As previously reported, there has been some interesting developments in the lion dynamics lately. Ranger Sabastion Wayne took a closer look and had the following to report:
“The featured good-looking sub-adult male lion, about three and a half years old, is one of the Talamati males that has been hanging around with some of the Nkuhumas for a while now. We recently found him and his brother taking a breather with an old Nkuhuma adult lioness (the female with a scar on her hip), as well as a sub-adult female and her brother. Prior to their return on a property where we traverse, all five of them were on a giraffe carcass for about three days.
We also saw three of the Nkuhumas with two Talamati males, on the same day the rest of the Nkuhumas – seven of them – were spotted by other rangers far in the east. I drove east the same afternoon to follow up on the rest of the Nkuhumas, and found them fast asleep not too far from where they were left that morning. Interestingly all seven were there, as well as one very mangy Mhangene male close by – he looked about 3 years old.
It’s a bit strange with the split Nkuhumas, who as you know consisted of eleven lions – five adult lionesses, five sub-adult lionesses and one sub-adult male. So missing was one lioness from the Nkuhumas, but we got to see three Nkuhumas and two Talamatis in the morning as well as seven Nkuhumas and one Mhangene in the afternoon.
After sundowners we received an update that the missing lioness from the Nkuhuma pride was spotted way west of the rest, being closely followed by an Avoca male lion with a bit of a limp. While making our way home, we quickly stopped to check in on them. It looked like they had been mating, which probably happened north before coming over to our side. It was pretty cool to see a big male lion, and I was also relived to see the missing Nkuhuma lioness. We believe she left the rest of her pride and went north as she was in oestrus and ready to mate.
I did not manage to get a pic of the Avoca male with the limp following the Nkuhuma lioness, but this is a photo of the same Avoca male from a couple of weeks ago.
The picture above is the other Talamati male with three of the Nkuhumas the morning they returned after feeding on a giraffe they killed about three days prior. While we were watching the five lions, another ranger at the sighting told me that they had seen an old buffalo bull with a bad limp about 2km from these lions. We both thought that when these lions do become active later and decide to head north, they might just find the straggling old buffalo bull and who knows what would happen?
Guess what we found the very next day! Three Nkuhumas, two Talamati boys and… two Mhangene males on a buffalo carcass!
Not really sure how two Mhangene males managed to find these lions, but nevertheless, it was an awesome sighting for our guests.
The two Talamati boys, the sub-adult male and female Nkuhumas were just off to the left with massive bellies, sleeping and digesting their food.
But it was not all about lions… We also saw Kuchawa, and it looks like she might be pregnant. I have not seen Kuchawa in about six months, that is since she disappeared to the north, and I think she came this side to look for a den site. Exciting times! We will keep you updated if she’s indeed pregnant and whether she decides to stay this side to have her cubs.
Until next time…”
Text and pictures by Sabastion Wayne