Lions in the park?!
Scroll down to see highlights from Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Giant Sable 2013 Capture Operation report.

Veterinarian Pete Morkel and Pedro setting a collar.

Veterinarian Pete Morkel and Pedro setting a collar.

The main objectives of the 2013 operation “for Luando Reserve, were to place as many new tracking collars as possible; track down known herds and animals collared in previous years while trying to find new groups; and very importantly, to get fresh information on the population trends, poaching activities and other threats.”

“… a huge black-mane lion came out of nowhere, jumping from under the grass to the back of the female and quickly knocked her to the ground! We could not believe our eyes! There was a lion in Luando, and it had attacked a sable right underneath the chopper!!!”

“Lowering the chopper and blowing the siren we managed to chase him away! “

“But as dramatic as this scene was, the lion is not our biggest concern. The main predator in Luando walks on two legs, and during the operation we were confronted with new evidence on a daily basis.”

“In previous occasions we found most of the snares to be made of nylon and the minority made of cable, but this time the vast majority of 60 snares collected, were made of steel cable, therefore much more lethal.”

“Two darted females had horrible injuries in the form of amputated legs. This was a shocking find, and the poor female never had a calf and is lost for breeding. In addition two of the bulls found were limping, and after being darted and inspected, they revealed serious injuries on their right hind legs, also clearly caused by snare traps. In total, a staggering rate of 20% of all darted animals (males and females) had serious snare injuries. Considering that this might be the tip of the iceberg, representing just the ones that survived, we can have a good idea on the magnitude of this problem. Surely this level of poaching pressure translates into completely unsustainable harvesting. As far as we could tell, some poaching originated in the local villages. But the more organized and most worrying type of poaching, targeting the larger antelopes such as sable, seems to be fueled by a constant demand for meat to supply the diamond outfits established along the Kwanza River.”

Sendi making a educational presentation for public schools in Cangandala.

Sendi making an educational presentation for public schools in Cangandala.

Visit our Giant Sable page to read biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s 2013 Capture Operation Report with photos from Angola’s Cangandala Park and Luando Special Reserve, in English and Portuguese.