Skukuza Males

Skukuza Male Lion - Photograph taken by ranger Anthony Harding

December 2006

The Skukuza Males were seen several times on Toulon and the very southern part of Charleston. The best sighting of these lions occurred when all three male lions were seen feeding on the carcass of an adult zebra, just east of the Sand River, not far from Charleston River Rocks.

Photograph taken by ranger Anthony Harding

At one stage, one of the male lions left the carcass and went to drink at the river. As he reached the river, he chanced upon some old male buffaloes in the reeds. They initially took fright and ran, but then realised that the lion was on his own, and then chased him through the watercourse. The same lions were also seen feeding on a Waterbuck on the northern bank of the Sand River, close to Island Crossing.

November 2006

The Skukuza Males were seen only twice during the game report period, on consecutive days. They spent two days close to the Sand River in the southern parts of the reserve, and then moved eastwards towards the KNP, and were not seen again.

September / October 2006

The Skukuza Males were not seen during September/ October , but they could certainly have been active on the eastern parts of the property.

August 2006

The Skukuza Males were not seen during August, but they could certainly have been active on the eastern parts of the property. The Windmill Pride members were not seen either, and this could account for their absence on the property.

July 2006

The Skukuza Males were not seen during July, but they could certainly have been active on the eastern parts of the property. The Windmill Pride members were not seen either, and with the Skukuza Males being seen in their company it could be that they have spent more time with the females in the Kruger National Park.

June 2006

The Skukuza Males were not seen at all during this report period.

May 2006

The Skukuza Males were seen three times on Charleston . The first sighting was of four males who were accompanying two females of the Windmill pride. The remaining two sightings were of only three males, the young male with no mane being absent. This young male had been seen in poor condition during the previous month and his absence could signal his demise. It is not certain where this fourth member even came from in the first place as he does not fit the description of the original fourth member of this coalition who disappeared many months ago. It would seem now that the Skukuza coalition only consists of three males again.

April 2006

The four Skukuza Males spent a fair amount of time on south-eastern Flockfield and north-eastern Charleston towards the end of the game report period (4 sightings). They appear to be growing in confidence and pushing their territory westwards. There does not appear to be any resistance to their movements and on a few occasions, these lions were heard roaring. However, one of these young males appears to be sick. He is very lethargic and appears to be losing his mane. There have been no sightings of these males with the Windmill Pride and their aggressive response to one of the Windmill lionesses makes one wonder what the relationship really is between these two groups of lions.

March 2006

The four Skukuza Males were seen on 2 consecutive days (10/03 and 11/03). On one day all four males were seen together for the first time in many months. All four males were last seen together in September 2005 when one of them was limping badly and was not seen again, even though the other three males were seen occasionally until now. The injured lion was presumed dead. However, it would seem as though he has reappeared and is in good health. The four males lazed in the shade off Zebra Skull South and then moved east along the Charleston Flockfield Boundary. The following day only two of the males were seen moving north on the KNP break from the Charleston Flockfield Boundary roaring occasionally. During the course of the month there were occasional reports of lions roaring on eastern Charleston and eastern Flockfield. Although the roaring lions were never found on these occasions, it is presumed that it was the Skukuza Males roaring. This suggests that they have these areas firmly under their control. With the Eyrefield males seemingly having taken up residency further to the west, there seems to be little competition for this territory. The ageing Split Rock and Rollercoaster coalitions to their north and south respectively may provide an opportunity for them to expand their territory westwards in the future.

January 2006

Three sub-adult male lions (Skukuza Males) were seen on five occasions, three of these together with three members of the Windmill pride. Perhaps they are coming of age and have managed to take control of this pride and looking to establish a territory in the area.

December 2005

No sightings this month.

November 2005

A mating pair of lions joined the feeding activity on a buffalo carcass , but were then chased off, along with the other 6 lions, by three sub-adult male lions believed to be the Skukuza Males. The noise was heard by two adult male lions, unrecognised, but believed to have come in from the Kruger Park . These two magnificent male lions chased the other lions from the area, but the Split Rock Males then came running in, roaring, and the two other adult males did not return to the kill site.

October 2005

Only three of the four Skukuza Males were seen during October. They were seen a dozen times, but not at all in the last week of the game report period. Twice they were found on buffalo kills, once near Styx Crossing on the Kapen River and once near Sandy Crossing on south-eastern Toulon . The male with a badly injured leg and a bad eye was not seen at all, and one wonders whether he met an untimely end. This could easily have happened, especially if he was on his own and bumped into the Split Rock Males or some of the Eyrefield Males.

September 2005

Skukuza Males: There were as many as 12 sightings of these four confident young male lions, estimated to be between 4 and 5 years old. At the beginning of the game report period, they fed on a buffalo bull that they had killed, near the northern boundary of the reserve. A few days later, they spent four days with a lioness on Flockfield and Charleston , and one of the males mated with her. One of the males has a bad eye and a serious injury to a hind leg, and he sometimes did not keep up with the pride.

The two most recent sightings of the Skukuza Males were of just three lions, the injured one not being seen. Probably the most dramatic sighting involving these lions was the last one of the game report period, when they were seen to chase, catch and temporarily bring down a 3-year old rhino! The rhino, squealing in distress, managed to escape, having seemingly lost a part of its tail to the lions! These 4 lions have not done a great deal of roaring on Mala Mala yet, but they may pose a real threat to some of the more established coalitions.

August 2005

Four sub-adult male lions were seen on several occasions, mainly around the central parts of the reserve. These were the same four males believed to have originated from the Skukuza Pride. One of the males has a bad eye and a very bad limp, and battles to keep up with the other three. These four males have in the past clashed with the Eyrefield Males. They seem to be gaining in confidence, and could yet prove to be a major force in the area.

January / February 2005


3 SUB-ADULT MALES          * (3-4 YEARS)

No confirmed sightings in January.

December 2004

3 SUB-ADULT MALES         * (3-4 YEARS)

No confirmed sightings in December

November 2004

3 SUB-ADULT MALES         * (3-4 YEARS)

There were no definite sightings of the Skukuza Pride in November, but some of the young male lions seen on several occasions during the month, were thought to be members of this pride. They may well have already split from the females of the pride.

October 2004

3 SUB-ADULT MALES        * (3-4 YEARS)

No sightings this month.

September 2004
3 SUB-ADULT MALES        * (3-4 YEARS)

Early in September, six members of the Skukuza Pride (three young males and three young females), were found on southern Toulon, where they came upon an impala carcass, thought to be a leopard's kill.   This they devoured pretty promptly, and then moved on.   Other sightings of this pride were of male lions only, sometimes three of them, once just two.   These young males were seen to harass the small herd of buffalo one evening, but without managing to gain any meat.   Over the next few days, these three young males moved a considerable distance north and west, ending up on north-western Charleston.   The West Street Males and some of the Eyrefield Pride members had often been seen in this area recently, but with the death of the West Street Males, young coalitions of nomadic males are bound to invade and try their luck.

It is hoped that the next few months will yield a little more information about the composition of this pride. 

August 2004

3 SUB-ADULT MALES        * (3-4 YEARS)

A newly named pride, the full composition of the Skukuza Pride is not known, but there are at least 3 sub-adult males and three sub-adult females, thought to be aged between 3 and 4 years.   An adult lioness has been seen with these sub-adults in the past, but not in recent weeks.   She is likely to be the mother of some, but not all, of the sub-adults.   It is quite likely that there is a second adult lioness in this pride, and that the two adult females have recently given birth to new litters of cubs, which would account for the fact that the 6 sub-adults are on their own for the time being.

The origin of this pride is not certain, and to speculate too much about this and about how many adult females (if any) there are, would be foolish.

May 2004

A pride of 7 lions comprising an adult lionesses, three sub adult females and three sub adult males, the same group as seen last month, except this time missing an adult lioness, were followed as they crossed eastwards from the Msuthu River to the southern parts of the Sand River. One wonders if the presence of this pride is going to be temporary or whether they’re exploring this area with an eye on incorporating it into their territory.

April 2004

A pride of 8 lions comprising two adult lionesses, three sub adult females and three sub adult males, spent three days on SE Toulon. The pride was quite wary of vehicles and even the two adult lionesses appeared quite young. They were seen killing an impala and, judging from their body condition, almost certainly made other kills too. One assumes that they were lions which spend most of their time in the nearby Kruger National Park and had wandered across on a brief ‘raid’.

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