If your answer is no – you haven’t seen a Kalahari lion fly – then let this be the first. Lions do fly, but only when they are heavily sedated and on board a chartered Pilatus PC-12 airplane. Disclaimer: This can only be carried out by professionals, so don’t try this on your own.
On 23 March, three magnificent Kalahari lions in prime health were translocated from the Khamab Kalahari Reserve in the Eastern Kalahari Bushveld, to Mabula Game Reserve in Limpopo.
The Kalahari lion is known to be the largest of its species in Africa and weighed in at approximately 200kg each. They were moved for breeding purposes as they carry highly sought-after genes. Lion translocations are known to increase genetic diversity and reduce population sub-division across their populations.
The Bateleurs is a non-profit organisation that assisted in the relocation of these mighty beasts. They were darted, then transported to the airfield where they were carefully loaded onto the plane, and flown with experienced pilot, Menno Parsons, to their new home at Mabula. Dr Andy Fraser was responsible for the darting and monitoring the lions on their flight.
About Kalahari Lions
- They are different from South African lions – is size and in nature.
- Kalahari lions don’t gather in big prides, they keep smaller, more scattered groups.
- They also have huge territories which are spread across the arid conditions of the desert.
- Bear in mind that temperatures in the Kalahari can reach up to 40°C and this species of lions have adapted accordingly to the terrain, as well as the food sources.
- They have larger paws and leaner limbs to walk vast areas.
- Kalahari lions also have dark manes.