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kiburi kiume - Male pride


PHALANX
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I do not know how common it is to see thirteen male Lions together (with no females) aged from about three to seven. Would it still be a pride? Or bachelor pride? We saw these Lions just south east of Keekorok lodge on the east side of the Masai Mara. They were spread out over a large rock formation.

 

A few days later we saw them again watching an enormous herd of buffalo heading down towards Sand River. There must have been almost a thousand Buffalo spread out across the plain. The Lions were spread out on an incline, hidden by a line of Croton bushes. Four of the older Lions had positioned themselves so they could ambush any of the buffalo who may come their way. After about twenty minutes that is exactly what happened. A small group of Buffalo veered away from the large herd heading for a gap in the bushes. This is obviously why the Lions chose this spot. As the buffalo entered the bushes several of the other Lions recognised the opportunity that was opening up before them and moved into position. The younger Lions watched from a distance, one taking more interest than the others. As the Buffalo came through the bush, one of the Lions could not restrain himself and broke cover. The Buffalo veered right in the direction of the big herd, and as much as the Lions tried to recover the situation the Buffalo were now in full flight and the Lions had to give up. They stood there looking around at each other with expressions that said, what the hell happened there? And with an accusing eye for the one who launched his attacked too early. They settled down to await another opportunity that would surely come as there were still many more Buffalo heading that way.

The young Lion who had taken more interest than the other youngsters moved forward and took up a position to the left of where the Buffalo had escaped. The older Lions seemed to know almost telepathically what the youngster had in mind. They took up new positions and waited. Eventually another group of Buffalo with some wildebeest leading the way headed for the same gap. I have no idea what it was about this gap that was attracting them.

The youngster seemed to signal with a movement of his body and all the other Lions, including the other youngsters, prepared themselves for another ambush. The tension in the air was acutely noticeable; we were literally on the edge of our seats. As the wildebeest came through the gap the Lions did not move a muscle. It was amazing to see how close the wildebeest came to the Lions, but only one reacted and sped off, but not enough to give the Lions away. The Buffalo were now in the same position as the previous Buffalo, but this time the Young Lion held his nerve and waited, and waited. We could see the other Lions fidgeting, but they did not move and then, just at the right moment the young Lion leapt forward forcing the Buffalo to veer to the right of the bushes where the other Lions were waiting. It was a big female they had set their sights on and one of the two larger Lions leapt on to her back from the left hand side, followed almost immediately by the other large male from the right. She managed to stay on her feet for a full 30 meters before the weight of the two Lions caused her to stumble, and as she went down she disappeared beneath the overwhelming attack of the other Lions. As the older Lions secured their prey the young architect of the ambush sauntered over to receive the accolade he so richly deserved. Two of the older males came over rubbing their heads against his, but this did not mean he automatically went up the feeding order; no he was still a young male and would have to await his turn to feed.

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13? Thirteen? As in 3 more than 10? A dozen plus one?

 

Quite a hunt you describe as well.

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This must have been a fantastic sighting.

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Great photos and story. Glad the young lion didn't blow it the second time! :P

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A group of male lions is called a coalitions, they defend their own territory, which usually covers the territory of one or more prides (females with dependable offspring). A typical coalition is 1-4 male lions, averaging around 2. But bigger coalitions are known. I think there is a record from the 60's in the Serengeti where a coalition of 9 males clashed with a coalition of 7 males. Several males were mortally wounded in the clash.

It looks like there are males of various ages in the group you saw. which are obviously still old cubs/young subadults, subadults which could be kicked out of the pride any time and males which should be part of a coalition. It might have just been coincidence that no female cubs/subadults or adult females were there. Did you see any in the area?

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@@PHALANX, what a great story, except it's not just a story, all true. How exciting and awe-inspiring to witness such planning, control and execution of a successful hunt.

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A group of male lions is called a coalitions, they defend their own territory, which usually covers the territory of one or more prides (females with dependable offspring). A typical coalition is 1-4 male lions, averaging around 2. But bigger coalitions are known. I think there is a record from the 60's in the Serengeti where a coalition of 9 males clashed with a coalition of 7 males. Several males were mortally wounded in the clash.

It looks like there are males of various ages in the group you saw. which are obviously still old cubs/young subadults, subadults which could be kicked out of the pride any time and males which should be part of a coalition. It might have just been coincidence that no female cubs/subadults or adult females were there. Did you see any in the area?

No, we did not see any females on either occasion. On the first sighting they were moving towards sand river and rested on the rock formation which gave a good view down to the river a few Km away. On the second sighting it is possible the females could have been lying up in the bushes somewhere, it was quite dense in some areas where they were hunting. Thanks for the interesting info.

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offshorebirder

Very neat encounter and well described - thanks for posting @@PHALANX.

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Great report. The excitement and tension of the situation came through clearly. Did you happen to take any pictures of the attack or its aftermath? Also a view of so many male lions together must have been amazing. I saw 5 males together in the Okavango and that was something. But never seen male lions hunting without any females to do the hard work! They often join in for the final kill but rarely do all the work themselves.

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But did you see females on other occasions in the same general area (say 10 km radius around it)? Did your guide mention females? Surely he should have known the situation, or wasn't he a resident guide?

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