As the saying goes, “There are many ways to skin a cat.” The same, however, does not apply when it comes to catching one, as I found out first hand. Bare in mind that I am not referring to ‘Mittens’ who is asleep on your sofa right now, I am talking about a 120+ kilogram killing machine that would have a PhD in cunning were it offered at Oxford University.
The African Lion is not labelled as King of the Beasts because he is fat, lazy and bossy. Ok perhaps lazy at times but he is after all still a cat.
With communities and their cattle bordering right up against the border of the reserve it is not impossible that one of these cats escapes and helps himself/herself to an easy, beefy meal. The decision to dart and collar one of these notorious cattle raiders was given the go ahead in order to track her movements and find out when and where she was exiting Sabie Game Park.
Kristoffer Everett, currently busy with his PhD on Panthera leo (lions) in the greater Lebombo conservancy, was called in to help dart and collar the lioness in question. Along with his team of veterinarians we set off in high spirits with only one goal in mind, to catch a cat.
By the beginning of the fourth day the GPS collar still lay dormant in the back of the truck and we were ‘catless’. It seemed we would have to up our game and change tactics as we were clearly not dealing with your average house-cat.
Enter Steve Alexander, Sabie Game Park’s newest member. Steve has been around the block a number of times and certainly knows how to operate as he has shown. Needless to say that the night of the fourth day produced the goods and after an hour or so of blood samples, measurements and fittings there was a somewhat drowsy lioness on her way to show off her beautiful new jewellery piece.
With this collar now successfully fitted we are able to monitor a number of different aspects. The main ones being that now with a virtual boundary set up around the reserve we will be notified when and where the lioness crosses the boundary fence. This lioness belongs to a pride so we can now track their movements and determine territories. The collar also means that the lioness, and possibly the pride, can be located at any time for your viewing pleasure while on one of Sabie Game Park’s photographic safaris.
Satan may roar, but my defender is the Lion of Judah and HE will fight for me… I need only be still – Exodus 14:14