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The Charleston Males

Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-14-2015, 08:09 PM by Tshokwane )

blog / umkumbe safari lodge:
A Fight, Theft & Kill: Sabi Lions Cause Mayhem

We all know that the Sabi Sand is a huge drawcard for visitors due to its big cat sightings and incredible landscape. The ever-changing lion pride dynamics, the absolute rawness of nature and witnessing the extreme line between life and death are experiences which happen while on safari.

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Watching a lion pride stalk and take-down a buffalo is one of the rare and incredible moments on safari. When lions attack they assume their positions and they come in from all angles in an effort to confuse, ambush and attack their intended target. If there is a failed attempt at a kill, a lion will not hesitate to steal a carcass from its competition! During the course of last week, this is exactly what happened at Umkumbe. One of the Charleston males, together with three of the Southern Pride lionesses, caused mayhem on our turf. They stole a carcass from hyenas, attempted to hunt, had a fight with each other and returned the next day to enjoy a successful hunt. We love nothing better than a bit of lion drama on a Monday morning.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

Here’s an account of what went down in the world of Sabi Sand lions. Mauritz, Bradley and Nicki were all present during different phases of the lion showdown. Definitely an epic day for all involved!

The Charleston male and Southern females were located on the Sabi clearing. The area was inundated with a huge herd of over 100 buffalo. Close to the chaos was the carcass of small buffalo which was the centre of attention for a clan of scavenging hyenas. The hyenas were chomping at the bit to get their turn to feed, while trying to fend off the huge herd of buffalo. This draw the attention of the vultures, who like nothing better than to scavenge on carrion. The kettle of vultures circling in the sky drew the attention of the lions.

The hungry and curious cats came stampeding over to see what was on the menu. They chased the hyenas away and started on the carcass. The huge herd of buffalo then circled the lions to get them to vacate the area, but the lions decided to try and take them down instead of moving off. The hunt was unsuccessful. When they returned to the stolen carcass, the big Charleston male wanted the lion’s share of the meal and sent marching orders to the females. He started a fight with one of the lionesses, so all 3 just sat and watched him. This all happened in the morning.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

After the morning game drive was complete, we thought the frenzy of activity had calmed down. But later on that afternoon during the evening game drive session, the same lions returned to the Sabi Sand clearing. They were chasing a cheetah onto our property ! The following morning Bradley and Mauritz found the lions on a buffalo kill. At last – they finally made their own kill! But yet again a fight ensued – it seems this Charleston male doesn’t like to share his meals! The big Charleston boy gave the Southern lionesses quite a mouthful before settling down to eat. After eating all that meat and not sharing, this big boy needed to quench his thirst, so he was spotted drinking from a small waterhole.


What a week of lions ! This Charleston boy is quite a tough beast and has made it clear that he doesn’t enjoy sharing his meals with the Southern lionesses.

Thanks to rangers Mauritz, Bradley and Nicki for the images and update.

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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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From Sabi sabi:
The Southern Pride lionesses and Charleston male were seen yesterday afternoon and after resting for a while, started to make their way towards a large herd of buffalo nearby.

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*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Sabi Sabi:
We had such a special sighting of the Southern Pride and Charleston male yesterday evening as they watched a storm approach and decided to move away from the incredible light show. This morning we found them very relaxed at the dam in front of Earth Lodge.

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*This image is copyright of its original author


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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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From Sabi Sabi:
After following one of the Southern Pride females after leaving the buffalo kill, we noticed she was heavily lactating whilst on the presumed way to find a water source. Rangers, Trackers and Guests were thrilled when it turned out that she revealed two newborn cubs hidden in some dense bush instead of quenching her thirst! The cubs are still very young and we will therefore be giving them space and not viewing them for a while. 

After a long stint of being separated the two Charleston males were finally seen together on the buffalo carcass from yesterday morning.


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*This image is copyright of its original author

One thing to note, those cubs are offprings of the Fourwyas males. ¿How will the Charleston males react?
My take on it is that if they never mated with that particular female, they're going to kill them. But of course, with wild animals, one never really knows.
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United States Polar Offline
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(12-31-2015, 08:50 PM)Majingilane Wrote: From Sabi Sabi:
After following one of the Southern Pride females after leaving the buffalo kill, we noticed she was heavily lactating whilst on the presumed way to find a water source. Rangers, Trackers and Guests were thrilled when it turned out that she revealed two newborn cubs hidden in some dense bush instead of quenching her thirst! The cubs are still very young and we will therefore be giving them space and not viewing them for a while. 

After a long stint of being separated the two Charleston males were finally seen together on the buffalo carcass from yesterday morning.


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

One thing to note, those cubs are offprings of the Fourwyas males. ¿How will the Charleston males react?
My take on it is that if they never mated with that particular female, they're going to kill them. But of course, with wild animals, one never really knows.
What happened to his canine?
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Quote:What happened to his canine?
I think he got kicked in the face by a giraffe in a hunt.
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Some updates on the Charleston males and the Southern pride girls. All the pics credits to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

January 1st
We could hear the calls of hyenas in the distance last night and came upon the Charleston males and a Southern Pride female on the move. This morning we managed to track them down into a dry riverbed where the larger male made his intentions clear to his sibling that under no circumstances will he be allowed near the females.

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*This image is copyright of its original author

January 2nd
The two Charleston males were resting on a dam wall not too far away from the Southern Pride females.

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January 3rd
We caught up with the Charleston males yesterday afternoon and spent some time with them as they moved off in search of the females, contact calling along the way. Eventually though, they decided to rest again under a beautiful night sky.

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About them in the blog A WEEK IN THE BUSH VOL. 84, and also about the Southern pride females having the cubs from the Fourways males.
The lion dynamics have kept us on the edge of seats as always, especially with the surprise of some of our team having found a Southern Pride female with two cubs!  I can’t say that we were surprised that they were going to produce them at some stage, since they were mating profusely with the Fourways males before the Charleston males decided to ‘stir the pot’ so to speak, but to have them born now is quite exciting and also quite worrying.  It is not known if the cubs are still alive and we are not sure who the biological fathers are.  It could be either of the two coalitions.  One thing is almost certain and that is if the cubs are Fourways’ offspring, they will most likely be dispatched of by the Charlestons.  This is unfortunately the way of the African Bush and there is nothing we can do about it, as hard of a pill as it is to swallow.


The Charlestons continue to assert their dominance over the area and the Southern Pride, with the larger Charleston brother not having left their side until two days ago.  I personally have not seen him mate with any females and only seen them resist his advances, so we are back to square one where the females are going to test the will, strength and stamina of the two large males.  I was sorry to see the Fourways males chased off so easily, but in all honesty, the Charlestons would make amazing pride males.  They are very big, they’re strong and they’re full of confidence.  Historically, we never had the chance to spend too much time with them, only seeing them every now and then, but watching them grow from young lions to the dominant force they are today has been truly exceptional.  I hope to see them dominate the area for years to come.
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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And this one from yesterday:
The three Southern Pride females were found this morning drinking together with the two Charleston males.

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Sabi Sabi:
Yesterday, two of Southern Pride females and a Charleston male brought down a buffalo cow. This morning they were joined by the other members of the Southern Pride and the remaining Charleston male.

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Sabi Sabi:
We found the large Charleston male yesterday afternoon contact calling for his brother who was seen a short distance away. While we were there though, they never actually met up and were only about 500m apart.

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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve:
We found 4 Southern Pride females with the larger Charleston male. The big boy was attempting to be amorous with the younger female, but after his exertive bouts with Floppy Ear over the past few days, he seems to be quite put out and did not complete a proper mating session while we were with them.

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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve:
Seen on safari:

We managed to locate the Southern Pride yesterday with the two older cubs and larger Charleston male present. They were found with a buffalo carcass and all were extremely well fed, but that didn’t stop the big male from mating with one of the females right there. They were found again this morning, but the Charleston male was not around.


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Now, this is very interesting. Remember that these cubs are sons of the Fourways males, so it was expected that the Charleston would kill them. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but it's a good beggining.
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Sabi Sabi:
The large Charleston male was following the scent of the female lions and vocalising last night and eventually found them with the two cubs this morning.

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Again from Sabi Sabi:
The larger of the Charleston males was tracked down far from where we suspect the females are this morning. His brother on the other hand was spotted with the females yesterday evening.

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