October 21, 2014

Lion Darting - touching a lioness

Roy Nijenkamp, a Safari Guide student at EcoTraining was one of the students who got to participate in a lion darting on Selati Game Reserve. He shares his experience.

"Our group had the privilege to spend three nights at Selati, Arriving in the afternoon; we went for our first game drive. After a nice drive and sundowner, we headed back towards our camp. After a while we saw some tail lights in the distance and almost immediately someone from a research programme contacted us by radio. They requested us to stop and wait for 15-30 minutes or turn around.

Since it would take us an extra 20 minutes to take a different road, we were happy to wait and hoped we could take a glimpse after they left. After about 20 minutes we were contacted again and asked if we would like to follow them to their main camp as they had tranquilized a lioness. We followed the pickup truck with the lioness in the back and shortly thereafter we we’re followed by a second pickup truck.

Arriving at their main camp it turned out there was not only one, but two lionesses! The first female was laid down on the ground and they had to replace her collar as the battery was dead.  Afterwards we were all given the unique experience of touching the large and impressive animal. The other lioness had an anticonception capsule, the size of a rice grain, removed from under here shoulder. These small capsules can last up to 5 years, but are replaced after 2-3 years, to allow her to come into oestrous for cubs. The whole procedure took about 20 minutes, where after the lionesses were taken back and monitored through the night until the tranquilizer has worn off”

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