Cyberdiary: Styx Pride – 25 October 2012

Styx lioness and cubs

Styx lioness and cubs by Gary Hill

The Styx pride has traveled considerable distance since we found them on Tuesday morning around the Fourways Open Area. We had a frustrating time the following day trying to find the pride, and this was only achieved during the evening. The three young cubs had been stashed at Ostrich Koppies and it would seem they would have to wait there until the adults could provide a meal. We finally found the hunting party later on who were chasing giraffe at Picadilly Triangle, an area renowned for its large concentrations of animals. We had to be careful about where we were placed when the lions made a move on the giraffe, and sent them running in all directions. Lions hunting giraffe can be a very dangerous affair since they have been known to run into vehicles amidst the panic, and serious accidents can result. The pride did not have any luck with the giraffe, and we left them shortly after after they started to settle down at the prominent rocky outcrop known as ‘Stwise’, on which our radio tower is perched, and where many a sunset and sunrise has been enjoyed.

Styx lioness by Gary Hill

Styx lioness by Gary Hill

Finally the lions enjoyed some success and the young lioness had a reason to fetch her cubs! Early during the morning of the 25th, we found the Styx pride in the Mlowathi River just opposite the Main Camp. All of the members of the pride were present except for the oldest lioness, otherwise known as ‘Grandma Styx’. It is no surprise that the old lioness was absent. The pride had been from Fourways to Picadilly Triangle, to Stwise and back, and the old lioness must have stopped for break along the way. Her movement is becoming increasingly inhibited, and it remains to be seen how much time the stalwart has left. The pride was in the process of finishing off an adolescent waterbuck that they must have killed a few hours earlier. It was a well-earned meal, since the lions were looking fairly thin in the days before. Waterbuck have a reputation for their smelly, musky odour, which is released from glands in their skin. The function of this gland is not well known, but it is suggested that it helps to waterproof the coats of these animals. In turn, the smelly glands are believed to deter predators. This is up for debate and there is little doubt that a lion is going to pass up on a waterbuck, or any other prey item, when the opportunity presents itself. This was certainly the case here, and the lions had enjoyed a good meal.

Styx lioness and cubs feed on Waterbuck by Gary Hill

Styx lioness and cubs feed on Waterbuck by Gary Hill

Styx lioness and cubs by Gary Hill

Styx lioness and cubs by Gary Hill

The family enjoying a meal by Gary Hill

The family enjoying a meal by Gary Hill

The young lioness had removed a limb from the carcass and was feeding gently along with her three cubs. After their mother lay down, the cubs continued to feed until their meal was stolen by another lioness. This did not seem to bother them too much, as they resorted to their usual playful antics and explored around the carcass where some of the other pride members were still feeding.

Styx Cubs by Gary Hill

Styx Cubs by Gary Hill

Photo by Gary Hill

Photo by Gary Hill

Dinnertime by Gary Hill

Dinnertime by Gary Hill

Mealtime by Gary Hill

Mealtime by Gary Hill

The MalaMala Ranger Team.

PLEASE NOTE: Animals on MalaMala are named after their territories. This means that a) only the predators have been given names and b) we only know the animals according to the names we have given them, as they are based on the territories within MalaMala’s boundaries.

11 thoughts on “Cyberdiary: Styx Pride – 25 October 2012

  1. Lovely pictures, am sad to hear that Grandma Styx is declining though as she was a great guardian for the 2 sub adults for a few years until they were old enough to cope on their own.

  2. I love seeing the cubs enjoying a meal and those young boys with their ‘scruff’ growing in is always a treat. Again, fantastic photos and blog. Thank you.

  3. Another fantastic blog. Very much appreciate the effort from the team. One question about the Manyeleti coalition. Are there 3 or 4 of them left?

    Chris

  4. Thanks for the positive comments, Chris…we’ll be sure to pass on your message to the rangers. We’ll also get confirmation from the rangers as to the number of the Manyelti coalition, and let you know πŸ™‚

  5. We were in the group who saw the lion chasing the giraffe. A remarkable sight, albeit just a few seconds! It seems we were lucky to have seen it as it is not witnessed very often. We also saw the pride feeding too. Glad the kill had already been made before we saw them enjoying it though! :o)

    We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Mala Mala. It was the highlight of our 3 week holiday in South Africa! A HUGE Thank You to all of the staff and rangers who made our stay such a memorable one. We will never forget it. Memories that will stay with us forever.

    I look forward to reading many more cyberdiarys and seeing the amazing photos too. Keep up the good work everyone! :o)

  6. We were in the group who saw the lion chasing the giraffes. A remarkable sight, albeit just a few seconds! It seems we were lucky to have seen it as it is not witnessed very often. We also saw the pride feeding too. Glad the kill had already been made before we saw them enjoying it though πŸ™‚
    We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at mala mala. It was the highlight of our 3 week holiday in South Africa! A HUGE thank you to all of the staff and rangers who made our stay such a memorable one. We will never forget it. Memories that will stay with us forever.
    I look forward to reading many more cyberdiarys and seeing the amazing photos too. Keep up the good work everyone! πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Emma,

    Thanks for your message -it’s good to know that you will continue your “cyber safaris” with us via the blog.

    It’s always great to hear that our visitors had a great stay – thanks for your feedback. We will send your message to the camp πŸ™‚

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