Nadine – daughter of Nayomi from the Twin Hills of Ndutu

Nadine, a 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.

Collar movements show that Nadine had cubs at the very start of March 2020 following November’s busy encounters in with Lemunge & co, who originate from the Crater. On June 1st, 2020, she and two pride sisters showed up with lactation signs and 8 cubs.

Of a known 8 cubs born in March 2020 all are still alive, presumably sired by Lemunge and his brothers. Then there was another litter of 3 cubs born in September that may have been sired by yet another coalition from the Crater, the Lagunita Nomads. Nadine and her sisters have managed to raise their cubs despite very active lurking of new males within their territory, and the many people and livestock that come into the area during the dry season.

Having spent a couple of stable years with the Lagunita coalition, in December 2021 Lopirr and his brothers entered the Ndutu area ousted the two remaining Lagunita males and largely dispersed the rest of the Twin Hill pride. By January Lopirr & Co. were mating with Nadine and her pride sisters and in July as the dry season hit in, she was seen with her two pride sisters and 10 cubs.

In August our Ilchokuti saw signs of lions fighting in Nadine’s area, and it would appear that the cubs were separated from their mothers and have not been seen again. We see only signs of up to 7 adult lions and lioness.

While livestock is all around, Nadine & co mainly feed on the far less available wild herbivores – a behaviour that helps immensely in keeping conflict down and tolerance up. Still, this is a balance that requires constant close watch in the area by our Ilchokuti.

Nadine’s collar started acting up in mid 2022, and she has recently been successfully recollared.