I have always thought of the Ntsevu as a super pride. I understand that the young males will leave the pride at some stage. Hopefully all the lionesses will get together with their new cubs and be a “super pride” again.
Three different Ntsevu lionesses were found at separate points across Londolozi on a morning drive recently. Two of those lionesses are currently rearing small cubs. The third was mating with the Othawa male near the river, way further east than anyone from Londolozi has seen that male lion before.
Tracks of the rest of the pride were heading into the central parts of the reserve.
The fracturing of the Ntsevu pride that we have long anticipated may well be upon us; there are just simply too many moving parts within the pride dynamics for things to continue as normal. The adult lionesses are coming back into oestrus or have already had new litters, the Birmingham males are ageing and the Othawa male seems to be pressing deeper into Londolozi all the time.
Although it’s not like the pride will split apart from today and we won’t see them as a whole again (at least in the current numbers), with lionesses denning small cubs at different points on the reserve and therefore forced to spend time apart from the bulk of the pride, the days may well be numbered in which we see a unified front of 20 lions all on the move together. (Or is it 19, I can never remember).
The lionesses and newest cubs are going to be seen solo a lot more we think, forced to spend time away from the pride as they remain close to their cubs in order to provide them with milk.
Maybe they will all reunite, but their movements – or at least their numbers when we find them – are likely to be extremely inconsistent this summer. Three lionesses here, the sub-adults and a lioness there, two Birmingham males with a Mhangeni female… it will be hard to keep track, and since a lioness for the most part look very much like another, I guess we’ll have to be extra careful with the calls we make when it comes to identifying who’s who.
I’ve actually been away for two weeks and have just got back so I’m unsure as to which lioness is the mother of which cubs I’m afraid. I have yet to see the new litters…
It’s a good question as to whether the new mothers will tend to spend more time together, as one of the whole reasons for coming into oestrus concurrently is so they can allo-suckle and give the cubs a higher chance of survival. I can’t actually say. Any time I make a call as to what will happen next the lions do something to surprise me, so I’m hesitant to g out on a limb here. I imagine that might be the case, but ultimately my guess would be that in 6 months to a year’s time, the 6 original lionesses will be back as one unit with much younger members, and the current sub-adults will have been pushed out…
That’s a guess purely on what we’ve seen with the Mhangeni pride and how the Ntsevu pride themselves formed…