Queen of the Timbavati Reigns Supreme

Yesterday marked a historical event in the Timbavati! The oldest and last remaining lioness from the infamous Machaton Lion Pride was discovered with three  young cubs! A female who was on deaths door, has come back and is ready to raise the next generation.

This pride was first discovered over 45 years ago when Chris MacBride found and recorded the world’s first white lion, and so the legend of the White Lions of the Timbavati was born. This pride are the direct gene line of the white lions, first found in the Machaton River, hence their this name. Interestingly, every litter of cubs ever born into this pride were born in the same river system where they were first discovered.

The Machaton pride have varied in numbers over the years, in 1995 there were eighteen lions but over the years the numbers dwindled due to younger males being chased out, cubs being killed and new dominant males moving in.

Then about a year ago this pride became almost obsolete. Some unknown male lions moved in, killing majority of the cubs and splitting the pride into three groups. First the grandmother with one male cub, another female (the one now referred to as the last Machaton lionesss) with two male cubs and a 3rd female with another male cub. The grandmother was killed (we think) by a buffalo, after surviving on his own for quite some time. The male cub joined the other two male cubs who were with the last Machaton lioness, but at that point she headed far south and was not seen for a long time. The last three males were finally joined by the last male cub forming a coalition of 4 males who then moved on into the Klaserie.

This incredible last lioness is over twelve years and she was badly injured. The wound on her leg was debilitating and there was a fear of infection setting in, yet she healed and carried on hunting, sustaining herself alone for the last six months. Over this period she became more and more elusive and shy. There would be long stretches of no reported tracks or sightings and then recently there were rumors of a pregnancy and that she was possibly lactating, but this all seemed almost too much to hope for.

So when Civilized came across this lioness this morning with three little cubs at her side, he was overjoyed! This is a female who despite all the odds has survived, fought back, overcome insurmountable challenges and now she has carried on the lineage of an exceptional pride.

 

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