Tanzanian conservation agencies team up to locate Lion Joel’s ‘remains’
The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) is now liaising with Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) on keeping track of Joel the Lion, following the death of its sibling and photogenic brother Bob Junior.
The move, seeks to ascertain the fate of the 12-year-old lion.
Briefing reporters here on Wednesday, TANAPA Conservation Commissioner, William
Mwakilema revealed that plans were underway between the two agencies to start tracking Joel, who fled off since the death of Bob Junior, who is also revered as the King of Serengeti.
Bob Junior was reportedly killed by his younger rivals in the jungle.
If found dead, Mr Mwakilema said they will collect Joel’s remains with a view of preparing, stuffing, and mounting its skins, a process commonly referred to as Taxidermy.
“We would have wished to do the same with Bob Junior, but we weren’t so lucky because we couldn’t locate its remains and probably got eaten up by Hyenas,” said the Conservation Commissioner.
By preserving Joel’s body, it would leave behind a lasting legacy and memory of the two brothers which ruled a pride in the rocky Kopjes of Namiri short plains, in Eastern Serengeti.
“As conservationists, we are also saddened by Bob Junior’s death as it added value to Serengeti National Park,” explained Mr Mwakilema.
According to the TANAPA Conservation Commissioner, many who encountered the big hairy cat, were awestruck by its majesty.
It is such attributes that compelled tourists and other visitors to name it Bob Junior, likening it to Jamaican Reggae legend, Bob Marley.
Thanks to its popularity, social media went frenzy since Bob Junior’s death got reported on March 11, this year.
According to Mr Mwakilema, the siblings were both big in size and attracted the attention of many who visited Serengeti National Park.
They were first spotted together in 2010 and have since formed an unbreakable bond.
He said: “They lived together for 12 years in Eastern Serengeti since they spotted.”
Despite ruling the pride for all that time, other lions attempted to wrestle the two out of domination to claim territorial and mating rights.
This is in a bid of avoid inbreeding within the same pride, which is a common occurrence in the ecological world.
Despite Bob Junior’s and Joel’s pride, Serengeti is also a home to another big pride, dubbed the ‘Super Pride’, which consists of 22 lionesses and two male lions.
According to TAWIRI, there are around 3,500 lions in Tanzania, with most of the cats found along the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem.
Such a feat makes Tanzania a home to half of world’s lions.