Curiosity killed the cat ... not on our watch!

Collaring Carnivores.

Our Trust partners, RCP, have been busy working with the Ruaha National Park authorities to place the first satellite-collars on lions in the area. This is to provide invaluable data on the spatial ecology, demography and mortality of Ruaha’s lions.  

These clever collars have a ‘geo-fence’ mechanism built in which tracks movements outside of the protected area and alerts RCP staff when a lion crosses over into village territory so that they can be on hand if needed to prevent possible conflict.

In this initial phase 3 females have been collared and 1 male. 

M1

Collared in the eastern area of Ruaha towards Lunda, M1 has a calm and laid back nature. M1 has some characteristic features if you see him in the park - a missing lower incisor and a black stripe down the centre of his mohawk. 

Over the last month M1’s movements have centred around the river, although recordings also show intermittent forays to the south (coming close to village land) and the north.

F1

An adult but small in size, F1 has a body length of 137 cm. She seems to be one of the key females in the Bushbuck pride and will likely be seen in the heart of the National Park by guests and guides. Since being collared, F1 has spent most of her time around the Ruaha and Mwagusi rivers, with some movements to the south and east. Bushbuck is one of the largest prides in Ruaha National Park so it will be very interesting to learn more about the pride’s movements.

F2

F2, the second female to be collared, has ventured the furthest of all the four collared lions. She has been located near Ruaha River Lodge, and also has seen moving south of the river. Just last week she headed south fairly rapidly and came very close to village lands, but turned back north again. If she continues these type of movements, she likely come into conflict with pastoralists. Luckily the geo-fence feathery will alert RCP if this happens. 

F3

The last female is in a challenging environment, and is one of the lions most lively to come into conflict with people. She is the largest of the females caught with a body length of 153 cm. Based on her teeth, she is estimated to be around 4 years old. 

She remained in the same area after collaring and never moving too far from the river. 

Why is RCP doing this:

  • To get a better understanding of lion ecology
  • To monitor lion movement and conflict
  • To protect lions coming into contact with villages
  • To collect data to guide future conservation strategies 

The river and weather dictate a lot of the lion movements, and with the rains on their way we are likely to witness a change in their movements with wider dispersal and more crossing over into danger zones.

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