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Kyle Gordon

Contributor

Kyle was born and raised in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. His childhood was spent scurrying barefooted along the banks of various rivers and dams, fishing rod ever-in-hand, enjoying the beauty and freedom of outdoors. Kyle obtained a degree in construction from UCT ...

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38 Comments

on For one to rise, another must fall (Part 1 of lion behaviour through a take-over)

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Tammy Hynes
Explorer

I wish it would play out that there was enough land for all the male lions and enough females to go around. Then all could live happily ever after no deaths, no injuries that’s what I wish would happen

Jos Smulders
Explorer

Very fascinating, to follow this power struggle. Am anxiously waiting for more news. Nature at its most ruthless and exciting. !!!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Absolutely, very keen to see how this all plays out!

William Paynter
Senior Digital Ranger

Fascinating saga, the natural and normal flow of life and death. Nature is both beautiful and unforgiving. It will be interesting, to say the least, about what happens in the future.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

It definitely is, William!

Lisa Antell
Digital Tracker

All rather exciting and nerve wracking! Very very sad that one casualty has been the loss of the Tsalala lioness and also a young Nkuhuma lioness in the Sabi Sand but that is the way of Mother Nature.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Exactly. It is sad, especially for us that have followed them so closely and become attached, but such is the life in the wild!

In my opinion if the Ndzengas already go through central Londolozi in duos that territory is already theirs (or still they think so), and the lack of sighting from the Birmingham coalition in the last three weeks or so is a strong clue to support that.

Also
1) The Ndzenga male with the belly injury has had it for the last 2 years or so so I don’t think it will heal completely
2) That wound on the head of the Birmingham male looks more like a puncture wound from a canine tooth of another lion than a wound from a buffalo

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Gabriele, regarding the head injury: initially I thought so too, but there was also a gash under his chin which did seem to point to a buffalo thrashing its horns but we just cannot know! And regarding the belly injury, you could definitely be right on that point; I think we just like to never say never as nature has a habit of proving you wrong! Finally, regarding your main point, all signs do indicate a take-over but those Ndhzengas have been splitting into pairs and if one pair encounters the Birmingham males then the fight really could go either way! Experience counts for a lot out there!

Victoria Auchincloss
Master Tracker

The suspense is high! I almost hope that all the lions survive but I know that is not going to happen. The first thing I do at breakfast is check on the lions, you all must be on tenterhooks! So sad to see the Birmingham males losing ground! So I will continue to wait for news!! Happy Thanksgiving yo you all! Victoria

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

It is indeed, Victoria! We are all following the saga very closely ourselves!~

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Hi Kyle I can’t believe the Birmingham males resilience! I am so glad they are both fine! I also remember them defending the Tsalala mum from the Ntsevu pride if I do not get wrong. Really special. The lack of room for all is due to human activity but there also are much less lions. Maybe the plain Camp males killed the Tsalala mother also because of this reason , it favours aggression. In Botswana there are lioness with manes to protect their pride from male attacks and hyena. I wish all those lions well and let’s see what happens.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Francesca, I don’t think the males necessarily defended Tsalala but they definitely did not join in the aggression as the Ntsevu lionesses had a go at her. It’s anyone’s guess as to who killed the Tsalala female, as yet we’ve yet to see any other lions with injuries. The daughter is at least at an age where she may have a chance! I am very interested to see how that plays out.

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Kyle, Great story! We like to say that there is more drama in lion warfare than any of the “Housewives” shows on TV! We think that due to their numbers, the Ndhzenga Males have a good chance to get control. We do worry about the cubs and sub-adults in the prides… We will have to wait and see!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

And that’s exactly it, we can predict and analyse all we want but in the end, given enough tie, we will just see how this all plays out.

Doug Hammerich
Digital Tracker

“How do you think it’s going to play out over the coming year?”
Hahahaha…. Age and experience is always overcome by youth and treachery.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Doug, that may just be the case!

Mj Bradley
Senior Digital Ranger

My heart is with the Birmingham Boys. Followed them from the time they appeared in the Northern Sabi Sand as a Coalition of 5 gorgeous males. They have done well for themselves and I hope whatever their future may be in this next year, that they leave a large and lasting legacy. Be well, Nhenha & Tinyo.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Mj, that is great that you have followed their entire story! Personally, I can’t say the same but having watched them closely over the last 2 years, I have found myself becoming quite attached to the brothers.

Valmai Vorster
Digital Tracker

Kyle I think the 4 Ndhhenga males are going to take over from the Birmingham males. Seeing that they have already come through the Birmingham males territory, it seems evident that they will take over. Very sad and wish rather that there would be enough land for all lions, regardless if it’s males or females.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

I think that these battles are just part of the natural process, Valmai. if there was more land then there would just be more lions and more battles! But nonetheless it is still sometimes hard to watch it play out.

Kimberly Zilles
Senior Digital Ranger

I was lucky enough to be at Londolozi when the Birminghams made their first appearance and witnessed a lone Majingilane male slinking off into the bush away from the lionesses to avoid a confrontation without his brothers in support. I’ll never forget the scene that day including one of the BBoys mating with a lioness! Memory fails at which pride, Styx or Ntsevu, I think.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Kimberly, what a special scene to have witnessed! I could not tell you which pride it was but in the end, that isn’t too important; just having seen something like that is spectacular in itself!

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Such an interesting read ?..There’s so much going down here Kyle it’s very difficult to pick a side but may the best man win and may the loser continue to enjoy a quiet retirement 🙏🏻

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hear hear!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Great report Kyle! As the eternal optimist, I hope the recovery of the injured Birmingham male insures another good year for them to remain in their territory AND one of the other marauding teams chooses to join the Mhagene pride who are currently without males to protect them (unless something has changed). Also, what about the Southern And Styx prides who have cubs by the Ndhzenga males? They were all thick as thieves back in April. The Avocas and Nkuhumas were together as well. Is this just a way to insure they have more territory, more females, more cubs than any other males? Anyway, I can’t help but root for the B boys but que sera, sera!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Denise, we can only hope you are right about that! The Mungheni pride definitely needs the backing of a dominant male. We’ve seen them coming quite far north and east into central Londolozi, potentially trying to introduce themselves to the new arrivals? Perhaps the Ndhzengas are just trying to expand and are not necessarily abandoning the Styx and Southern prides; bear in mind that a coalition of 4 dominated most of the SSW for close on 8 years so they may have similar aspirations!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

All the action is fascinating to watch, no matter the outcome. But I’m shocked to hear of the death of the Tsalala lioness. Having seen both the Tailess females, I’ve followed the bravery of their descendant daughter and cheered her on for years. Can you tell us more about what happened?

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Mary Beth, I wish I could tell you more. All I know is she was found dead in the river, west of our boundary. Nobody has reported any injured lions thus far so we don’t really have much to go on. Perhaps a run-in with the Mungheni pride?

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Thank you for the interesting update on the situation of the different lion coalitions at Londolozi. The Birmingham Males’ roaring is still very impressive.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Kyle, you nailed the key issue: “the inevitable end of the Birmingham males’ era of dominance is drawing ever nearer or is it? Could clever tactics and experience allow them to hang in there or will youth and high energy be the winner of the day?” We all get carried away with Londolozi’s Leopards but this is THE key story for November & December! We will be eagerly watching these developments. The male Lion activities were fairly quiet during the Birmingham Male brothers era but now with their age and the Northern Avoca Males, Ndhzenga Males and the Plains Camp Males, it seems like this drama will continue to heat up until it reaches the boiling point. Wish we were there! Has anyone photographically captured a “fight to the end” between male Lions?

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hello Bob & Luc! Lion dynamics is definitely the talk of the town these days. The process is definitely not as explosive as I expected a take-over-esque situation to be. There are a lot more tactics involved rather than just brute strength being the decider, which is where the advantage may lie for the Birminghams, being more experienced. But time is limited, no matter how well they play the game! No one has actually caught any direct confrontation as yet but we are all hoping to be there when it all finally comes to a head! (At least, we think that but I think watching something like that will be hard for even the most seasoned bush-goer) Hope you are both well.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Hi Kyle, it’s certainly an exciting time! – but definitely not a good time though for any sub-adults or cubs. I understand all the prides are keeping well out of the way while the males fight it out. The dominant ones could well find they have no females to mate with! By the way, thanks again for your time and patience editing my photos last week.

Irene Henkes
Senior Digital Ranger

I really hope that the Birmingham guys stay healthy for quite a while, so that the youngest cubs also have a chance of growing up………………….
On the other hand, it would be a laugh if the Ndhzenga males meet the Northern Avocas first………….. I am really hoping for this turn of events!!

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Lion dynamics at an all time high!
When we saw the Birminghams in July, we initially thought they were at their end. They have rebounded!
Still think the Avocas will be the ones to gain dominance.

Vaseem Baig
Digital Ranger

Hi Kyle,
Thanks for your analysis of current male lion dynamics in sabisands and waiting for part 2. have seen that many a times our predictions seem to fall flat and spring surprises. hope this happens again with our veteran Birmingham males as somehow I feel they deserve to continue be the Kings for some more time……
Ndhzenga males seem to have strength but lack in experience, otherwise they could have easily disposed off the Avoca’s instead of retreating. My gut feeling is, Ndhzenga males would be the future kings of londolozi and malamala very soon and it is better for the diversification in the gene pool of sabisands since they come outside of it from kruger. what do you think?

Leonie De Young
Digital Tracker

The two Birmingham Boys are truly incredible beasts. They seem to have been born with a silver spooon in their mouth. Both have been badly injured and yet seem to bounce right back to a force to be reckoned with. However, it appears that the young bloods mean business. Will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I would not count them out just yet. Thanks for sharing Kyle. Am eagerly looking forward to the next instalment. My bet is on the BB’s.

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