Family Foundation, in partnership with the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance and Zambeze Delta Safaris, to repopulate 2.5 million acres of lions’ habitat where the species has been endangered.

The lions were captured in the Tembe Elephant Park and the Makalili Game Reserve in South Africa and transported to the hunting area “Coutada 11” in the Zambezi Delta where they are currently under quarantine.

During this period, the lions have formed social groups and they will be released in these prides to increase their chances of reintegrating into the natural environment.

If all goes to plan, over the next thirty years the lion population in the area will increase from 24 to 500. Researchers calculate this could increase the world’s lion population by ten per cent over the next two decades.

Lions play a crucial role of apex predator in balancing the ecosystem. Dan Cabela of the Cabela Family Foundation told AIM “it has been a privilege to participate in this effort with our outstanding partners in Mozambique and elsewhere. We look forward to realising the full potential of the ecosystem becoming balanced again”.

The project has is being undertaken with the full support of Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC).

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The whole team preparing for the first load. Photographers, vets, pilots, and assistants all played important roles in getting the lions prepared for the journey to a whole new ecosystem.
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 Ivan Carter with Dan and Mary Cabela at the quarantine bomas in South Africa.
Ivan Carter with Dan and Mary Cabela at the quarantine bomas in South Africa.
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Hoods placed over the lions eyes help to reduce stress.
 A full plane of lions! Pilot Roger at the wheel and vet Ryan Van Devender on board to keep the girls asleep! 
A full plane of lions! Pilot Roger at the wheel and vet Ryan Van Devender on board to keep the girls asleep!
 The pilot with three young boys and Sean the cameraman.
The pilot with three young boys and Sean the cameraman.