Reintroduction - Kalahari Game Lodge

Large carnivore populations, especially lions and wild dogs, have declined considerably over the last few decades due to conflict with livestock farmers. This conflict also led to a reduction in the distribution of large carnivores and they are now mainly restricted to protected areas. One of the long-term objectives for large carnivore conservation in Namibia, stipulated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, is to identify key areas for the reintroduction of large carnivores, such as lions, cheetahs and wild dogs.

The fast growing tourism industry in Namibia has in many cases led to a change in land-use practices from livestock farming to eco-tourism activities that is frequently based on wildlife safaris. This shift in land tenure systems have created suitable habitat for many wildlife species, including large carnivores. This development has led to opportunities and demand for the reintroduction of large carnivores.

The Kalahari Game Lodge, as a prime example of the eco-tourism revolution, transformed 270 sqr km of traditionally sheep farming land into a wildlife area that generates income from tourism and hunting. The land supports approximately 8000 medium to large-sized animals, ranging from springbok to eland. The land is surrounded by a sound game-proof fence that, in conjunction with its size and the size of the prey population, makes it an ideal location for the reintroduction of large carnivores. The owner of the Kalahari Game Lodge, Mr Marius Els, became interested in reintroducing lions and initiated the process in 1998.

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