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.