The unpredictable world of the wild strikes again and has taken us all by surprise with the unexpected and astonishing return of a lion king we thought long passed: The last remaining Trilogy male! The reign of the Trilogy – a coalition of 3 amber and black maned lions – was over almost a year ago when the Mapoza males and the Mabande male arrived in the area and chased the two living Trilogy males out of their domain. We could not have imagined we would see the last Trilogy standing in this territory again, but on Friday, there he was – 7 months since disappearing – and joined by none other than the young male we recognise from the unknown pride we saw a couple of weeks ago.
What a moment to see this unmistakable lion again. His ferociously scarred muzzle, worn teeth, and a swollen elbow joint, which has clearly not slowed him down, were dead giveaways of his identity. He looked as tough as ever, and he now has a younger, large male at his side. What’s more is that there are 3 lionesses linked to this young male, which were not seen at the time, but were heard calling from a neighbouring property; a direction in which the two male lions were headed. We don’t know for a fact that the lions calling were the 3 lionesses we know to be affiliated with the younger male, but it is a possibility.
A glance back at our last sighting of this Trilogy male:
After the death of the first of the 3 Trilogy males about a year ago, the famous trio had narrowed down to 2. One of remaining duo was not in good condition after a buffalo hunt went bad, while the other (always the most dominant of the 3) was seemingly strong; but 1 male could not stand up to the force of the young and powerful Mapoza pair, and when it became obvious that the weaker Trilogy male had died, the last one standing was seen slinking through the area and disappearing into the thicket, quickly and quietly, avoiding confrontation. That memorable sighting was 7 months ago, and we did not think we would see that iconic, battle-scarred male again on this turf again, especially since the Mapoza males were such a strong presence.
This sighting just goes to show that we can never assume to have seen the last of a lion king unless we know he has died. When we witnessed the last Trilogy male slinking off into the bush all that time ago, we couldn’t have known he would return, but we did entertain the idea that he might one day return with a new partner in crime if he made it for long enough on his own. And here we are, seeing the return of this Trilogy male!
What next? Will these two stick together and fight for their place in old Trilogy territory? Will this pride become a force in the Klaserie? Or will the Mapoza males, or the young Sumatra males fight the newcomers off? Only time will tell, and time is what we have!