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In the Matoke Tours Blog we share travel stories, indepth information and go-to-knows to help you plan your own adventures in East Africa. 

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Lion Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Lion Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park

For many first time safari travellers to Africa, a game drive is not complete without catching a glimpse of one of the big cats in the wild.

Within Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, however, it is not 100% guaranteed that you will come across predators such as lions or leopards on your safari as these populations have declined significantly over the years due to expanding human activity around the park, habitat loss and ensuing human-wildlife conflicts.

It was only last year, on the 10th of April 2018, when three lionesses and eight cubs were killed in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Uganda Wildlife Authority believes that the lions were poisoned by villagers in retaliation for recent lion predation on their livestock. Goats and cattle are easy prey for lions, as they are much easier to hunt than the quick and agile antelope species found in the park. Unfortunately, intentional poisoning of wildlife is not uncommon in East Africa. With the dwindling lion populations across the continent it is increasingly important to protect the predators, reduce the frequency of human-wildlife conflict and enhance co-existence through community-based wildlife conservation initiatives.

The Uganda Carnivore Program is dedicated to monitoring, researching, and protecting the predators and communities in the parks of Uganda. One of the ways in which the organization does this within Queen Elizabeth National Park, is to collar dominant lionesses of different prides to keep track of changing behaviours and locations. The device helps to monitor their movements, map out their individual territories, detect disease among the pride and to know when a lion needs closer protection, for instance when it strays to close to human settlements. 

Conservation initiatives like this often struggle with obtaining reliable sources of funding that can ensure long-term success of their efforts. As a visitor, you can contribute to the conservation of wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park through the Uganda Carnivore Program. On their Lion Tracking activity, you, and a limited number of participants, can join a research team to go off the beaten safari track and into the bush in search of an individual or pride. Their whereabouts are easily traced through the transmitted signal coming from the collar.

Upon arrival, you will spend about one hour with the lions, while the research team takes notes of their behaviour. The data collected will further the conservation program, while you get a unique and intimate insight into the lives and habits of these fascinating animals.  

When travelling with Matoke Tours, you can easily add Lion Tracking to your safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. For a limited period of time we are offering to cover the cost of the Lion Tracking experience (worth $100 per person) when you book a safari with us (terms and conditions apply). The offer is valid for bookings made before October 1st, 2019, for tours departing throughout 2019 and 2020. Don’t miss this great opportunity to explore the park from a new angle, while contributing to important conservation of the predator populations in Uganda. For more information on our Lion Tracking offer, or to plan your safari to Uganda, please contact us at info@matoketours.com.

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