Territiorial fights among lions are not uncommon, because lions are highly territorial and may occupy the same area for years. Male lions often fight each other for territory and mating rights, often leading to a blood bath.
Last week the Mbiri males were found nursing their wounds after a battle with unknown male lions in Tunda Tala in Greater Kruger. The smaller mained Mbiri male was found with a big open wound above his eye, a few days later the wound seemed to have cleared up but his face was very swollen that it looked like he couldn’t open his eye.
There are two sets of Mbiri male lions in the Kruger, they are both fathered by the Matimba male lions. One set was born in 2011 and the second set was born in 2013. The two older Mbiri male got separated in 2015 and they couldn’t find each other so they both found new partners, the one Mbiri male which we are familiar with joined the nomadic Rockfig male and they now dominate the Nsemani Dam area around Orpen.
The younger Mbiri males were a coalition of three male lions, they come from the Mbiri pride, which is a breakaway of the Skybed pride, and were fathered by the Matimba males in the Manyeleti. They used to spend most of their younger years near the Orpen camp until one of the males disappeared, the remaining two now rule the western side of Sabi Sands after being pushed out from the Orpen area.
They are the pride males for the Zebenine pride and the Mayambula pride, one lioness from the Mayambula pride gave birth to cubs this week.
It won’t be the last fight that these two males will be involved in, younger or older males will try challenge them for their territory, hopefully they are as strong as their fathers. There are two remaining Matimba male lions and they are they currently 12/13 years old.