‘Legend’ is a word that is too easily used these days, but this term can certainly be used to accurately summarize the Mapogo lions of Sabi Sands.
Their story is about one of 6 great lions that ruled their territory with an iron paw, striking fear into the hearts of all who passed by them.
They are believed to cause the de.at.hs of more than 100 lions; they survived longer than most male lions in the area and have wiped out all pride in their relentless battle for dominance.
The Mapogo Lions coalition is an infamous band of brothers who went on a brutal quest to dominate and rule the Sabi Sands.
Their coalition became notorious for its sheer strength and power, and it was believed that they controlled an area of about 70,000 hectares.
The area they controlled was once ruled by eight other prides.
The brothers have been branded as sadistic, remorseless, and hold a fearsome reputation in the lion world.
Much of this label is related to their rather harsh methods of dealing with offenders; in some areas, they are actually called ‘Cannibals’ due to stories of them eating their challenger in the act of defiance.
The lion coalition was named after a South African security company that was known for its often brutal forms of crime handling.
Their success as a coalition has changed the dynamics of lions in the region forever.
The Mapogo coalition is not the first and will not be the last large coalition, although it is rare for six or more male lions.
The Bila Shaka male Coalition is also a well-known one; check out these majestic lions in Kruger National Park below.
Male lions in South Africa often live in coalitions. They are often formed with relatives, brothers (usually half-brothers), and cousins.
They usually form when the males are still cubs and live with their pride, hence why they are often related, but this is not always the case; there are records of males that were not associated with each other and formed coalitions later in their lives.
Young males early show signs of association behavior, which is essential for forming a union; they will spend more and more time in each other’s company as they grow up and less time with their sisters.
They display their developing independent behavior as they begin to lag behind the pride when on the move and eventually leave pride between the ages of two and four.
Independence can be highly stressful for young male lions as they have to learn to hunt when they are most vulnerable.
So why do these coalitions form? Male lions are the dominant force in the wild and are frequently challenged by others.
These coalitions are a means to gain territory, and the lionesses will raise their young and do most of the hunts for the pride; needless to say, the strength is in the numbers.
Successful coalitions find females and approach them by chasing away resident males, many of which are ki.ll.ed this way.
Once a coalition has reached the females, they usually settle for a while, spending time mating and tending to the cubs.