Towards the end of 2014, the Birmingham Coalition of 5 male lions first came into Londolozi. Although it was a brief visit, they were chased off by the then dominant Majingalane Males. At that point, it was just a matter of time before the Birmingham Coalition would become the dominant males in the area.
They had a formidable reign with the initial four males that took over and then the three that remained here afterwards. One male left a few months after their arrival and moved further north, we never saw this male again. Fast forward to mid-2022 with the last Birmingham Male fleeing to the western sector of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin to escape the new arrivals – The Ndhzenga Males. All that remains on Londolozi are the last two remaining offspring of the Birmingham reign.
At the start of 2020, the Ntsevu Pride consisted of 21 lions – 6 adult Ntsevu Females and their 12 cubs all sired by the Birmingham Males. These cubs, now subadults at almost four years old, are fractured through the reserve as they nomadically roam the area. A few of the subadult females have reunited with their mothers back into their natal pride and are starting to mate with the new Ndhzenga Males – time will only tell when they start to raise their first litters.
Two of the Nstevu Females that were raising younger cubs fathered by the Birmingham Males, managed to avoid the Ndhzenga Males and keep the cubs safe by running further north. From October 2021, they were not seen on Londolozi until randomly one day these lionesses led the remaining four cubs back west through the Sand River and back onto Londolozi in March this year. The rest of the Nstevu Pride had become acquainted with the new males and had begun mating with them.
The following months were turbulent as the two lionesses constantly had to avoid the near roars of the new males and spent time near the Sand River close to our camps. Although formidable hunters with only two adults, hyenas often raided their kills which they fled and abandoned to protect their cubs.
Unfortunately, the youngest cub was split up from the pride and was found often on his own, then briefly reunited with the pride but a week later was never seen again.
Until about a month ago it seemed as though these Nstevu Females were successfully raising the last of the Birmingham Males’ offspring in the uncharted territory. Sadly another cub was lost to unknown circumstances and now only two cubs remain. Today, we see the two mothers and the last two cubs all over Londolozi, stretching from their natal territory in our west where they were raised by the Mungheni Pride, all the way across into our eastern neighbours where they could potentially run into the Ndzhenga Males. It’s difficult to say what the future holds for the remaining bloodline of the Birmingham Males – time will certainly tell as these two females roam the far reaches of their territory in the hope of survival of their young.