Those of you who have been at Londolozi over the last month, and who were fortunate enough to spend some time with the Sparta lion pride, will know exactly who I’m talking about. For those who have not been so lucky well let me introduce you to Londolozi’s latest star!
This young male, born June/July 2012, started showing signs of having a strangely deformed head about 3 months ago. At first it was very slight and only really could be noticed if you spent time analysing his head through binoculars. As time marched on and the Sparta Pride continued their ways, so did the cubs head get bigger and bigger and bigger.
Last week, after a long discussion with guests, we decided to focus our movements around this pride and to watch his behaviour carefully. We were all intrigued to see if this ‘funny-shaped head’ was having a detrimental effect. With question marks hovering over the land rover we set out to see if his movements were sluggish. Was he always sleepy and was his eyesight fine? After some lengthy time we all agreed that this unusual head did not appear to be impeding him in any way. In fact, after the last few sightings of him, I now believe him to be the most active of the current 7 cubs in the Sparta Pride.
His often playful antics, together with his sweet appearance, have helped him in becoming a bit of a star. Of course, on a serious note, a swelling like this can not be ‘normal’ and must mean that something is wrong. I am by no stretch of the imagination a vet, but it is my opinion that he has a build up of fluid between the skull and the skin. Could it be like a cyst that is enlarging with time? I am assuming that it is nothing more then fluid or else he would not have lasted this long.
Time will tell what will happen to him. Will he survive this period in his life or will this unknown condition prove too much? Will the swelling on his head continue to grow or will it remain this size? Or will it all just burst and return to normal? Our thoughts are with this young cub and we are all rooting for him, as he faces adversity head on.
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister