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Nairobi to Mara: Lions who ruled the world

 According to the current KWS Census, the country has slightly above 2500 lions in the National parks countrywide. 

The death of the iconic lion and King of the Nairobi National Park jungle, Sirikoi caused a stir in media and social media spaces with many mourning his death. He reportedly died in his natural habitat inside the park. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the celebrated lion rested at eight years old due to an undisclosed illness. Lions have a lifespan of between 14-16 years. 

According to KWS, Sirikoi was “a majestic, charismatic, tactful and agile male lion with profound hunting skills that enabled him to attack, and subdue big prey like giraffes and buffaloes alone”. 

He was born on January 2014 in the Sosian Valley, in the North-Western Kenyan County of Laikipia. He was from one of the most dominant and charismatic lion families (pride) in the lion-dominated areas of the country. 

“Notably, he had a distinctive dark mane, which is a strong indicator of a lion’s health, vigour, and strength as well as testosterone levels,” said a statement from KWS.

Sirikoi had sired offspring at the Nairobi National Park. 

In June 2021, the country lost another iconic lion, Scarface, said to have been the most famous lion in the world.

Scarface was given the name because of a scar over his right eye he sustained from injuries while he and his brothers, Sikio, Hunter, and Morani were involved in a pride fight for supremacy of the Marsh Pride in the Mara in 2012.

They won the fight, and became the kings of the Marsh Pride Territory. 

Scarface and his three siblings were a darling and most respected and sought after by tourists. They were referred to as “the four musketeers”.

All animals feared them for their tenacity, bravado, and ferocity. Scarface passed away peacefully (yes, wildlife do pass away peacefully) at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve on June 11, 2021.

He was 14 years old, and had earned the title, “the world’s most famous lion”. Local and international media reported his death. 

Of the four brothers, only Moran is alive today. Moran, whose recorded sighting in the Masai Mara by Professional photographer Leighton Lum in December last year, currently holds the title of “oldest lion” at 14 years of age. He took the title after the death of his brother Scarface. 

Olorpapit, another iconic lion who died in November 2020 of old age at 16 years, reigned as the King of the Masai Mara jungle and became the oldest lion in the country. This was before the tenure of Scarface and his brothers. 

In April this year another iconic lion, King Olope was mauled to death by a rival pride after roaming for a while protecting his territory and his Moniko, Fig Tree, and Porini pride. 

In the meantime, KWS said plans are underway to have Sirikoi immortalised at the Kenya National Museums.

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