This World Lion Day, (10th August 2023), Morukuru Family and the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation are proud to celebrate their remarkable success story in lion conservation by safeguarding the future of these majestic creatures and their natural habitat while ensuring genetic diversity and a sustainable future within the population.
Lions face various threats in South Africa, including habitat loss, fragmentation, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and illegal trade in lion parts. Thanks to donations to the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation, the guests of Morukuru Family and owners, Ed & Anka Zeeman, essential steps have been taken to ensure the well-being and preservation of the lion population.
Lions hold a crucial position with the ecosystem, exercising top-down control and regulating the populations of herbivores such as wildebeest and zebra, which in return prevents overgrazing and ensures the protection of vegetation. Yet conversely, excessive number of lions can lead to a decline in prey numbers, resulting in dense vegetation and an imbalanced ecosystem. This therefore emphasises the importance of ethical lion management in maintaining a harmonious and balanced ecosystem.
The Madiwke Game Reserve employs several measures to ensure effective lion management. In terms of health, regular vaccinations are administrated to protect against diseases such as rabies or distemper. Lion populations are monitored through genetic profiling, allowing researchers to understand the intricate connections between family trees, ensuring the genetic integrity of lions within Madikwe.
Lion movements are also recorded, providing the reserve management with insights into the seasonal movements of various prides throughout the reserve. Researchers and guides have also implemented lion contraception, preventing overpopulation within a short span of time, allowing for a balanced lion population within the reserve.
“Lion Management is more complicated than just having an optimal number within a reserve, there are multiple different aspects we need to consider. For a Lion population to be sustainable it needs cubs in the mix to ensure the population remains stable and continues with their normal behaviours.” said Shane Kloeck, Conservation & Sustainability Manager, at Morukuru Family Madikwe.
The Morukuru Goodwill Foundation recognises the urgency of addressing the challenges facing the lion population and has supported such initiatives in the Madiwke Game Reserve, ensuring the long-term sustainability of lion populations. The foundation has also been pro-active in the protection of other endangered species, including wild dog, cheetah and rhino. Through Morukuru Family’s renowned Safaris with a Purpose, a three-day interactive safari venture, guests are also able to gain first-hand experience of the conservation efforts within the Madikwe Game Reserve.
“We are so grateful to the vital role our guests play with their donations to the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation. It is such a privilege to be a part of the amazing work being done in protecting and preserving iconic species. Through contraception, vaccinations, genetic profiling, and comprehensive research. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a significant difference in safeguarding the future of these majestic creatures and their natural habitat.” Said Shane who has many years of hands on ranger experience at Morukuru Family Madikwe.
The protective measures in the Madikwe Game Reserve serves as a model as to why conservation go hand in hand with community development and sustainable tourism. The remarkable efforts of the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation and the Madiwke Game Reserve have been pivotal in protecting the lion species and is a testament to the dedication and collaborative spirit of all involved.