It is with a heavy heart that I bring you sad news from this mornings drive. The body of an adult lioness was found. Although nearly impossible to identify, it appears as if she is the lioness from the Sparta Pride whom had the 2 cubs aged between 6-8 months.
We can not confirm the cause of death, but judging by the state of her body we assume that she has been dead for a few days. This is thought to be the same lioness that sustained an injury about 2 weeks ago. Since then she had been seen a few times but no one ever her moving. Every time she was seen, she was lying down in the grass, whilst her 2 cubs played beside her. We believe that the injury and the death may be related.
One theory is that in an incident a fortnight ago, the lioness tried to chase a female leopard (Tamboti Female) up a tree. Tracks and signs suggest that she may have climbed a tree, but then fell and landed on a sharp branch. We will never know, but this may be documented as the possible cause of death: internal injuries and the date of death around 29th April 2012. It is very clear, however, that hyenas have since been feeding on the decaying carcass.
At this stage we are not sure whether her 2 cubs are still alive or not; no evidence has been found to suggest either way. Time will tell whether these two small cubs will survive. In my opinion, their only hope, is if they can find the remaining four members of the pride and that one of the lionesses looks after them. At this age they are finished with the milk and onto meat. That may make the situation a little easier. We watch in fascination to see how this chapter unfolds.
It is sad, when one considers the issues that the Sparta Pride has endured over the last three years, to loose a pivotal player in their set up. Yet, so is the so called ‘circle of life’. Today we report the death of a lion, whilst just a few days ago we celebrated the first views of new lion cubs. Oh, the strange way of mother nature!
For interest sake I have inserted a video clip of when these 2 cubs were seen for the first time back in early December 2011. We hold thumbs that they will pull through under the watchful eye and support of the Sparta Pride.
As of a few hours ago three members of the Sparta Pride were seen sleeping about 50 meters from the site of their dead pride member. One wonders what, if anything, is going through their minds about the loss. The Sparta Pride now sits at only 4 adult lionesses. Lion Warfare continues and we will continue to try keep you posted on the latest developments.
Written by Adam Bannister