A new unidentified male lion has appeared suddenly, bringing with him a potential change to the make-up of the lion population in our Samburu study area.
For the past three years, Lguret has been the dominant male in our Samburu study area. Since 2008, he and his brother Loirish held territory, mating with the females and siring dozens of cubs. When Loirish was killed in late 2013, it left only Lguret to defend the territory. And Lguret is already near the end of his prime – he is 11 years old; the average male begins to weaken around age 10.
Usually, younger and stronger males will enter an area and challenge the dominant male, but that hasn’t happened yet. This new mystery male brings a host of possibilities. Being younger and more fit than the aging and battle-scarred Lguret might mean he can easily take his spot at the top. If that happens, the new lion will bring in new genes to the population and possibly impact the pride dynamics.
So who is this new male? Is he one of the young males, like Lentim, who disappeared years ago? Is he entirely new to the area? If so, where did he come from? And if he challenges Lguret, what will happen to him?
Thanks to Michael Parker and Elephant Watch Camp for the photos.