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James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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33 Comments

on That Haunted Look: Young Male Lions

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

It must have been amazing to see the Ntsevu lionesses attacking the young males. At least their cubs are safe. It is great to see new lions coming in, but for the Tsalala female it will be difficult ti protect her cub against them. I remember the young Sparta male with the Mahengene pride.

Lisa Vickers
Explorer

I wonder if these 2 young males could quite possibly be the Nkuhuma male (sparser mane) and the Mhageni male who the Nkuhuma’s seem to have “adopted”.

Arlene Levin
Explorer

That’s what I was thinking. It was said on drive that the Birmingham and Nkuhuma males were seen together.

Annie.Lane07
Explorer

I thought that too Lisa but wasn’t sure.

I believe you are right Lisa. I hope they are ok.

Terre08
Explorer

I was thinking the same. On Safari Live Sunrise on Aug 16th Steve ran into the Nkuhuma pride and the male was with them, he stayed for 2 days before going south again. It’s about 1 hour 12 minutes into the video where there are some close up views of him. I couldn’t find an option to attach a screenshot here but it is easy to find.

Ramone Lewis
Explorer

It is

Barbara Maxwell
Explorer

I think you may be right. The poor guys! They showed up at the Nkhuma pride several days back and were allowed to approach even with the 6 cubs present. They have been with the Nkhumas since the Nkhuma male was a baby and the Mangheni male was a subadult. He survived mange but his two brothers died from it. They Mangheni males were tolerated on the outskirts of the pride because Nana, who was the head lioness at the time allowed it. She has since died from an old buffalo hunt wound but the pride continues her policy of tolerance. I hope they are able to eat enough to recover from the beatings they took. I hope they sneak home to Djuma for some leftovers. The Avoca males have been humping around. Dark Mane has a bad injury to his right front paw and Mohawk is limping. Blondie is the only one in fighting form. They all roar well enough.

Terre08
Explorer

I believe Mohawk is the only one that is fit, Blondie has a left hip injury and he has had it for a long time although the last time I saw him he walked much better.

Ross Spirou
Explorer

Lisa, I’d say it is them for there are no other reports of young male lions in the area

Annie.Lane07
Explorer

Very sad for these two young lions but with luck and fortitude they will survive and form their own coalitions. Fingers crossed and wishing them luck and love. ♥️♥️

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

It’s a hard life being an apex predator when you aren’t quite at the apex

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Haha well said Ian!

Andrew & Daniel Bolnick
Senior Digital Ranger

James. Really enjoyed this focus on the outcasts and their chance of survival. Are there any dominant males you can think of that had this beginning ?

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Are most of these males Black Maned Lions like the Birmingham lions? How long does it take to grow that full mane?

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Forgot to ask, isn’t the lion population decreasing at an alarming rate in South Africa?

Mj Bradley
Senior Digital Ranger

The one with the larger mane seems to be the Nkuhuma Young male the other is the Mhangeni Male who convinced the Nkuhumas to adopt him. Mhangeni Male suffered from severe mange and along with his brother he started following the Nkuhuma Pride . His brother is thought to have succumbed to the mange and poor nutrition. The Young Nkuhuma male seems to have known he needed a coalition mate and accepted him and eventually most of the pride accepted him to a point. I hope they survive and find a corner of Kruger to call their own Thank you for the update

sparser mane male from Nkuhuma pride – Birmingham males son. second one from Mhangeni pride – Majingilane son.

Judith Guffey
Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting…..never thought about the very rough time these lone males have integrating with a pride. Haunted look, indeed.

Artur Gjoni
Explorer

Great story and pictures as usual. It’s the Mhangeni Big Boy the one with little mane, and the Nkuhuma Young Male the other one, both from the Nkuhuma Pride at Djuma. These two boys are spending more time away from the pride, i believe being ousted from the resident males Northern Avoca Males. The Mhangeni Male was even seen few weeks ago down south at Sabi Sabi with the Southern Pride and we thought he was there to stay.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Growing up to be a “king” is a rocky road, to say the least and you have described their haunted stare to a T! Last November in Sabi Sabi I sadly witnessed the demise of a Mhagene juvenile who had failed to integrate into the Southern Pride, who slept just 50 yards away from him. Nothing we could do as he watched and listened to his faint, ragged breaths, knowing his emaciated body would soon be ravaged by hyenas or the like. I understood then what it means for a juvenile male to be alone, in limbo, without the support of another to make it through to complete adulthood. The strong will prevail, but the weaker ones……

Chip Rommel
Explorer

Nkuhuma young male sired by Birmingham males (small mane) and Mhangeni young male sired by Majingilane. He was apart of the 12 sub adults sometimes seen on Londolozi late last year/early this year. Only him and his 2 sisters now with the Mhangeni pride have made it from my knowledge.

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

James, wonderful story. I’m sure you will see them again.

Hi James, the two young males are the Mhangeni Male (slightly thicker mane and a son of the Majingilanes – only remaining male of the original nine from that group of Mhangeni sub-adults, two of the females have rejoined their mothers) and the Nkuhuma Male, who is several months younger and a son of the Birmingham Boys. The Mhangeni joined the Nkuhuma Male in September 2018 and two of his brothers joined him, but they didn’t pull through the bad case of mange they had, and slowly but surely he was accepted into the Pride. He ventured down south and was with the four Southern Pride members and two young Talamati Males, and the Nkuhuma Male was seen on Londolozi a few weeks ago with the injured Birmingham Male, and then both boys returned to the Northern Sabi Sands and were seen briefly with the Nkuhuma Pride (who now have nine cubs with the three Northern Avocas), before I assume the Avocas pushed them out again. Hopefully both young males are okay and will pull through this attack by the Ntsevu Lionesses.

Hi James (disregard my first message, made an error), the two young males are the Mhangeni Male (slightly thicker mane and a son of the Majingilanes – only remaining male of the original nine from that group of Mhangeni sub-adults, two of the females have rejoined their mothers) and the Nkuhuma Male, who is several months younger and a son of the Birmingham Boys. The Mhangeni joined the Nkuhuma Pride in September 2018 and two of his brothers joined him, but they didn’t pull through the bad case of mange they had, and slowly but surely he was accepted into the Pride. He ventured down south and was with the four Southern Pride members and two young Talamati Males, and the Nkuhuma Male was seen on Londolozi a few weeks ago with the injured Birmingham Male, and then both boys returned to the Northern Sabi Sands and were seen briefly with the Nkuhuma Pride (who now have nine cubs with the three Northern Avocas), before I assume the Avocas pushed them out again. Hopefully both young males are okay and will pull through this attack by the Ntsevu Lionesses.

The 2 nomads are the young Nkuhuma male and the Mhangeni male; the lone male Survivor of the Mhangeni sub-adults that were abandoned by the Mhangeni females. A couple years ago. He was adopted by the Nkuhuma Pride. Between the Avoca males and all of the new Cubs they’ve been having a difficult time.

I heard they had an encounter with some lioness over a kill. But I didn’t hear that it had become a physical altercation resulting in a mass mauling.

The Nkuhuma Male was born in late May-early June of 2016 and the Mhangeni Male was born around December 2015

Ross Spirou
Explorer

Sounds like these two are the Nkuhumas sunadult and Mhangeni subadult. Mhangeni male was in a shocking state of mange and when he was younger, the Nkuhuma pride adopted him and with regular meals, he got stronger and survived the infestation. His brother though died and luckily for him, he bonded with the Nkuhuma lion and saying this, the Northern Matimbas were dominant in the Djuma area for some 5 years and they were hairy belly and Ginger, just two of them. Their son, Nkuhuma junior went off on his own and managed to form a coalition with a younger male and now at around 7 years of age, they are dominant and territorial lions and they are just two of them so this blog saying two lions can not be territorial is false.

Jim Davis
Explorer

Good stuff as usual..how many of the Birmingham’s are still left? Are they still together?

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Fascinating story of the young subadults lions which is rarely discussed in detail. The haunted look is very real and justified. I never knew it was so hard to become king of the hill!

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Thanks for the responses everyone, particularly the info about the young male lions and who they are.
Does anyone know if they’ve been seen anywhere else of late?

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Wow, that fight must have been something to witness, those poor males picked the wrong carcass to investigate!! They’ve probably fled Londolozi for now!

Barbara Maxwell
Explorer

A young male lion identified by James Richard as the Mangheni male showed up at the Nkhuma pride on the SL Sunrise safari 9/12/19. He didn’t show any signs of being recently mauled, so now I am not sure if he was one of the unfortunate.

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