The proverbial storm that threatened to break over Djuma with the arrival of the Avoca male lions seems to have petered out into a rather mild drizzle.
Three of the four Birmingham Boys came charging back into the northern section of their territory, roaring out their dominance for the world to hear and sending the younger Avoca males scurrying back north. This was what we expected but is far from the end of the story. The Birmingham Boys’ arrival in the Sands started in just the same way over three years ago – quick incursions into Matimba territory and turning tail every time the Matimbas sniffed in their direction. That is, of course, until they gained sufficient strength and confidence for the explosive territorial takeover that has made them the dominant males in the northern Sabi Sands. The big difference is that the Matimba males were significantly outnumbered when they were ousted. The Birminghams are not. It remains to be seen how this plays out as the Avoca males gather their strength.
Unfortunately for the Nkuhumas, it seems as though the Birminghams did not return soon enough and reports are that they came into contact with the Avoca males. They were found on Djuma looking bedraggled, hungry and without their youngest member. We will never know what befell the little cub but her continued absence suggests that her mother has lost all cubs from her very first litter, a sad reality for many lionesses.
The antics of young Hosana continue to endear him to his loving fans (ourselves included).
As the death of the elephant bull caused a frenzy of conversation on social media and a feeding frenzy among the scavengers, Hosana was not going to be overshadowed. He strolled in to investigate but was understandably not interested in competing for his place at the buffet.
The older and more sedate Tingana seems to have removed himself from the onerous duties of being the dominant territorial male on Djuma.
For now it appears that he has no intentions of challenging Hukumuri and is quite content to lounge around Chitwa, stirring only when his stomach rumbles.
All leopards are beautiful but Xidulu is the picture of perfection. Perhaps she felt that Tristan did not pay her enough in the way of compliments upon her return to Djuma because she certainly fixed the safariLIVE crew with an inscrutable stare for a tad longer than was comfortable. A stare from a big cat like that is a little like falling in love. Exhilarating and just a little terrifying.
Thandi does not have time for this flirtatious behaviour.
She has a growing cub to feed and protect and perhaps it would not be anthropomorphizing too much to suggest that she looked very proud of herself as she carried her scrub hare back to Tlalamba’s hiding spot. Or perhaps she was just trying not to drag it on the ground, you decide. Either way, Tlalamba was thrilled with her meal and set about devouring it in a very unladylike manner. They grow up so quickly these days…
Sensible Thandi was nowhere to be seen when Hukumuri made his return to Djuma to continue his instinctive conquest of territory. Unfortunately, Hosana does not have the common sense of his big sister and with the typical insouciance of most male mammals of a certain age, decided that Hukumuri was worth a closer look. Luckily he heeded Hukumuri’s warning and reappeared the next morning unfazed and completely unapologetic for the severe anxiety his actions had caused. The Little Chief, alone from such a young age, still has a long way to go as he walks the fine line between curiosity and survival.
Written by Jamie Paterson