An African lion (dreamstime_857929namibia)

Lions return to Malawi for the first time in 30 years

27th May 2012

A Malawian reserve will take delivery of four lions in August, returning the 'big five' to the park for the first time since the 1980s

This August the Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi will take delivery of four lions seeing the return of the big cats to the country for the first time since the 1980s. The reserve is currently home to elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards but the introduction of the lions will complete the 'big five'.

The return is a milestone for the reserve as is rehabilitates 70,000 hectares of land in the lower Shire River Valley. Lions were once common in the area but, following prolonged poaching, scouts reported sightings only once every 100 days in the 1960s until the species disappeared entirely in the 1980s.

The lions will come from South Africa with the help of funding from Robin Pope Safaris. Malawi is not known for the diversity of its wildlife but the two male and two female lions will join the 2,500 other animals in the reserve, restoring the park to a naturally functioning ecosystem.

The management at Majete, since it took over in 2003, has resurrected the infrastructure and installed and ensured the safety of a perimeter fence and law enforcement programmes. These developments, along with an abundance of prey, mean that the reserve now offers an environment in which lions can thrive.

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