Kruger lionesses protect their pride

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 21 June 2019

The Nandzana lion pride was relaxing in the winter sun beside a recent kill in the Kruger National Park recently when a pair of marauding male lions passed through, disturbing their afternoon nap.

Elize Roetse, an animal communicator, took a drive out near the Phalaborwa gate on the H14 near the Ngobeni Shortloop, one of her favourite places in the park according to game sighting blog Latest Sightings.

‘I got there and saw about 15 hyenas resting but there were already many cars with spectators at the scene. Some of the spectators told me that the Nandzana Pride of lions had killed a hippo and that they were busy eating it – that’s why there was so much attention,’ Roetse told Latest Sightings. ‘The Nandzana Pride at that stage was made up of five adult females and about seven cubs, but from where I was standing, I could only see some of the cubs and the movement of some of the adult females, and not the kill, as they were in the river.’

Image: Lee Bothma

About a minute into Roetse’s video, the females begin moving away from the approaching males, and near the two-minute mark, the pair have narrowed in on one of the lionesses, who seemingly backs down, but holds her own as one male in particular gets a bit too close.

She growls at them, and they kick up a dust cloud, where a scuffle ensues, and the pride scatters. Eventually, one intruding male lion skulks off, but the other remains near the lone lioness, busying himself with something in the shrubs. He too makes a brisk breakaway back to his pal eventually.

Roetse said, ‘I saw the two male lions approaching from the west, but they were stealthy and made no sound at all. After the crowd died off a bit, I made my way back to the spot where I stood before, and that’s when the chasing and the fighting started – my heart was in my throat as I knew there were cubs!

She continued, ‘All the cubs and two of the lionesses ran away while three of the older lionesses stood their ground protecting their meal. The male lions persisted and chased off the female lions through the river where I followed them to see what happens. After the chase the male lions are seen crossing the road in front of me before heading back to claim the kill – I could not get back into my viewing spot by this time as there was quite a crowd of cars witnessing the action so I went in search of the pride that was chased away.’

Nearly a kilometre west, Roetse found the entire pride with each lioness and cub in sight resting about 100 metres from the roadside. ‘In over 30 years of visiting the Kruger, this was by far the first sighting I have ever experienced that was so intense! My advice during a sighting like this would be to stay calm because no matter what happens, we know that it’s a part of nature and that things like this happen more often than we think.’

Roetse later confirmed that the two male lions were from the Sable Dam pride.

Image: Lee Bothma/Getaway Gallery

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