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The Crown Prince of the Eyrefield pride

In the Mala Mala Game Reserve, we saw 3 big prides of lions; The Styx pride, the Eyrefield pride and the Salati pride.

 

All prides consist of 5 to 6 adult females with cubs, most of them fathered by the dominant Roller Coaster male (pictures to follow). Unfortunately for this highly productive male, he is already 14 years old and his reign is about to come to an end. The Eyrefield males, locally better known as the Mapochos (which, as I'm told, means 'the devils'), a fearless and extremely aggressive brotherhood of 5 males that roam between Mala Mala and Kruger, are taking over more and more. Soon the Roller Coaster Male will be either chased away or killed by the brotherhood. It is believed that some of the cubs of the prides we saw, are fathered by one or two of the Mapochos. Which is an absolute blessing for this year's cubs; each male will regard the cubs as his and will therefore (hopefully) not kill them.

 

This is a picture of a cub of the Eyrefield Pride. I rather heavily cropped it, so it's not much for quality, but still.. it speaks to me.

 

ps. This is exactly the composition as it came out of the camera. It is not, as some seem to think, a combination of 2 pictures put together later. The blurryness of the lioness in the background is firstly caused by the telephoto lens effect, which also emphasizes the size of the adult lioness who was lying a meter behind the cub, and secondly a little emphasized by me, not much though, the effect was already there.

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Taken on December 21, 2008