We decided to feature our resident male lion at Shinde as our appropriate blog character today as we raise awareness for these majestic animals on World Lion Day 2016.
While we were out on an afternoon drive with my guests we came across one of our resident male leopard sitting on a termite mound under a Jackalberry tree. My guests were awe-struck by this sighting as we sat in silence and watched this specimen resting in the tree. After about ten minutes and once everyone had taken a sufficient number of pictures we moved around to the other side of the tree to try and get a different angle of the leopard.
As I started the vehicle the leopard got up and moved to the bottom of the termite mound, his movement caught the attention of something in the grass, about twenty metres from us. To my surprise a male lion got up, from what was a very camouflaged position in the flood plain. The first thought that crossed my mind was how exciting it was to have two such powerful predators in such close proximity.
This male lion has been in the Shinde area for some time, it was part of a coalition of four powerful dark-maned male lions that we see regularly on the property. Until quite recently, this male was in a territorial fight and subsequently kicked out of the coalition. During the fight he injured his leg and tends to walk with a limp hence the reason why we have called him the Setswana name “Raleoto” which, in English, translates into Mr leg.
We drove closer to where Raleoto was standing only to realise he was feeding on a Red Lechwe. Looking to my left, I could see drag marks from the bottom of the tree, where the leopard was lying and it struck me that this lion had stolen the antelope from the leopard. Being slightly injured he had to rely on another means of feeding himself, also Raleoto is also not hunting with a pride making it slightly harder to take down prey. This truly was a spectacular sighting and I believe that this is not going to be the last time that Raleoto uses this tactic to his advantage.
Blog story and image by Relax (professional guide)