By Lucy Harvey
A conservation coordinator has shared one of ‘history’s biggest habitat recovery project’ which started with 24 lions and now has over 60.
Ivan Carter, 50, helped relocate 24 wild lions to increase the wild life at Zabeze Delta Conservation, South Africa – an area which had been without predators for 30 years due to poachers.
After careful consideration, Ivan and the team, selected the healthiest lions to transport via car and plane to their forever home which has two million acres of land in May 2018.
The project was a massive success as they have now tripled in numbers and there’s over 60 lions.
Ivan from White River, South Africa, said: “It was quite exciting moving the lions from around five different locations in South Africa.
“We had to pick those with good genetics and health who have been roaming free all of their lives – this was done by taking them to the vets for tests prior to putting them into quarantine.
“They were in a large enclosure for six weeks and put into groups so they could integrate, otherwise, they would have just walked straight off and the habitat recovery project would have been unsuccessful.
“We had to get various permits and vet certificates and had to ensure the Zabeza Delta conservation had enough prey base there for the lions to survive.
“The whole project took ten weeks, from the moment the first dart was shot to the second the first lion stepped foot back into the wild.
“It was an unbelievably momentous moment watching the majestic lion repopulating the area!”
Ivan praises Cabela Family Foundation for funding the relocation, seven years of follow up science and research and protection for the lions.
He said: “Without the foundation, we would have never been able to make this happen.
“They also paid for satellite collars for the original lions – we have biologists on the ground who are always studying.
“An anti poaching team is also funded to keep the lions and wildlife of the area safe.
“This project has been a complete rejuvenation of wild lions and they have done really well.”
The relocation was caught on camera by photographer Sean Viljoen who has shared the images.