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Notes on the social dynamics and behaviour of reintroduced lions in the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve : research article

  • Journal Title: South African Journal of Wildlife Research
  • Volume: Volume 33
  • Issue:  Issue 2
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: p.119  - 124
  • Authors:  P.J. Kilian;  J. du P. Bothma;
  • ISSN: 03794369
  • Abstract:  We report on the social dynamics and behaviour of five lions reintroduced to the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. Despite initially being together in a boma for three months, the lions did not stay together. Aggression was also noted after the release of a female, which had been placed in the boma earlier after sustaining an injury. The results showed different lions associating and breaking away from the group on various occasions, which illustrated the flexibility of lion social structure when prides are disturbed. The findings are similar to those observed in the Kruger National Park after a lion-cropping programme. The lions that were reintroduced on Welgevonden were variously related, and the way in which they finally associated in prides was based on their relatedness. This raised the question of whether association took place by chance, or whether there was some kind of kin-recognition in lions, resulting in them associating mostly with kin. It was not possible to prove kin-recognition in this study, but the association with kin could lead to genetic problems in the future due to inbreeding.
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