This pride was first seen on MalaMala towards the end of 2010 as two lionesses that came in from the Kruger National Park. Initial encounters were hostile as it was clear that these lions were uneasy in the presence of vehicles having come from an area where they had little contact with humans. Early sightings were distant until they slowly adjusted to the sound, sight and smell of the Land Rovers. After about 6 months, they had become more habituated and we were able to view them a lot closer to the vehicles. They spent most of their time in the north-eastern parts of the property, and were seen several times around Buffalo-Bush Dam.
These lions were the first pride to produce cubs by the now dominant Manyelethi Male coalition, and good time was spent by the coalition with this pride and their four cubs in the early parts of 2011. The cubs were born in July 2010 to one of the females, and included 3 females and one male. Unfortunately two of the female cubs had died by the end of 2012 in unknown circumstances to the east of our boundary. The Manyelethi Males slowly distanced themselves from the pride as they looked to spend more time with the Eyrefield and Styx prides throughout 2012, and in January 2013 we saw the Fourways pride with another sub adult male that they seemed to have adopted from another pride. This is unusual for a nomadic male to join another pride, and reasoning suggests that the females needed the influence of a growing male to bulk up their pride, with the apparent abandonment of the Manyelethi Males. They weren’t done yet as another young male was found to be infiltrating the pride in early 2013 and has stayed with them since. They are now possibly the strongest pride on MalaMala with two adult females, 3 sub adult males and a sub adult female patrolling the eastern and central parts of the property.
The pride is generally nomadic without an established territory yet, and has been seen in the most northern and southern parts of our property. We will wait and observe if they are able to establish a home within our boundaries, and will follow the outcome of the three young males in the years to come.
The story continues…