Q: Is Lady Liuwa alive and well?
A: Yes, Lady Liuwa is still alive and well. As are the remaining male and young female.
Q: Has Lady had cubs yet?
A: No, Lady has no had a litter of cubs. At this point it is assumed that Lady is not capable of reproducing.
Q: How old is Lady Liuwa?
A: In 2001 a lioness and her two cubs were observed in Liuwa Plain. It is believed that Lady was one of those cubs. She is likely 12-14 years of age.
Q: What happened to the other male?
A: Two young male lions were translocated from Kafue National Park in 2009. They lived in Liuwa Plain until October of 2012. In October the males ranged out of the park boundaries and into Angola. They attacked livestock and one of the males was shot and killed. The remaining male quickly returned to the park and has remained with Lady and the young female.
Q: What happened to the other female?
A: In June of 2012 one of the females was killed in a poacher’s snare. The illegal snare was intended to catch bush meat and not the lioness.
Q: Is Lady in any danger?
A: Lady has survived for years without the help of a pride. She is an excellent hunter and generally stays in the center of the park. She has avoided conflict with humans and has lived alongside hyenas and wild dog. She is in no danger of trophy hunters.
Q: Has Lady formed a pride?
A: Yes, Lady has certainly formed a pride with the remaining male and young female. After the death of one the young females, Lady and the surviving female were placed in a boma for several weeks. When they were released they remained together and have functioned as a pride ever since. Lion Voice had the privilege of observing Lady for 5 days and the two females are inseparable. They hunt together but spend most of their time sleeping in close proximity. The male is frequently with the females and is clearly part of their pride.
Q: Has the surviving female mated with the male?
A: The young lioness and male have been observed mating. Unfortunately at this time she has not produced any cubs.
Q: Has In Vitro fertilization been considered for Lady Liuwa?
A: No, In Vitro fertilization is not an option for several reasons. It has never been successfully performed on a wild lion. It is a costly and complicated procedure and process and could endanger her life. Without knowing the reason she is not producing cubs, it would also be impossible to determine if In Vitro fertilization could even work. While a very special lion, Lady’s DNA is not unique. There is no reason to interfere and potentially damage a wild lion’s life simply because she has not reproduced.
Q: Who protects Lady Liuwa?
A: Liuwa Plain Nation Park is governed by African Parks (Zambia) which is a partnership between African Parks, the Zambia Wildlife Authority and the Barotse Royal Establishment, the traditional government of the Lozi people. They are assisted by the Zambian Carnivore Programme.
Q: Will I see Lady Liuwa if I visit Liuwa Plain National Park?
A: Robin Pope Safaris offers tours of Liuwa Plain and you will likely see Lady. She is fitted with a GPS collar and usually stays close to Matamanene Camp.
Q: What is Lady like in real life?
A: The Last Lioness offers a fair representation of Lady Liuwa. She can easily be identified by the scar on her nose. She is also exceedingly muscular. There has been some confusion that Lady is tame and not a wild animal – this could not be further from the truth. While Lady is extremely relaxed around humans and will often come into camp, she is a completely wild lioness.
Q: Will there be a sequel to The Last Lioness?
A: Yes, Herbert Brauer and Aquavision are currently completing the sequel, tentatively titled A Pride is Born.
Lion Voice had the pleasure of meeting professional photographer David Godny in Liuwa Plain last November. David is a wonderful photographer and a passionate advocate for Africa’s wildlife.
To purchase David’s photographs of Lady Liuwa, please contact him at:
Introducing LLN – The Lady Liuwa Network on Youtube. Lady Liuwa finally has her very own channel of shaky, low quality and poorly shot videos guaranteed to cause motion sickness.
Lion Voice had the privilege of spending five days on Liuwa Plain in November. We enjoyed many hours of Lady Liuwa’s company as she went about her daily business. For her followers around the world who don’t get the opportunity to meet this wonderful lioness, hopefully these videos will capture a small glimpse of Lady’s life on the plain and her growing bond with the male and young female.
LADY LIUWA FORMS A PRIDE
After five days on Liuwa Plain, Lion Voice can comfortably report that Lady Liuwa has formed a pride with the young female and the male. We observed Lady Liuwa on November 26th, 27th, 28th and in the late evening of November 29th. Lady and the young lioness were inseparable and never apart. The male was spotted relaxing with the females on November 26th and could be heard calling to them throughout the nights of the 27th and 28th, attempting to join his females and hopefully his dinner.
It is clear that Lady and the young lioness have bonded and enjoy each other’s company. The two lionesses rested and hunted together, and were rarely more than 15 feet apart. While they do not display some typical lion affection, such as licking and head-rubbing, they are certainly functioning as a unit and making a concerted effort to remain together. The young lioness lead Lady on two unsuccessful wildebeest hunts, though Lady seemed to be reluctantly tagging along rather than actively participating.
While Lady and the young lioness are very comfortable around safari vehicles, the male is far more skittish. When we first approach the trio, he took cover in a thicket and remained hidden, never fully exposing himself to our peering cameras. From what we did observe he is a magnificent specimen, now fully grown with an impressive mane and piercing golden eyes. The nights at Matamanene Camp were filled with his mighty roars, which echoed across the plain and shook the trees.
African Parks should be commended for their ongoing commitment to Lady Liuwa and the re-establishment of a healthy and sustainable lion population on Liuwa Plain. When one of the two young lionesses was killed in a poacher’s snare last June, the entire project was compromised. But the decision to place Lady and the remaining female in an enclosure was absolutely the right move. The lionesses are now close companions and with the male already observed mating with the young female, hopefully in the spring we will hear the pitter-patter of little lions paws on Liuwa Plain for the first time in a decade.
There is no doubt that Lady Liuwa is no longer the Last Lioness.
African Parks Network has reported that Lady Liuwa and the young lioness have been released from the enclosure and have remained together, signs that the two lions are forming a pride. The lions were released on October 19, 2012, and have separated only for Lady to hunt.
This is fantastic news for Lady Liuwa and the lions of Liuwa Plain. The attempts to end Lady’s isolation and establish a viable lion population have been fraught with tragedy. In October of 2011, two young lionesses were translocated from Kafue National Park. With Lady likely infertile, it was anticipated that the young lionesses would mate with the two males and begin the re-establishment of natural lions on the Liuwa Plain. Unfortunately, in June of 2012 one of the young females was killed in a poacher’s snare.
With the surviving lioness frightened and alone, African Parks Network made the bold decision to place Lady and the young lioness in a holding enclosure, in hopes that they would bond. Though unrelated female lions rarely form prides and Lady had previously shown aggression towards the young females, it was the only feasible approach. The young lioness had reduced chances of survival without her sister and was straying beyond the park boundaries into Angola.
Because of Lady’s extended isolation and instant affection for the translocated males, it was not unreasonable for her to bond with the young lioness, with some outside assistance. The young lioness was accustomed to having a female companion and would likely appreciate the security of the resident lion. The gamble paid off and after several weeks together in the holding enclosure, the two females are roaming the park together.
Apparently one of the males has stopped by to check up on the ladies and the beginnings of a pride forming on Liuwa Plain. Lion Voice will be visiting the park on November 25 and will hopefully have further updates.
African Parks Network has altered their approach to the conservation of Lady Liuwa and the reintroduction of lions to Liuwa Plain. Lady Liuwa and the surviving female have been placed in a boma in hopes that they will bond.
As reported previously, one of the two young lionesses relocated from Kafue in October was found dead in June. Her tracking collar was later retrieved from the Munde River. African Parks Network is now reporting that the young lioness was killed in a poacher’s snare.
With her sister dead, the young lioness’ chance of survival was compromised. She fled north of the park to the Angola border. Had she crossed into Angola, it was likely she would have been killed. With the assistance of the Zambian Carnivore Programme she was tranquilized and carried by helicopter back to Liuwa Plain and placed in a holding boma.
The death of the young lioness threw the reintroduction plan into disarray. The goal was always to translocate lions to establish a viable population and end Lady’s isolation. While the initial attempt to transport a single male lion resulted in his unfortunate death, the second attempt was a success and Lady became inseparable from her new mates, though it was later determined she was likely sterile. With the introduction of the two young females, it was hoped Lady would form a pride with them or failing that, the two new females would mate with the males.
With the death of young female, the sustainability of the entire project has been challenged. The remaining young female has an uphill battle for survival without her sister. To give her the best chance of success, the African Parks Network has placed the young lion with Lady in a boma in the center of the park. Unrelated female lions rarely form prides together, but we are hoping this will one of the exceptions.
To date this unorthodox approach seems to be working. Lady and the young female are co-existing. Though initially aggressive, Lady has allowed her to share wildebeest carcass and other meals. The true test will come in October when the lions are released. If all goes well, Lady and her new protégé will remain together and begin the foundations of a pride.
Lion Voice will be visiting Liuwa Plain in November. We hope to meet with Herbert Brauer and the African Parks Network, and if we are truly fortunate, to have the opportunity to observe Lady Liuwa. We will keep you updated on Lady Liuwa and her incredible story.
TRAGEDY ON LIUWA PLAIN
Tragedy has once again struck on Liuwa Plain. African Parks Network has reported that one of the young lionesses, relocated from Kafue last October, has gone missing and is presumed dead. The lioness’ tracking collar was found in the Munde River. The collar was apparently cut with a knife.
Her sister was also missing. After an extensive search she was located in a northern section of the Park, near the Angola border. With the assistance of the Zambian Carnivore Programme she was tranquilized and carried by helicopter back to Liuwa Plain. She is currently being held in a boma until it is determined she can be safely released.
This is not the first time tragedy has truck the lions of Liuwa Plain. Almost ten years ago the entire lion population was slaughtered, leaving only Lady Liuwa. But Lady persevered, and with the help of Herbert Brauer, Craig Reed, Matt Becker, African Parks Network and the Zambian Carnivore Programme, her solitude was brought to an end. But even the reintroduction of lions to Liuwa Plain was not without hardship. The first attempt at relocating a male from Kafue resulted in heartbreak when the adolescent lion died while being transported.
Lion Voice will provide updates and further information as it becomes available.
LION VOICE TO VISIT LIUWA PLAIN NATIONAL PARK
It’s official. Lion Voice is heading to Liuwa Plain National Park. We will hopefully have the privilege of meeting Lady Liuwa and her new family.
Our safari is tentatively scheduled to leave Lusaka on November 25, 2012 and enjoy 5 days on the Liuwa Plains. The expedition will be lead by Robin Pope Safaris.
Further details to be provided shortly…