The Lions – The Majingilane Coalition

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Majingilane Male Crossing Manyelethi River

The name ‘Majingilane’ was coined with reference to watchmen who patrol the night, marching with intent, never altering their course. The Majingilane Coalition are believed to have originated from the Manyelethi Game Reserve and were part of a pride which had built up a feisty reputation for hunting buffalo.

The Majingilane males were born sometime around 2004/2005.  By late 2009, the 5 males were forced to leave their natal area and moved south into the Sabi Sands. Deciding to work as a group instead of individually they roamed around like a gang, causing havoc and sending animals, of all species, scattering for safety.

There were rumors of their arrival in the Sabi Sands in late 2009, but it was only at the beginning of June that they asserted their
dominance and the lion dynamics in the Sabi Sands changed. On the 8th of June 2010, the Majingilane Males came to blows with the dominant Mapogo Males, Kinky-Tail and Satan.

What occurred over the next 24 hours was brutal to say the least. Kinky-Tail and Satan isolated one of the 5 Majingilanes, bringing him down with spine-breaking bites. A short while later, the surviving Majingilanes retaliated and pinned down Kinky-Tail, whilst his brother helplessly tried to defend him.

Upon realization that Kinky-Tail had been killed, Satan ran non-stop into the western sector of the Sabi Sands where he would join up with the remaining four of his Mapogo brothers. There was a belief that the two warring coalitions would come to blows shortly after that.  However, what was billed to be the ‘Greatest showdown of male lions ever seen’, never actually materialized, although there are supporters who claim the fight will still take place…

The surviving four Majingilanes took control over much of Londolozi, starting with Marthly and then slowly areas south and west across the Sand River.  With this land grab came the purging of the lions that did not fit in with their plans for dominance.

Majingilane Male Crossing Manyelethi River

At Londolozi, the first pride to experience their fury was the much-adored Tsalala Pride. Four out of the eight sub-adults were killed leaving just the four young girls and their three mothers. As of September 2010 the two adult lionesses gave into the Majingilanes and began mating with ‘the enemy’. It’s amazing, in human-logic, to think that the females were attempting to fall pregnant with the very males which just months prior had so violently killed their own offspring. But nature works in strange ways and this phenomenon ensures that it is only the strongest and best genes, which survive. One thing you can be sure of is any lion making it through this period will have to be tough as nails.

Next came the Sparta Pride, in mid December two of the three cubs were killed and still at the end of January 2011 a few of the Sparta pride members were unaccounted for.  The pride has been split into fragments and in fear of being found do not vocalize.  They are thus, unable to reunite as a solid unit. So plays out a difficult passage of time for the Sparta Pride.

Majingilane-Male-on-Elephant-Carcass-Londolozi-Game-Reserve

The Majingilane’s continue to grab more land, and exert their dominance, as they become more vocal and their darkening manes start to thicken. As they continue their quest for ultimate domination it makes me wonder two things:

  1. Will we ever see a Maginjilane/Mapogo showdown?
  2. Will these four males reach the point where this mutualistic relationship starts running dry?

For now they are strong, and they only continue to get stronger. Whilst we hate to see what they are doing to the lions which we hold so close to our hearts, we love the drama and action that comes with it. Either way you look at it, we are fortunate to be able to see this story unfold first hand in one of Africa’s remaining wild frontiers.  The video below outlines who each of the four members of the Majingilane Coalition are.

Adam Bannister
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