Silo Gisamuda

Silo Gisamuda

Silo proved himself for the Ilchokuti position by not only being the best wildlife tracker, but also by sharing all the information he found with his competitors. From remote Olpiro, overlooking the Eyasi basin, Silo reports large numbers of wildlife on a daily basis.


Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful – with the muddy dreads – from the Crater’s Munge pride

This is MG106 or Hjalmar the Dreadful, aptly named due to his large mane full of muddy dreads, born to the Munge pride in the crater, in 2010. In 2015, Hjalmar teamed up with an unrelated male, Kijana and they became the resident males in the two lion prides in the south-east of the Ngorongoro Crater.

In 2017 Hjalmar was ousted from the crater and then in July 2018 we received a report of a big male lion on the NCA plains near the border of Serengeti National Park at risk to livestock, and a target for an impromptu lion hunt. The KopeLion Ilchokuti and team managed to guide him out of harm’s way. To our surprise, through photo recognition, it was Hjalmar – easily identified by his distinctive whisker spots – who had made this risky trek 60 kilometres away from his home-place in the Crater. We did not see or hear of him again in the next 18 months.

In December 2019 we had reports of an unknown big male hanging out with females in the small marsh area of Ndutu. It is Hjalmar! Now 9 years old, without his dreads, and having survived a trek from the crater floor to the Serengeti and back into the NCA.

Hjalmar signifies the success of KopeLion’s work in ‘stopping the loss’ of iconic male lions, working with human-lion co-existence to secure a safe corridor between the Ngorongoro Crater and the larger Serengeti ecosystem.

Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful was born in the Munge pride in the crater in 2010, here in January 2011

Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful December 2011

Hjalmar the dreadful

Food is no issue in the crater

Romulus and Hjalmar the Dreadful May 2018

Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful July 2018

Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful July 2018

Hjalmar the dreadful

Hjalmar the Dreadful at Ndutu in January 2020 

 


Noongoile

Noongoile

Noongoile – mating with lions from outside the crater?

Noongoile, a young female from the crater had a collar put on in January 2020. Born in 2010 in the Crater’s Lakes pride, Noongoile was found by Roimen after having disappeared for some months, with five pride members up on the Crater rim. Noongoile had lactation stains, a sign of cubs, and from our observations we can assume that they are sired by NguvuKazi, whom she had previously been hanging out with. By collaring Noongoile we hope to learn more about the Lake pride’s movements in and out of the Crater, and further have the GPS-collar positions assist us to warn herders if Noongoile gets into livestock areas. Up until now she has stayed in the Crater, with one other female and they are raising their cubs together.

Noongoile

ID card of LK107 aka Noongoile

Noongoile

Noongoile, here 10 months, born 2010 in the Crater’s Lakes pride

Noongoile

Noongoile lactating, here on the Crater rim, August 2019

Noongoile

Roimen collaring Noongoile on the Crater floor, January 2020

Noongoile

Noongoile and Lucias three cubs, June 2020

Noongoile

Noongoile and Lucias cubs, June 2020

 


Nadine

Nadine

Nadine – daughter of Nayomi from the Twin Hills of Ndutu

Nadine, female born early 2012 in Ndutu’s Twin Hill pride to Nayomi. She and Nayomi made up the initially very small pride we named Twin Hill – assuming that these lions had their territory around the “Twin Hills”. Nadine had her first cubs when she was just over 3 years old, in 2015. Nayomi (who was then collared) also had cubs – and together they successfully raised 5 cubs. In 2016 Nayomi had another litter, and raised those cubs while she also kept in charge of her 1.5-year olds. By mid-2017 the four juvenile males of the neighbouring Masek pride started hanging out with the expanding Twin Hill pride (a behaviour observed sometimes in the lion world, and that we call “lodging”), in addition Nadine had a litter or 3 cubs. Thus in 2017, two years after only being 2 lions, the Twin Hill had rapidly increased in number and occasionally consisted of up to 17 lions (including the 3 young cubs, unrelated juvenile males, and Katavi, their resident male). 2017 was a very dry year, with limited shrubs and ground vegetation – leaving limited cover for the expanding pride. This pride’s territory overlaps the area that in dry season fills with people and livestock, due to the rare permanent water-source, the Masek wells, in area. This left us with quite an extreme season with a large group of unconcealed lions in the midst of livestock-herds, dust and herders – and our closely guarding Ilchokuti. Nayomi was a real matriarch, guiding her group through the ever-present conflicts, impressing us by selecting to feed on giraffe and other wild prey over the super-abundant scraggly cows. We found Nayomi dead in Dec 2017, but were never able to confirm cause of death – likely it was an accident while hunting a wild prey, but we cannot rule out the killing by people. The loss of Nayomi was of great sadness to us all! Luckily Nadine continues on alright with her daughter Ndere and her half-sisters from 2015 and 2016 – these five young females now make up the Twin Hill. They had cubs late 2018 with the busy Lol-gang – a 4 male coalition that dominated the Ndutu area. Those cubs succumbed to infanticide by new incoming 2-male coalition Nemeju and Liang’ata, with whom they had another cohort of cubs in mid-2019. Up to 3 of the cubs have been seen, and our Ilchokuti keep observing tracks of the cubs. We are, however, counting the days for these cubs; the arrival of the Munge-Nomad coalition is causing commotion and it is probably only a matter of time until the 2019-TwinHill cubs fall victims to another infanticide.

In June 2020, the Twin Hill group was seen with 8 cubs born to 3 females. We’ll see if this time lion politics settle down to afford some stability and let the cubs survive.

Nadine

Nadine from the Twin Hills Pride of Ndutu

Nadine

Nadine with cubs August 2017

Nadine

Nadine and Katavi at Ndutu January 2018

Nadine
Nadine collared by Roimen in July 2018

Nadine

Nadine in August 2018

Nadine

Loton and Nadine August 2018

Nadine

Nadine December 2019

 


Nosikitok

Nosikitok

Nosikitok from Ndutu’s Masek pride and mother of NguvuKazi

MAS-8, aka Nosikitok, a female born April 2012 in Ndutu’s Masek pride to Marta. Being a female, she stays on in her natal pride. She successfully raised her first litter (including NguvuKazi), born shortly before her 3rd birthday – a relatively young age for a lioness. Then she and her aunt Maggie raised their two litters of 7 cubs successfully, despite high number of people and livestock in area, and numerous conflict incidents following the lions attack on livestock. In late 2017 the neighbouring and increasing pride Twin Hill made attempts to infringe on Masek’s territory, and many fights took place. Aunt Maggie disappeared during this time, leaving Nosikitok as the only adult female, together with her daughter and two nieces. In 2018 the pride had 7 cubs in three litters, but all succumbed to the harsh dry season. They had cubs again in 2019, with the same male coalition – but again struck bad luck as all cubs disappeared (infanticide?) as the Munge-coalition appeared on the scene.

For a time in 2019 the Munge males took over the pride and sired cubs with Nosikitok and her fellow females. However, with yet more males attracted into the Ndutu area there was increased competition and the cubs were lost. Vying for the females of the Ndutu area still continues, and things have not yet settled for the time being.

Nosikitok with cubs July 2018

 

Nosikitok

Nosikitok September 2019

 

 

 

 


Lemunge

Lemunge

Lemunge – the dark maned nomad from the Crater’s Munge pride

MG130, aka “Lemunge”, born July 2014 in Ngorongoro Crater’s Munge pride. Him and 4 of his brothers and cousins departed as nomadic males as 2-3-year olds – the Munge-Nomad coalition. Later they left the Crater floor, and was often seen as impressive young males patrolling the Crater rim road. In 2018 we received numerous reports from the many communities along the Lake Eyasi escarpment about hearing, finding tracks and having livestock attacked by a group of lion males. We suspected this may be the Munge-Nomads, but could only confirm this once from a visual observation of these elusive males. In late May 2019 we suddenly had a report of 4 big dark maned males appearing in the Ndutu area. Here lions are more relaxed as it is a wildlife exclusive area, and you can travel and approach the lions in a vehicle. With the NCA Authority veterinarian we managed to deploy a collar on Lemunge – now a 5-year-old male. Interestingly Lemunge has a cleft palate which is quite rare and not something we’ve seen before.

Since collaring Lemunge we are documenting the reverse movement from that of Laipangwa and NguvuKazi; males originating from the Crater that are establishing in the Ndutu area. One of the 5 brother/cousins are gone from the Munge-Nomad coalition, and one of them has a chronic limp. That still makes them a stronger coalition to the remaining 2 males of the Lol-gang. In July 2019 the remains of a male were found near a place where the two coalitions met – after which Lope of the Lol-Gang has not been seen. It is clear, and expected, that the Munge-Nomads are in process of taking over the Ndutu prides, one by one, after ousting the former resident males. Yet, even after turning up in Ndutu, Lemunge has made return-visits to the populated Lake Eyasi escarpment. Despite the much higher number of people living here and potential conflicts, the area hosts more wild prey. Perhaps Lemunge goes to fatten up in-between his visits to Ndutu and its many lion-ladies.

Lemunge and his brothers succeeded to take over three out of Ndutu/Masek’s four prides. But spreading wide is spreading thin. With the rains other males wandered into Ndutu – a place that attracts much wildlife – leading to increased competition. The cubs Lemunge & co had sired with the Masek pride got lost in the commotion. Since late January 2020 Lemunge and his brothers have spent much time on the plains south of Ndutu and in the Engarusi valley area – a place that fills with wildebeest migration during the rains. As the wildebeest have now moved north Lemunge has remained – and in now often overlapping with the herds of livestock that are moving in.

Lemunge

Lemunges ID-card, born July 2014 in Ngorongoro Crater’s Munge pride

Lemunge

Lemunge September 2014

Lemunge

Lemunge 2016

Lemunge

Lemunge consorting a Twin Hill female at Ndutu 2019

 


Nguvukazi

NguvuKazi

NguvuKazi – the hard working one – son of Nosiktik from Ndutu’s Masek pride

MAS-13, aka “NguvuKazi” (meaning the Hard Working one) born January 2015 in Ndutu’s Masek pride to Nosikitok. At the age of two-three he moved on with his cousin “Lasararwa” as a dispersing nomad. From evidence of camera traps, we learned that it was these two males that suddenly turned up in the Olbalbal swamp, NW of Crater, in June 2018. Our attempts to see and to collar them while they were in area failed. On 1st Sept 2018 we got lucky; on a normal lion monitoring day in the Crater we found two unknown lions in the Crater. This is very unusual; many years pass between us finding unknown lions on the lion-dense Crater floor. We managed to get immediate permission and assistance by the NCA Authority to deploy a collar on NguvuKazi on that same day. Since then we have been able to follow NguvuKazi’s footsteps since entry and establishment into the Crater. The two young males succeeded to take over as resident males in the Crater’s Lakes pride. Lasararwa went missing in November, likely killed by other lions, leaving NguvuKazi a solitary male – very vulnerable to fights with other males. We document NguvuKazi mating with the Lakes females, shifting in and out of the Crater – often together with females and juveniles of the Lakes pride, occasionally taking livestock but luckily seem to have a greater appetite for wild prey. NguvuKazi and members of the Lakes pride spent most of the rainy season out of the Crater, in the wildlife abundant highlands south-west of the Crater. The lions kept our Ilchokuti on their toes. This is a highly populated area, where lion presence and depredation conflicts could quickly trigger the area’s warriors into hunting and spearing them.

In December his GPS collar started failing – likely caused by damage from a fight, and we had occasional positions coming in from the collar until 14th February, when the collar seized functioning. By this time – now in the height of the rainy season with its abundance of wild prey – NguvuKazi and his new-found companions ventured further afield, including the highly populated Kiloki Valley. We keep on the lookout for NguvuKazi and his mates, and we keep getting signs of lions in the area that may well be our missing friend.

NguvuKazi September 2016

NguvuKazi immobilized and collared in September 2018

NguvuKazi from Ndutu’s Masek pride mixing with Lakes pride lions LK98 and LK107 of the Crater, February 2019 

NguvuKazi and his 3 new-pals from the the Crater, adding strength in numbers

NguvuKazi March 2019

NguvuKazi

NguvuKazi and LK137 in the Crater September 2019

 


Laipangwa

Laipangwa

Laipangwa – the one who grew up quickly – son of Nayomi from Ndutu’s Twin Hill pride

TWH-2, aka Laipangwa (meaning the one that grows up quickly) born March 2015 in Ndutu’s Twin Hill pride to Nayomi. At the age of three he moved on with his uncle “Katavi” as a dispersing nomad. After much efforts and trials, Roimen and vet. Nyaki managed to capture and collar Laipangwa in Aug 2018, in the Lake Eyasi escarpment. The pair kept wandering far and wide in the NCA multiuse landscape. His uncle got lost in October 2018, and Laipangwa continued his wide wanderings on his own. He has passed through each zone of the Ilchokuti – everyone at stand-by to protect him as he appears, often in areas where people haven’t seen or heard lions in a very long time. In June 2019 he ventured into the Ngorongoro Crater, and we crossed our fingers for him to settle. Food and lion females were in plenty. But his visits into the Crater has been short few-days visits, often just handing out in the densely vegetated inside slopes. Since mid-2019 he appears to have settled with a group of females on the plains and outer slopes NW of the Crater.

 

Laipangwa
Laipangwa was born to Nayomi in March 2015 in Ndutu’s Twin Hill pride 

Laipangwa

Laipangwa 1 year

Laipangwa

Laipangwa 3 years

Laipangwa

Laipangwa 5 years

Laipangwa

Laipangwa 5 years

 


Leapa Ndiuni

Leapa Ndiuni

Leapa joined our team when lions started to move in for the longer term on the north western side of the crater. Leapa is constantly improving his lion identification skills and additionally helps to record our lion depredation data.


Rumas Olelekipa

Rumas Olelekipa

Rumas works on the western outer slope of the crater and is kept busy by lions and wildlife related issues, Rumas is very reliable and hard working. He has a great eye for detail, is hugely proud of his job and we constantly ask a lot from him.