Things are heating up here in the bush, both temperature wise and in terms of lion dynamics. We recently received news that the four Southern Pride Males killed the last Othawa Young Male just west of our boundary. Although this is sad news it was not all that surprising. To be a male lion in the Sabi Sands at the moment is an extremely tough ask! Coalitions in the central and northern Sabi Sands now include the Mapogo, Majingilane, Matimba, Southern and Nkuhumas.
We have been following the movements of the 6 Matimba Males as they look to push their boundaries south into the territory of the Majingilane; as of yet we have not viewed these ‘new’ males but have heard them roaring not far north of us. The worrying thing is that the four Majingilane Males are spending less and less time together as a unit, with members being side-tracked by their new love affair with the Sparta Pride Lionesses.
Potentially all the females in the Sparta pride are now pregnant but the males will just not leave them alone! It is not surprising for us to find the four males spread out over many kilometers, sometimes even alone. This is leaving them exposed on all fronts and one feels now, more than ever, that perhaps they have bittern off more then they can chew!
It has been ages since the Majingilane Males were viewed with the Tsalala Pride in the northern parts of of the reserve. This is cause for concern as the Tsalala sisters have 8 cubs who are not far from the area in which the Matimba Males now patrol.They need the protection of the Majingilanes now more than ever. News from friends north of us suggest that the Matimba Males spend most of their time together and this single trait could be crucial. It is about time that the Majingilane Males start to prove their worth…they need to stick together and face their greatest challenge thus far.
Below I have put some close up pictures of the four Majingilane Males. Their faces tell tales of countless battles, perfect examples of how pictures speak louder than words.
Written by Adam Bannister. Photographs by Adam Bannister and James Tyrrell