Notorious, legendary, brutal… these are all words commonly used to describe the alliance of 6 male Mapogo lions of Sabi Sands, Africa.
The Mapogo Lions Union is a pack of six male lions that dominate the Sabi Sands area, and they have shown unprecedented levels of brutality and violence among lions. The union of six male lions first appeared in March 2006, when they claimed their own territory by force. Normally, when lions come to a new area, they will be very quiet, but the Mapogo alliance is completely different, they move, expand their territory and dominate with great power in a loud roar. , they will kill any male lions around to fight for territory.
The members of this lion alliance include: Makhulu, born in 1998 and also the oldest member of the Mapogo lion union, Makhulu is the only male not from the same bloodline as the other members to join the alliance. bright. The second member – Pretty Boy, it is so named because this is a lion that possesses a lot of strategy when fighting, so it is the member with the least scars in the Mapogo alliance.
The third member – Mr T (Satan), this is a lion known for his extreme brutality, it is named after the classic Mohawk hairstyle similar to the character Mr. T in The A-Team. Notably, this lion also received the nickname “satan” after killing his own brother’s cubs.
The fourth member – Skew Spine, is literally named because of the distinctive scar on his spine and left hip. Fifth member – Dreadlocks, this is a lion that has something on its mane that makes its fur sticky. The sixth and final member is named Kinky Tail because of its unusual tail.
These six male lions are descended from Spartan/Eyrefield Field Pride lions, bred by West street males. Makulu, the oldest member, and also the only lion from a different bloodline, while the rest of the members are brothers.
During their rule, the Mapogo confederacy wiped out countless other males. Together, they killed more than 100 male lions and
pose a threat to herds of such male lions, including females and cubs.
These sadists take over the entire territory of the surrounding males with unprecedented aggression, and males that dare to challenge and enter their territory will often receive a bitter end – being eaten. meat .
This alliance of six male lions changed the entire ecosystem in the Sabi Sands area, dominating and controlling an area once ruled by eight other individual lions.
The behavior of lions
Lions are the only feline animals that live in groups, each pack usually includes two to 40 lions, in large groups there will be about three or four males, about a dozen females and cubs. of them.
All lionesses in a pack are usually related by blood, they will often stay in their herd after adulthood. On the other hand, the males will be driven away when they are 2 – 3 years old to build their own new herd.
The males will generally take on the role of defending the territory of the herd. While lionesses are predators, they will work together to both capture prey and feed their cubs.
This is the usual way of forming a pack of lions, however, occasionally there will be gro ups of only male lions, which are called alliances.
What is lion union?
A lion union is usually a group of two or more male lions (sometimes up to seven) that join together. These male lion alliances are usually made up of half brothers or cousins, and they often grew up together in the same original pack. Even so, it’s not uncommon for unrelated male lions to join an alliance.
The main reason for lions to form alliances is to protect each other. When they are removed from the original pack, every day that passes for them is a struggle to survive because they face many difficulties while trying to hunt while trying to defend themselves against strong male lions. stronger.
This is why male lions removed from the original pack at the same time form strong bonds that are strengthened by their common struggle. By bonding with each other, they will have a higher chance of survival.
However, as they become stronger, their focus will shift from survival to gaining territory. More members in their alliance will mean giving them a better chance of winning fights with other males.
Benefits of a large male lion union include:
They are capable of driving out single male lions, or even smaller alliances, that take over territory at a much younger age than if they were alone.
Lions become more successful in hunting, an important aspect of survival after being driven out of the original herd.
A larger union would likely dominate a larger territory and give them access to more female lions to mate with.
Larger alliances will often hold territory and mating rights longer than regular packs because their “empire” is harder to topple. This also results in a longer life span for males in a large union.
Why is Mapogo lion alliance so unique?
The Mapogo Lion Alliance is perhaps the most famous lion alliance in recent history. They became famous for their ruthless tactics and they also possessed the speed of conquering new territories extremely quickly. Mapogo lion alliances differ from normal alliances in that they will kill all lions they come across.
The lions in the Mapogo alliance are also said to have taken down wild buffalo, adult giraffes, even rhinos and hippos. They not only kill the lions that cross their path, but also eat the ill-fated lions.
The Mapogo lion alliance’s ability to control and defend such a vast swath of land is unprecedented in the lion population – they have captured and ruled eight other lions.
How did the Mapogo Lions Union break up?
As with all lion alliances, they don’t last forever. Mapogo suffered the same fate. In 2010, the Majingilanes, an alliance of five adult male lions, entered Mapogo’s territory to challenge them. As a result, Kinky Tail was killed. Majingilanes took over their territories.
Over the next three years, two other lions in the Mapogo pack disappeared without a trace.
In 2012, the Southern lions challenged the remaining members of the Mapogos alliance, forcing them to retreat, and Mr T was chased and killed.
Makhulu and Pretty Boy were the last two lions in the Mapogo alliance to survive the event. They were last seen together in Kruger National Park and buffalo hunting in October 2012. Makhulu was last seen in 2013, alone in Mala Mala.
Mapogo has had a huge impact on the Sabi Sand ecosystem because of the demise of lion populations. Examples include groups such as:
Castleton Pride: originally from 22 members down to 6; Tsalala Pride: originally 10 down to 5; Ximunvanyane Pride: original 10 down to 0; Elephant Plains suffered a 40% reduction in membership. This means that the Mapogo alliance has killed about 40 – 50 lions in the neighboring areas.
According to Willem Botha, Head of Anti-Poaching in Sabi Sands during Mapogo’s rule: “From the first time I saw them until I left Sabi Sands, Mapogo killed between 90 and 110 other lions. In the park”.