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The Birmingham Males

Australia Herekitty Offline
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Had this sighting to ourselves a few days ago. One of the Gowrie males dragging a large kudu bull carcass in the Sand River.
Credit: videos and images by Craig Leaver at MalaMaa, posted October 12, 2018


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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Credit: image by Andrew Beck at Malamala, posted October 12, 2018.

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Credit: image by Gareth Walker at Malamala, posted October 12, 2018.

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Credit: image by Richard de Gouveia at Sabi Sabi, posted October 12, 2018.
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Credit: image by lex Jordan at Londolozi, posted October 12, 2018.

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Roars and presence of the Othawa male lion along the western edge of the Sand River sparked investigative interest of the Birmingham male lions, who covered the entire area walking in silence to search for the intruder. Credit: image by Alex Jordan from the Londolozi Blog, posted October 12, 2018.

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United States J-boVFL Offline
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The young Ottawa male needs a partner or 2 it will not end well if he continues to roar in bboy territory with them moving quietly searching for him and not roaring back to warn him . hope he escapes if they find him
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Australia Herekitty Offline
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He's not a real threat to them so hopefully they will just let out some roars and head back to their Ntsevu/Kambula girlfriends. Speaking of which, those lionesses never fail to impress me. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the dozen or so cubs they now have. Credit: image by Garry Bruce at Malamala, posted October 12, 2018.

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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The missing King. Credit: image by Zaheer Ali at Torchwood, posted October 12, 2018.

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Nhenha. Credit: image by Nic Nel at Mala Mala, posted October 13, 2018.

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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( This post was last modified: 10-16-2018, 05:42 AM by Herekitty )

Credit: images by William Anderson at Londolozi, posted October 13, 2018.

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Credit: image by Alex Meinhold at Londolozi, posted October 13, 2018

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United States jordi6927 Offline
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(10-14-2018, 07:56 PM)Herekitty Wrote: Credit: images by William Anderson at Londolozi, posted October 13, 2018.

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Credit: image by Alex Meinhold at Londolozi, posted October 13, 2018

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The 3rd picture is the Othawa Boy and not a Birmingham ... all great photos though
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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Thanks @jordi6927 I did wonder at his underdeveloped mane. Credit: image by Gameranger Rob at Mala Mala, posted October 15, 2018.

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Credit: images by Markus Peitz at Londolozi, posted October 15, 2018

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Nsuku. Credit: image by Garry Bruce at Rattray's, posted October 16, 2018


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Tinyo. Credit: image by tpeighphotography at Londolozi, posted October 16, 2018.

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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Nhenha. Credit: image by Sandeep Engineer at Mala Mala, posted October 16, 2018.

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Londolozi Blog: Tsalala Lioness Flees from Birmingham Male by James Tyrrell, posted October 15, 2018. Photos from September 24.
Very few things can match the excitement you feel when there are lions roaring near to camp, especially if you hear them just before you set off on a morning game drive.
This particular morning was no different and after a quick discussion with tracker Ray Mabelane, we agreed that we needed to head straight towards the Sand River downstream from camp and find whichever lion was roaring before he disappeared into palm thicket. A sense of anticipation hung in the air as we arrived in the area where the calls had emanated from. We rounded a bend in the road and there on the opposite bank of the river we saw him!

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Once we had crossed the river for a closer look we were able to establish that the lion was one of the Birmingham males. It struck me as odd that none of the four Birmingham males had ventured into this area for a quite some time – there must be a reason for this foray into the north western reaches of their territory. As we followed him it became clear that he was on the scent of something. His relaxed stroll gave way to a more determined gait. Every so often he would stop, lift his head and sniff the air before continuing on his path. The next hour consisted of this repeated stop-sniff-walk routine as the lion gradually increased the intensity of his movements. The male was moving consistently, so we knew he had smelt something which piqued his interest.

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 Suddenly, we heard baboons alarm calling from the trees next to the river a few hundred yards upstream from where we were. The lion immediately made a beeline in that direction. We decided to loop around and cross back over the river and wait for him to emerge on the far bank. As we arrived at our pre-determined spot we were amazed to find that the baboons were alarming at the lone Tsalala lioness who was lying in the palm thicket, completely oblivious to the fact the there was a big male lion heading straight towards her.
The tension was high as we sat watching the lioness reclining on the sand, unaware of what was about to unfold.The next minute, the male lion erupted out of the thicket and the lioness took off at full sprint! We could barely keep up as the pair of lions disappeared in a cloud of dust. The lioness was running as though her life depended on it (which it may well have) while the male gave chase.

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By the time we had caught up, the two lions had run about 400 meters in a time that would make any sprinter jealous. The male seemed to lose a bit of steam and this gave the female a chance to put some distance between her and her pursuer. The male resorted to a fast trot as he continued to follow the female through the thick bush. We followed him for a while as he frantically searched for the lioness.
After some more fruitless searching, the male decided to lie down temporarily and rest, which gave us a chance to contemplate what we had just witnessed. We were perplexed, to say the least. The puzzle was made complete a few hours later when ranger Shaun d’Araujo saw the Birmingham male mating with the Tsalala female. Could we have just witnessed a potential rejuvenation of the Tsalala pride?
As is often the case in sightings like this, there are more questions than answers, and lions in particular are difficult creatures to understand. The initial fleeing of the Tsalala lioness may have simply been her natural reaction to the appearance of an unknown male. And likewise, the male’s chasing may have simply been his natural chase response.
Let’s hope after these initial encounters, both lions will become more relaxed in each others’ presence.
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Australia Herekitty Offline
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Found some information about the old Birmingham male purported to be the father, or one of the fathers of the Birmingham Boys. Taken from Simabavati ranger's blog by Greg McCall-Peat dated August 2014.
These two males namely Mabande (which means collar- as he at one point wore a radio collar, which has since been removed) and his coalition partner the Birmingham male, have got a very interesting story. Both these males come from different prides and coalitions. Mabande was in a coalition with another male, but when that male died and Mabande was left on his own however, he didn’t stay on his own, he found a new partner in the Birmingham male who comes from the far south of the reserve. No one knows for sure how this all happened as it’s not a common occurrence but it seems to have worked out fine for these males. They seem to be very effective as dominant males and they were the lions seen mating with the Machaton lioness a few months ago. The Birmingham male is by far the biggest male lion in the Timbavati at the moment and he definitely has a temper to match. He isn't a lion to be messed with and has more grumpy days than anything else. I always say you can see what kind of personality a lion has by the look in his eyes and the Birmingham male has a look that makes your blood run cold. The Mabande males seem to have set up their territory in the central Timbavati where they spend majority of their time but have also come as far up north as Simbavati Hilltop Lodge where they spent the night waking up the staff camp with their roars.     

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MALAMALA TODAY: October 16th. Another MalaMala 7 day with multiple sightings of the Big 5, 6 different cheetah and a pack of Cape hunting dogs! 4 lion sightings: 3 lionesses from the Kambula pride, a Gowrie male and the 6 older cubs spent most of the day in the Sand River south of Rattray’s Camp. The lionesses provided guests in that camp to lunch with with a show when they killed an impala in front of Khaya 1. Another Kambula lioness and 3 cubs were at their den to the east of Maxim’s Lookout. The Avoca males and Eyrefield pride were south of Calabash Crossing. Photo of a Gowrie male by ranger Nic Nel.

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Photo by ranger Kyle Smith at MalaMala, posted October 16, 2018.

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Photo by Rick Friedman at Mala Mala, posted October 16, 2018.

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Photo by Lucien Beaumont at Londolozi, posted October 16, 2018.

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