Days of Our Lions: An Update on the Pride Dynamics

Over the past few months, there’s been a great deal of activity within and between the lion prides of Lion Sands Game Reserve. Field Guide Aidan Dunlop gives us an update:

  • The four young Nwaswitshaka males (who’ve only appeared in about the last 8 months from the Kruger National Park) have been seen 3-4km away from the last two remaining Southern Pride females, who are together on the reserve for the first time in a long time
  • On one morning, the Nwaswitshaka males were particularly close to the Southern Pride females and we were hopeful that they would meet up, but the tracks of all four males went back down to the Sabie River and away from the females
  • Our Guiding Team has decided to rename the Nwaswitshaka males, the Ndzhenga males – ‘Ndzhenga’ is the Shangaan name for the thorny African Wattle tree and the lions were first found in an area dense with these plants, making it very difficult to get close to them
  • About a year ago, two of the three young Tsalala males were killed by a rival pride. Since then, we have seen the surviving male only once or twice a year and there are records of him being found deep in the Kruger
  • The four Styx females remain relatively close to our reserve, but have not made many appearances here – we think it’s only a matter of time before they do though… They would make a perfect match for the Ndzhenga or Southern Avoca males
  • The two Southern Avoca males are on our eastern border, with the Ndzhenga males about 5km away
  • The Styx females will more than likely fall under a new reign of males – being fertile females with a strong bloodline, they have a good chance of fortifying a new bloodline together
  • The Southern Avoca males have been seen mating with the Sand River females, as well as members of the Plains Game pride, and are also still visiting the Eyrefield females and their cubs on the very southern border of Mala Mala, close to Kirkman’s Kamp
  • The Styx females have also been in the area, just a bit further west and this may cause trouble for the Eyrefield females

Interesting times lie ahead and we’ll continue to keep you posted!

Words by: Field Guide Aidan Dunlop

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