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Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Death In The Family: One Year Later

PIC_0956It has been a whole year since the notorious Mapogo coalition were defeated in their last stronghold: the Western Sabi Sands.

The nomadic Selati male lions were responsible for the end of the six year rule of the old masters of the reserve. The old battle hardened males were no match for the younger, fitter lions and when the opportunity arose the new arrivals were able to depose them by killing one of the most iconic lions of the information age.

The male they killed was known by many names including SaTan and Mohawk, but the name most commonly associated with him was Mr.T.

I wrote a tribute to him at the time which you can read here

Mapogo Mr.T. Roaring

In the year since the death of this magnificent old lion the remaining two members of the once formidibale coalition were reduced to living the life of nomads themselves.


Moving throughout the Sabi Sand reserve and even into the Kruger National Park the two brothers somehow managed to avoid major conflict with other males for the first few months. There were run-ins with another pair of males known as the Kruger males eventually, one of these confrontations ended with reports of the older male, known as Makulu, being killed in the fight.


After those reports the western sector received a visit from the other brother, known as Pretty Boy, who nearly ran afoul of the Selati males when he came to investigate the buffalo herd. A lone Selati male had taken down a buffalo calf and the two rivals had a long staring match before the old Mapogo ran off.

Not long after this Makulu staged a return from the dead and both old males were reunited, even causing headlines when the pair walked into the Kruger Park through the Paul Kruger entrance gate one morning!

In October 2012 the old boys again returned to the Western sector, following the buffalo herd.

Video highlights featuring the return of the Mapogo

At this time Pretty Boy looked painfully thin, without a meal soon he would not last much longer. Good news soon filtered through when the two were seen feeding on a buffalo across on Londolozi.

Mapogo Male Lion “Pretty Boy” Roaring

When the pair left the kill the news of them started to dry up. The once prolific information flow all but disappeared, had the boys moved into the Kruger to live out their final days?

Mapogo male lion “Makulu” Roaring

Finally a snippet of info filtered through from MalaMala in early January 2013 – a lone male had been seen in the northern part of their property that was identified as Makulu. It seems that the oldest member of the coalition was the one to have lasted the longest. He may still be alive now, hiding out in the Kruger, perhaps one day he will be seen again.

The legacy of the Mapogo lives on in the lionesses of the Othawa and Tsalala prides, these two prides are now dominated by the two coalitions (Majingalanes –Tsalala and Selati – Othawa) that defeated the Mapogo so strong genes will be passed on to the next generation!