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.