Just over a year ago, we shared the wonderful news that a camera trap had captured the first image of a male lion in Mozambique’s Zinave National Park in several decades. Since then, the Zinave team has been aware of the lion prowling the sanctuary, but he’s been elusive and rather camera-shy.

Until recently when this majestic cat was seen walking out into a clearing, proceeding to sit down in the long grass to relax and very kindly pose for the cameras.

Rewarding Results Of Rewilding

It is clear to see that this lion is in very good condition, and with plains game now thriving in Zinave, we don’t think that he will be in any hurry to leave, especially with three other lions reported outside the park’s sanctuary. This magnificent sighting is a testament to the hard work, dedication and passion that has been poured into this once eerily silent park where not even a bird’s call could be heard.

In 2015, Peace Parks Foundation and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) entered into a long-term co-management agreement to further develop the park. Since then, over 2300 animals from 16 different species have been reintroduced into the park’s sanctuary, with wildlife now flourishing at around 5 000 animals.

The Importance Of Zinave

Within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, Zinave plays an integral part in an ancient wildlife migration route. Peace Parks Foundation is placing a specific focus on helping to re-establish these migration routes to allow for the cross-border migration of animals. This movement helps to maintain healthy and balanced ecosystems, which benefits not only the wildlife here but the people too.

With the abundance of wildlife now attracting visitors from all over, nature-based tourism can begin to take shape. With 20% of the revenue generated by conservation areas being shared with the communities living near the park, this is a win-win for conservation and the local people.

The Natural Return Of The Lion

The natural return of lion to the park signifies how the remarkable restoration of this wilderness has led to the establishment of healthy ecosystems that are naturally attracting Africa’s top predators. It also demonstrates the importance of establishing and protecting movement corridors that allow wildlife to find water, food and safe breeding grounds.