Antelope Park.....Lions!!!!!

Trip Start Jan 18, 2007
1
23
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Trip End Sep 01, 2007


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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Monday, March 5, 2007

The last couple of days have been spent at a place called Antelope Park, near Gweru in ZIm.  This place is amazing.  It is home to an organisation who are working on a programme to get lions released into the wild.  So far, no captive lion has been succesfuklly released into the wild, and the centre here is working on a 4 stage programme in order to hopeully replenish thelion population in Africa.  The lions are currently classed as 'vulnerable' but they should actually be endangered, but political issues mean there are difficulties in changing this status.

ANyway, there were all sorts of things you coudl do here.  I mainly stuck to lion based activities....such as learning about their breeding programme, watching feedings, and walking with lion cubs.  This was amazing.   I did one walk with 4 babies, 5-6 months in age, then another one this morning with 2 older cubs, at 10 months old.  Thye were so cute, and just the fact that you could walk out int he park with real lions, cuddle them and pat them, was indescribable.  I tok FAR too many photos, which i will upload later!

They really are incredibel creatures, so placid and docile at times, then other times, like feeding time, very aggressive.

ANother highlight of this bit was going out on a lion stalk.  This is when the centre took out the lions who were in teh second stage of the programme (ie being taught to hunt etc) at night time, in order for them to stalk prey and hunt.  It was basically the opportunity to watch a lion hunt and kill it's prey.  This pretty m,uch blew my budget for this part of the trip as it cost 70 quid, but it was worth it.  we were actually unlucky and didnt get to see a kill, but we watched plenty of stalking, and at one point, watched an alpha male zebra head off two lionesses who were trying to attack the herd.  Just being out in the dark with 4 nearly full grown lions around us, playing and hunting, was absolutely amazing and is something that i will never see again. fantastic. 

some of the other people on teh trip went out and did swimming on elphants, but i decided to put my money towards the lion things instead, havign already ridden an elephasnt before in thailand. 

If anyone is interested in reading about the programm (which is really interesting.....the first lion is being released in august and is being covered by ITV, and endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes), the website like is www.africaimpact.com, or www.antelopepark.zw
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