Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Young Simbas establish huge kingdom

Young Simbas establish huge kingdom
The Economic Times

Like in the movie Lion King, young Simba has come off age. Three-and-a-half-year-old Sandipan and his unnamed brother have established the largest kingdom in the Sasan Gir, spread over 100 sq km and including 32 big cats.

These are the two youngest rulers who have captured the biggest pride in the sanctuary. And, both have been accepted as rulers, even by other adult males.

Experts who have been monitoring Gir for years say this is unusual. H S Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forest and an expert on lions, calls this a rare phenomenon. "Usually a lions captures his own territory only after he is five years. Capturing a territory at such a young age is only possible if the opponent is weak and the new king is brave enough to take risks," Singh said.

Of the six groups present in the territory - spread over Dedakadi, Karambha, Paniya and Dedia villages - Sandipan and his brother have already mated with five females. Deputy conservator of forest Sandeep Kumar, who is monitoring the take-over in the tourism zone, said, "In my entire career, I have never come across an incident where lions this young have captured the territory and are being easily accepted by older big cats."

In May last week, the two brothers had established their supremacy over the biggest pride of the Gir forest and instead of pushing the old lion out, the duo stayed close to him until he died.

The last bastion, Paniya, which has presence of two adult lions, was conquered without any bloodshed. "We were expecting a fierce battle between these adults and the brothers. But, the take-over was very smooth with the two adults accepting the Sandipan's supremacy," said Kumar.

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