Emotions and Nature, Not Always a Good Combination
For the casual viewers of Africam, these past few days of watching and listening to Nkorho Pan may have been more than they bargained for. The sounds and sights have been both emotional and amazing, leaving life long impressions behind. The recent lion fights not only brought havoc and death among the two male coalitions, but many viewers were left shaking their heads and wondering how nature could be so cruel. Onlookers were shocked, listeners were paralyzed in disbelief, and all felt the ominous power in the air.
The fight at Nkorho ended with the life of one of the toughest members of the Mapogo coalition meeting his death, referred to by some as Kinky Tail.This particular group has spent many years terrorizing, murdering and maiming many of their own kind over the years. They have killed males, females... and many innocent cubs.These are the fellows that make up these dreaded coalitions... the outcasts, the wanderers, the frustrated and feared. While they may not have a pride of their own, they are still strong and menacing, perhaps even more so than most males. While we witnessed the death of Kinky Tail, it was but a small part of the picture that will begin to unfold around Nkorho and neighboring preserves as this new coalition begins to roam and challenge all that get in their way. But it was not an easy experience to be a part of.
We as humans live with emotion as one of our barometers on life. If something brings us happiness and fulfillment we tend to keep it close and take care of it. If something brings fear and sadness, we do our best to fix it or get rid of it. If for one minute we can take the emotion out of what we heard on the night of Kinky Tail's demise, some of us will begin to appreciate the momentous event that we witnessed and perhaps begin to understand how nature takes care of itself.
A lions life is not one of leisure and inherited superiority as we are often led to believe. A fight to the death between adult males is not uncommon, and expected as a pride develops. Its something they face over and over again throughout their entire adult life. The strongest and healthiest will prevail...always. Without that guarantee, the future of the entire species would be in jeopardy. We view the lion as not only beautiful, but regal and intimidating, the top species in the animal world, all well earned titles. He is at the top of the food chain when he is at his best, other species rarely challenge him. If they do, they always bring their friends...
Unfortunately, this recent event resulting in death may just be the crack on the surface as the balance of the lion prides begin to be shaken and be reestablished. Females and the cubs fathered by other males may be killed if the new lions take over the area, appearing as cruel and unacceptable behavior. But the lion world has its own version of life. By eliminating the cubs fathered by other males, the new males will ensure their own offspring will continue the lifeline, the same goal the Mapogos have had and others will in the future.
Getting emotianally attached to the wild animals of nature is but a mere defect in the human make up. We name them, we ooh and awe over the babies, we worry, we cry. The animals don't do this...they fight to the death for the right to survive, they are shaken and beat down, and then they get up and try again, and try once again...and ultimately try again until the toughest, smartest and healthiest are left standing tall.
While some called this deceased lion Kinky Tail, he is only known by that name among those of us that watched him. In the world of lions he was an outcast that joined up with others of the same and together they did the only thing they could to survive, hunt, kill and try every single day to take control of a pride and dominate that territory to ensure their lineage. Cruel? Depends on which end of the animal kingdom you watched from. Tearful? Emotional? Yes...indeed it was, for the loss of any animal is hard, whether he is respected or hated.
The lion kingdom of South Africa and the surrounding areas will thrive, change, move, and suffer loss just as they have for hundreds of years and will for hundreds more to come. Will the Mapogo coalition go down in history as the most evil yet? We may never know, as there were many more coalitions that wandered the land before we kept records, and those groups may have even been worse. But years down the road when we ponder the changes, we will see that the survivors of each generation are indeed the best of the breed.
The lion...claiming the title of king of the animal world, will continue to fight with determination and wisdom and often times cruelty, but in the end he will still be standing, strong, respected, and wearing the crown he has fought so hard to keep.