Are the Numbu Boys No Longer in Charge?
These past few weeks have been an exciting time for the lion dynamics in our area. We left last season with the 3 Numbu Boys entirely in control over the Mwamba-Kaingo Pride, as well as the Hollywood pride. They had also sired five cubs with the Mwamba-Kaingos by the time we left in November.
Since returning in May, we are still yet to see all 3 Numbu Boys. Two of the Numbu Boys that are around are not always together. One male has stuck with the Hollywood Pride, and the other male has become more nomadic, occasionally joining the Hollywood Pride. One male has not been seen at all. We also found that only one cub of the Mwamba-Kaingo Pride had made it through the rains. The pride has also now been left by the remaining two Numbu Boys, leaving them vulnerable.
At the end of June, we had our first sighting of the 4 new Luwi Males in our area. We briefly saw these 4 males last year when they were still part of the Luwi pride, further south. Now old enough, they are trying to make their mark and find an area to call their own. They made their first appearance by walking through Kaingo in the early hours of the morning and settled nearby on Guinea Fowl Plains. That night they chased the Mwamba-Kaingo Pride off a buffalo kill, and since then we have not seen the last remaining cub of the Mwamba-Kaingos.
From this encounter, we already knew that these 4 young males were going to be a force to be reckoned with. We estimate they are only around three and a half to four years of age as they are still developing manes and have just left the Luwi Pride. Despite their age, they appear to have the courage and fearlessness of much older males. They are not afraid to chase off a much larger pride of females and have shown dominance already by stealing kills and most likely killing the 10-month-old cub.
We have had numerous sightings of them since. They have chased off lions and kept packs of hyena off of kills. They have made their presence known by roaring and almost searching for the remaining Numbu Boys. At one sighting the larger of the 4 males chased the one nomadic Numbu Boy away from a buffalo kill without fear! It’s incredible to think that they are not yet fully matured but definitely have the bravery of males in charge.
It is going to be interesting to see what unfolds over the rest of the season as these males are honing in on the Numbu Boys territory. With one Numbu Boy missing and the other two not staying together, could this possibly be the end of the Numbu Boys reign?