Sikiria is one of our favourite collared lions with interesting movement patterns. He has travelled no less than 5,635 kms before settling in one area in Oltiasika. His area of choice has all the characteristic and positive factors for a lion’s permanent territory. It is abuzz with different prey species not to mention its proximity to a water source.
The other day when we went to look for Sikiria, we found him together with his brother close to the lava. But unlike his brother Oyayai, Sikiria was doing serious business. He was preoccupied with doing reproductive work with one of Birdie’s sub-adult females. Oyayai was happy playing second fiddle. These lions who seems to have claimed Oltiasika as a distant outpost of their territory had been prowling around for months, probably waiting for the girls in Birdie’s group to show they were ready.
This is because female lions can decide when they want to come on heat but once a male has decided he wants to mate, they don’t have much choice in the matter. There is usually a peculiar note in a female lion’s call when she is looking for a mate and it can be heard for miles. These girls have been roaring their availability in the lava close to Oltiasika and Sikiria seems to have heard their cry!
When we came back two days later, Sikiria was on it again but this time round with the second girl. But his body condition revealed more than intimacy, it showed that a physical confrontation took place.
Here is a picture of Sikiria. Don’t be frightened by all the blood around his mouth – it is just because he was enjoying a very tasty meal and is a very messy eater!
He either fought with his brother over the second girl or with another lion. Clearly, he was badly injured in the eye in particular but still managed to maintain his usual composure. He was sickly, sleepy and weak.
We immediately knew this was his price for doubling up the sisters. Meanwhile, his brother looked okay but kept his distance. This physical confrontation is normal because the mating system in lions, is one in which intense direct aggression occurs among males for access to females.