The Lion Dynamics of Mjejane Game Reserve

Over the last couple of years, the lion dynamics on Mjejane has been very interesting. At first, we had the five male lions that were formidable buffalo hunters and after they left Mjejane, the ‘Lukimbi’ pride moved in. They are called Lukimbi as their home range used to extend between Lukimbi Private lodge, in Kruger, all the way east towards the Biyamiti river. The pride consisted of approximately twenty individuals, including two dominant males, ten adult females and their offspring. The Lukimbi pride has made Mjejane their home since 2015, but ever since then, many things have changed.

Figure 1: Lukimbi pride 2015

The two Lukimbi males were approximately between ten to twelve years old, and were at the end of their reign. September 2017 was a new beginning for the Lukimbi pride when two new males joined the pride. These two males were the previous dominant males of the Croc Bridge area in Kruger. The males seemed to be doing well up until the end of April 2018, when we found three new males on Mjejane and our two males were nowhere to be seen. We estimate that the new males are between three to four years old and is a force to be reckoned with. Over the last three weeks of April, and beginning of May, we have seen the three males mating with four different females. We believe that three of the females are hiding or have left as they were carrying the previous males’ offspring.

Figure 2: Previous two males, used to be Croc Bridge males.

On the 30th of April a lioness was found dead just north of the big dam, she was attacked and killed the previous night by the three new males. The reason is unknown, but its assumed that it was the lioness with two sub-adult cubs. The previous afternoon she was spotted with the cubs not far from where the dead lioness was found. She might have tried to protect her cubs from them and got killed in the process. Prior to the males killing the female we have seen them on numerous occasions acting aggressive towards females, even though the females were showing interest in mating with them.

Figure 3: Two of the three new males. One chasing a female away.

Nature can be cruel, complex and ever changing, let’s see what the next few months deliver with the three new guys in charge.