Time Runs out for the Sand River Male

Posted on July 4, 2009

We have all been waiting and hoping the young Sand River Male would eventually make it and join up with the Othawa Pride, alas this was not to be.

The Othawa Pride, accompanied by one of the large Mapogo Males brought down an adult Giraffe and were on the kill for over a week. At some stage during the feeding frenzy, the young Sand River Male joined them at the carcass as he has done quite a few times in the past.

As we have reported before, this is not the first time this has happened and he has been under the protection of the Mapogo Male, or at least that is how it has seemed before. This time he was looking extremely thin, and battled to even muster the energy to approach the carcass. He lay down close to the kill and seemed to go to sleep.

The next morning he was lying in exactly the same position and it became apparent that he had died sometime during the night. There were no physical injuries apparent, and we can only assume the energy expended in locating the carcass was too much for him.

A very sad end for a young male Lion who had the odds stacked against him for so long. The demographics of the Lion Prides have changed dramatically over the last few months, and we are convinced this has been a direct result of the demise of the Sand River Pride. The void left by this pride is being filled by Othawa Pride, moving more and more west north and south of the Sand River. The Ximungwe Pride have moved further north from their usual haunts in the south and seem to be taking up occupation in the central area, and a new Pride had moved into the south, the Sparta Pride which consists of 12 Lions, two adult females, 1 large male and 9 sub adults ranging in age from 12 months to 18 months. This Pride has moved in from the east and it is a magnificent to watch this Pride out on the hunt.

We salute the courage of this young male Lion.

Thanks to Marius for the use of the picture.

Sand River Male

0 thoughts on “Time Runs out for the Sand River Male

  1. I am sure that he is in that big animal Kingdom in the sky & has joined up with the rest of his Pride who have welcomed him home!

  2. Since the day the news was posted that one of the young lions from the Sandriver pride did escape the tragic event that happened to this pride, not a single day has passed without i was thinking and asking in myself and on website’s if there was anything known about this young lion.

    Its so sad to hear that he didnt make it.

    Thanks for the update and the picture posted.

  3. It is so sad to reach the end of this
    Saga,with the possible passing of the entire gene pool, but perhaps we can at least draw some solace from the fact that he died quietly, and know that with this release his lonely journey is finally over.

    They will forever roar in our hearts.

  4. To Duncan, Louise, Marius, Hannes, Gary and ALL the team at Leopard Hills, just a brief vote of deepest thanks.

    Those of us scattered around the world who receive your Weblogs are always immersed in such a compelling or spellbinding story from you, that we are immediately swept away with the joy, drama,or profound beauty of the moment that you are sharing with us.

    We possibly overlook the fact that being caretackers and guardians is far from easy, and sometimes I think it is possible that we forget how much more difficult and heart rending it must be for you to write about these passings, than it is for us to read them.

    One thing I do know, the animals of Sabi Sands will never understand what a fantasic set of Champions they have in you all.

    At this moment, we grieve for one, but without the presence of your team, and others like you, there would probably be none left to mourn for at all.

  5. I am sincerely touched by the comments and support,these are appreciated by the entire Team here on the Ground. We try as much as possible not to become attached to those we seek to protect……who am I kidding????? One can leave themselves open to being labeled "bunny huggers" and the like, so be it, excuse us for caring.

    I think Drew has put it wonderfully in the first comment, I like the thought of that, it somehow gives me a good feeling as opposed to the frustration I have felt over the last few months.

    My 10 year old daughter hit the nail on the head a while ago when one of the Trackers at a neighboring Lodge unexpectedly passed away, it hit us all very hard as we had know him so well and for so long. My daughter turned to me, took my hand and said: "Dad don’t be sad, Max is up in heaven tracking the Sand River Pride". Wow

    Thanks Tim for the kind words and encouragement, and more especially for your special frienship, it means a lot.

    Thanks to you all.

  6. Your daughter is very wise for her age….I think the bush brings people of all ages closer to their souls!!

    Keep up the good work & never give up!

  7. Tim – thank you for putting my thoughts into words – I could not do it better!
    The lion population of Africa has fallen from 200,000 twenty years ago to an appalling 23,000 today – Heart breaking ending for King of the Jungle :-(((
    Duncan – your daughter comment gives me a goose bumps – what a smart girl!

  8. Tim and Samantha hit the nail right on the head and could not have expressed myself more succinctly.
    We can only do with what we have right now and make the best of each God given moment. It’s still tough to accept.

    Hugs to all.

  9. This is very sad news. There some very engaging thoughts and feelings already expressed. I hope his journey to meet up with his pride is a comfortable one. Many thoughts and prayers to the Leopard Hills crew.

  10. it is so sad to hear – I love keeping up with the animals at the lodge, but it is so tough to hear of the tragedies. I wish I knew which prides I have in my pictures – I was very good about noting the leopard names, but not so much the lions. Oh well, I will keep thinking they are still roaming around in search of the next meal or water hole…

  11. Hi Duncan.

    It is Patrick from Kings Camp.

    I am sad to read you update concerning the young male lion. I have been following your updates frequently and I am saddened to hear that he died. What a pity.

    Patrick KINGS CAMP

  12. Thanks Patrick, we have all been through some testing times of late, you guys included. We move on and look to the future and try to make difference for the next generation.

    As the famous quote by Chief Seattle goes:

    "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

  13. Hi Duncan – have just returned from short break away and out of 57 emails this is the first I have chosen to read.

    I, like all the others here, am deeply saddened by this brave young soul’s passing, but absolutely feel sure he will be reunited with his pride in the next adventure of his soul. I find it astonishing he lasted as long as he did under such adversity and feel inspired by his endurance. Bless him.

    Thank you sincerely for sharing your highlights and lowlights. For those of us who have Africa deeply in our hearts and running in our veins, but sadly living far away from our beloved bush, it brings tremendous joy, and sometimes like now, incredible sadness, to read your stories of the Sabi Sands – a reserve I am absolutely passionate about. Tim’s words are beautifully written and I would like to add my endorsement. Thank you to all of you who work with these precious creatures – know that I am totally GREEN with envy and wish my life’s journey had taken me into the bush. It was not to be. Instead I shall cherish and thank God for the blessing of seeing the Sand Pride last year, I was very lucky to have watched them on a morning hunt. I also am very fortunate to be returning to the Sabi Sands again in September – I cannot wait… look forward to your next blog.
    Thank you sincerely and Blessings to the Sand Pride.

  14. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Sand River male. I will always remember him. His short life was full of suffer in the end. He should have earned a better life and he tried to the last end.This all is a good example how gruel nature…and human beings can be.

  15. Hello Duncan,

    I didnt know the quote from Chief Seattle. I have saved it, printed it out and it is in my hallway now next to more indian quote’s , dreamcatchers and picture’s of african and american and ocean wildlife.

    Thank you for making me aware on this quote. ( Its so true )

    PS like the others also said you have a special daughter

  16. Trick photography??? nope—just why Leopard Hills and staff are so special!! A very sad end for a young male Lion who had the odds stacked against him for so long.At this moment, we grieve for one, but without the presence of your team, and others like you, there would probably be none left to mourn for at all.

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