Towards the end of our 2014 season we noticed that the Mwamba Kaingo lion pride had been one male down. The dominant male of the pride had been seen less and less and the last time he had been spotted he was behaving strangely; he was sighted not far from our camps looking thin and motley on lion plain at a kill where he fed with his pride but in a very anti-social manner then proceeded to leave and off he went alone again as if looking for a place to end his days.
Shortly after this he decided that the best place for him was Mwamba Bush Camp. With fresh water and a constant supply of food it seemed a perfect place to spend the last of his days. From looking at this once magnificent male it is easy to see that all is not well. He has what looks like a very sore skin condition and possibly an underlying ailment that is causing him to lose weight very quickly. This said, since he has made Mwamba his home he has managed to take down a female buffalo right in front of our hide but unfortunately was unable to eat as the fight took too much energy out of him. .
A few days later he still had not moved from the Mwamba hide and was looking weaker and weaker by the day until Wednesday when we got a call on the radio from Vickson saying there was a commotion coming from the hide. We arrived at the hide to find the Mwamba male hanging from the muzzle of another female buffalo whilst the rest of the herd watched on. What followed can only be described as an epic battle between two gladiators fighting to the death.
The battle took place in the same way you would see two heavy weight boxers fighting for the world title. After three minute bouts both titans would stand and stare at each other waiting for the other to make the first move. After each interval you could see both fighters getting weaker and weaker and by round seven both were finished. It was at that point where the herd came to the rescue and a male buffalo, much like a referee, came and put an end to the fight.
With the buffalo gone the battered warrior managed to drag himself under a bush, where we all though he would surely leave this world.
However like any true king he was not done just yet. The following morning not far from Mwamba he had taken down an impala and was seen feeding on it with very little sign of the previous day’s encounter.
To me this just shows the strength and power of these magnificent beasts and their instinct to survive and live against all odds.
So maybe, just maybe, this king of the jungle in not ready to give up his throne, at least not for now.