Animals can at once seem very alien to us while paradoxically full of personality. We can only guess at what really goes on inside their minds but nonetheless, they seem to radiate characteristics and quirks that make them more relatable to us, showing them as thinking, feeling creatures despite their differences to humans. This is only magnified when animals come together in groups, just like us their social dynamics are complex and each individual becomes stronger for their personality once put up against others of their kind.

The Avoca Males are one such example of a group that both showcases interesting social dynamics at work and in turn helps us see their individual personalities thanks to their interactions with each other.

Hailing from the south western sector of the Timbavati, the Avoca boys are comprised of three young adults. They arrived fresh and eager to explore the northern Sabi Sands, their youthful energy bringing a new dynamic to the region. It was thought that they might clash with the Birmingham Boys in territorial dispute but this never came to be, the Birminghams instead, headed south for the Sand River. This left the Avoca Males a golden opportunity to grab the northern section of the Sabi Sand for themselves, which they have done so happily.

The Avoca Males resemble a group of brothers or perhaps a close knit group of friends. They often fight with each other, compete for food or mates but it is clear they all have a strong bond. They work together extremely well, having brought down large prey species with their well practiced teamwork and enjoying the spoils the reserve has to offer. The trio is often spotted among the remnants of some kill, their bellies full, their faces content, as they laze about, never straying too far from each other in their food induced comas.

The Avoca Males’s dynamic so far remains relatively unchanged, as they have stuck to their original numbers and have remained in a stable period of peace for now. While they have mated with the Nkuhumas, they haven’t allied with any other coalitions, appearing to prefer their own small, yet well made group. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be be challenged by rivals but for now, the Avoca Males remain the content Kings of the North. Like a group of young men entering adulthood, their days now are carefree and adventurous, as they continue to explore their home, before the perils of responsibility hit them in the future.

Banner image: Avoca male. Credit: Tayla MacCurdy

Written by: Jake McDaniel