The two lionesses from the Tsalala pride lay in wait. Not more than 50 meters away the young lions of the Sparta pride were feeding on a giraffe carcass brought down the night before. Both prides were without males and the stage was set for an explosive conflict…
For lions prides, the movement of territories is like a game of chess. Depending on different variables such as density, strength and confidence, the size of each pride’s territory is unique and constantly changing. When a pride is moving around the northern regions of their territory, for example, a portion of the southern part may be usurped by another pride. This is until such time as the prides move south and reclaims their area through vocalising and, if need be, physical force.
Physical force is precisely what happened in the above encounter. On a loose boundary between the two pride’s territories, the Tsalala lionesses came across the young Sparta lions. Playing on the lack of confidence amongst the younger lions as well as the element of surprise the mature Tsalala females made sure that they frightened the other lions in to retreat. Not only did they reclaim a small southern portion of the territory, but they also stole the remainder of the carcass. Although outnumbered, the Tsalala lionesses had both the experience and size to confidently take on the young lions.
For the scattered lions of the Sparta pride, they regrouped later that day and made swift southward movements back towards the heart of their territory in central Londolozi. It was a valuable lesson learnt for these young Sparta lions as they will no doubt increase their awareness and guard as a result. For the Tsalala lionesses, it merely exemplifies why this pride continues to endure through tough times. They are tenacious, forthright and clear as to what belongs to them and how exactly to maintain it.
Filmed by: John Holley