Images & Words by Thapelo Seleke
It was a very hot afternoon, but soon shadows started falling to the east and the temperatures started dropping. The silence of the bushveld was broken by the sound of a buffalo distress call – we quickly moved into the area and the Styx pride, along with three Birmingham males had pulled down a buffalo close to camp.
It was getting dark, so we spent a few minutes with them, before heading back to camp. The night was characterized by the snarling of the male lions fighting, as well as roaring to keep any intruders out of their territory. The following morning we moved back to the area, and the cubs were feeding, while the lionesses and 3 male lions were resting nearby. The carcass had been demolished overnight, with only a few small areas where there was still a little bit of meat left! It is unreal to witness an adult buffalo, often weighing in the region of around half a ton plus, to be stripped down to bare bones in one night!
That was not all, a few days later, an unfortunate warthog was in the menu for the pride and this time the males were no where close the kill. I was busy watering the garden when suddenly I saw a female lion speeding 100 meters away from me, followed by the cubs. My adrenaline was pumping, and we grabbed the cameras and headed out to go and find the kill.
The lionesses have been providing well for their cubs, and within 5 days, we were able to witness a buffalo kill, warthog kill and an adult kudu kill – and all of this close to camp. The cubs are slowly learning the skills needed to successfully hunt.
The Birmingham male lions are doing incredibly well to secure their territory, and provide protection for the prides that they dominate. The pride lionesses have also been providing for their cubs with numerous large kills. It is incredible to witness this natural system at work.