The two Mbiri male lions are a powerful coalition that traverse the rugged landscape of the both the Timbavati and Klaserie Private Nature Reserves. These are the two Mbiri males, often seen on our traverse. Guests were lucky enough to see these cats on the banks of a waterhole while out on morning game drive. The tawny cats were seemingly relaxed in the presence of the game viewer, and were quite sauvé in their mannerisms.
Lion pride dynamics are intricate, and understanding the movements of various individuals and prides can create much confusion. What we do know is the behaviour that is commonplace with this Panthera leo species. So, just why are we seeing two lone males?
Lionesses give birth to a litter of cubs, and the ones that have longevity stay within their natal pride until about 2 years old. Females will stay with the pride for life, while the young males will be ousted and encouraged to practice being a powerful kings. Not having the support of the pride can be brutal, so brothers of the same age or other solo travellers will generally form coalitions of 2 or more.
These coalitions patrol a wide range and often wander over into neighbouring reserves in order to establish new territories and find their own prides to take over. Coalitions come in search of females and territory. It’s vital that males continue their own bloodline and strong genetics. Heartbreaking is the fact that, the more burly and ruthless of males may even commit infanticide – which is the killing off of cubs in an established pride. This is so that they can dominate the females and procreate. Infanticide is one of the many reasons why lion cubs have such a high mortality rate in the wild.
In the wild, you will often see older lionesses with her growing cubs, lionesses with other females and then their male pride leaders with full manes and regal stature. A pride can be dominated by a coalition of two, or one male. If there are young males wanting to take over the pride they will attempt to dethrone the current kings. It’s a brutal and ruthless world out there in the lion kingdom!
Our Mbiri boys have been spotted hanging out with the Ross Pride lionesses on a number of occasions. A few cubs in the Timbavati would certainly be a welcome sight.