Identifying lions can be extremely difficult to do. The reason being that they all look very similar and they appear to be in constant change, in terms of identifying features.Cuts, bruises and scars are continually changing the facial features of the cats. There are obvious exceptions to this; for example the Tailless Female. One method that we use here at Londolozi is to try capture a picture of the side of the face and then look for an element which should stay the same. I have included a picture of each of the four Breakaway Tsalala Pride Females. These pictures are all of the right side of the face! You will see that I have inserted a block over the area that we use, so as to draw attention to that particular area. Look carefully and inspect the spots…the top row especially. These spots (arrangement, pattern, size and number) are unique, as it is in the leopards. These four pictures may prove very useful when we come across a lioness that we “don’t know”.
These four females sit in a very interesting area at the moment. They are all about 3,5 years old and so are ready to start mating. The difficulty is knowing which male coalition to invest in. I am still hoping that they will side with the Majingilane Males and we may see them reunite with the much loved Tsalala Pride.
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister