It’s time to welcome more big cats to Lapalala!
Much to the horror of the general game on the reserve, four beautiful lions, one male and three females, were brought in from the Kamab Kamab region of the Kalahari, and let go in the southern region of the reserve. The new lions are young — with the male being about two and a half years old, and the females slightly older.
We decided to refer to these lions as the Southern Pride, and the other three females will remain the Northern Pride. And it seems things have already gotten off to a heated start between the new and older lions.
After release, the lions remained hidden for the first two days, no doubt wondering where they have ended up. We were unsure how the big northern male lion, introduced earlier this year, would deal with the new young male in his territory. Shortly after the new lions were released, he was seen close to the area, near Kholbe dam, where there is water and loads of general game.
We were a little concerned about what has become of the new lions, and we finally found them after an hour and half of tracking through the valleys and plains. At first, we could only see one male and two females, which seemed very strange. We wondered where the other female could be. After about 20 min with the lions, the other female appeared from behind the dam wall—limping badly. Then we noticed one of the other lionesses walking away, and she too was limping!
This was surely the work of the big northern male. He must have been moving through the area on a territorial meander and come across the new lions. There would have been a big fight, where two of the lions were injured, and the other two escaped unscathed.
The injured lionesses should be fine, and thankfully they are very relaxed around the vehicles. We will be monitoring them in the next week and keep you updated as to their recovery.
It’s been an eventful first week for the new lions of Lapalala. And perhaps a taste of things to come. We are in for an interesting ride as the dynamics begin to take shape, and the new lions build their territories in this strange, wild land.