Ntwadumela - The legendary Lion King

Savuti’s Legendary Lion King

HE, WHO GREETS WITH FIRE – Savuti’s legendary Lion King

…There was once a majestic male Lion in Savuti, Botswana called ‘Ntwadumela’ what a magnificent animal he was. One of two brothers who reigned over the Maome’s Pride in Savuti National Park in northern Botswana.

His name means ” he who greets with fire “, and he was known as “The Hyena Killer”. Ntwadumela gained worldwide fame in a documentary called Eternal enemies some years ago about the eternal battle between lions and hyenas.

“He was smaller than his coalition brother Mandevu, but he was still the most beautiful lion I’ve ever seen. With other lions in his pride, he was laid-back, even deferential, and yet he took his duties as hunter and protector very seriously. He had terrific instincts for maintaining the balance of power in disputes and he took extraordinary risks to defend himself and his pride.

Ntwadumela’s tour de force style had him charging a raging bull elephant at a watering hole, making a habit of challenging buffalo, and harassing the pride’s most able competitors. That qualifies as leading a remarkably brave life, especially in a place where one terrible injury most often results in certain, agonizing death.

Mandevu and Ntwadumela reigned confidently with Maome’s pride for several years afterwards. As long as they remained together, they did have remarkable success in Savuti.

Harmony within the pride was so strong that the two lions allowed a beloved old male to return to the Maome’s pride for his final days of life. But the pride suffered greatly after Mandevu and Ntwadumela were pushed off by a coalition of younger male lions coming into their prime of life and possessing the necessary youth strength.

Ntwadumelu and Mandevu like most ousted lions in Savuti, wondered northward from one territory to the next, through a network of territories that eventually requires these older lions to cross a government sanctioned hunting ground.

Trophy-hunters killed both long-reigning lions, from the safety of their vehicles, as they moved from one protected reserve to another, in 1991.

“I know that wherever Ntwadumela’s skin hangs, on a wall somewhere in the U.S.A., perhaps, the new owners have no idea of the life that this lion lived. The daily heroics, the matings, the battles with elephants and buffalo, and, of course, his almost nightly vendettas against hyenas can never be seen on his fading skin.”

(from the book 〈〈Hunting with the Moon:The Lions of Savuti 〉〉 written by Dereck Joubert)