The lion scene at Camp Hwange has been rather interesting of late. The wet season brings about changes in all the dynamics and territories of our lions.
Since the Masuma boys, Liam and Mandla, disposed of our legend and dominant male, Vusi, they have pretty much consistently held the area. This includes our Camp Hwange concession. Last year, however, a new young lion appeared on the scene! He definitely meant business as he marked the territory and vocalised throughout the region. Being very skittish at first, he would often run as soon as he saw a vehicle. With some great guiding by the team here, at Camp Hwange, he has calmed right down and has become quite a photogenic individual.
Anyone who has been following my writing, or has been to Camp Hwange, will know of the “supermodels”. These are two lionesses in our area that have been resident for over five years. Jokingly I nicknamed them the supermodels a few years ago due to their amazing physical condition, regardless of season. The nickname stuck! My reason for bringing these girls into the story is that the new “King” has been spending a lot of his time with these ladies. This time spent together has resulted in the supermodels having two cubs each and thus the naming of our new “King” – Toyboy. With the supermodels being eight years old and the new male being around five it just made sense!
For the last couple of months Toyboy has been extremely active in the absence of Liam and Mandla, along with the bulk of the pride. This is not too unusual as they constantly change location during the wet season. Saying this, a few of the younger lionesses of the Masuma pride have returned. Toyboy has been marching between the Camp Hwange area and Masuma, taking full advantage of their presence. It is interesting to me that even with all his calling and marking the Masuma Boys have not returned to claim what has rightfully been theirs.
Accompanying this story is two photos of Toyboy I took a couple of months back. In the first photo you will see him standing in a very dominant posture. He had just “disciplined” one of the previous supermodel cubs, a young male, and was strutting around the youngster showing him who was boss.
In closing, the naming of wild animals is a debatable point of discussion, with opinions flowing either way. My beliefs on it are such that the connection between people, our raw African wildernesses and the animals that inhabit it, can only be positive…
About The Author
Julian Brookstein is a Professional Safari Guide and manager of a premium bush camp within the magnificent Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Julian's infinite knowledge of the African bush, it's wildlife and everything around it ranks him as one of the best you get in the industry.
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