PPF ZA logoPEACE PARKS FOUNDATION

Kgalagadi lion research

5 January 2016

© Maya and Otto Beukes
© Maya and Otto Beukes
Visitors come from far and wide to see the magnificent lion of the Kgalagadi, the apex predator of the transfrontier park. Following an outbreak of canine distemper in 2009, a population survey detected an alarming gender bias towards males in all age classes. This predicted a pending lion population collapse. Researchers suggested several explanations, one of which was associated with the body condition of females during pregnancy. Females with improving body conditions during pregnancy tend to produce more male cubs.
Maya and Otto Beukes with a lion about to be collared
Maya and Otto Beukes with a lion about to be collared
Consequently a detailed two-year demographic and dietary study of the lion population was initiated. Thanks to a donation from the Turner Foundation, Peace Parks Foundation supported the research. Two MTech research students, Maya and Otto Beukes from the Department of Conservation and Marine Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, conducted 26 months’ of fieldwork to gain insight into the lion population dynamics and diet. Both the research projects have been highly praised, with Maya winning first prize for her presentation on the spatial and temporal variation of the lion diet at a Southern African Wildlife Management Association conference, while Otto was runner-up on his presentation on the demographic characteristics of the lion.
From the 1 162 lions encountered between May 2013 and June 2015, 268 unique individuals could be identified, using whisker spot patterns. This database of individuals is used to determine lion age and sex structure, population size and population growth rates in the Kgalagadi.
Dietary information was obtained from 278 kill sites, identified using satellite collar data from seven different lionesses, as well as 201 faecal samples collected from across the park. The primary contribution to lion diet is gemsbok. The results from these studies will be published in 2016. Preliminary results show a high proportion of males in the population, but no major signs of population decline, which bodes well for the future of lion in the Kgalagadi.

10 July 2017ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape a World Heritage Site

On 8 July 2017, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed the ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape in South Africa on the list of World Heritage Sites.

 read more

15 June 2017Astounding success of Erin

Tourism Officer for the Khomani San, Dirk Pienaar, says something meaningful has been started from nothing by Peace Parks Foundation, which manages the ‘Khomani San – Living in Peace’ project, s

 read more

1 June 2017Khomani San Rising

Descendents of the original inhabitants of southern Africa, the Khomani San of the Kalahari are revered for their intimate knowledge of bush lore. These skills are now being transformed into sustainab

 read more

21 July 2016SANParks donation of zebra to ‡Khomani San

The ‡Khomani San of the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park were delighted when SANParks recently brought nine, and then another 11, zebra to their Erin Game Ranch.

 read more

17 June 2015Kgalagadi ninth in the Top 50 Best Safari Parks of Africa

 read more

28 May 2015Enhancing visitors' experience of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

In an endeavour to make visitors’ stay more enjoyable, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park management decided to conduct induction sessions for their staff, particularly their frontline staff who deal

 read more

20 January 2015Seamless management of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

In Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, staff from Botswana and South Africa work together to ensure that visitors adhere to park regulations in order to protect the fragile desert environment and its wildli

 read more

6 January 2015Kgalagadi now has WiFi

In follow-up to the previous report, when WiFi was installed at Twee Rivieren/Two Rivers entrance gate and rest camp, the service has now been extended.

 read more

14 November 2014Kgalagadi Lion Research Project

Thanks to a donation from the Turner Foundation, Peace Parks Foundation is supporting a Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park lion research project, implemented under the auspices of South African National Par

 read more