RIP Kalahari

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
Trip End Dec 14, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  , Limpopo,
Thursday, September 2, 2010

It was heard over the radio that an injured madoda ngala was found near the fenceline in Garonga, somehow we got word it was a sub-adult. We concluded it must be one of the Zimbabwean lions that were seen there the previous day, though all seemed fine when they were seen munching on a warthog. I was a little worried about it being Kusek who is the one I can ID the easiest out of those cubs but I did really want to be sure it was ok and find out who it was. The injuries were "on its spine..."
The word in the afternoon changed to the reserve manager heading out and maybe moving it to a safe place in the elephant boma where it could recover - I was up for it! I really wanted to ID this lion. 30min later, further news. The inuries were so bad that they had to put it down there and then. And it was an adult male...
We're out on drive (trying to find red hartebeest in H90) and we get more word. They're not going to waste the carcass and it will be used for food for the hyaenas in Garonga. (very useful for our research as we don't have many ID's for the Garonga Clan)... but Kalahari ahs alrady been skinned. KALAHARI?! IT'S KALAHARI?! No way?!! All of us that knew of the famous Kalahari here were in a bit of shock. What could have possibly happened to the biggest (and most dominant) lion on the reserve?
We made our way up to visit the guys putting the carcass out... it barely even resembled a lion, a sad way to see him for the last time. I asked what happened in terms of his injuries. Apparently it was obvious he had been fighting 2 other males (so likely Xinpoko and his friend in a territorial battle) but the wounds were such that you could apparently see where one was holding him down and the other scratching and biting him. (harsh...) Somehow he must've gotten away within an inch of his life. Sadly, his wounds were so bad that maggots had even made their way down to the bone - something that really says it's bad. The poor guy.
As with everything here, nothing will be wasted - hair samples wil be used for research, blood will go off for testing, etc, etc.
I hope Kalahari will be remembered for the awesome and amazing lion he was - and dad to Spud none the less!
It seems we have a new king of the jungle in here, we just need to work out who they are!

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