Monday, August 4, 2008

New boyz in the hood !!

Till now the Batia brothers had the Southwestern territory all to themselves. A month or so back two other male lions moved down from the east looking for new territory and females to take over. There timing couldn't have been better because some of the Tshabala females are in oestrus. A while back I was driving in south and saw these two males in the prime of their lives they are called the Tsholo Mateya males one is light maned and the other one is dark maned.

Only one thing looked out of place with the whole scene, the one male's eye was almost removed with probably a claw from the contender.Then I realized that they definitely had a round with the Batias. From that day I never saw the Batias down in that area again. It will be sad to see the Batias been kicked out or killed, because they are still the legends of madikwe, but they had more then there innings and it is time for new blood to come in.

On the 3rd of July we left the lodge early around 6:00 am. Driving around thinking it was going to be a quite morning.....................All of a sudden the two Tsholo Mateya males walked down the road like two gladiators ready for the big fight. They were spraying almost every 15 m. next to the road. Every now and then they were giving full blow roars to let the Batias know they are coming. It was the first time they came up so far north. We were following them with great expectations thinking that we were going to see the fight of the century. To see the behaviour of male lions competing against other males are amazing they look so brave and strong, just the way they walk down the road with meaning to kill and destroy. When they were roaring the echoing through the valley was almost deafening.

All of a sudden with no warning the Batias replied with even more ground trembling roars the Tsholo Matyeas realized the game was on. To our surprise they froze for about 5 seconds, turned around and retreated to where they came from, ears back and almost crouched down they ran away like two scared kittens. The expression on their faces told the whole strory ! It was still amazing to see these magnificent apex predators operate when they are after something they want so badly !

Three days later I saw the Batias mating with the females ( previous blog on Batias mating ). Even at +- 15 years of age they still have it in them to chase the other males off with only a powerful roar. The Tsholo Matyeas might be in the prime of their lives, but The Batias have got live experience and much more battle experience. So nothing can be taken away from them. The Batias are still worthy advisories. I end with something that Derek Joubert said " I do not know how someone can put these magnificent animals in a sight of a gun and still sleep at night"

Till next time

( This morning myself, Gerry and Gavin tracked the big boys on foot, when we found them they were with the females looking really tired as if they are ready to go but they still look fine and alive as ever. They did not even give us a mock charge as they always do if I recall correctly they are normally some of the worse lions to walk. But I take my hat of to these magnificent cats. )


Michael Palmer said...

FANTASTIC IMAGES!!! I have to ask what kind of lens are you use (how close are you)

Grant Marcus said...

Hi Mike
I use a 50-50 sigma on a 400d canon body. Sometimes we get really close to these cats, if we are lucky