In a clash unseen by Londolozi eyes, a lioness from the Sparta pride was killed by the six Mhangeni breakaway lionesses a few days ago.
With this new pride encroaching into areas previously controlled by other lions, most notably the Sparta and Tsalala prides, a clash of some sorts was inevitable, especially since both the aforementioned prides are currently raising cubs, making them far more aggressive should they encounter a threat of any sort.
With powerful animals like lions, a clash will often come down to a numbers game, and in a six-on-three, as it would have been in a Mhangeni Breakaway vs Sparta encounter, it was very likely the larger pride (Mhangeni Breakaway) would come out on top.
As far as we know the fight was witnessed by the guiding team from Umkumbe Camp, which lies to the South East of Londolozi. The Sparta lioness may well have been able to run away, but since she has two 14-month old cubs to protect, if they were with her then retreat would not really have been an option; we can only imagine that she stood her ground in order to defend her litter.
It was the death of her, and although such apparent self-sacrifice is seemingly noble, her two cubs still have a long way to go before their chances of survival even come close to knocking on the door of even.
With the Matshipiri males spending the bulk of their time with the Mhangeni Breakaways (possibly a major contributing factor in the clash), the future remains uncertain for the two remaining Sparta lionesses.
Having seen how many times the Tsalala pride have teetered on the brink of disaster so many times over the years, it is by no means a death-blow for the Sparta pride to be down to just two lionesses. Other prides have survived through harder times, only to rise again.
The death of this female is simply the opening of another chapter in the saga of this iconic pride, who have been viewed on Londolozi since the very first safari took place here, over forty years ago!