A brave sea-Fight: Elegy for the lion-longevity
African lion C-Boy has lived a very long time. He had become famous on the pages of our magazine, we admired his tenacity and will to live.
April 15, 2019 at 12:45
Killed 14-year-old lion with a dark mane, well-known researchers and readers of National Geographic as the sea-Fight. He died a natural death. The body of a lion found the guide on the outskirts of the Tanzanian national Park Serengeti in early June 2018. Death sea Battle was a sad news for those who loved that lion and read about it: such strength of character and love of life cannot fail to arouse admiration.
The concept of “natural death”when talking about African lions, implies, among other things, serious injury who receive animals, often fighting with each other. Craig Packer, an expert on lions, once said: “the First cause of death of lions in their natural habitat of other lions.” It was five years ago – then we with photographer Michael Nick (Nichols) traveled to Tanzania, collecting materials for the history about the behavior of lions and about the environment. Sea Battle, beautiful cornography male in the Prime of life, became the hero of our article “the Short happy life of the lion of the Serengeti”: it seemed to us an exception to the deadly rules.
A few years before the filming of the sea Battle barely survived the battle with three lions: the attackers tried killing him, to take away the pride females. The raiders were called Murderers. One day, Craig assistant Angelou Jansson was driving on the Serengeti. And she saw the fight: three predators rushed to the fourth right beside her “land-Rover”. When it was over, Angela considered wounds C-Fight and he thought that that did not survive (by the way, while learning about the group of lions that is Ingela called animals of the most ordinary names – Hey-Boy, b-boy and C-Boy, not knowing how unusual will be the third lion). However, si-Boy crawled away from the battlefield and with a more accommodating partner named Hildur went to find new land and new females and new perspectives. It was almost nine years ago.
Si-Boy embodied all the qualities of the African lion: quick-witted, self-willed, patient, proud, seemingly invincible, but constantly falling into danger. And yet – very graceful.
According to myth, cats have nine lives. The sea Battle was definitely at least two. He suffered from the unexpected attack, escaped death from his wounds and later became the main character of our story. Why Nick and I decided to write about it? Because sea-Fight was an embodiment of all the qualities of the African lion: resourceful, patient, proud, invincible. And yet – very graceful. But he was always a danger.
We had a chance to watch the lions-the Killer came in one day to a neighboring territory.
They showed interest in another pride, where C-boy and Hildur raised her cubs. The trio was preparing for new conquests and intended to expand their holdings. Daniel Rosengren, another young assistant Craig once watched the Murderers in the early morning: “I was riding the shore of the Creek and saw that cheeky trio licking his fresh wounds. With whom did they fight? Perhaps, again with C-Boy. But if he survived another attack? If Yes, what condition is it in?”
We searched in vain for C-Boy to learn the answers to our questions. Neither we nor the nick’s team was not able to find it. In the evening Daniel and I took sleeping bags and night binoculars and slowly drove up to the place where lay the Killer. We had been in the car all night, by turns watching lions walk along the shore, take a break and go somewhere away. I called that night “a solid Night vigil”.
Lions combed the territory of the sea Battle and Hildur, and we wanted to find out where they went and what they were doing. Trying to figure out they made a RAID or not, and whether their injuries are proof that they killed the si-Boy and Hildur again to take away those pride. At the dawn of the Killers ostentatiously walked along the road. Two days later, the sea Battle was not yet in sight. In my blog I made a note: “Missing, probably dead.”
But he didn’t die. We found him on the third day, about the cliffs which the locals call Zebra-Copies. C-Boy, safe and Horny, just started to mate with a female. That day, December 17, 2012, I wrote in her diary: “Oh, happy lion!”. Dark, thick mane was clearly visible in the rays of the rising sun. Sea Battle seemed very much alive.
Si-Boy growls, driving away the female (she approached him in hopes of pairing). The dark mane is a sign of a healthy and strong male, she attracts females and intimidates rivals.
However, even a b-boy cannot live forever. Last summer I received a message from Daniel, who now works as a photographer of wild animals at Frankfurt Zoological society. Daniel confirmed the news that I heard from someone else: “C-Boy found the guide, who knew this lion. When a body is discovered, sea Battle, judging by the revelers vultures were already two days dead.” On the body found no wounds from the spears which would, if he killed one of the herdsmen of the Maasai people, to protect their cows. Was not the bullet of the poacher.
“He was about 14 years old, wrote Daniel. – In fact, the record for males in the history of our lion project.” Typically, the males live a maximum of 12 years. Daniel was sad to realize that the sea-Battle died: “However, he spent far more than usually falls to the lions. Almost ten years ago, C-Boy nearly died from the attacks of the Murderers. He got a second chance and I took it off. I would really like to see him just once more”.
Me too. I understand that this is impossible, so I did what I could, opened the magazine in August 2013. They wore wonderful black and white photograph taken Nickname: majestic C-Boy stares at the Tanzanian night. I comforted myself with the thought: this cherography lion showed a remarkable will to live. And won a dozen years.
But our great material 2013, dedicated sea-Fight: “the Life that has lived the lion”.