The Majingilane Coalition and the Southern Pride were close to each other. Both prides lying unaware of each other’s presence a mere 900 meters apart, we knew we were in for a potential evening showdown as dusk settled in. First the Southern Pride yawned, stretched and then rose to begin walking east into Majingilane territory. Moments later the radio crackled – the Majingilane Coalition were now also active and beginning their routine patrol…

Majingilane Male Getting Active

Majingilane Male Getting Active by Rich Laburn

The sound of impala alarming stopped the Southern Pride in their tracks. Realizing the impala weren’t alarming at them they stared into the darkness to see the shape of a leopard walking down the road. The unsuspecting Nottens female froze upon seeing the lions, but quickly fled up a nearby Marula tree when the Southern Pride came chasing after her. Interest was lost quickly and the pride carried on eastwards.

Majingilane Male by Rich Laburn

Majingilane Male by Rich Laburn

Meanwhile, the Majingilanes had also heard the impala alarming and quickened their pace to investigate from the opposite direction. The three males stood on the crest of the road, sniffing the air, panting misty breaths of menace as the Southern Pride continued walking straight towards them, unaware. Then with stiffening bodies, the two prides saw each other and froze still.

Southern Pride Young Male by Rich Laburn

Southern Pride Young Male by Rich Laburn

A quick glimpse left and right, tails straightening, the Southern Pride knew they were in trouble and spun around to sprint west back down the road. The Majingilane Coalition began their chase in hot pursuit, roaring incessantly at full pace. Each of the lions disappeared as they broke through the bush in full flight whilst we desperately tried to keep up.

Suddenly we heard the unmistakable bellows of a fight, in the bush to our west. We ventured in and found what we had feared: the 3 Majingilane males sat panting next to the badly wounded Southern Pride young male. The unnatural angle of his hips was a sure sign that his back had been broken. His head was up, and he was breathing hard through an open mouth. There was a deep puncture wound on his shoulder. Every time a Majingilane moved, he mustered a low growl. The 3 attackers were quiet but attentive to the night sounds; it seemed as though they were waiting for the rest of the Southern Pride to come to their fallen comrade. They never did.

The next morning, we saw that the 3 coalition members had gone north across the river causing more disruption as though unable to control the sudden burst of testosterone, dominance and aggression caused by the nights activities. The Southern Pride young male lay dying in the same spot, whilst rest of the 5 members of Southern Pride were all located together on Castleton – far west of the Majingilanes’ territory. Later that day, the young male died as a result of his injuries, his regal body now a part of the earth and his noble spirit moving through the ether. The Lion Warfare continues…

Deceased Southern Pride Young Male Lion by Adam Bannister

Deceased Southern Pride Young Male Lion by Adam Bannister

Written by: Talley Smith
Photographed by: Rich Laburn

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

Rich Laburn

Head of Digital

Rich is the driving force behind Londolozi’s online storytelling and the Londolozi blog. His passions of digital media, film and photography, combined with his field-guiding background, have seen him take the Londolozi blog to new heights since he began it in 2009. Rich ...

More stories by Rich

24 Comments

on Lion Warfare – Southern Pride Sadness
    Linda says:

    I hate seeing any young beautiful creature go to waste. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    Mele Andru says:

    Nice written this story… we all hoped this young coalition will be next Mapogos in Sabi Sand but in life nothing is guaranteed …
    They are still 4 males and need 1-2 years to became power enough to defend themself.
    On the other hand Majingilanes suffered the same story – they were 5 at the beggining and exactly 1 year back one of them was killed by Mapogos. That is lion’s business ….

    Penny Parker says:

    Such a tragic tale. But thanks for the share. You have a lovely way of writing. There is a difference between telling a sad story, and telling a sad story so as to bring out the same intense emotions in the reader. you’ve definitely cracked it!

    Me says:

    Impressive stuff, nature is cruel, survival for the fittest.

    Well written Talley. A sad moment but one which was never too far off the horizon. The next issue is to try work out whether the devastation of that night extended beyond just the realms of the Southern Pride and into the Tsalala Pride…we will keep you all updated!

    Bronwyn says:

    WELL DONE TALLEY!!!
    Guys please keep me in the loop on the Tsalala Pride I am on the road now and really hope they are OK…. thanks!

    Jane West says:

    Talley, this was a mesmerizing story and one that will continue to haunt those of us far removed from the action. Reading it almost made me think of how fabulous it would be to set your blog to music! It’s beautifully written! PLEASE keep us updated!

    gloria says:

    R.I.P oh mighty lion you were so brave you died bravely

    Morty says:

    Rich, how old was the male that died?

    Rich says:

    Hi Morty the male lion was about three years old.

    Denise M. says:

    Hi Adam & Rich, I believe we watched those fierce Majingilane 3 devour a kudu (spelling?) then walk, with their bellies so full it looked as if they were pregnant, to the watering hole. After drinking, they collapsed into what I imagined would be a deep and peaceful sleep…..but I guess it was just long enough to regain their massive strength to protect their territory.
    I am so sad about the beautiful young male that was killed, but I get it….that’s how it works. I believe his spirit has moved into a yet to be born lion cub or maybe some other animal being born in the bush….this very moment 🙂
    Beautifully written story Talley and great photos Rich and Adam.
    Big hugs from Florida,
    denise

    Judy Guffey says:

    panting misty breaths of menace

    Great writing….had me hooked from the beginning. Mahalo from Hawai’i.

    Linda says:

    Adam, what do you mean the devastation continued to the Tsalala pride??? Did something else happen?? thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    Hi Linda, yes unfortunately since that night we have not seen two of the four cubs of the Tsalala Pride. In fact we have hardly seen the Tsalala Pride members in the last week. They seem to be lying low at this point…more info will follow when we work out what is happening in Marthly

    Willy Smith says:

    Beautifully written Talley! I like Jane’s idean of accompanying music!
    UW

    Viper says:

    Adam,

    There was a battle between the Mapogo and Majingilane coalitions being reported on Facebook. Would appreciate some updates.

    Thanks

    Adam says:

    I also heard these rumours about the Majingilane/Mapogo interaction…as for the authenticity of the rumours I cannot comment as this interaction did not happen at Londolozi. We thought that the Majingilane Males were north east of our boundary following a large herd of buffalo but we could be wrong. About a month ago I did see the Majingilane Males chasing 2 members of Mapogo; so it is defiantly possible that these altercations are going to start becoming more regular. We will keep you posted if we find out more…

    Viper says:

    Thanks alot.

    Chris O'Neil says:

    Actually, it turns out that the altercation The Mapogos had with Lions a few weeks ago was with their own sons from The Ottawa Pride.

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