The Mountain Zebra National Park in the Eastern Cape is now home to three lions. The lions, one female and two males, are the first lions first free-roaming lions in the area after an absence of over 130 years. They are the third predator species in the Mountain Zebra National Park - cheetahs got already introduced in 2007 and brown hyenas in 2008. The lions are collared so that the management of the National Park can monitor them in the first few months or years after release and so that rangers and researchers can observe what habitats they use and which species they prey on.
Mountain Zebra National Park Manager, Megan Taplin, says the decision to introduce lion into the Park was mainly for biodiversity reasons. "Lions would have occurred here historically and it is SANParks policy to reintroduce the wildlife species which would have occurred in an area before hunting or habitat loss forced them to local extinction in earlier centuries. They will also occupy the niche of large predator in the ecosystem, keeping the numbers of larger herbivores in the Park in check," said Taplin. (via SANParks)