Via – Walking For Lions
99% of the time we forget about it, we don’t see it so therefore it does not cross our minds. What we talk about here is what one calls; the forgotten souls. Lions with no names, no ‘human known history or stories’ but those that make the others who they are today. The lions that lived in the wild, uninterrupted! No documentary was made about them, very few ‘if any’ images were taken of them and very few people saw them. The shy ones, the kings and queens of the bush! The ones WE and YOU fight for at Walking for Lions.
Certain areas in Botswana are crying out for rain and very few animals can cope with the pressures and stress of Mother Nature. The weakest will depart and the strongest ones will strive until eventually their time is up. We are currently writing this from Elephant sands Game lodge where destruction has a new meaning. With almost NO water the animals are dropping like flies. Conflict between species for water is at its highest and as mentioned, only the strong will survive. Old males depart as new stronger males enter and this means total massacre. Cubs, juveniles and unwilling females (for breeding) are killed and there is no mercy for the soft hearted.
Poaching, hunting and human conflict is normally first on the list when one discuss the reasons for Wild lion number decreases, but very little is actually known about those that die due to natural circumstances. Lions not only compete with us humans for space but what about with each other and with other species? When there is very little of a natural source; be it water or food competition increases to a stage that will frighten most. Elephants show NO mercy for anything that stands between it and its water and so many examples can be seen where elephants kill lions for water. Lions fight for territory and once this territory has no water left, they have to move to ‘greener’ pastures where other lions might be. Intra and Inter-specific competition. This means, when species compete for a resource either from the same species or different species.
With every action comes either a reaction or a consequence. Some might think it’s the same but think about it. Botswana has banned hunting since beginning of 2014. This topic has been and still is a touchy subject but it has consequences none the less. Massive areas were abandoned by hunting outfitters and all their water holes were closed as there is no more need to pump water if they cannot benefit from it. This means the density of game in one area is now much higher and not as dispersed as before, which leads to more conflict with each other during the dry seasons. This does not mean that we condone hunting but it is our responsibility to report to you and supply you with as most accurate information as possible. The idea behind the ban of hunting is to increase species numbers but if species like lion and elephants for example, know about a certain water hole for years and all of a suddenly arrive there to drink and find nothing they have to walk to the next one and next one until they find water.
During these journeys they cross territories and a few of them is not fit for the journey as one can see from the images. How to resolve this? This is always easier said than done but when you ban hunting and know that hunters will depart it is the responsibility of the local authorities to insure these waterholes are pumped as it is our responsibility towards the animals. Years back these waterholes were only seasonal and animals were used to move to different ones but if WE as humans provide all year waterholes, then it is our duty to maintain them at ALL costs. To see a lion or any other animal for that matter die due to dehydration is something that you will never get out of your mind! They lie in one place, their muscles contract and they start kicking against the ground as their body goes into spasms.
We would like to thank Javier Villegas from Elephant Sands Game Lodge for providing us with the images