The Birmingham Boys are the dominant Lion coalition that WE encounter in the Northern Sabi Sand reserve. The young males strode into frame in late 2014, overthrowing the Matimba Male lion coalition and taking control of the Nkuhuma ,Torchwood and Styx prides.
Fast forward to present time and these kings of cubs have certainly made their mark. They have not only sired new litters but have maintained their territorial hold.

The Birmingham Boys have become such integral characters on safariLIVE and have weaved themselves so thoroughly into the show that it has been decided to knight them and finally give them names.

WE name the animals so that we can tell each of their stories. WE can follow them through their trials and triumphs and gain insight into their lives and share this all with all of you.

The naming of our most-loved characters will always try to follow this approach:  

  • Firstly the animal that is to be named, needs to be a character that is often seen. Because the whole reason for why we need to name them is so that we can tell their life stories.
  • The characteristics of the animal will be taken into consideration when naming. We look for names that are descriptive and directly relevant to the individual e.g. “short tail”.
  • Traditionally leopards have been given descriptive Xitsonga names. E.g. Karula meaning “peace”. WE will aim to maintain this tradition for leopards as well as lions, but as you know there are already exceptions
    [e.g. Anderson male].
  • The whole debate around when to name a cat is complex and political. In the past leopards where named by the guide who first saw the cub but only when that leopard established its own territory. However, a daily audience wanting to follow that cub’s life cannot wait 18 months [or more] before being able to identify the cat. So this tradition has had to be relaxed over the years. WE work with the guides in the area to quickly find a name for cubs once WE are seeing them regularly.
  • In the past lion prides were often named for where they had come from. E.g. the Birmingham Boys came from the Birmingham farm in the Timbavati. WE might continue with this approach but we will also be naming individuals based on their unique characteristics. E.g. Mr T who had a mohican hairstyle.
  • In time we may involve you, our viewers, in naming the animals but for now we are not going to. Why? Because we don’t want to confuse the issue. It’s not about who names the animal it’s the fact that the animal gets an appropriate name. Once everyone [locally] has come to accept the need for names then we will start involving you all in the process. For now we ask that you are patient and supportive.

Today WE are officially naming the Birmingham Boys and trust that their reign may be long lived.

The Birmingham Boys  

Name : Nsuku ( Formerly known as Blondie / #1)
Pronunciation : in-suu-kuu
Meaning: ‘gold’ – due to his blonde and golden mane
Coalition : Birmingham Boys
From: Birmingham Farm, Timbavati
Territory : Northern Sabi Sand Reserve
Identification: Nose is darkened with scratches

Name : Nhenha ( Formerly known as #2)
Pronunciation: neh-nuh
Meaning: ‘ Warrior’ – he was one of the front runners when Birminghams came in for takeover
Coalition : Birmingham Boys
From: Birmingham Farm, Timbavati
Territory : Northern Sabi Sand Reserve
  • Equal sign scar above right nostril
  • Horizontal scar below left eye
  • ‘V’ nick on the edge of left ear

Name : Tinyo ( Formerly known as Mo / #3)
Pronunciation: teen-yoh
Meaning: ‘Tooth’ – His canine is visible through his split lip scar.
Coalition : Birmingham boys
From: Birmingham Farm , Timbavati
Territory : Northern Sabi Sand
  • Floppy right ear
  • Halfmoon nick on top of his right ear
  • Skin condition on his stomach
  • Split-lip scar on the left side

Name :Mfumo (formerly known as Samson / #4)
Pronunciation: mm-fuu-moh
Meaning: “authority” / “to rule” –  he is the biggest and the one we see most regularly
Coalition : Birmingham boys
From: Birmingham Farm, Timbavati
Territory : Northern Sabi Sand Reserve
  • Large wound on right hand side of his face ( Will scar)
  • ‘V’ nick on top of right ear