The project operates a stud book with the intention of meeting international standards in order to maintain accurate reporting of the animals held within the program. These details are summarized here.
LIONS OWNED BY ALERT AND CURRENT STATUS WITHIN THE PROGRAM
The following animals are owned by ALERT, having been donated to the Charity by Antelope Park or Lion Encounter Zambia, or are the offspring of those lions that have been born within release areas.
Released: Ashanti, Kenge, Kwali, Nala*, Phyre, Milo, AT1, KE3, KE4, AS4, AS5
AT1, KE3, KE4, AS4 & AS5 were born in the release area
Released: Kela, Kwandi, Leya, Loma, Rusha 2, Temi, Zulu, RS1, RS2, RS3
RS1, RS2 & RS3 were born in the release area
|Antelope Park||2||Under review: Athena (vi), Narnia* (vii)||2|
Figures correct as at 18th November 2013
(i) Donated by Antelope Park
(ii) Donated by Lion Encounter Zambia
(iii) The 15 recorded births were six litters (3 x 2 cubs & 3 x 3 cubs) born to the Ngamo pride post release.
(iv) The 13 lions recorded as having died are cubs born to the pride post-release that failed to thrive (6) or were killed (or assumed to have been killed) by an adult female within the pride (7). Lions often lose their first litter and this initial level of reproductive success was therefore expected.
(v) Two of the lions (marked *) were being given sanctuary to save them from being euthanized. These lions have been successfully integrated into the release program; however, as they were inbred, they have been spayed so as to avoid uncontrolled breeding of potentially deleterious genes within their release pride.
(vi) Athena was removed from the Ngamo release site after displaying predatory behaviour towards the cubs of other pride females. She is being housed in an enclosure at Antelope Park's breeding program whilst her status in the program is under review.
(vii) Narnia suffered a prolapsed disc and has been removed from the Ngamo release site to an adjacent management enclosure in the hope that she might recover, although it is unlikely she will be able to return to the release site.
LIONS OWNED BY ANTELOPE PARK & LION ENCOUNTER AND CURRENT STATUS WITHIN THE PROGRAM
The following animals are owned by Antelope Park, Lion Encounter Zimbabwe or Lion Encounter Zambia, the commercial operations with which ALERT is partnered and that fund and operate most elements of the release program.
ALERT presents only summary information here; any queries should be directed to Antelope Park or Lion Encounter as ALERT does not hold detailed records of lions not owned by the Charity.
|Antelope Park||94||Breeding (e): Achillies, Amandla, Amghela, Apollo, Arthur, Batoka, Casper, Chabalala, Chaka, Chando, Chemma, Chengeta, Damisi, Echo, Etosha, Kanu, Kosey, Kwezi, Landela, Lina, Lisha, Lokothula, Lozi, Ltalo, Luangwa, Lungile, Mamba, Mambo, Mana, Masai, Maximus, Maxwell, Msasa, Mufasa, Paka, Penduka, Phoenix, Praise, Sango||39|
|Stage One Walking: Dala, Dingane, Kariba, Kaya, Kundiso, Sikumi||6|
|Stage One Night Encounter: Laili, Lewa, Paza, Penya, Rusizi, Ruvubu, Sengwa, Savuti, Thembile, Thuli||10|
|Awaiting Release: Bhubesi, Chete, Chisa, Chobe, Chundu, Jabari, Jelani, Mara*, Meeka, Moyo*, Sahara, Soriah, Swahili, Tsavo||14|
|Sanctuary: Amy**, Anna, Ariel**, Bakari*, Big Boy*/**, Boma*, Cheeky**, Cleo**, Elsa**, Emma**, Ezulu, Kenya*/**, Kufara*, Kutanga*, Lola*, Lulu, Mafuta, Melanie**, Monde*, Mvuthu*, Nadia, Nandi*, Simba*, Slwane*, Zuva**||25|
|Victoria Falls||4||Stage One Walking: Savannah, Shingalana, Wadiwa, Washe||4|
|Livingstone||27||Breeding (e): Nyika, Subi, Rundi, Toka, Tswana||5|
|Awaiting Release: Damara, Dendi, Madoda, Munali, Zambezi, Zamfara, Zaria||7|
|Stage One Walking: Kasama, Kovu, Namwala, Nembwe, Nkoya, Nalo, Nacha, Ndulu, Nuru, Sadiki, Sarabi, Sekani, Songwe||13|
|Sanctuary: Bemba, Bisa,||2|
Details correct as at 18th November 2013. The status of lions can change.
(i & ii) Donated to ALERT by Antelope Park.
(iii) Donated to ALERT by Lion Encounter Zambia
(iv) Twenty-nine (23%) of the total number of lions are being provided sanctuary for the following reasons:
a) 14 (marked *) were brought in to the program to save them from being euthanized. Where possible these lions are being integrated into the release program. Two of these lions (Big Boy & Kenya) are FIV+ (marked */**) and cannot be released or join the breeding group. One lion (Nandi) is inbred and may be suitable for release at a later date if an appropriate kin group can be identified. If this lion is released she will be spayed to prevent passing on potentially deleterious genes.
b) 8 further lions (marked **) are FIV positive and are not suitable for breeding or release.
c) 4 further lions have been deemed not suitable for breeding or release: 2 (Nadia & Ezulu) due to curvature of the spine, 2 lions (Bemba & Bisa) as coming from a genetically compromised lineage. These latter two females may be suitable for release if they are spayed and an appropriate kin group can be identified.
d) 3 (Anna, Lulu & Mafuta) are breeding females deemed too old to continue breeding.
e) Listing as a breeding lion should not be interpeted that the listed lion will not be released at a future date when a suitable location / pride is available
Inbreeding depression in the conservation genetics of captive populations
High levels of inbreeding can result in reduced genetic variation, low reproductive performance and increased cub mortality, as well as reduced immune competence (Trinkel et al., 2008; Stein, 1999; Frankham, 1995; Thornhill, 1993). It is commonly asserted that a managed population of 50 individuals of reproductive age is desirable to avoid inbreeding depression in captive populations (Franklin, 1980; Soulé, 1980, 1987; Frankham, 1995).
At present Antelope Park has 39 lions with the status "breeding" and Lion Encounter Zambia has 5, for a total of 44 breeding lions, although not all are being used for breeding at any given time.
SOURCE OF THE LIONS MARKED AS 'IN'
A total of 74 lions have been brought into the program over the period. Nine of these were given to Antelope Park from one owner in Hwange who was no longer able to keep them. Four were rescued from a farm near Bulawayo where they would have been shot unless sanctuary was provided. Nine were given sanctuary at the request of the Zimbabwe National Parks & Wildlife Authority during the process of a forced closure of a lion breeding centre within the country. One lion was wild and originated from Hwange National Park. This lion was captured to save him from destruction after he killed several cattle in the Livingstone area of Zambia. The remainder were brought in from other breeders to extend the gene pool within the program.
DESTINATIONS OF THE LIONS MARKED AS 'OUT'
15 lions were donated to ALERT for release into the next stage of the program; the Ngamo & Dambwa release prides. Two animals were sold, one male (Tamba) and one female (Abby), to another breeding centre within Zimbabwe in 2005. One inbred lion (Nduna) for which Antelope Park was providing sanctuary was transferred to Ballyvaughan Sanctuary in Harare at their request and one adult breeding male (Teddy) was transferred to Imire, near Harare, at their request, both in 2009. Two lions were transferred to Zambezi Nature Sanctuary at their request. One was a seven year old male (Mickey) with deformities of his reproductive system, the other was a stunted female (Alice) aged nine years old; neither lion could be released. One lion (Dynamite aka Hero) that was captured in Livingstone (in January 2012) in a problem animal control operation, and given sanctuary at Lion Encounter Zambia, was taken by the Zambia Wildlife Authority (November 2012) with the intention of releasing him in Kafue National Park.
DETAILS OF DEATHS RECORDED
Of the 100 cubs born into the program over this period 25 (25%) failed to thrive.
Fourteen (14) lions have been euthanized; one suffered from leukemia (Becka), seven due to complications arising from nutritional deficiencies (Bill, Ben, Lucky & Leo, Ruma, Rufiji & Rwanda), one due to kidney failure (Acacia), four due to deformities developed in old age (Kate, Kitty, Lucy & Penga) and one that attacked a young girl who pushed her hands through the enclosure fence (Sandy).
Twenty-four (24) further deaths occurred within the program for a variety of reasons: one choked on a piece of bone (PK); two were hit by a train in Zambezi National Park (TJ & J-Leigh), one did not wake up from anaesthesia during a routine veterinary operation (Marcus), one was found drowned in their enclosure - cause of death unknown (Bob), two as a result of bites from venomous snakes (Nanu & LC), one died as a result of an ectopic pregnancy (Rosie), one from liver related problems (Puma), one from several internal organ failures (Amanzi), one from peptic ulcer disease (Langa), one from respiratory failure (Chipo), one from pneumonia (Amber), one from rabies (Tanaka - aka Meggie) and ten lions were killed during fights or as a result of injuries from fights with other lions (Luke, Nirvana, Dhakiya, Kali, LeeLee, Jospehine, Mampara, Muti, Thulani & Rusha 1).
Frankham, R. (1995) Conservation Genetics. Annual Review of Genetics 29: 305 – 27.
Franklin, I.R. (1980) Evolutionary change in small populations. In: Conservation Biology: An evolutionary Ecological Perspective. (eds Soulé, M.E., Wilcox, B.A.) Sinauer, Sunderland MA: pp. 135 – 49.
Soulé, M.E. (1980) Thresholds for survival: maintaining fitness and evolutionary potential. In: Conservation Biology: An evolutionary Ecological Perspective. (eds Soulé, M.E., Wilcox, B.A.) Sinauer, Sunderland MA: pp. 151 – 70.
Soulé, M.E. (1987) Introduction pp. 1 – 9. In: Viable Populations for Conservation (ed. Soulé, M.E.), Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Stein, B. (1999) Genetic variation and depletion in a population of lions (Panthera leo) in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. MAgric thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
Thornhill, N.W., ed. (1993) The Natural History of Inbreeding and Outbreeding: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 575 pp.
Trinkel, M., Ferguson, N., Reid, A., Reid, C., Somers, M, et al. (2008) Translocating lions into an inbred lion population in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa. Animal Conservation 11: 138 – 143.
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