Let’s talk about Lion Walking
There is a lot of speculation around any form of activity which involves wildlife interaction.
Unfortunately, there are many examples out there which contribute towards this; through the mistreatment of animals, supporting of the canned hunting industry or exploiting these incredible animals.
As part of phase 1 of our ALERT model, we offer guests and volunteers the opportunity to take part in our lion walks.
It is with extensive research by qualified PhD researchers, that we have full confidence in our model and how the role of lion walks, contribute towards this.
The situation with lions right now
Nearly 80 years ago, there were an estimated 200,000 lions roaming the wild (WWF Living Planet Report 2016). Today, there are less than 22,000, demonstrating a 43% decline in the last 25 years (1993-2018) alone (ALERT) across the whole of Africa!
Source: Brilliant Maps – Historic vs Present Geographical Distribution of Lions
Why do we offer walking with lions?
Lion walks offer wildlife enthusiasts the chance to find out more about the African lion and raise awareness about the situation, around the dwindling number of lions, remaining in Africa.
Our walking cubs act as ambassadors to wild lions. This rare and unique opportunity to interact with these cubs helps us with our goal, to encourage others to become passionate about saving these incredible animals on a larger scale.
We have strict rules in place during these walks, to ensure the lions are treated with the utmost care and can behave naturally; providing valuable data for our researchers and our ALERT program.
Lion Walks: Why do we do it?
Our program copies exactly how a cub would become familiar with the bush in the wild.
The purpose of our lion walks is to help introduce these cubs to their natural habitat and to put their natural instincts, such as hunting, into practice.
These cubs are still at a safe age to be in the presence of people.
These lion walks provide vital income, which contributes towards our impending Release into the Wild program and our conservation efforts at Antelope Park, Wildlife Encounter (Victoria Falls) and beyond.
Our mission is not only to make our footprint in conservation but to also support our local communities.
The income generated supports the rehabilitation of Chizarira National Park, where Antelope Park & Wildlife Encounter together, has already invested over $300,000, to restore this national park to its full potential.
What is Phase 1 of the ALERT Release into the Wild Program?
Our resident lions, who have previously participated in these walks produce offspring, that are raised by our experienced lion handlers and through these walks, become accustomed to their natural environment.
Our volunteers are present on these walks and create the essence of ‘the pride’ with these cubs.
Is phase 1 of the ALERT program working?
It is clear to see this phase of the program is very effective, as one of our walking cubs, Lala- Meka made her first kill, single-handedly took down an adult wildebeest at just 14 months old, during a long lion walk, demonstrating her natural instincts are enhanced through these walks in her natural habitat.
What happens to our lions after walking?
In the later stages of phase 1, post walking; our cubs take part in the day and night encounters.
This is where they roam freely around the park, following a vehicle; putting their natural hunting instincts into practice.
With a very impressive 40% kill rate on this encounter, these natural instincts are innate and still very present, even after human interaction.
What are sticks used for on lion walks?
All participants in lions walks are required to carry a stick. These sticks are and have always been an essential part of the lion walks for many different reasons.
Carrying a stick for many provides a sense of confidence while walking in the bush.
These sticks can also be used as a means of distraction or a play tool for the lions during these walks, so if these lions show any signs of misbehaviour, the stick is a good tool to distract them, by rustling the grass or point in a different direction.
The sticks also provide participants with a piece of mind, as it keeps a distance between the people and lions on walks.
Where lions are social animals, the stick can act as an extension of the arm to create distance.
The sticks are never used as a means of discipline. They never have been and never will be.
Where do the walks take place?
We currently offer lion walks at Wildlife Encounter (Victoria Falls.)
7 Popular Lion Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does a lion move around its environment?
Their tan color allows lions to blend in with the savannas, open woodlands and deserts in which they live. … Lions primarily hunt hoofed animals, such as zebras and wildebeest, so they have developed loose skin on their bellies that protects them from the frantic kicks of their prey.
What are 3 interesting facts about lions?
- Living in the grasslands, scrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa, the lion is the second largest cat in the world (behind tigers).
- African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or “prides.” …
- Lions live for about 10-14 years in the wild.
Do lions eat everyday?
Lions need an average of 11 to 15 pounds of meat per day, but they do not need to eat every day. If a lion makes a large kill, it may eat up to 66 pounds of meat at once and then not eat for several days.
How often do lions make a kill?
As a rule, they hunt mostly at night and rest during the day but are often active at dawn and dusk and on cooler days. During the day they rest in thorn thickets, often near water holes. Lions are believed to feed every three or four days and need on average between 5kg and 7kg of meat a day.
How often are lion hunts successful?
Black-footed cats are astonishingly active and successful nocturnal hunters – one scientist’s observations show they make a hunting attempt every 30 minutes, and are successful 60 per cent of the time, making them one of the world’s most efficient predators
Why is a lion a good predator?
By hunting together, lions are able to exhaust and kill their prey. Sometimes they scavenge or steal from other predators like cheetahs or hyenas. … Lions lack the speed and endurance of many of their prey. By working as a team, they increase their odds for a successful hunt.
How many days can a lion stay without food?
Cubs will start chewing on meat at about 6 – 8 weeks old, when their teeth are starting to develop. How long can they go without eating or drinking? They can go without food for a maximum of 14 days and without water for 4 days but will eat wild cucumbers and wild melons to extract the moisture content.