Episode 1 | Lion Mystery
Preview | Episode 1 | Lion Mystery
Watch wildlife cameraman Bob Poole join the battle to re-wild a national park.
About Episode 1 | Lion Mystery
Premiered: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Off The Fence
Bob Poole joins lion scientist Paola Bouley to solve a baffling mystery: why is Gorongosa’s lion population not growing as fast as it should? After a decade of restoration efforts, there seems to be plenty of prey for the lions to eat. But their population isn’t growing. Because lions are an important keystone species, and a draw for tourists, their recovery is critical to the success of the restoration effort.
By filming the lions, Poole hopes to help solve the mystery. He meets a new lion family with five young cubs, and follows their perilous journey to adulthood. The team encounters a three-legged lioness called Tripod who guides them to a potential answer to the mystery they’re trying to solve. Tripod has given Gorongosa a precious legacy — the five cubs Bob has been filming are her “grandkids”. But their lives are put in danger with the arrival of two male lions that want to expand their own lion kingdom.
Hear a Lion's Roar
Play this audio file to listen to Nginga's roar.
Facts From the Episode
Established in 1960, Gorongosa Park supported one of the densest wildlife populations in Africa with its one million acres of wilderness.
Professor E.O. Wilson — one of the world's leaders in conservation biology — has called Gorongosa "the most ecologically diverse park in the world."
During Mozambique’s civil conflict, soldiers fed themselves with wildlife from the park, drastically reducing numbers. With no prey left, the lion population crashed from about 200 to less than 10.
Mount Gorongosa rises from the floodplain. Its highest peak, called Gogogo in the local language, reaches an elevation of 1,863 meters.
Lake Urema lies in the heart of the park and swells to 20 times its normal size during the rainy season.
Most of the rangers are from communities outside the park, some even fought against each other in the civil war. But now, they’re united in the same cause: protecting Gorongosa.
The Park and its wide buffer zone are divided into four ecological regions shaped by the Rift System, each with its own microclimate, water regime, plant communities and animals.