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Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 94
Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

hi, i'd like to do a walking with lions excursion, but will be staying in livingstone. it seems that it originated in victoria falls but now there is an operation on the livingstone side as well, is there any difference? it would be easier for us to do from the zambian side but if the experience is much better in zimbabwe i'd go there instead. any help would be greatly appreciated, there are a lot of reviews but none of them specify what side they were on :)

Victoria Falls...
Destination Expert
for Victoria Falls
posts: 604
reviews: 2
1. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

HI James

If you are staying on the Zambian side I would go with the Zambia Operator - it will cost you a visa into Zimbabwe to go on this side.

Unless you are planning on going into Zimbabwe to view the Falls - and you could do it on the same day.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 94
2. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

yes we're planning to go to zim for the day (or part of the day) to view the falls and have a meal at the victoria falls hotel so if the lion experience is better in zimbabwe we could also do that on the same day.

Atlanta
posts: 71
reviews: 65
3. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

we just returned from Africa, and did a Lion walk and Victoria Falls on the Same Day out of Livingston

Central IL, USA
posts: 37
reviews: 75
4. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

We are planning a trip to Zambia and are interested in the 'walking with lions' experience. My brief research shows that they are legit - as far as ethical/eco practices - not sending lions to places where they are "hunted" for "sport" but that they are releasing them into protected areas where they can be as wild as captive bred lions can be. Does anyone know for sure that this is the case? I would love the experience but want in no way to support them or participate in this unless they are truly doing conservation work.

Hermanus, South...
Destination Expert
for Namibia
posts: 1,475
reviews: 9
5. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

You might want to check out this link before you make a decision.

http://keeplionswild.webs.com/index.htm

Personally I don't feel these practices serve any conservation service whatsoever. I have a past in the zoology field and am married to a conservationist. We have lots of friends and colleagues in conservation and I am yet to find anybody who believes this is a genuine conservation project rather than a money making scheme to the detriment of the lions...just my opinion though!

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia
posts: 2,775
6. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

I was going to post that same link.

Their whole story sounds plausible on the surface but if you look at it in any detail it makes no sense whatsoever. I spent time last year volunteering in Tembe Elephant Reserve in SA where they have successfully re-introduced lions (in 2002), and the way the did it was to get some wild lions from another park and release them. They have bred and are doing well- the population has increased from 4 to over 30.

The whole set up of breeding one generation with human contact and then segregating them to breed another generation with no human contact is just a ridiculous idea. Keeping lions "human contact free" is also extremely difficult as obviously you have to feed them somehow. At Tembe, the new lions were kept in a Boma for 6-8 weeks before release and despite taking great lengths to keep the lions free from human contact, they still had problems with one or two that started chasing after vehicles expecting to be fed when they were released. That was in 6-8 weeks, so what chance would you have of keeping lions in captivity but free of human contact for years?

If this scheme ever releases any lions into the wild I will eat my hat.

Hermanus, South...
Destination Expert
for Namibia
posts: 1,475
reviews: 9
7. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

@ stokeygirl....actually I am pretty sure I read that link from you in the first place. There is lots of other info on the web about these practices, but that link really just sums it all up nicely!

Atlanta
posts: 71
reviews: 65
8. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

The object is to increase the population of lions in places that are not inhabited by many prides. We were very happy with our experiance.

Hermanus, South...
Destination Expert
for Namibia
posts: 1,475
reviews: 9
9. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

Lions can be reintroduced into national parks, Addo is a good example, although not without initial problems. The Cape Buffalo for a start had to learn that they were a prey species etc. These lions were reintroduced from the Kgalagadi, disease free and wild lions with good genes. Reintroduction has been acheived at several other sites in South Africa, with lions sourced from wild populations.

That is totally different to trying to release a captive lion, that has been raised with a massive amount of human contact! Where exactly do they expect to release these lions??

One of the major reasons for the decline of the lion is loss of natural habitat. There simply isn't anywhere to release into the wild a captive bred lion.

National Parks...doubtful to be honest. Apart from the fact that these lions have lost their fear of humans which makes them dangerous you also have to consider genetic diversity (how exactly are ALERT managing to keep genetic diversity in their breeding program?) The actual 'wild' not that there is much of that, but you simply can't release a predator with no fear of humans into an area where it will come into contact with people. Captive bred lions released into the wild prove a danger to livestock which brings up the whole human/lion conflict that caused the problem in the first place.

If their object is seriously not to make a huge amount of money, but to seriously try and reintroduce lions then they need to immediately stop the human contact. Stop taking the cubs away from their mothers, stop using them as a tourist attraction to bring in the cash to support the project and find another way to finance this.

I have heard from people that visit this place that they were told how important it is as it raises awareness for the plight of the African lion. Now if you don't already know that the lion is endangered and in a lot of trouble you must be wearing some serious blinkers!

I have serious issues with the people involved with this. If indeed it is a serious conservation project and not a money making scheme then they need to go back to college and take their conservation 101 again!

There is an interesting article here on successful reintroduction benthamscience.com/open/…1TOCONSBJ.pdf

panthera.org/blog/walking-lions-myth-conserv…

Basically, and this is of course just my opinion, I doubt they will be able to release these lions. And if they are serious about that then why remove the cubs in the first place, to have human contact, just to have to rehabilitate them afterwards. Why not just skip that bit out. It is what it is, tourists want to get up close and personal with lions. They facilitate this for the tourists, but to then say that they will be released later on, well, lets just see what happens there!

Central IL, USA
posts: 37
reviews: 75
10. Re: Walking with lions, victoria falls vs livingstone?

Thanks for the replies & info. As much as it seems like an incredible experience (from my human perspective) we're going to pass on the lion encounter.