About the Author

Dean de la Rey

Alumni Ranger

Dean was a guide at Londolozi from 2018 to 2022. He grew up in Johannesburg and it was from his very first trip to the bush at the age of two that he was captivated by this environment (he claims he can remember ...

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on The Fate of the Othawa Male

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I can’t believe it! Oh my… such a gorgeous lion in his prime… but motherhood and fatherhood are the most powerful instincts. I am so sorry

What a magnificent male lion. Nothing more needs saying……………………….

He who spared the leopard wasn’t so lucky

Oh my! – that’s sad as he was such a magnificent lion. But it doesn’t really matter how strong you are if you’re on your own. Have you ever known a single male be dominant? – the odds must be massively against it.

There is a lone dominant male in the Manyeleti, in the southern part of the reserve, called “Red Road” male. He is controlling the Nharu pride and a large territory sotuh of what used to be the Orpen males territory, and is now up for grabs. He seems to be very successful in keeping the territory.

I found it this morning on YouTube. Yeah it’s raw nature. Still so few areas left where these majestic animals could live on their own. Humans invade everything… This thought makes me feel so bad. Thank you rangers for your activity. Yes he was my favourite lion. Hope another one will raise his banner!

Oh No Dean I was dreading this moment for some time now. I cannot believe the mighty majestic Othawa male lion is dead. I had to put my tablet down and take a walk outside to calm down, I am so heartbroken. I’ sure you Rangers are also heartbroken about losing this majestic animal. That is nature for you in the rawest manner. So so heartsore.

Saddened that we will not have the opportunity to see him one more time.

HOW ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE AND SAD! He was the most beautiful lion I had ever seen and so full of life and dignity when I saw him only a month ago. What a tragic fate. Nature can indeed be really cruel. I am so sad that this beautify animal is gone forever.

Dean, I loved lions🤗


So very sorry to hear this! I wish he could have found at least one male to form a coalition with. I wonder if the Ntsevu lioness is okay and the condition of the visibly aging Birmingham males. That will be interesting to see.

Very sad news , He was ab magnificent male. Definitely going to be missed.

Always tough top hear these stories but perhaps he ran into more than one Birmingham Male and with Cubs around they took him down. Gosh I miss being there but this Blog has been just wonderful to keep living the experience

Very well written, but very sad, story, Dean. Thanks so much for letting us know the happenings on that fateful night. Wendy M

This was truly heartbreaking for me- I have some beautiful photos of him from just a couple weeks ago. I really appreciate the blog, so we have some idea- it’s weirdly comforting thst he just wasn’t ambushed. He was a magnificent lion💔❤️💔

Heartbreaking 💔 news that the Othawa Male Lion is gone, such a beautiful lion!

It seems to sadden one whenever such a beautiful wild creature meets its end but one knows it’s inevitable …at least he fought for his life & stepped wholeheartedly into the fray.

Thank you for sharing this story of the Ottawa prince it’s so sad to hear
That he was taken so early. Forever in our Hearts💪❤👊

Nature can be so brutal; it’s often hard for us to understand. Quite a story, Dean. Thanks for making it real.

Digital Ranger

Othawa Male was a lovely lion, well built, and impressive who cared his little siblings….have no words to express my pain and anguish for the big loss we just have…he is irreplaceable at least for sometime and would take long time to overcome the grief of his untimely demise….unfortunately he lacked a coalition partner, otherwise history would be different ……

He is irreplaceable! 💔💔💔

Senior Digital Ranger

This is so heart breaking. Not the news I was expecting to start the day off with. – Just yesterday, upon seeing the Othawa Male’s beautiful picture, (if you looked at every aspect and trait within him) the Othawa male had a deep sense of love, softness and grace within his magnificence.
Sadly, cats will be cats I guess. They will fend for their territory. The “inner child cub” within the Othawa male was curious upon his night’s exploration, which unfortunately cost him his life.
As life is for animals in the wild, when they pass, they aren’t given a “proper” burial (??) or funeral. We can only say good-bye from a distance within our own hearts and minds. I will always remember him upon his last daylight picture, resting in the grass contently.
For you all at Londolozi, I’m sure you shed your own tears when a tragic loss such as this comes about. I don’t believe this is something that you can just say “It is what it is,” even though it is the reality of the bush. (I always tend to wonder if you guys ever have the opportunity to give the “regularly seen” animals names? (other than there territory names). – At least it can be said that the Othawa Male has gone to his territory at Rainbow Bridge. – Rest in peace Othawa. You will always be kept in the visions of my memories for all that you were.

I am from another country, I have never been on safari, nor have I seen the othawa male. But I had a feeling for this lion, he was beautiful, imposing, big, and confident. I received this news with a squeeze in my heart, rest in peace, young king, you lived a good life, you had your young and your lionesses. You have honored your Mapogo and Manjigilane lineage.
Unfortunately you made a false mistake against the Birminghans, but you died as a warrior, fighting. I will keep your photos as a souvenir of the beautiful lion he was, rest in peace, king.

Senior Digital Ranger

I thought he was THE Lion King…distressing to learn about this sad outcome.

Beautifully written Dean. I will never in my life forget this day. It was life changing.

Lost for words, though I had learnt just recently of this magnificent lions demise, the story is heart stopping and tragic. What beautiful photographs to remember him by and what a great tribute to the Othawa Lion, Dean. 🙏🏻 He will be remembered for a long time to come. Perhaps his spirit will live on with the Tsalala lionesses cubs… if he was lucky to have mated with her…

very sad 😭. and thanks for the information

Definitely a sad tragic day to lose this cat. I was really hoping to see him when we are in the Sabi Sands in June! He was magnificent and now gone. Somehow I hope that some of his progeny will survive

An unfortunate error on the Othawa Male’s part, but one that other singleton males have made before and paid the price for. It hopefully will show those who view the lions in an otherworldly manner that they are wild lions in the end and none are “invincible”. The Birminghams, while older, are still very much capable of defending their territory and doing damage to other lions.

Oh Dean, in spite of this being such a well-written blog, I’m saddened by the news having just spent time with him on two occasions. I am fortunate to be one of the many visitors to Londolozi to have viewed the Othawa male, a truly magnificent, MGM movie star lion! I was just editing some photos I took of him on a termite mound next to the airstrip and posted it yesterday on my Instagram page. When I first heard the news I thought it was a mistake-must have been a Birmingham male killed by the “invader”. Now what? Maybe the Avocas move in or the young N’wawishaka quartet? Exciting times ahead for sure.

I’m sad to hear about this. What a handsome majestic lion the Ottawa male was. He made a huge mistake to go that far east. The Nvestu girls can be vicious, especially if cubs were in the area. I suspect they played a pivotal role in helping the Birmingham males overpower the lone male. The Ottawa male was fit and strong I would think he would’ve inflicted some injuries on the other lion(s).

Senior Digital Ranger

That’s such sad news, he was a magnificent male lion. life as a male lion is very difficult.

The most beautiful of all lions in Sabi Sands. I have followed him since I watched a video showing how he grew up and how he baby sat his much younger siblings. Soon the Northern Avocas will displace the Birminghams or even kill them. The Blondie Avoca is also beautiful but the Othawa was perfection.

Digital Tracker

What sad and terrible news! So shocked to hear of the loss of such an exquisite lion. So sad. 😢 How old was he? It must have been a big shock for you all.

It was a shock, but it is all part of the circle of life here and we cannot let ourselves get too attached. He was six years old.

Digital Tracker

That last photo of him is so incredibly eerie and powerful! It shows him one last time, but as a silhouette going in to the darkness! Wow, to have been there to have seen what really happened to him. He was so very brave.

Was his whisker spots positively identified to match Prince Othawa? Nobody has ever matched lions by pics of their teeth.

No we did not use any whiskers to identify that it was the Othawa male, there were no external identifiable features left to use. We used the dental structure, which is the most reliable means. The Othawa male had a chip in his lower right canine and a missing lower incisor in the middle on the right-hand side. These matched perfectly with the skull that was found and so we felt this enough evidence to confirm it was him.

Very sad news indeed. I did have my doubts that things would end well for him. When I was at Londolozi the last time, the Majingilane coalition was still “in charge”. Seems that the greater Sabi Sands region usually has more than one male to form the current dominance. When I lived in Kenya as a boy, it was most common to have one male lion lead a pride. One desire I do not share is watching amle lions fight, as these will inevitably leaddd to the demise of one of the lions. Something I can do without seeing.

This is very sad news.
Thanks to those who posted stories about him with many beautiful photos giving me the chance to appreciate what a magnificent lion he was.

et sa fierté ?? que vont ils devenir ? des mâles étrangers aux alentours ? la coalition de Casper peut être ?? il me semble qu’il y a de très jeunes petits en ce moment :'( combien de lionnes pour assurer leur protection ??

Hi Catherine, I hope the translation was correct.
It will be a very interesting time ahead for the pride, as it is only a matter of time before a new male or coalition of males moves in and takes over the territory and essentially the pride too. If the cubs are still alive by this point it is very likely that the new males will kill the cubs, this then causes the females to come into heat, and the new males are then able to mate and sire their own offspring. The females could very well try and protect the cubs but often they are no match against a much larger male.

Ce sera une période très intéressante à venir pour la fierté, car ce n’est qu’une question de temps avant qu’un nouveau mâle ou une coalition d’hommes s’installe et s’empare du territoire et essentiellement de la fierté aussi. Si les petits sont encore vivants à ce stade, il est très probable que les nouveaux mâles tuent les petits, ce qui provoque alors la chaleur des femelles, et les nouveaux mâles peuvent alors s’accoupler et engendrer leur propre progéniture. Les femelles pourraient très bien essayer de protéger les petits, mais souvent elles ne sont pas à la hauteur d’un mâle beaucoup plus gros.

Dean, Thanks for the story and update. Sad news for sure, but the reality of lion warfare. Let’s see what happens next!

Senior Digital Ranger

How extremely heartbreaking to loose such a magnificent creature. His stories will be greatly missed…as will he💔 Thank you Dean for taking us on this amazing journey with you

That was incredibly sad news! I loved that lion! I think he was so beautiful, powerful and brave! I remember when he came and he lived a very dangerus life! He was dominant over the Mangheni Pride. Entering his prime; large, fit and youthful. If I come back to Londolozi I will look for his offspring! His life became to short! I will remember him! ❤️

There were only tinyo and females there. How could the othawa male be killed? Is nhena there too?

I was so sad when I heard of the Othawa male’s passing. He was so beautiful. I was always wondering how he was going to make it on his own. A male lion needs a coalition and he had no way of getting one. Please keep us up to date on his pride and his cubs. I’m worried for his cubs. Just so sad.

Thank you Dean; I was hoping my beautiful boy would live a long life but fate had other plans for him. Since I heard the news, I have been trying to understand what would make him go off charging to his demise. He was seen mating with one of the lioness’s from the Ntsevu/Kambula pride. I wondered about this for a long time over the last few days. I have a couple of theories regarding his actions on that night. One theory is the fact that he must have known there were two Birmingham males in this area. It was stated that both Bh lions chased him out of their territory numerous times. With this in mind, he had to know there were two males in this area. With that knowledge, I then asked myself what was behind his actins? What drives any animal including us as humans to throw caution to the winds and proceed no matter what the cost? Since he was with the other lioness and she had given birth, he must have wanted to go back to her and see the Cubs, who could very well be his cubs. I also know that lioness’s sometimes when they get pregnant, they will use trickery on pride males by also mating with the Bh’s, this would convince the pride males that the Cubs she had would be their cubs. This also ensures that the cubs will not get killed. The more I think about this fact alone, the more I’m convinced that this was the case. Any type of animal wild or domestic and even us humans have this drive. Any animal including humans will fight for their offspring. It is a drive that is installed into ever animal as well as us humans to protect what is ours. I am probably going to get rebuffed by this theory but it’s not too far fetched when you consider that Nguvu helped raise his other brother’s and sisters before leaving his natal pride. Food, security, and offspring take first priority and not necessarily in that order. Another theory is that he might have also been killed by both the Bh’s and the lionesses in the pride. It wasn’t too long ago that both Bh’s and pride lioness’s mauled Lady Tsalala, and she is related to them. Going back further then this, Tailess, was fatally mauled by this same pride and from what I understand, she was their grandmother who also saved them from getting killed when they were subadults. These are just theories of mine. But the actions behind some animals do point towards a basic necessity to live, to see their offspring thrive and to have stability in their life. They are not human in anyway. But they do use actions to fulfill these needs. At least, that’s my take on this horrible situation at hand. It doesn’t give me relief nor does it restore this beautiful lion back to us. It doesn’t take away the shock and sadness everyone has experienced over the last few days, but at least we have the beautiful memories and pictures of a lion who, for a little while, graced us with his presence and was beloved by many. R.I.P King Nguvu you are missed very much🦁😭😭😭😭❤️💔💔💔

Strength in numbers i guess! Being a single male lion is a difficult thing. Sad to hear none the less.

All love and blessings to the Othawa male lion. ❤️🙏🏼🕯❤️

Well the one thing wrong with this bloggers the actual male lion was not weak just because he made a tactical error the line was being pressured by many other lines as well there were other males working on the area and this is not the outcome that could have been sadly it was

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