Saturday, 27 October 2007

The story behind the Mapogo males.

With dark grey clouds hovering above the Sabi Sands in Djuma, I bring to you the history of six of the most notorious male lions in our area ... the Mapogo Males. Nobody in the area really knows how many there actually are, but I've asked around and have tried to put together the pieces of a vague puzzle. During my quest I've uncovered some rather interesting and exciting facts about our dark pride of six.
The Mapogo Males originated from a game reserve called Ulusaba, to the South of Djuma, bordering the reserves of Inyati and Singita. Little is known of their mother, but they are six brothers, all about 7 years old. A Couple of days ago 4 male lions were spotted on AfriCam's Nkohro Cam. A reliable source confirmed my suspicion that it was them. But what about the other two? This is where it gets interesting. One of the two missing pride members is thought to be somewhere in the west close to Elephant Plains and Simbambili, but I am not exactly certain. However, the whereabouts' of the sixth member I am sure of. Aparantly, two weeks ago the Mapogo Males were drinking from the Sand river in Londolozi Game Reserve when a crocodile attacked and killed one of them at the waters edge. This is a rather rare occurrence, but it does happen and it did happen to one of or Mapogo's. So we are down to 5 males, maybe 4.

The Mapogo's are frequently seen in neighboring farms Londolozi, Mala Mala and of course here in Djuma. On 26 October 2007 the 4 remaining males tried to kill a buffalo on Quarantine ( just a stones throw from here). Unfortunately they were unsuccessful and headed east into Torchwood, which is outside of our traversing area.
Another interesting fact about these magnificent male lions is that they are rather choosy hunters. They are well known for hunting young white (or square lipped) rhino calves, there have been a few recorded sightings where this occurred. How they actually do this I cant say, but what an amazing, sad and horrifying thing to see. Only a couple of weeks ago, they killed a rhino and a giraffe in one day!!!
These Mapogo's are definitely the bunch to look out for, since their first appearance in the Djuma area almost a year ago, they have brought us amazing sightings and have been the source of many conversations and questions, which WE appreciate. I hope I have shed some light on the history and wonderful lives of these mysterious Mapogo's.

WE want to keep you up to date on the murder mystery of the impala carcass, so we have been talking to some of the rangers around Djuma. They have said that it must have been killed by a leopard called Jordaan. WE don't know much about this leopard yet, all that WE know from our not so frequent sightings of him is that he is very skittish and that he likes to remain unseen, and stays hidden in the neighbouring reserve Buffelshoek. Only seldom popping over to our side to hunt or to find a mate or mark his territory.
The reason why the rangers blame it on him is because of scratch and claw marks on the impala's rump area and also puncture marks on its neck. Also, this is not the first time that Jordaan has done this. Charles, a ranger at Djuma, said he has done this several times before. He makes a kill and as soon as he hears a vehicle he dashes off to hide away close by and maybe come back later when its dark.
The rangers who investigated the scene of the crime, couldn't find any tracks because the rain washed everything away. When Pieter and Rob returned they found two black backed jackals scavenging the carcass. Pieter thought that they may have a den close by, and possibly some pups!!! He was right; they do have a den which is close to the Kruger gate and is unfortunately outside of our traversing area. Apparently they have two tiny pups only a couple of weeks old. WE are looking forward to seeing a family of four Blacked Backed Jackals moving around the area.
Written by Jan Harm Robbertse.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Jan, for your input on the mystery impala! I'm a big fan of yours and love to hear your take on the goings-on at Gowrie Dam! That's always a treat!


Anonymous said...

Jan, thank you for the background information on the Mapogos. I do not know how much contact you have with the Mala Mala staff but I know they could give you a little bit of background on the origins of the Mapogo as well, which they refer to as the Eyrefield Males. There is some information on their site about the origins of this coalition and their life as cubs. I am interested in this crocodile interaction as well, if one of the Mapogos was indeed taken it would be the second male lion killed by a crocodile on the Sabi Sands in the past few months as one of the Rollercoaster males (Mala Mala name, they are the Shaws Males on Londolozi) was also killed by a crocodile recently. This apex predator interaction is fascinating, when I visited Kruger in the 90s a ranger relayed a story of a male lion ambushing and killing a large croc near a large water hole. It sounds as if each are well matched and fearless predators to say the least.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the aMapogo (meaning 'the devils') were born on the property 'Flockfield' which is part of Mala Mala, they are the sons of the Eyrefield lionesses of which 3 still form the Eyrefield pride along with their offspring, nine 2 year old sub-adults, fathered by the Rollercoaster males (named after a road on Charleston). The fathers of the aMapogo were the Split Rock Males which were territorial over the central and northern parts of Mala Mala between 2002 and 2006/7.

The Split Rock males (named after a road on Eyrefield which is Mala Mala's north-eastern property) also fathered some of the youngest adult lionesses of the Styx pride (named after a river crossing on Flockfield, Mala Mala).

Bob Frump said...

Interesting stuff. Wrote a book called Man-eaters of Eden about Kruger's problems...
Bob Frump

Andy Tait said...

dont know where u got ur info from but for staters the Male rumoured to have bin took by a croc went missing between 2010 & 2012. Kinky Tail & Mr T ruled in the east til June 2010 when KT was killed by the 4 Majingilane &Mr T rejoined his 4Brothers in the West. 2 of the 5 wer killed during the nxt 2years &in March 2012 Mr T was killed by the 4 Selati males. thats all im guna say!!