Kwantu Private Game Reserve’s education and rehabilitation center is home to five different species of predator. Designed in such a way that it maintains its natural outlook, the rehabilitation centre gives the five endangered predators that much needed connection with the wild although they are living in a cordoned off zone. The predators that have found home at the centre include Lion, Bengal Tigers, Cheetahs, Wild dogs and Serval cats.
The Kwantu Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre aims to contribute to the conservation of endangered species and the rehabilitation of injured and poisoned wildlife. The Kwantu Game Reserve team are a group of dedicated conservationists committed to the preservation of wildlife.
“The objective of the predator educational and rehabilitation centre is one centred around conservation where Kwantu adopts endangered, injured and abused animals and puts them through a rehabilitation and rewilding process where they can then be released back into the wild”
The Serval rarely seen specie is regarded as endangered hence the initiative taken by Kwantu Private Game Reserve to preserve and nurture it. Kwantu Private Game Reserve is also using this centre for breeding as some of the predators are faced with extinction.
For example, the wild dog which is rarely seen in its natural habitat today, the wild dog is one of Southern Africa’s most highly endangered mammal specie. As a hunter and meat eater requiring an extensive habitat, it is constantly in competition with humans, and particularly with livestock farmers.
Bengal tigers that are also found at the centre are one specie whose population has deteriorated in the world. The breeding program carried at Kwantu has seen the birth of a Bengal tiger cub to resident tigers at the centre after long and arduous times of work and serious research that finally paid off after 4 years. The young cub is doing well and is in the process of being hand raised on the reserve by Zoology staff.
As part of the education and research program the animals are kept to enable the researchers to follow their behavior. Currently three lion cubs that were hand raised are doing well at the centre with the Kwantu researchers hoping to see the cubs develop into fully grown predators before they are transferred to other parts of the country were the lion population has decreased because of human influences such as hunting.
KWANTU RE-WILDING PROGRAMME
|NAME||SEX||KRAVE NR.||CHIP NR.||AGE|
|Zulu||Mand||148-8620||978000001079773||6 År 10 Måneder|
|Chiedza||Kvinde||148.752||978000001065230||9 År 5 Måneder|
1) født den Kwantu Zulu til 2004/10/03 - ikke helt handraised som en hvalp, men vant til mennesker ved hjælp af fodring og en tæmmet mor tillader interaktion. Zulu blev anerkendt som en potentiel frigivelse kandidat efter visning tilstrækkelige tegn på manglende interaktion med mennesker, dominans over de andre løver og potentielle jagt evner under afspilning.
2) Chiedza born at Addo Lion Ranch 2002/03/12 – Handraised as a cub at her place of origion, Chiedza allowed interaction until the birth of her first litter, after which the lioness showed rewilding potential by means of dehabituating herself in the absence of continued human interaction.
Identifikationen af løve som et potentielt Keystone arter inden Kwantu Game Reserve blev fremkaldt af den overskydende opdræt af byttedyr i Reserve og mindretal af passende rovdyr naturligt styrer byttedyr.
Begge løver blev identificeret som potentielle frigivelse kandidater fra Kwantu eksisterende lager på grund af personlighedstræk, potentielle evne til at jage vilde byttedyr, ikke-forhold til hinanden i tilfælde af avl inden for naturen, evnen til at vurdere en situation og reagere hensigtsmæssigt (som påvist og sammenlignet ved at se vilde født løver) og potentialet til at være ikke invasive i turist arena af reserven.
Vurdering teknikker - i fangenskab:
Omhyggelig skjult overvågning af igangværende interaktioner med en 1 ha lejr med andre løver viste sig at være den mest produktive måde skøn. Dette gav mulighed for karakter, leg og aggression vurderinger og generel fodring teknikker, der skal vurderes, blandt andre normale adfærdsmæssige udstillinger.
REWILDING teknikker / procedurer:
1) Fjernelse af tilvænning til mennesker - dette blev opnået i denne sag ved at forhindre enhver menneskelig kontakt med løverne bortset fra en udsigtsplatform uden for løve lejren. Løverne systematisk dissocieret med mennesker og blev mindre aktiv med ankomsten af køretøjer eller mennesker, vise mere social adfærd indbyrdes og resterende uvidende til den menneskelige faktor, mens der vises.
2) Fjernelse af sammenslutningen af mennesker til bestemmelse mad - Dette blev opnået ved en trisse indsat i lejren fra den ydre omkreds. Belastningen område for kroppene var skjult og stemmer var ikke at blive hørt under fodring. Køretøj støj var stadig forbundet med fodring, men dette kunne ikke undgås på grund af størrelsen af kroppene, der skal fodres. Tør / falsk fodring blev gjort for at omgå dette, og løverne lærte hurtigt ikke at forvente mad hver gang et køretøj nærmede sig.
3) Introduction of whole carcasses instead of cut meat – Both lions took to the dismantling of carcasses immediately in an effective manner. The siphoning of stomach contents was immediately noticed and was never taught. Both lions exhibited the killing bite on the necks of all carcasses fed. The eating of the easily perishable meats and contents first was also an immediate unlearned action. No live prey could be fed to be able to assess killing methods.
4) Placement of the candidates within an enclosed area in the wild – The lions were introduced and born into an area within the main reserve of 1 ha of natural substrate and bush. This allowed the association with other game species through the wires of the camp. No artificial shelter was provided and water was available from a natural spring.
Zulu and Chiedza in external camp within reserve: Image as per 2009
5) Constant assessment – Assessment within the camps is outlined in the document. Assessment in the wild was made easier by the placement of telemetry collars on both the lions. This provided for easier tracking and monitoring of kills and social behaviour as well as movements on the Reserve.
RESULTS OF REWILDING:
Release of the lions took place in April of 2009. Both lions were released from the Day Centre area near water in a direction allowing the most area without encountering a fence or artificial barrier and to allow them to move away from the persons monitoring the release.
Chiedza was first released with Zulu following about 10 minutes afterwards. Chiedza chose a course down the nearest valley with Zulu taking refuge in a bush on the far side of the dam. Both lions have been under constant, uninvasive monitoring since release.
Both lions are tolerant of vehicles and do not display aggressive behaviour towards them or people. Neither lion has been observed or noted to have approached vehicles or people in the reserve but continue with normal behaviour while being observed. Neither has used a vehicle as a buffer for hunting purposes.
Within the first night of release, Chiedza killed, but did not eat a Bushpig. This is typical of wild lion as they exhibit the same behaviour. Zulu has to date done the same in killing Bushpig, presumably with the pig approaching one of their kills, but not eating them. Warthogs are often caught and eaten.
All habituation has seemingly been removed from the lions and they exhibit a normal social behaviour. 2 Cubs were born on the 12/05/2011 and are in exceptional health. During her captive years, Chiedza had problems tending to her young and nursing them effectively. This has remedied itself in the wild. Chiedza displayed normal behaviour before and after cubbing by alienating herself from Zulu and only joining him on kills. At 2 months the cubs were introduced to their father. This is in line with wild lion behaviour.
Both lions have become effective hunters based on the efficacy of the kills made, the manners in which the kills are made and the utilisation of their environment to make the kills. The lions have taken to hunting in thicker vegetation at times for the larger prey species, thereby prohibiting easy movement of the prey and enabling a quicker kill. No utilisation of fences has been recorded to date as a barrier method for making kills.
Referring to the table below, the lions are utilising energy efficiently by making larger kills, thereby decreasing the amount of kills to be made and enabling a longer period between having to hunt. The documentation of smaller kills is difficult due to the lions finishing the carcass or not leaving enough remains to be found. Various hunts and chases on smaller antelope and warthogs have been observed by guests and staff alike.