Posted by: wildsidezambia | May 21, 2013

Little ones see lion in the wild for the first time

Wild Side Tours last week sponsored a pre-school trip for the Bambini Asilo school (Monica Banks Memorial trust school) to the Mukuni Big Five game reserve in Livingstone, giving the over-awed youngsters their first glimpse of lions in the wild.

The children of Bambini Asilo walk in a neat file on their way to see the lions at Mukuni Big 5

The children of Bambini Asilo walk in a neat file on their way to see the lions at Mukuni Big 5

The Bambini Asilo School was set up and by Maria Oronti Mauri. She organised funding through her son in Santa Domingo and friends in her native Italy, until her untimely death in June last year. Maria was passionate about Zambia and her school, and her son Thomas Oronti still carries on with the sponsorships – along with regular visitor Gaby Hohlweck and her friends, also from Italy.

The charity, named Jacaranda, recently built a borehole for the school among other things and are in the process of building a new secondary school in the same area, near the airport. They also sponsor a pre-school in Fubo near Monze, 300km from Livingstone.

Many of the children who grow up in Zambia never get to see wildlife in their natural surrounds. “That is so sad”, says Karien Kermer of Wild Side Tours. “It was wonderful to see the excitement and the awe in the little one’s faces when they actually got to see the lions at Mukuni close up”. (Children aren’t allowed to walk with the lions, unlike adults).

A big yawn...

A big yawn…

The lions are all part of a carefully monitored programme to re-introduce lions into areas where they used to occur but where their numbers have dwindled by up to shocking 80%. By the time the cubs that form the first stages of the programme reach the age of about three they are released in a large holding area where they start fending for themselves without human help – although they are closely monitored in case there are problems. Their offspring are totally wild and grow up being taught life’s skills by their parents. These are the ones that are eventually reintroduced into the planned 80000 ha Mukuni Game Reserve just north of Livingstone the area North of Lake Kariba.

For bookings for an unforgettable African wildlife experience, no matter what age you are, visit


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