Even the King of the Jungle needs a little help sometimes…
Twice snared and twice de-snared before the age of 4, the Kasonso male lion 994 has had a tough upbringing in the Kasonso-Busanga GMA and western Busanga Plains in the Kafue National Park.
Though a beautiful landscape, this region has a history of heavy poaching and snaring. To date, DNPW and Ntengu Safaris have already removed over 1000 snares from the area and their efforts to protect this landscape only increase exponentially. Navigating this literal minefield for the Kasonso pride has been seriously tough but, thanks to the Zambian Carnivore Program (ZCP) and DNPW’s long term monitoring work in the Kafue, veterinary teams have successfully completed four de-snarings on this pride since 2019 - two on male Lion 994, one on his mother and one on his nephew.
The last snaring for Lion 994 was particularly bad as the snare had wrapped around his front leg, cutting deep and almost causing him to lose his foot entirely.
Photo by Anna Kusler
Thankfully, he's fully recovered (again) and we're thrilled to hear that he has now begun the next chapter of his life. On November 20th 2020, Lion 994 left his mother and siblings in search of a new pride to call home, to father his own offspring and begin his own legacy over 200km away!
And what's more, he's not alone. A coalition partner known as Lion 1201 has teamed up with this young explorer, greatly increasing both their chances of survival and reproductive success. How amazing?!
Just recently, ZCP-DNPW monitoring teams witnessed both males feeding on a large female buffalo kill together. And what of Lion 994's mother you ask? Well she’s just given birth to her third recorded litter of lion cubs! No small feat indeed.
Photo by Ben Goodheart
Thanks to the continuous hard work of ZCP and other organisations of its kind, beautiful cats such as Lion 994 get a second (and even third!) chance and are able to roam free once more!