Zimbabwe’s Long Shield Lion Guardians program tracked two lions from Hwange National Park with GPS collars. Here’s where they went.
Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is one of the world’s great wildlife sanctuaries—a safe haven for some 50,000 elephants, as well as giraffes, zebras, wild dogs, leopards and lions. The latter of which, numbering around 700, are treasured sightings for visitors to the park. Unfortunately, lions have no sense of park boundaries, and frequently cross over into unprotected lands, which are home to dozens of communities that rely on cattle husbandry for income.
Indagare Impact initiatives fully fund the Long Shields Lion Guardians program (an organization overseen by Wildlife Conservation Research Unit), which works with these communities to foster a peaceful coexistence between lions, locals and their livestock. “In the communities around Hwange National Park, with GPS satellite collars, we aim to closely monitor lion prides that are likely to come into conflict with people and provide an early warning system to the community,” says research manager Jane Hunt. “Through a Whatsapp group, the Guardians are part of a live feed of information and are able to react quickly to potential problems. When lions move out of the protected area into community lands, the local Guardian is alerted and they in turn inform their community to move their livestock elsewhere. In some cases, the Guardians physically…chase the lions from community lands and back into the protected area.”
Recently, the team has collared three new lions with the GPS trackers (as well as replaced a collar on another lion). With the collars, Long Shields Lion Guardians can now see where the lions travel on a daily basis. Here, we share the movements of two Hwange lions, Sandile and Mancane.
Sandile: 133 miles in 42 days
Average Daily Movement: 3 miles
Maximum Daily Movement: 11.7 miles
From Long Shields Lion Guardians: “Sandile was born to the Ngamo split of the Back Pans pride in June 2019. She moves about areas adjacent to the Tsholotsho communities, with a cohort sister, Ntombi. Both females have cubs which are still suckling, the cubs have not yet been seen but are expected to be around 3 to 4 months. We know that prior to deploying the collars, these lions have been going out into the communities and causing conflict. Since collaring we have been alerted when she crosses the boundary and comes into close proximity with people and their livestock so have been able to send warning alerts.”
Mancane: 158 miles in 39 days
Average Daily Movement: 4 miles
Maximum Daily Movement: 9.9 miles
From Long Shields Lion Guardians: “A little younger than Sandile, Mancane was also born to the Ngamo split of the Back Pans pride in October 2021. Her father was a male lion we knew well, Lesang. At present Mancane is still with her natal pride, but on occasion disperses with her 4 remaining cohort brothers. This tends to happen when they are chased out by the new males that have come into the area. We have suspected that these youngsters do sometimes go into the communities in Tsholotsho, and this has been proven since deploying the collar.”
Contact Indagare or your trip designer to learn more about traveling to Zimbabwe through an Indagare Safari, and learn more about Indagare’s carbon neutrality status and commitment to Long Shields Lion Guardians and other programs through our Indagare Impact initiatives.