It is with regret that African Parks Zambia announces that Liuwa Plain National Park’s sole male lion has died, probably as a result of poisoning or disease. The pride male’s carcass was found by park management close to Miyanda Pool in the east of the park on 16 September 2014. GPS signals from his satellite collar indicated that he had been motionless since 9 September, however it is believed that he died some days later.
Liuwa Park manager Rob Reid said that the presence of faecal blood discharge as well as struggle marks on the ground suggested either poisoning or a virulent disease. “At this stage we don’t know whether the death was as a result of snake bite, deliberate or accidental poisoning, or disease,” said Reid. “Body tissue samples are being sent for testing but whatever the result, this death represents a real set-back to Liuwa’s lion pride.” Three cubs were born last year to one of two lionesses introduced to Liuwa in late 2012 as companions to the famous Lady Liuwa. One of the lionesses was killed by a snare in early 2013, whilst Liuwa’s well-known coalition of two brothers came to an end when one of the males was killed after wandering into neighbouring Angola. Reid said whilst the loss of lions was to be expected in any natural system, the timing was unfortunate as the current litter of cubs had not reached maturity. “We will have to wait about a year before introducing new male lions to the park – lions typically kill cubs that they have not sired in order to stimulate the female coming into oestrus.”
Liuwa Plain National Park, situated in western Zambia, is a public-private partnership between African Parks, the Zambia Wildlife Authority and the Barotse Royal Establishment. Major funding partners include WWF and Adessium Foundation.