The Lenyalo lion pride takes over

The Lenyalo Pride is regularly seen by guests at Madikwe Safari Lodge. They occupy a territory in the northeastern section of Madikwe. Until recently, the pride consisted of three males, three females and four cubs.

A few months ago, two of the cubs were unfortunately killed by intruder males, referred to as the Bakgatla males. These males were introduced from the Pilanesberg National Park less than two years ago. At the time, they weren’t fully mature or able to establish dominance with a pride, but now are coming into their prime. As a coalition of two mature males, they will start challenging the males of the Lenyalo Pride in order to access the females and sire cubs.

DSC_0422Bakgatla male

DSC_0133Lenyalo male

The reason male lions practice infanticide is because if the cubs of other males are killed, the mother will re-enter oestrus and the male can then mate with her sooner. This ensures that he is putting energy into raising his own cubs and passing on his genes instead of those of unrelated males.

Interestingly, female lions can enter a “pseudo-oestrus” where they come into heat without ovulating. This can happen subconsciously during periods of pride instability so that no new cubs are born in the first few months following a pride take over. This delaying mechanism is to wait and ensure that the new dominant males are in fact going to be able to defend the pride before investing in pregnancy.

For now, the Lenyalo Pride is still together, with the males defending their territory, females and cubs.

Take a look at how the members of this lion pride interact with each other….


Words by: Charlotte Arthun

Photography and videography by: Ingird Nemorin

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