Zambia

Livingstone

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The Amazing Zambezi Traveller

The Amazing Zambezi Traveller

Dynamite: The Livingstone Lion
Dynamite: The Livingstone Lion
Marleen Post

The appearance of a wild lion on the outskirts of Livingstone in Zambia made big news for several reasons. Not only was he the first wild lion to been reported in the immediate area for some 30 years, and he made the mistake of claiming domestic livestock as fair game (never good for local public relations if you are lion), but his subsequent capture revealed an amazing story. This lion was a Zambezi traveller!
   
It was only after the lion was successfully captured that wildlife officials discovered he was the proud owner of a GPS research collar. Enquiries revealed that the collar had been fitted by lion researchers in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, and somehow he must have crossed the Zambezi River to reach the north bank.
   
Through the collar GPS data and the Hwange Lion Research Project’s valuable work over many years we are lucky enough to have a huge amount of information about our travelling lion’s history. Jane Hunt, who has dedicated the last 10 years of her life to studying lions in Hwange, first saw this lion when he was a two month old cub. He is now about 9 ½ years old, the offspring of a male lion who dominated the Makalolo area of Hwange National Park for many years, and featured in a National Geographic documentary film ‘Lion’s behaving badly.’ Indeed this specific lion is also featured in that film. “He’s a famous lion,” said Jane “now even more so because of his travels!”
   
Known as Dynamite, after the pan in Hwange where he was first collared by researchers, we now know he crossed the Zambezi more than 50 kilometres downstream of the Victoria Falls. Not only does the river provide a formidable obstacle, the crossing is even more incredible as lions are not renowned swimmers and will often avoid water.
   
His plight highlights the problems lions face in an increasingly populated Africa, most significantly loss of habitat with suitable prey species and subsequent conflict with humans, as well as raising many issues relating to wider lion conservation and spotlighting the work of scientific researchers studying Africa’s increasingly pressured wildlife.

Read more on this story in this issue:
The Amazing Zambezi Traveller
Lion Captured Near Livingstone
Travelling Lion Turns a Spotlight on the Species

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 08, March 2012)

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
Hwange Lione Research

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Hwange
Livingstone
Victoria Falls

UPDATE, JAN 2013

After nearly a year in captivity it was eventually decided to relocate and release Dynamite into a reserve in Zambia. After all the agreements were made and paperwork was completed, Dynamite unfortunately died during the translocation (in December 2011).