Lion dynamics have been up in the air over the past couple of months and change is bound to happen soon. With the Birmingham Males reaching an age where they are starting to lose condition and the Northern Avoca Males starting to push further south, no one is entirely sure what is next for the lions of Londolozi.
Although these are the two dominant coalitions that we are seeing at Londolozi at the moment, there is another younger coalition that is catching everyone’s attention. The Plains Camps Males, who fearlessly move between the Avoca and Birmingham Males’ territories on a regular basis. Although they are making some waves in the lion dynamics here at Londolozi, I still believe that the presence of older, more dominant male lions around Londolozi will keep them at bay for the time being.
Estimated to be around 5 years old, the Plains Camp Males are still a year or so away from reaching their prime. It’s because of this that I do not believe the Plains Camp Males are moving through the area in pursuit of a hostile takeover. Rather, I believe it is the nomadic and opportunistic traits of a younger, not yet dominant coalition, that are searching for any opportunities that might present themselves. These may come in the form of a female in oestrus with no dominant males nearby, allowing them the chance to mate, or finding a male on his own that they could potentially overpower, or come across a vacant territory to claim.
The death of the Ottawa Male has left a vacant territory and a pride with no dominant male watching over them in the western parts of Londolozi. In my opinion, this would be the safest bet for the Plains Camp Males at this time. The only thing not working in their favour is that the Mhangeni Pride has relatively new cubs and will not just allow these males to come in and kill their cubs. Even though the Mhangeni Females are smaller than the Plains Camp Males, they will still be able to hold their own against them due to sheer strength in numbers.
Although moving west and trying to take control of the Mhangeni Pride seems to be the safer option, it doesn’t appear as though it is what these Plains Camp Males wish to do. They would rather move around within the heart of the Birmingham and Avoca Males’ territories. The appeal of these territories is that they are situated around the Sand River and holding these territories means that there is greater access to female lions. Still being nomadic lions but insisting to stick around could allow for a glimpse into what we will be seeing for years to come as we watch the Plains Camp Males start to hold their own territory in the heart of Londolozi.
The lion dynamics at Londolozi are changing and something will happen soon. Let’s just hope the Plains Camp Males are around to be a part of it.