The Ascent of a Queen


Isaac Kalio


Lion pride dynamics in Kafue National Park

Lioness leaping of water Wilderness Shumba Zambia


Queen is originally from the old Papyrus Pride which patrolled the north of Busanga Plains. She broke away from the pride around 2009/2010 soon after she had her first litter (three cubs – one female and two males) – which disappeared at the age of two. She remained with her daughter who we named the Killing Machine.


Lionesses on the Busanga Plains Wilderness Zambia

In 2012 she had another three cubs, again one female and two males. The female we named Maggie and the boys were Shy and Bad Eye.



Lion in Kafue National Park Wilderness Shumba



This pride was eventually taken over by the Musanza Boys after the eviction of the Busanga male (Mr B; Mr Busanga) and his family of tree-climbing lions in 2015.


Her third litter produced Princess, sired by the Musanza Boys. She was born with two others which we suspect were killed by hyaena in 2015.


In 2017 two new cubs were born, her fourth litter, but soon after their fathers disappeared, together with Bad Eye. Unfortunately one cub didn’t make it to the end of the year, leaving Queen with one cub which has been adopted by her daughters.


Lion pride in Busanga Plains Wilderness Zambia

Nervous, Queen and Scarface (the new 'boys' on the block)


Lions mating in Kafue National Park Wilderness Zambia

Scarface mating with Queen


She remains the oldest, and alpha female, of the pride, and grandmother of four.

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