Two Legends Pass On

For several years we have posted updates on two of our main study animals, Winston and Wilbur, both of whom have very interesting and unique life stories. It is with sadness that we now update you on their deaths. Winston, who used to dominate the Mazunga area along with his partner Geronimo, could no longer defend his territory alone and was pushed out by a stronger male coalition and left to fend for himself. He subsequently moved north, encountering other territorial males where he was beaten up further. A tough ending for a once powerful and confident lion who once ruled over a pride of 30 lions! Wilbur, as many will know, originated in Tuli (where he was known as “Mastwane”) and ended up in BVC after a long and likely arduous journey through villages and farms, over major tar roads and finally through the conservancy’s double fence. He settled in the northern section of the conservancy where he had since successfully defended his territory and no doubt sired several offspring. As some may recall, Wilbur was blind in one eye which adds to our amazement at how he navigated and survived the incredibly dangerous journey between Tuli and BVC. Sadly, it was his blind eye that eventually contributed to his downfall – two months ago we noticed a large tumor developing in this eye which was clearly causing him major discomfort. His condition worsened, considerably limiting his ability to defend himself and his territory from three challenging males. This highlights the often torturous lives lived by older lions evicted from their territories.