Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Monitoring the Rescued Lion, Kenya

14 November 2017

Categories: Homepage News, Big Cats Campaign News, Kenya News

Simiyu Newton, Research Officer, Born Free Kenya - simiyu[at]bornfree.or.ke

Simon - the former dominant Mulika pride male - has a lineage to be proud of. He has sired eight lions that form the formidable nine individuals of the Mulika pride. They are two adult females and six sub-adults. He single-handedly protected this pride for more than three years until last month.

His defeat by two younger and energetic males of the Nairobi Girls pride left him physically wounded and without a pride. These two males came from two lionesses relocated from Nairobi National Park to Meru Park in 2011 hence the name Nairobi Girls. One of these males seemed to have come to the help of his sibling or buddy to oust Simon from Mulika pride.

Treating the deep tears and bites inflicted on Simon was timely to relieve him from pains that would probably have festered and became fatal. He was still groggy the evening after his rescue, wobbling away into the bushes and darkness. Close monitoring was key to check his healing progress, body health and interaction with his former pride and other lions around him.

Three days after the rescue, he is nowhere to be seen. We searched for him relentlessly, driving along all routes and off-roading in the vicinity of where he was treated. Much to our relief, we sighted him six days later along the Mulika River close to one of the numerous campsites in the Park. This was also the periphery to the territory that Mulika pride reigned.

He was alone, sleeping under an acacia tree (pictured above, right). This time he looked strong and full. Had he made a kill or scavenged on carcasses? We couldn’t tell. But the wounds had since dried up and he was in good health. The G-Coy Pride - made up of one female we collared in September, two sub-adults and two cubs - also venture in this same locality. We suspect Simon is seeking solace from this pride particularly for kills.

The day after, we bump into the Nairobi Girls pride (below, right) – one of the males who battled with Simon leading six females within Simon’s home range. A clear indication that Simon had finally lost his pride through takeover.

We shall report back on new developments on Mulika, G-coy and Nairobi Girls prides and how Simon will have adapted to life away from his family.

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