Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

lions everywhere

by Sabi Sabi on December 4, 2013

It was a morning which started early, there was a light drizzle and anticipation in the air about what the day would bring.

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

“Stop” said my tracker Petro with his characteristic hand gesture. We climbed out of the vehicle to inspect the tracks in the wet soil – lion tracks! I deferred to his extensive knowledge on tracks – “How many do you think?” His response was exactly what I wanted to hear, ”Maningi” – the local word for “many”! We set about tracking them and it didn’t take long before we found them and to our surprise, there were more than we initially thought from the tracks. There was the majority of the Southern Pride in all its glory – a total of 12 partly made up of the Kruger male, sub adult males and females, the females and their two adorable cubs.

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

It was fantastic to see the majority of them back together again as they had spent some time apart. This time apart provide great viewing as the cats – the only social cats in the world – set about reaffirming family bonds by head rubbing and the occasional ”tackle my brother” game.

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

With the young male cubs looking up to their older siblings, they set about playing by trying to stalk, hunt and pounce on the much stronger sub adults and adults, but when you are that age, nothing is too big to take on.

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

Well maybe sometimes, things can be a little big. The attention was taken by an elephant bull who slowly ambled past with all their heads raised to witness this giant grey mass moving through the vegetation.

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

 

southern pride lions at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve while on safari

It was amazing to see this relaxed attitude, unbeknown to them, in other parts of our reserve Solo and Eyrefield were found along with another male who had been mating with the grandmother of the Southern Pride – Floppy Ear. This type of behaviour has always interested me as the Southern Pride females have consistently been mating with all of the nomadic males who start to move in on the Kruger male’s territory. Is this the art of distraction to safeguard the sub adult males and cubs from these challengers? If so this would seem like an act of pure genius as it has seemed to work up until now.

kruger male lion at Sabi Sabi while on safari

The Kruger male is old and wise and he doesn’t seem to go out on territorial patrol too much and has been staying with two of the females and the cubs. The question I will leave you with – is this a male who realises he is under threat and relying on his females for protection? Or is it the ultimate form of fatherly protection? The answer is for you to decide.

BY: TERRY ENNEVER (EARTH LODGE RANGER)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

amy December 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Love, love, love the Kroeger male. I suspect the answer to your question is a bit of both – he is protecting and being protected. He certainly seems to have some “un-lion” like instincts that have enabled him to have the longevity he has enjoyed. I hope he can continue to wisely navigate the many intruding males and keep himself – and the youngsters- safe. I had wanted him (and still do, I guess) to join up with Solo and Cleo. Their interactions have been so interesting. Thank you so much for the updates on facebook and this blog – keep them coming!

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mj bradley December 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

What a wonderful time that must have been.. The young males are starting to look so very handsome like their father.. I hope they can stay safe at least until these sub adults can manage to make it alone.. Thank you for the great pictures and the wonderful blog.. As always a pleasure to see a glimpse of your piece of paradise.

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syl December 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Great blog & photos.
Whatever (Freddy) KNP male is doing or why ever he’s doing…it’s working well for him. He’s held on far longer than some thought or hoped.

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shirley December 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

That is terrific news.Wow and all the subs are hanging out with them too, along with the Kruger male. I call it and act of great intelligence by a male, and a pride who have mastered much of their skills over a time. Taken the mistakes they have made in the past, and learn from it. I believe Floppy Ear is the one who has taught the pride over the years, and she is also a master of intelligence.

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carsten December 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

The Kruger male wants his bloodline, as well as his subs (whether they be adopted or not) to live on… He lost his brother, he is the only one left. Also in a few of the pictures, you see Freddie walking or playing with one or both of his newest born cubs… I think that bloodline is the primary reason, however, he needs to stay alive and be around to ensure their safety. I believe he is not scared but, he knows that he has back up if something should go down.

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tim December 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Better saga than any reality TV program…..

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notch masaimara December 5, 2013 at 4:10 am

Thank you for the update. I love the Southern Pride in that they have members of all ages and sizes. The Kruger male is old, but still a noble king, so I believe he is guarding the lionesses and the adorable and precious cubs. I hope he will partner with Solo and the Eyrefield male, and live a noble life for many years to come.

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bader December 5, 2013 at 6:23 am

This is the ultimate in lion sightings…you got cubs, subadults, adult females and watching over them…the mighty king! Just Perfect!

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jason December 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I would like to know what happened between the Eyrefield males and 2 of the Hildas Rock/Sand River males when they were roaring back and forth and then the Majingilane males showed up and seemed to scare the other males away for awhile a week or 2 ago. Also who does Sabi Sabi feel is the dominant male or males in their area because the Kruger male still has the pride but doesn’t defend the territory much anymore(roaring, marking and patrolling) while the Eyrefield males are very active with those territorial behaviors and even the Hildas Rock/Sand River males are more active with territorial behaviors than the Kruger male. thanks

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mike December 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm

BOTH! those girls are smart and it benefits him big time, hope they all keep up this arrangement

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