The guests of our safari camp were overwhelmed over recent night as the two nomadic males who have been in the area for some time were again stomping their authority. From the night into the morning, they again chased the Machaton pride around the camp, trying to take over the territory and roaring out loud for all to hear.
With the still air at night, the roaring of the two lions echoes through the river bed creating a magical experience for our guests. The two males were found this morning by our team of rangers and trackers. What is interesting is that they were found with another female from another pride called the Ross pride, bordering the territory of the Machaton pride.
We have seen the nomads mating with her before (about a week ago) but again this morning!! Female lions can often do this when they know their territory may be taken over, and they can actually fake estrus, attracting the males to mate with her. They can even do this whilst being in the early stages of pregnancy from another male. This is very clever because if the two nomadic males take over, the males will automatically be tricked into thinking the cubs will be theirs, even if from another male. This is to ensure the survival of the cubs, because new males taking over a pride will often kill the cubs from that pride.
Normally lions will mate every fifteen to twenty minutes, over a period of 4-5 days. It is also so that the males are distracted for that period which gives the rest of the pride with the cubs time two move away from the area, acting as a decoy. A very clever tactic. Unfortunately the Machaton pride has not yet been confirmed all back together. They were seen yesterday afternoon but only two females and two sub adult cubs.
We will keep everyone posted.
Words by Richard Woodward