Lion pride dynamics in any reserve are always shifting and changing with the wind – nothing is ever cast in stone, which is why we can never become emotionally attached to local prides. Prides splinter, lionesses stick together and once strong kings are ousted when the testosterone fuelled sub-adults seek to take over. Sounds complicated? Well…It is.
Males leave their birth pride and form coalitions with other males at roughly the age of 3. This is the age when they seek to take over prides and form strong bonds with other males. Young males that don’t find a coalition become nomadic, always in search of lionesses. You have nomadic males and coalitions coming in search of prides to rule and lands to reign over. There may be warfare or quiet retreats from old pride kings. It’s all about power, land and females!
You see, the life cycle of a lion and its intricate, dramatic family life is a spaghetti-like world of complication. At the moment, we’re watching the intricate web of Klaserie lions becoming more and more involved. Today, yet again, we received further information about a male lion, which adds another twist in the tale from our Klaserie rangers.
Just when we thought the Mapoza’s were going to take over, they disappeared deep into the thickets. The Trilogy male triumphantly returned with a sidekick and bodyguard. Were they scoping out the lay of the land in the hopes of forever reigning supreme? We don’t know, because they disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Then we had the Sumatra males testing the waters, a nomadic male and a male with lionesses.
Last week, Luan heard two male lions brazenly contact calling through the land and upon seeing them, we’ve yet to discover just who they are. There’s speculation that they could be the Mbiri male lions – and it’s not the first time we’ve spotted them.
Shortly after the sighting of this duo, rangers reported a sighting of another Sumatra male ! This is actually the third sighting of the Sumatras (previously we saw two young Sumatra males in the area) and this time it was a different male.
This Sumatra male has JUST been spotted mating with the Ross Pride Breakaway lionesses. We spotted the male yesterday and the Ross girls moved off into the thickets. This powerful male had a full belly – a clear indication that he’d just enjoyed a recent kill ! Kevin said the stench of the kill was strong, but they couldn’t see the carcass anywhere. The wakes of vultures and clans of hyena are sure to approach the kill site in the next day or two.
The one thing that appears to be consistent on our traverse in the Klaserie is the presence of the notorious lion sisters – the Ross Pride Breakaway lionesses. They leave no male lion untouched and have birthed many cubs, none of which have survived. At least they’re our reliable lions of the area.
But, are we complaining? No – we have a heavy presence of lions which is always a good thing, despite their origin!