7 years ago 2 Kings joined the Jock pride of lions, they ruled with an iron paw and defended the territory from all attackers with brute force until 2 years ago when one of the Kings died leaving his brother to defend the females and the territory, which he did with the same aggressive and defiant attitude.
He fathered 7 cubs, 2 females which are still in the pride and 5 males. About 3 months ago he and his sons were ousted by 3 males from the Malembane pride of males and had to move off to pastures new.
Unfortunately the life of a male lion is a difficult one and over the past few months he grew old and weak until on the 29th of February 2012 on a warm morning, a herd of about 200 buffalo found him and his sons. They chased the sons off and he lay weak under a leadwood tree with buffalo all around, hoping not to be noticed. Unfortunately they picked up his scent and moved in.
Lions and buffalo are mortal enemies. He had taken buffalo down many times and on this day it was the buffalo’s time for revenge. They moved in and in a brutal attack took their revenge on the weak King. He fought off each attack like he had in the past but it was too much for him. The buffalo attacked for about 20 minutes until they were satisfied that he had finally been dethroned and was no longer a threat.
This left all the rangers that knew the King and had witnessed the attack with mixed emotions. He will be missed but he has given us 5 sons to follow. The pictures, taken by Ranger Lyle Gregg below, show the start of the attack.
All words and images by Lyle Gregg. http://www.big5.photoshelter.com/