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Lions of Timbavati

South Africa Wyld@Heart Offline
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(01-06-2024, 11:37 AM)Biscuit1998 Wrote: Hi all,

I have recently been in the Timbavati on holiday. 

I was horrified to see that a large group (approx. 7) of sub-adult lions in the Western Pride have not eaten in 3 weeks; their bones are jutting out and they can barely move, yet they remain under near-constant observation by tourists in vehicles. The two adult females and large sub-adult male have left the Western Pride, leaving these younger sub-adults under the control of an elderly, disabled male. Whilst on a game drive, I observed land-owners in the reserve callously saying that the sub-adults "wouldn't last". There is also a severe shortage of blue wildebeest in the reserve and an alarming overpopulation of impala. Further, the presence of a coalition of 4 large males (the "river pride") nearby almost guarantees that these Western Pride sub-adults have no chance of survival. 

In light of the fact that the WP's dominant male was trophy-hunted back in 2018, this looks to me like a serious conservation failure on the part of the reserve. Intervention appears necessary. 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Hi Biscuit, 

Without knowing the exact location of your holiday, or that pride in all honesty, I'm going to give my thoughts as a generalization of the area, animal density and the conduct of reserves. No response from me in the trophy hunt as I have no knowledge of that in the slightest. Apologies in advance if this may be a little long. 

I take it that you were on guided drives during your stay which is always a treat but in my honest opinion can have a few... areas to improve in some cases shall we say and often that is specific to geology and ecozones. Your average visitor to these areas does not know much about these and the impact it has on animal density and your average guide does very little to explain these. As I said, I don't have any specifics about your trip and it seems you came away disappointed in at least one aspect of it which is a shame. The Timbavati is a mix of ecozones but changes very rapidly north and west into woodland scrub. You mention the dearth of wildebeest and that is probably due to the ecozone; wildebeest being grazers eat only grasses and that area will not see large numbers of grazers such as you would see around southern Timbavati/Orpen, the plains around Satara and the Eastern plains of the Kruger that run from the Olifants River all the way to Crocodile Bridge. Then there is the affect of water availability, density of the bush with the resultant predation effect etc that also affect density of a specific species and in my knowledge of the area as a generalisation, the Timbavati is not prime wildebeest habitat. You will find them but not in great numbers. 

The much overlooked, dismissed and sometimes maligned impala is a simply magnificent animal and inhabits pretty much every corner of the Greater Kruger regardless of ecozone. Simply put, they're both browsers (leaf eaters) and grazers (grass eaters). Where grasses abound they'd prefer that but make no mistake, they'd just as readily browse and this allows them to thrive everywhere. Overpopulation is a misnomer, if that was actually said out loud then I'm afraid your lodge/guide is probably in the 'carrying capacity of the veld' camp which isn't something I agree with. Anyway, a good guide shows you animals, a truly great guide shows you why you're seeing what you're seeing and also why what you might be expecting isn't always there.

With regards to that sub adult group. It's a drama as old as time. Lions live a hard life but some are invariably harder than others. Some cubs grow into matured adults in the same pride in the same area without having to fend for themselves while others, like these, find themselves all but abandoned for various reasons and have to go through a trial by fire just to survive. Some make it, a large number do not. In some instances, an entire group like so sadly fall into the dust. That's the bush, it's harsh and unforgiving and sometimes hard for us to comprehend. All things considered, reserves will not intervene and they should not unless the adversity has been caused by man. The youngsters might yet make it through, lions are remarkable creatures and will come back from the brink of death in a matter of weeks if the bush allows so feel for them indeed, but also hope. I feel your frustration in the callous nature of the comments you heard from the landowners; the reality might be stark but empathy and respect amongst us who love the wild should be a given. 

That's my take on things. It is a bit of a generalisation like I said, but I hope it makes what you experienced a little easier to live with.
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Poland Potato Offline
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(01-11-2024, 03:25 AM)afortich Wrote:
(01-10-2024, 05:59 PM)Potato Wrote:




What happened to the fourth BDM boy??



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BigLion39 Offline
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I was under the impression Scorrokoro was doing well despite the circumstances.
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Tr1x24 Offline
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Looks like 1 of adult Avoca females died:

Photo credits: bush_maniac


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Poland Potato Offline
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Tanda Tula update

The lions spent most of their time resting in the open sodic areas, and the leopards ascended the trees, giving us some good game viewing opportunities.  The lions over the past week were not as consistent as we have grown accustomed to of late, but as you will see, that is possibly just me being fussy as we didn’t have all of the lions on our doorstep every day!  The Mayambula Pride popped up once again this week and spent the day resting next to a pan in the eastern sections.  A couple of days later, a single lioness was mating with one of the dark-maned Vuyela male lions in the east, and while I am still waiting for confirmation, my suspicion is that it was one of the Mayambula lionesses.  My doubt comes from the fact that after mating, the lioness moved off to the west, suggesting that it could have been a Sark Breakaway lioness?  If it was, she was a long way out of her territory, and with another Sark Breakaway lioness mating with another Vuyela male in our western sections, it wouldn’t have made much sense for her to venture all that way east.  The Sark Breakaways were with their cubs in the west but made an unusual movement further to the south-west and out of our concession towards Giraffe, a property in the Timbavati after which our Giraffe Pride is named due to their dominance over it.  Fortunately for the Sark Breakaways, the Giraffe Pride were spending a fair bit of their time around Plains Camp, and I ventured out west one afternoon to spend time with eighteen members of the pride as they rested up at a waterhole.  They had been quite active in the area over most of the week, and looking at how many zebras and wildebeest were on the plains, it was no surprise to see them hanging around.  The Vuyela males had to re-establish their presence in the area following the rain, so there was much roaring going on in the days that followed the rains; we were treated to several roaring displays this past week.  Now that I actually think back to all the lion sightings around this past week, maybe I am only thinking of the lack of the River Pride in the area, as aside from them, the other lions definitely did their bit!   


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Ttimemarti Offline
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Any update on the black dam pride?
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Poland Potato Offline
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India Hello Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-21-2024, 11:11 AM by Hello )

Ximpoko as a young adult with brown gold mane.

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India Hello Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-21-2024, 12:52 PM by Hello )

Ximpoko as a prime adult with brown black mane standing next to Mabande

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Belgium criollo2mil Offline
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a not so good update and follow-up regarding the struggles of Western Pride.

WARNING:   Sensitive Video









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Poland Potato Offline
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Guernsey and Avoca males. Shindzela- Timbavati. The Avoca male might have an eye infection but in good condition.


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Monwana males and Mapoza strolling after some buffalo in Timbavati Game Reserve. No real intent to hunt one down. Eventually the buffalo left them behind and they did not follow any further.


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Poland Potato Offline
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Giraffe pride also popped around the lodge traverse this last week. The pride had a very long walk and the pride did split a few times. Hercules male in good condition but have a very bad cut on his eye. His eye itself is fine but the skin and nose have a deep cut. Some of the youngsters followed buffalo but with no real plan to take one down.


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Poland Potato Offline
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Poland Potato Offline
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Birmingham pride cubs sired by Mbiri males:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0i0ihkp...iandTravel
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Belgium criollo2mil Offline
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(01-28-2024, 01:12 PM)Potato Wrote:




These lions are mis identified as Western Pride. It’s actually the Gomondwane Pride.

Footage was taken near crocodile bridge
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