Lion is the second-largest cat in the world, and they have sparked the popular imagination for centuries, inspiring many fictional characters like Shere Khanin in The Jungle Book; Aslanin in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeand the unforgettable Mufasa from The Lion King.
Three million years ago, lion roamed all over Africa and the Eurasian supercontinent, but today it is considered a “vulnerable” species. Researchers estimate that there is between 30,000 and 100,000 lion left on Earth and without significant intervention, lions could be added to the endangered list, meaning they will be at risk of extinction. World Lion Day, is an opportunity for lion lovers to reflect on the king of beasts and to honour this apex predator.
Morukuru Family is situated in the Madikwe Game Reserve where prides of lion are able to roam free in 75 000 hectares of protected bushveld. Our experienced and highly trained rangers love sharing their knowledge about all wildlife, but teaching guests about tracking lion is always a favourite practice - for both ranger and guest. Ranger Evan Vermeulan gave us some tips which you can put into action when you are next at Madikwe.
1: Check for tracks. Which direction are they heading? Is the spoor fresh? Old tracks will not deliver successful results.
2: Listen for alarm calls from other animals and birds. If you hear impala barking out alarm calls this could be a sign that Lion is in the area.
3: Environmental factors can also give clues - think about the time of day, the terrain, the wind and the season. Are you near a water source?
4: Be alert - keep your eyes and ears open. Look up as well as down - crows or other birds of prey circling above is a dead give away. Listen out for lion calling - this is called vocalisation.
5: Study the bushveld -is there flat grass where Lion has laid down? Are there signs of males marking territory.