The sun has set on yet another day here in the Sabi Sands. Nightfall in the bush awakes a predator. An illusive leopard hunts with caution, planning every step as he silently moves through the darkness towards his prey… but this story is not about a stalking leopard. It is a story of one of our well-known lions, the dominant male of the Kahuma Pride, Blondie, who has tragically fallen to the brutal, destructive and terrifying coalition of five male lions, known as the “Mapogo Males”.

Last night, as darkness settled over the bush, the horrifying sound of fighting lions was heard to the south of Djuma somewhere across one of our borders. The Rangers knew immediately that the Mapogo Males were a part of it because they had been spotted close to Cheetah Cut-line a couple of days ago. True to their name, which means, “bandits”, they were once again on the path of destruction.

During the day, the two Kahuma males were seen with one of the Sticks females. Blondie was mating with her when the Mapogo Males came across them. Sadly, the instinct to eliminate all competition prevailed and Blondie stood little chance against the five “bandits”. The younger male, Dozie, joined the struggle for a while but fled together with the female towards Buffelshoek, when he realized his big brother had fallen. Our hearts grew heavy as we heard the reports coming in over the radio. Blondie was paralyzed. His only chance of survival would have been retreat. His fate was now sealed.

The Sticks female escaped unharmed and is now, surprisingly, with the Mapogo Males, who will mate with her to ensure the survival of their genes. The only remaining Kahuma male, Dozie, was seen in Buffelshoek this morning with one of the Kahuma females. Dozie must now rise and take his place as the new dominant male of the Kahuma Pride. Some of the females have cubs and the Mapogo Males will want to kill them too, so Dozie’s responsibilities are great. He is now the only one that can ensure the survival of the Kahuma Pride.

As far as we know the Kahuma Pride now consists of one male, Dozie, nine females and thirteen cubs. All of us here at Wild Earth are hoping that Dozie will succeed in his task of protecting the Kahuma Pride and that, in time the cubs will grow up to be a part of this very special group that we have come to know and love.

The sun has set on yet another magnificent male lion’s life here in the Sabi Sands but I am sure, that whenever we see a buried lion track on the roads he used to walk on, we will think of him and remember him dearly.