The Charleston

Lion prides are probably one of the most interesting creatures to see over a period of time. Seeing them just once might prove boring as the myths are truth, they do sleep like the kings and queen on the jungle. Many an hour have been spent by all rangers in hopes of them raising their heads, start yawning and getting up after the afternoon slumber. It’s the hope of greatness when they move or roar that keeps making you come back. After all, you can only feel truly alive when you’re amongst lions – or so they say.

When you combine all the things you’ve seen them do, all the news you’ve been told, and all the stories you’ve heard, chances are that lions will surprise you, proving that their dynamics are anything but peaceful and tranquil. Game of thrones holds nothing against them.

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One of the “cubs” guarding a giraffe kill from advancing hyenas

The first we saw them it was by pure luck. Ian looked to the right and spotted them, Allan didn’t like lions, we only stayed with them until the rest of the rangers arrived.

“Thanks! We’ve been looking for them all morning”
“Who are they?”
“The Charleston pride“

It was just the beginning of the ill fate for this pride. The first and only time I would see a glimpse of a former glory. When I got see them again a few females and a few cubs had been caught in the crossfire with a larger pride, decimating this pride and reducing it to a one lioness pride, leading 3 young cubs. This particular lioness became some sort of a legend, and the favourite of many. Mother of one, aunt of two, she eventually lost her daughter but succeeded in raising the two male cubs on her own. Some were sceptical about her success, some wondered what would happen, but as the cubs grew healthier and stronger she earned the respect of many, became the favourite of the East.

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The mighty Charleston female

Being a lion is no easy task, being a lioness and having to raise cubs to adulthood might prove even more difficult but her perseverance and tenacity won. Her legacy lived on, as the two cubs became the rulers of an area that condemned them in their youth to live like outcasts, and seek the safety of the Sand river. Last time I saw her, true to herself she had two new male cubs and had accepted the presence of an unrelated young male. She still commanded the respect from the rangers that had met her.

A year later I’m grateful that her body wasn’t found. She went away like the empress she was. Quietly, gracefully, royally. Safe travels girl, your legacy lives on.

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