Split Rock Males

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Photograph by ranger Sheldon Williams

October 2007

Amazingly the Split Rock Male was seen twice early in the report period - he was seen to mate with the Charleston lioness.

Near the beginning of the month one of the Charleston females was seen to mate with one of the Kruger males. Interestingly, the old male that had attached himself to the pride seems to have joined up with another male. Upon closer inspection of photos of the badly conditioned male that was mating with the female, rangers made a startling discovery. The male mating was the Split Rock male; he was in a badly malnourished state and was only skin and bones but had the stamina to mate for two days. This goes to show the tenacity of old male lions and their will to carry on.

September 2007

Kruger male & Split Rock male lion - These two old male lions appear to have come together and to have formed some sort of coalition. The males were seen in association with the Charleston pride, and were seen to mate with at least one of the lionesses. The Split Rock male is, however, extremely emaciated and it appears as if this old legend has his days numbered.

June 2007

The Split Rock Male lives on!!! This tough old lion was seen 6 times in this month. He is still covering vast distances, but this is understandable in an old male lion that has been ousted from his territory. Each time he was seen he was in remarkably good condition. He has not been seen in the northern parts of the reserve for a long time and no wonder with the Rollercoaster males running around. He appears to have been shunned by the Styx pride and is now most likely relying on scavenging hyena, leopard and other kills to get his food. Each time he is seen, he appears to have new scars and battle wounds, but always appears well fed.

May 2007

The Split Rock male was viewed on 2 occasions during the beginning of the report period, once on his own and once with the Styx pride. The constant presence of the Rollercoaster males has resulted in him being driven off the property and he has not been seen for some weeks now. This male lion has, however, been looking healthy on both occasions and it probably wont be long before this legend of a male lion turns up again to seek the company of the Styx Pride.

April 2007

The Split Rock Male was only seen with the Styx pride this month.

A couple days into the report period the Styx pride and the Split Rock Male were found lying down close to Mlowathi dam. Later in the evening the pride got active and began hunting with intent. It was not long before one of the lionesses successfully brought down a male impala, not far from were they were found lying down. The Split Rock Male dominated the feeding with the seven hungry lionesses getting only a small share.

Styx pride & Split rock male - Photograph taken by ranger Andrew Batchelor

March 2007

The Split Rock male was seen with the Styx Pride apart from the 25 th of February. During the morning walk, rangers found the Split Rock male lying down on the fire-break that runs to the west of Campbell Koppies. Following up in the afternoon, rangers were able to locate the male, lying down, not too far from where he had been left. Towards nightfall, the male moved north along the eastern bank of the Mlowathi River, and drank from a small pool that had formed in the river, as a result of the rain. The male was left asleep close to the river itself.

February 2007

The Split Rock male lion was again seen to trail the Styx pride, which is similar to his movements from the previous month. The male was seen on six occasions on his own, with the longest time away from the pride to be about a week.

Photograph by ranger Andrew Bachelor

Interestingly the male appeared to search for the pride in all their old regularly frequented areas, including Campbell Koppies. Importantly Campbell Koppies was the area, which the pride had made their den site for the cubs of the passed season. The male was in good health throughout the report period, and appeared well fed even in the period of absence from the pride, indicating that he had either killed for himself or had success in stealing kills from other predators. Although the male continues to stay in close contact with the pride, a second lioness of the Styx pride was reported to seek the Rollercoaster males as her preffered choice of suitor. This indicates that the pride will possibly be seen apart from the male more frequently in the future.

Photograph by ranger Anthony Harding

January 2007

The Split Rock Male lion was seen to be accompanying the Styx pride on almost all occasions and was viewed once on his own. He was only heard to roar once whilst ranges were in attendance, a clear indication of his lack of confidence.

MalaMala Game Reserve, PO Box 55514, Northlands, 2116, South Africa.
Telephone: + 27 11 442 2267 or 0861 SAFARI.
Facsimile: + 27 11 442 2318
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