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Adam Bannister

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Ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve

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19 Comments

on The fate of the two ‘motherless’ Sparta cubs

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Paul
Member
Guest

could they defent themself agains hyenas and leopards? they are two but how big are they in size?

Patrik D.H.
Member
Guest

Dear Adam,
Thanks for the update. I agree with you that these lions for sure have a way to communicate and give the message to the cubs. However, their walking away just leaves me speechless and sad. Another set-back for the Sparta-pride. Just imagine what could be without this event and without the floods in January.

Juan Jose Rubio Coque
Member
Guest

Hi Adam. Thank you very much for the fantastic blog. My opinion is that if the cubs don´t join the pride in a stable way they will no survive. What can push these little cubs to move away from the pride? I think they miss their mother and probably are trying to find her. I hope they can survive for a time and finally hunger push them to join again the pride. The question is: if they remain far from the pride for a long time will they accepted back?. We should remember the example of the 2 cubs of the Ximhungwe pride that lost their mother (Kokwane) catching in a snare. They remained far from the pride for a long time. Finally one dissapeared and the other wandered around the pride for many days but finally the lionesses did not accepteed him although MrT was defending him from some attacks. I hope this history will be different with a better final. I apologize for my poor english

Rosie
Member
Guest

No idea Adam, lions are always doing things which make no sense to us, but must make perfect sense to them. I don’t understand why the older lionesses didn’t fetch them back either.

Claire and Paul
Member
Guest

Hi Adam, Sad to hear the news, as I believe this was the Sparta lioness and cubs you took us to watch at the giraffe carcass only a few short weeks ago. (looked at my pics just now and the scar on her nose same in your photo as in my photos) We are lucky enough to have some wonderful photographs of them and some video footage too. Reading the blogs regularly to keep up with the news.

Wish I understood enough to be able to help with the reasons why? I guess we may never know why.

Peter
Member
Guest

This is just so sad. Two female cubs would be very valuable for the future of the Sabi Sands lions. If the other females did not act aggressively towards these two youngsters when approaching them, probably only via body language, then the only reason these cubs have moved away is to find their mother.
In the case of the Ximungwe Pride, the orphaned cubs never bonded with the rest of the pride, because their mother stayed separated for quite some time. It was her way of keeping the cubs save from the marauding Mr.T, who has killed many cubs of this pride before. Ironically it was then Mr.T trying to protect the remaining youngster from the hostile females of the Ximungwe Pride.
It is another case of bonding level. If the Sparta lioness has spent reasonable time with the other females along with her cubs, then the other females will accept them as pride members. Esp. as long as 3 of the other females do not have cubs of their own, there is no obvious reason to chase off the 2 youngsters.
So if bonding level is high and the 2 cubs only went off to find their mother, then there is a chance they give up on that mission and will return to the safety & food source of the pride. I truely hope this is going to happen.
And it is indeed remarkable how many cubs of the Majingilane Males have fallen victim to basically “bad luck”. At least 3 of the Tsalala cubs got lost that way (buffalo and flooding) if I recall correctly, a litter of 2-3 of the Sparta Pride, and now 2 more are at risk.

Adam Bannister
Guest contributor

Great comments Peter. Gives me a good idea about a potential blog post. Possibly a look into, and summary of, the deaths that the Majingilane sired cubs thus far. Could be quite interesting. Just need to get some good info on Styx and Fourways prides

Jason Doiron
Member
Guest

thanks Adam for another great blog, i do hope they reconnect with the pride and stay but it’s in natures hands and all we can do is wait and see. very sad if they dont return and stay with their pride

Kk
Member
Guest

Interesting that they walked away from the security of the pride. I wonder what killed the mother? It appears that she died of internal injuries from something. The three young adults seemed to be separate from the older females, but at least they should be close to the remaining older female. Interesting. Animals “know” things way more than we humans give them credit for. I travel a bit and find eastern societies tend to accept this reality-not in a Disney sort of way-but in a matter of fact way. Kind of like the Native Americans giving thanks to the animal that they have killed.

Hope we have some good news-but the pride still is 4 strong and one has had cubs, maybe the others will pop a few more cubs and the rhythm of life will go on.

Adam Bannister
Guest contributor

Wise words Kk, lets hope for good things to come

Merle
Member
Guest

Adam, you forgot to mention that even though Shayne survived 5 weeks on his own, his uncle killed him shortly after he returned. Because he still too weak to survive…too needy? Or after being gone, he simply was not accepted back into the pride? Sadly, I know too many human families that often react the same way.

I can only hope there is a happier ending for these two.

Claire and Paul
Member
Guest

…Adam didn’t we see at the giraffe kill, one pregnant lioness who was supporting the cubs mother. (The lioness who walked straight back to Mali Mali – bad, bad!!) Could it be that they wont accept the orphaned cubs as there is an expectant mum?

francesco
Member
Guest

grazie per gli aggiornamenti e per le notizie. speriamo lo trovino le leonesse e lo adottino…

Robe de mariée
Member
Guest

it’s a very good Article,thank you very much!

G
Member
Guest

Regarding the cubs sired by the Manyelethi (Majingilani) males… One cub from the Styx pride died at a young age. The cub was from the very old Styx lioness and we did not expect any from the litter of two to survive – although one did. The Fourways pride had one male cub from a litter of four disappear. Not sure what happened to it. Other than that no other cubs have died from those prides

Courtney McGuigan
Member
Guest

Thank goodness the cubs have been located back with their pride since this blog entry! Fantastic news. But to answer the question of why the cubs would walk in the opposite direction, I didn’t see anyone float the idea of shock/fear/grief being the reason. Who’s to say that the overwhelming emotions surrounding the loss of their mother – 24/7 source of food, discipline, protection, stability and education wasn’t the cause of their seemingly irrational behavior? Her death was fairly fresh when they separated, no? Elephants display obvious grief at a loss, the younger ones especially. And sometimes that grief gets them left behind from the herd, clearly working against the best interest of their survival, right? Why shouldn’t lions have similar emotional capacity? These are intellegent creatures we’re talking about. The girls’ return to the pride after some loss of condition could signal that given a few days to process the emotional situation, the more ‘rational’ survival instinct was able to take over once again. Anyway, just a thought….

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Some interesting questions Courtney and to be quite honest I cannot give you a definite answer. The question of emotions in animals has long been asked and every individual may have their own perception of what an animal may feel. In an interview with John Varty (http://blog.londolozi.com/2011/10/john-varty-a-life-with-leopards/) he talks about how 3:4 grieved for days after losing her cub to an African Rock Python. You are right, no one can say that overwhelming emotions don’t cause these animals to behave irrationally because we are merely long term observers. I think what is important to find is the balance between complete anthropomorphism of these wild animals and there scientific behavior. No text book will be able to explain every unique situation as there are just to many variables in the wilderness, yet at the same time it is unreasonable to compare these lions to human beings and relate all of our emotional capacities and moral conscience to their behavior. I hope that answers your question to a brief degree and as always I am very open to discussion and other thoughts/comments surrounding this interesting point of view. Thank you, rich

Courtney McGuigan
Member
Guest

I don’t think there is a way to have a definite answer to explain their behavior. All I meant was to introduce the possiblity. Clearly animals can’t and shouldn’t be compared to humans – especially with regard to moral conscience. In my opinion, just because animals may not experience emotions exactly like humans, doesn’t mean they don’t have or can’t be motivated by them. Agreed, balanced and open minded approach is best. Appreciate the response!

robemariageonline
Member
Guest

n’t the cause of their seemingly irrational behavior? Her death was fairly fresh when they separated, no? Elephants display obvious grief at a loss, the younger ones especially. And sometimes that grief gets them left behind from the herd, clearly working against the best interest of their survival, right? Why shouldn’t lions have similar emotional capacity? These are intellegent creatures we’re talking about. The girls’ return to the pride after some loss of condition could signal that given a few days to process the emotional situation, the more ‘rational’ survival instinct was able to take over once again. Anyway, jus

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