A Dangerous Duo

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 7:08 PM

Big males are pouring into the Mara North Conservancy left right and centre. Not only have three young males joined the three Cheli and Peacock lionesses, but there are now two impressive boys on the scene. Seen down Ereyet Angopito – where Kioni is usually found– this pair are on the hunt for their own pride.

One of the males with an impressive dark mane

I’m not sure where these boys have come from, or how long they will spend in the area. They could simply be travelling through, and I’ll have to keep a lookout for them before I know more. Nura, Lilly and Siti are in season and mating with the three younger males – perhaps this pair have come to challenge them? Caesar still hasn’t been seen, and he’d better be careful – one of these males he may be able to handle, but together, these boys pose a real threat to Caesar.

‘Aswad’ means ‘black one’ – his mane is a lot darker than his companion’s.

new male 2Sango’ is Aswad’s companion.

These two have earned the names ‘Aswad'’ – meaning the black one – and ‘Sango’, which means ‘braided hair’ – his mane is slightly matted in places. Sango is probably slightly younger than Aswad, as his nose is still pink and his mane is not as well developed. He’s probably around 5-6 years old. Both of these males have a distinctive left ear, in particular Sango, pictured above.
I’ll let you know if these boys are here to stay. With five new males in the area, who knows what will happen through the rest of the rainy season?

A Turnover?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Posted by Sara Blackburn at 4:48 PM

For the past few months, Caesar has been top dog in the Cheli and Peacock pride. After Siti and Lilly lost their cubs, Caesar mated with them. Together with Silver’s little of four, fathered by Caesar, the pride was set to build rapidly in numbers.
However, upon my return, Caesar is nowhere to be seen. There are thoughts that he may be with Lilly, who is rumoured to have a new litter, but as of yet, we’re in the dark. It’s been over 2 months since the big boy was seen.

lady looksSiti looks out: where’s Lilly and Caesar?

In his place with the Cheli and Peacock pride are three strapping young lads. Around 4 years old, this trio are strong enough to compete with a lone male like Caesar, and they certainly show it. Buffalo and elephant are a firm favourite with these boys – they’re not messing around! It’s typical for young adult males to form coalitions when they’re forced to leave their natal pride – it allows them to co-operate in hunting, steal kills from hyena and other predators, and gives them a major advantage for acquiring their own pride. Whatever the deal is with lions, there’s always strength in numbers. This is what makes lions so successful as the only social cat.

threemales2 threemales1
Two of the three boys: they’re about 4 years old

Unfortunately, Silver’s four tots are nowhere to be seen. Both her and Siti have been with the three males for some time now, and it’s unlikely that they would tolerate young cubs belonging to Caesar. It’s a real shame – all three lionesses have now lost at least one litter each, and with rogue males prowling the conservancy, who knows if their next litters will be safe?
It’s certainly a trying time for these four girls. I hope that whichever males join them stay for long enough for them to successfully raise their cubs to adulthood.