HEAVILY FAVORED TOINETTE ALL BUSINESS IN WINNING GRADE II, $200,000 GOLDIKOVA STAKES BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS UNDER PRAT

first_imgHEAVILY FAVORED TOINETTE ALL BUSINESS IN WINNING GRADE II, $200,000 GOLDIKOVA STAKES BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS UNDER PRAT; TRAINED BY DRYSDALE, 4-YEAR-OLD FILLY BY SCAT DADDY GETS MILE ON TURF IN 1:33.38 WITH THE WIN, PRAT FINISHES IN A DEAD HEAT WITH CEDILLO FOR LEADING RIDER HONORS ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 3, 2019)–Attentive to the early pace, heavily favored Toinette proved much the best in winning the Grade II, $200,000 Goldikova Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths Sunday at Santa Anita.  Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy got a flat mile on turf in 1:33.38.With longshot Streak of Luck bounding to the early lead, Toinette and Coach Rocks were in close attendance, with Toinette a length off the leader mid-way around the Club House turn.  Under a long hold from Prat, Toinette settled into a rhythmic stride heading to the far turn, as she continued to sit second to the outside of Coach Rocks.Three sixteenths of a mile from home, Toinette reeled in Streak of Luck and lengthened her stride turning for home en route to an impressive win with her ears pricked.“It didn’t look like there was much speed in the race, so we didn’t want to be too far behind,” said Prat who has ridden her to six of her seven victories. “As you could see, she was very comfortable and she won pretty easy today. Yes, I’m glad to hear she’s going to run next year.  I think she can be a Grade I mare.”A winner of the restricted Swingtime Stakes here on Oct. 5, Toinette was off at 2-5 in a field of six fillies and mares three and up and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10.Owned by Ken Baca and Joseph and Lynne Hudson, Toinette, who is out of the Sunriver mare I Bet Toni Knows, notched her third graded stakes win and her third win from four starts this year. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she now has earnings of $488,720 and her overall mark stands at 10-7-0-1.“She’s had a late year,” said Drysdale in reference to the fact Toinette didn’t get back to the races this year until Aug. 7. “We discovered she had an infected tooth and we had to remove it. Following that, we discovered she had another pocket of infection and we had to treat that, so we had to take our time with her. She’s come around very nicely and yes, we’re hoping for things from her next year.”English-bred Simply Breathless rallied late to finish second by 1 ¼ lengths in front of Richmond Avenue. Off at 6-1 with Joel Rosario, Simply Breathless paid $3.60 and $2.60.Irish-bred Richmond Avenue, next to last a quarter mile out, was up to touch Streak of Luck by a neck and paid $3.40 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.97, 46.66, 1:10.58 and 1:22.04.Note: With the Goldikova win, Prat notched his 21st win of the 23-day Autumn Meet, finishing in a dead heat atop the jockey standings with Abel Cedillo.Live racing will resume at Santa Anita with opening day of the track’s traditional Winter Meet on Thursday, Dec. 26. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.last_img read more

SASOD wants to conduct ‘PREP’ feasibility study

first_img…as part of enhanced HIV/AIDS fightBy Lakhram BhagratThe Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has commenced paperwork to launch a feasibility study on the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill brand named “Truvada”.Objective of the study is to test the viability of PrEP in the Guyana context, and to possibly introduce the pill to aid in the prevention of the transmission of HIV among homosexual males.SASOD Managing Director Joel Simpson“This year, working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and their regional PAHO/WHO Office, we are going to do a feasibility study on pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) for men who have sex with men.“There is a pill to be taken every day; (it) will inhibit your chances of contracting HIV by over 90%, so we want to explore whether this is a viable method of HIV prevention for vulnerable groups in Guyana,” SASOD’s Managing Director Joel Simpson said.Simpson told a news conference on Wednesday that the organization is in the process of finalizing its Ethics Review Application destined for the Ministry of Public Health. He added that he foresees no difficulty with the application, since the Public Health Ministry’s National Aids Programme Secretariat has been asking for the data.He said that after approval is granted, SASOD would commence the feasibility study to test the viability of PrEP.Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of being infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently. Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.When asked about the reason for the study, Simpson noted that before a new drug is introduced, there ought to be a demonstration project to prove its viability. “Studies have been conducted in other countries on PrEP, but not in Guyana; and one of the things you have to do in public health is that if you are going to implement a new pill or something like that, you have to do a demonstration project to see how it is going to work in your country’s context,” he noted.“We are at the stage (wherein) we are just doing the paper research. We are not going to give anybody the pill in 2018. We are doing a feasibility study to assess what people know about PrEP. If you don’t know about it and we tell them a little about it, what’s their attitude about? So we want to know that there is interest from the community in even exploring whether we should test PrEP in Guyana. This is an extensive survey, and after that we will look at the result and determine whether there is enough interest to go next to a demonstration project,” Simpson added.Simpson further stated that SASOD has already sent Truvada’s manufacturing company, GILEAD Inc, a concept note to inform of the intention to do work around the product. He noted that if it comes to the testing of the actual pill, then the possibility exists that SASOD would acquire a quantity of that prophylaxis drug free of cost for the demonstration that could begin in 2019.He said that to test the drug for a 9-month period on 100 men who have sex with men would cost approximately US$75,000, and with the dwindling resources to fight HIV, there should be a menu of options available.last_img read more

RCMP looking to name two suspects in another break-in

first_imgAnyone with information in regards to the break and enter or who can identify either of the two suspects is asked to contact the Fort St. John RCMP detachment at 250-787-8140 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Photo:  The RCMP have released these photos of one female suspect and one male suspect – RCMP handout- Advertisement – Fort St. John RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to identify two people who are suspected of breaking into a home and later using a stolen credit card.RCMP officials say a residence on 103 Ave. near 107 St. was broken into early in the morning on Nov. 13.They say an unknown number of suspects broke into the home through a front basement window between 4 and 5 a.m. when the homeowners were not at the residence.The suspects stole two handguns with ammunition, cash, credit cards, and other personal items. A 2008 Honda Ridgeline was also stolen and later recovered on 101 Ave. at 109 St.Police say the suspects have used one of the stolen credit cards at different businesses in the area.Advertisementlast_img read more

Messi puts on masterclass for watching Coutinho

first_img0Shares0000Barcelona’s forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg football match against Celta Vigo January 11, 2018 © AFP / LLUIS GENEMADRID, Spain, Jan 12 – Lionel Messi put on a masterclass in front of new recruit Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona trounced Celta Vigo 5-0 Thursday to ease into the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate.Coutinho, dressed in a black shirt dotted with white stars, was in the stands at the Camp Nou for the first time since his 160 million-euro ($192 million) move from Liverpool. It didn’t take long for the Brazilian star to appreciate the playing riches on show on the pitch.“The first half was extraordinary,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.Level at 1-1 after the first leg, the three-time defending champions were 4-0 up by half-time.Messi grabbed the opening two goals in the 13th and 15th minutes, both finished with a sublime first touch with his left foot, both created by Jordi Alba.Messi then returned the favour by setting up Alba to score past the hapless Sergio Alvarez in the Celta goal before Luis Suarez made it 4-0 on the night after 30 minutes when the Uruguayan burst through the defence.The tie petered out in the second half but French international Ousmane Dembele showed why Barcelona paid 105 million euros for him last year when he dribbled past three defenders from the halfway line before being denied by a desperate tackle.Dembele did have time to set up the fifth goal of the night three minutes from the end when his corner was headed home from close range by an unmarked Ivan Rakitic.“It’s luxury to have Leo in the side, he’s the best in history. We always look for each other to score goals and today we have done it twice,” said Alba.Earlier Thursday, Espanyol overturned a 2-1 loss in the first leg to defeat Levante 2-0 with Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno on target either side of half-time.Sevilla also progressed with a 2-1 win at home to second-tier Cadiz for a 4-1 aggregate.Barcelona’s forward Ousmane Dembele (C) vies with Celta Vigo’s defender Sergi Gomez during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg football match January 11, 2018 © AFP / LLUIS GENEWissam Ben Yedder, after 31 minutes, and Joaquin Correa in the 54th minute, were on target for Vincenzo Montella’s team.On Wednesday, Real Madrid laboured to a 2-2 draw with Numancia to progress to the quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate.In a much-changed side, Lucas Vazquez scored both of Real’s goals after the 11th and 59th minutes.But on both occasions, their modest visitors fought back thanks to a brace from Guillermo on the stroke of half-time and then after 82 minutes.Numancia ended the game with 10 men after captain Dani Calvo was red-carded in the dying moments.Leganes, a modest club from the Madrid suburbs, reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their 89-year existence.Despite losing 2-1 at Villarreal, who are currently sixth in La Liga, Leganes progressed on away goals having won the first leg 1-0.Moroccan international Nabil El Zhar scored the crucial away goal for mid-table Leganes on the half-hour mark.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Designs for the holidays

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! During the holidays, there’s nothing like the warmth and festiveness that flowers add to the home – whether it’s in the kitchen, dining room, hallway, bedroom, or bath.And few designers create arrangements with more style than Torrance resident Gudy Kimmel, master California State Garden Club flower show judge and a popular speaker on the design circuit. Kimmel was a guest demonstrator Monday for members of the Palos Verdes Branch of the National Fuchsia Society. She arrived at the South Coast Botanic Garden loaded with bunches of fresh flowers, seed pods, cat tails, wheat grass and greens from the Torrance Farmers Market at Wilson Park. She also toted containers – from a small wooden sleigh to autumn-colored pottery bowls filled with Oasis Floral Foam – to create eight elegant floral arrangements.Kimmel’s demonstration was packed with tips and ideas for creating unique arrangements for Thanksgiving and winter holiday decorations. When designing, remember the height of the finished arrangement generally should be 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of the container.She began with ideas using clear glass vases, which can be filled with small apples, kumquats, pine cones, ball ornaments or other seasonal materials.At Michaels craft store, she purchased a bag of potpourri filled with small pine cones, seedpods, nuts and other natural elements in fall colors, which she glued to wooden barbecue skewers and inserted into arrangements of greens with and without flowers.Another design incorporated two pint-size ceramic loaf pans Kimmel found at Michaels with Thanksgiving cornucopia designs. She filled these with Oasis and added graceful greens and short-stemmed yellow and dark red mums (buds can be used too). Each pan held a focal point of a petite gourd or small persimmon and autumn-colored greens such as solidago, a kind of yellow and green goldenrod (which, contrary to common thought, doesn’t cause hayfever) and golden euonymus. She also added bits of small green ivy and geranium leaves from her garden.Growing a small nandina bush in your garden is a must for flower arranging, Kimmel says. Designers use its graceful variegated leaves as fillers and its red and bronze berries in fall and winter. They also use dwarf pittosporum and ruscus.She pointed out that almost any plastic container can be cut down to any size, filled with Oasis and water, and inserted into a holiday-theme object.In one arrangement, she filled a table-top-size wooden sleigh with a cut-down plastic milk container stuffed with Oasis. Then she added juniper greens (she prefera sprigs with fresh new growth), holly fern, and asparagus fern, which resembles delicate, miniature pine trees. Finally, Kimmel topped off the arrangement with dark crimson gerbera daisies and snow white mums.In another design, she used a small ceramic bowl in which she placed a plastic tub with Oasis, into which she inserted a round (or cylinder) candle. Then she filled in the oasis with pittosporum, asparagus fern, holly and Princess cedar (it’s like juniper). Then she added fresh flowers.These greens will last the entire holiday season if you change the water every two days. When the flowers start to fade, just replace them or add holiday ornaments.To complete this arrangement Kimmel placed five gold balls around the candle and added white mums (or you can use white camellias). For added glitter, she sometimes sprays camellia leaves with a slight mist of Design Master silver or gold paint, or a touch of fairy dust glitter for added sparkle. To celebration the new year, Kimmel created an arrangement using a pale sea-green, cylindrical pottery vase with white birchlike branches, highlighted by a gorgeous pale pinkish-green lisianthus from the Farmer’s Market. For conditioning all holiday greens, Kimmel suggested soaking them for 24 hours in 1 gallon of water with a solution of 2 tablespoons of ammonium sulfate and 1/2-cup Karo syrup.Whether its conditioning greens or demonstrating holiday floral arrangements, you can catch Kimmel’s enthusiasm for holiday designs, along with her tips, at a demonstration at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Torrance Farmer’s Market at Wilson Park.The floral design demo is free, and fresh holiday greens and flowers will be right at your fingertips to purchase while your enthusiasm is still high.WANTTO GO? What: Discovering the Warrior Mind seminar for children 8 to 15 years old.When: Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.Where: Building H, Angel’s Gate Cultural Center at 3601 South Gaffey St., San Pedro.Cost: Free, lunch is included.Information: Call instructor Michael Berger at 323-842-0701.Information: Call instructor Michael Berger at 323-842-0701. Meredith Grenier (310) 540-5511, Ext.494 meredith.grenier@ dailybreeze.com.last_img read more

DD LOCAL: GLENTIES SET TO LAUNCH ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DAY

first_imgShop Local:Glenties Community Action Group aim to promote what is best about Glenties, and on Sunday 3rd November they will begin a “Shop Local” Campaign by inviting all local businesses to showcase their products and bargains in the Highlands Hotel between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity for the community to see what Glenties has to offer in shopping and entertainment, and there will be loads of offers available on the day. So please support your community and local businesses and shop local.Church Gate Collections: The Church Gate Collection for The Dyslexia Association taken up in Edeninfagh on 25th August amounted to € 95.00. A Big Thank You to all who gave generously.The Church Gate Collection taken up in Glenties for People with Intellectual Disabilities raised € 651.45. Thank you for your support.Cash for Clobber:Scoil Mhuire is having another ‘Cash for Clobber’ collection on Tuesday 22nd October. We accept bags of men’s, women’s & children’s clothing, paired shoes, handbags, belts, bed linen (no duvets or pillows) curtains etc. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in the past and we look forward to another successful collection on the 22nd. Feel free to drop your bag(s) into the school anytime prior to the collection. Bingo:The winners at the Bingo in the Community Centre, Glenties on Tuesday 8th October 2013 were – € 25 winners – Nora Gallagher, Carmel Fitzgerald, Martina Mc Hugh, Mrs. Mc Cole, Mary Campbell and Fiona Boyle; € 50 Winners – Shirley Campbell, Jenny Furey, Brown Kid, Breidin Keeney, Majella Boyle, Rose McGroarty, Rosemarie Whelan, Rosaleen Gallagher, Cathy Connell, Philomena Mc Callaig, Evelyn Mc Hugh, Fiona Gallagher and Patricia Molloy, € 60 Winner – Maura Kilbane; € 100 Winners – Amanda O’Connell, Bridie Boyle, Maura Kilbane, P Mc Dyre, E. Sweeney and Patricia Molloy.Friends of Letterkenny Hospital Collection:The Friends of Letterkenny Hospital Church Gate Collection will be taken up this weekend Saturday19th October and Sunday 20th October. Your support would be greatly appreciated.Books Wanted: Glenties Day Centre is renewing its library and will gratefully accept donations of books in good condition for use by its clients, Thanking You.Glenties Community Centre:Bingo every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Every line € 50, every house €100. Jackpot, if not won will be € 8600 on the 22/10/2013, if not won on the night € 300 will be paid out. In house draws.Snooker Room will be open from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. every evening. Bowls every Monday night at 8 p.m.Tai Chi every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.Helen O’Grady Academy Drama Classes for children every Thursday evening from 5 p.m.Positions Available: There are still positions available on the Glenties Community Centre Amalgamated C.E. Scheme. D.S.P.criteria applies. For more information contact 087 969 5053.DD LOCAL: GLENTIES SET TO LAUNCH ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DAY was last modified: October 18th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DD LOCAL: GLENTIES SET TO LAUNCH ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DAYlast_img read more

YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP…FORECASTERS EXPECTING SNOW IN DONEGAL TONIGHT

first_imgOUR two days of glorious sunshine last week will seem like a distant memory tonight with weather forecasters predicting SLEET and SNOW for Donegal!Following three days of steady rain and showers across the county, Irish Weather Online forecaster Peter O’Donnell has more bad news for us this morning.And while the sleet and snow will be on higher ground, it’s making this June one of the coldest ever with temperatures well below what is expected for this time of the year. O’Donnell said up to 20mms of rain will hit the county today.And he adds that it will be “very cool with lows 3-7 C. A band of sleety showers is likely to push through Donegal into parts of north Connacht and west Ulster and snow could accumulate on higher ground.”That means higher ground like Mount Errigal could get a dusting of snow overnight.Tomorrow isn’t looking much better either. “Further rain that may mix with sleet or snow over higher parts of the north, while central and southern counties will see intermittent showers with some hail and thunder.  Gusty WNW winds 20-35 mph.  Daytime highs will only reach 7-9 C in the north. Rainfalls of 10-20 mms possible,” he reports.Temperatures will pick up by the weekend to around 15C or 16C but generally still wet with showers.YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP…FORECASTERS EXPECTING SNOW IN DONEGAL TONIGHT was last modified: June 7th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalmount errigalsnowlast_img read more

CLOSING OUR RURAL GARDA STATIONS: ONE GARDA’S MOVING STORY ON THE END OF 150 YEARS OF POLICING

first_imgTHE following article was submitted to Donegal Daily by a serving Garda here in the county.It was written by Garda Tom Daly and the officer wanted us to share it with our readers:Here’s a thought for you…. At lunchtime today, I assisted with the formal closure of a country station, one of the 95 shut around the country today, located in a small County Waterford coastal village. As we waited for the Office of Public Works man to arrive, the Sergeant got a notion and disappeared. I last saw him heading towards a house a few doors down from the station. A few minutes later he arrived in with a magnificent woman of 76 years of age.She was the widow of the last Sergeant to have lived in the station. This, still beautiful, vital Tippeary woman passed an hour with us, describing her 26 years living in the station with her husband, the Gardai who’d passed through the place in her time, the 4 children she’d born in the station, the 2 she’d buried locally, in the same grave as her husband who stayed in the village on his retirement, and passed away all too soon.Almost two decades after his demise, she still visits his grave daily, and her face lit up as she told us he’d been the love of her life. Never wearing the uniform, or drawing a penny from the State, she served our country as faithfully as any sworn Garda.Her husband retired in 1990, and 23 years later, it was obvious she still saw we two, who she’d never met before, as family. A while later, the OPW man arrived, and, as he took possession of the keys, we, and the Super, signed out in the Station Diary, formally ending a century and a half of policing in this village. The beautiful old lady returned to her picture postcard home, with her daughter and son-in-law, leaving us both enriched, and saddened. It strikes me repeatedly of late that oftentimes we hear our politicans referring to us as an “economy” and frequently make reference to their efforts to rebuild our “economy.”An hour with this amazing woman would remind any politican, no matter how dense, that we are a society, not an economy, and we haven’t managed to wreck everthing yet – we still have something elft……. end of sermon!!!!!!!!! CLOSING OUR RURAL GARDA STATIONS: ONE GARDA’S MOVING STORY ON THE END OF 150 YEARS OF POLICING was last modified: January 31st, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CLOSING OUR RURAL GARDA STATIONS: ONE GARDA’S STORYlast_img read more

Onen names final squad for AFCON U17 Qualifiers

first_img Tags: AFCON U17 regional qualifiersPeter OnenU17 National team U17 players in training at the Njeru Technical Center (Photo by FUFA Media)Uganda U17 national team head coach Peter Onen has named his final squad that will represent the nation at the AFCON U17 regional qualifiers in Tanzania.After weeks of intensive training at Njeru technical center, Onen picked 20 out of the 26 players that he initially summoned.11 of the players in the squad featured at the CECAFA U17 tournament early this year.The others are new faces on the team including Polycap Mwaka from Football for Good Academy, Gulu.The tournament will run from the 12th of this month and will see Uganda face Ethiopia on opening day.Uganda is in group B alongside Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan.The winner of the tournament will represent the East Africa region at the U17 AFCON final which will be hosted by Tanzania.The final squad of 20 players:Goal Keepers:Semwogere Daniel (UPDF JT FC), Oluka George (Buddo SS), Oyo Delton (KJSSS FC JT)Defenders:Ssekimbegga Kevin (Buddo SS), Kafumbe Joseph (Buddo SS), Kasozi Samson (Bright Stars FC JT,) Kizito Mugweri Gavin (SC Villa), John Rogers (Onduparaka FC JT), Juma Ibrahim (KCCA SA), Ekolot Ibrahim (Bright Stars FC JT)Midfielders:Ssekajja Davis (Bright Stars FC JT), Owane Yasin Abdul (Rock High School),  Mwaka Polycap (Football For Good Academy Gulu),Kakaire Thomas (SC Vipers JT), Alowo John Kokas (URA FC JT), Ngonde Elvis (KJSSS FC JT)Forwards:Iddi Abdul Wahid (Onduparaka FC JT), Asaba Ivan (SC Vipers JT), Yiga Najib (Kisozi Seed High School), Mukisa Owen (BUL FC JT)Uganda’s fixture at the AFCON U17 Zonal Qualifiers Sunday, 12-08-2018Uganda vs EthiopiaFriday, 17-08-2018 South Sudan vs UgandaSunday, 19-08-2018 Kenya vs UgandaWednesday, 22-08-2018 Uganda vs DjiboutiComments last_img read more

The king returns to Cradock

first_imgLions have been reintroduced to the Mountain Zebra National Park for the first time in over 130 years. Newly introduced lions at the park could boost tourism in Cradock.(Images: SANParks) MEDIA CONTACTS • Megan TaplinPark manager+27 83 650 8649RELATED ARTICLES• Tusker research goes social• Addo’s elephant fence comes down• SA’s national parks• Going wild in Southern AfricaShamin ChibbaFor the first time in more than a century, the lion’s roar can be heard through the tranquil wilderness of the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock, in Eastern Cape.Three lions, one female and two males, all approximately three years of age, were released into the game reserve on 25 April. They are the first lions to freely roam the park since the species was hunted to extinction more than 130 years ago.The re-introduction of lions is mainly to enhance biodiversity in the region, according to park manager, Megan Taplin. “The lions will help in managing larger herbivores. These herbivores got to levels where they could support lions.” She says the restoration is part of SANParks’ drive to return certain animal species to their original habitats.The female had been kept in a boma since February and was joined by the two males a month later. Living in the enclosure helped them adapt to their new surroundings and allowed them to develop a healthy respect for electric fencing. Despite their first tentative steps into the wild, Taplin is certain the lions will thrive. “They are wild lions so they have their instincts. They will be able to hunt and feed.”There is a variety of choice when it comes to meals: the park is home to hartebeest, wildebeest, gemsbok, zebra, Cape buffalo, kudu and blesbok. “So far, they have mainly been killing hartebeest. Just recently they killed a wildebeest.” Since lions are opportunists by nature, they hunt and kill anything. However, Taplin says they tend to stick to bigger game as it is more rewarding. Competing for foodHunting for food is not the lions’ only concern, however. They also have to compete with the cheetahs, which mainly prey on the smaller blesbok. “SANParks introduced the cheetahs in 2007 to establish themselves before we brought in the lions, which may compete with the cheetahs for food.”The brown hyena is the third predator species in the park. But Taplin assures they will not be a threat to the lions’ wellbeing. “Hyenas are scavengers and they feed on smaller animals.”Park authorities have fitted a collar on each lion, allowing them to track the big cats. “We can see what kind of area they prefer to live in and check what kind of prey they target,” she explains. The collars will be worn for the first year of their stay, to collect sufficient information on them.The female came from the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West; the two males were adopted from Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo. A game capture unit was used to seize the lions. Thereafter, they were transported to Mountain Zebra National Park where they adjusted easily to each other.Welgevonden, Taplin says, needed to reduce its lion numbers. “Game reserves try to limit the predator population to ensure a healthy gene pool. Once the fathers have offspring, we have to move some of them out. We would not want the fathers mating with their offspring.” Lions good for tourismTaplin is hopeful that the introduction of lions will bring more tourists to the park. “Most people are interested in lions and perhaps it can bring in more tourists. But it is a little too early to tell.” SANParks says cheetah tracking and guided walks for visitors will continue. Predator-proof fencing of two picnic sites in the game viewing area was done in time for the lions’ arrival.Dinesh Vallabh, a senior lecturer in the school of tourism and hospitality at Walter Sisulu University, which has campuses in various Eastern Cape towns, points out that the lions will definitely boost the number of visitors to the reserve. “Lions are great attractions because that is what foreign tourists want to see.” He says Eastern Cape game reserves have become prime attractions and those that have any of the Big Five do very well. “No one leaves the province without visiting a game reserve.”There is a possibility that more lions may be introduced, says Taplin, but only after park authorities have assessed the impact the three have on the reserve.Situated just outside Cradock, the Mountain Zebra National Park was established in 1937. Its aim was to protect the Cape mountain zebra, which at the time numbered less than 100. Today, the park is home to about 800 zebra, the largest population in South Africa. “This population is used to increase other populations in game reserves around the country,” says Taplin.last_img read more