The faint roar of a distant lion could be heard at Gowrie waterhole, just as the sun started to fight through the heavy clouds early this morning. A new chapter in the history of a lion pride was about to unfold … very violently!

The Mapogos were still in the area, and all were fearing for the lives of the Kahuma pride, it’s new leader Dozi, his females and their 14 young cubs. The radio in the Final Control crackled as Pieter, with a soft-sad voice, anounced that: “The Mapogos had killed one of the Kahuma Pride’s cubs!” One of the four older male cubs have fallen to the the Coallition of six. Pieter was heading north east on Gowrie cutline to show us the horrible scene! A couple of minutes later, just off Gowrie / Buffelshoek cutline, lay the carcass of a proud young male. Bathed in blood and covered with flies … dead. This beautiful male lion cub fell to the Mapogos’ rage, with bites to the throat and skull.
Yesterday morning other Djuma game drives found Dozi, not where he was supposed to be, protecting his females and cubs, but on the Buffelshoek boundary mating with one of the Styx lionesses.
Now the scent of this lioness in oestrus, must have lured the eager Mapogos closer and closer to Dozi, and the rest of the Kahuma pride, who had managed to bring down a female giraffe the night before, and were busy feeding. Then, picking up the scent of a fresh kill and the Kahuma females, the Mapogos changed direction. On arrival the powerful Mapogos must have run in, scattering our Kahumas in all directions. Then they would have split up to chase the cubs and lionesses. Now they had the giraffe carcass, chased the females away and killed a male cub. WE don’t know if there were any other cubs killed, but ‘really for sure’, with the Mapogos; there is very little chance that any cubs got away!
We must wonder. What if Dozi was with the pride, instead of with the Styx lioness? Would this have changed the outcome? Dozi would have most probably also been killed? Can we compare the life of the cub and that of Dozi? Will Dozi be next anyway?
In any event Dozi has fled. With his tale between his legs, far into the Manyaleti. The females ran to the north as well, and will try to stay out of this area for as long as possible. Particularly if any cubs are still alive.
Pieter edged on towards his first sighting of the Mapogo males at the stolen meal, not far from the young cub carcass at Buffelshoek Gowrie cut line. On arrival, two males were still at the kill. Pieter almost immediately fell in love with the Mapogos‘ shear beauty and strength (this was the first time he had seen them). Pieter decided that one of them reminded him of Shaka; the legendary King of the Zulus. A fearsome, fearless and magnificent leader of the Zulu nation, many years ago.

Later WE found one of the other Mapogos slowly heading towards his brothers at the kill, and occasionally scent marking on his way … Djuma is Mapogo territory now. This one on his own is known as “Mr T”. A lean, mean, fighting machine. A bulk of pure muscle. He received his name from the old TV series: “The A-Team”. One of the characters; “Mr T”, had a Mohawk haircut. Just like this impressive lion appears to have.

It is hard to see anything positive in this morning’s tragedy, but this is Nature. This is the way of lions with strong genes. One day this great Mapogo bloodline will run through the veins of many lions in the Sabi Sands. One day we will learn to love and, hopefully, understand this coalition of powerful brothers. For what they do, is only natural. The law of Nature will prevail. Only the fittest will survive.
Not long from now a great dynasty of lions will be born all over the Sabi Sands. Led and protected by an awesome coalition. Let this thought help us all to accept the loss of the Kahuma cub and many others.
This afternoon’s drive promises to be very interesting when Pieter goes back to the giraffe carcass, and the area around, to see who else WE can find in this unfolding drama … see you there!
Written by Jan Harm Robbertse